#NotATarget: Supporting the DRC’S most vulnerable

Published: Aug 18, 2021 Reading time: 3 minutes
#NotATarget: Supporting the DRC’S most vulnerable
© Foto: pin

Ferdinand Bashige, from the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has been a field worker for People in Need (PIN) for almost eight months. The DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world, crippled by ongoing conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restrictions on the movement of the population within the country have meant that PIN has not been able to carry out its activities as planned. For instance, the food security project in the Shaunda Health Zone, where Bashige works, has been delayed.

To mark World Humanitarian Day, we asked our colleague about his work and his motivation to continue under difficult circumstances.

How and why did you become an aid worker?

I like to help people in distress, to understand the problems of various communities, and to try to find solutions. When I applied for the position of field officer at PIN, it was an opportunity to help improve the living conditions of vulnerable populations, which is my passion. I have experience in food security, which is helpful for my work in the health zone targeted by the project.

I became a volunteer for the International Committee of the Red Cross when I was very young; this inspired me to work for my fellow human beings and led me to the field of humanitarian assistance after I completed my studies in community development.

What does your job as a PIN field officer entail?

As a field officer, I am responsible for community activities such as sensitisation, agricultural training, and the distribution of agricultural kits and seeds. I also follow up on all field activities in the Matala Health Area where I am posted.

How have the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing unrest in the DRC affected your humanitarian work?

It is really difficult for me to do my work properly because social distancing practices have kept me from working with large groups. There are also fewer participants in the activities I am responsible for.

Apart from the difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we also live in constant insecurity due to the armed groups that are active in this area. As humanitarian workers, we are at higher risk of being kidnapped or even killed in these unstable areas.

Have these adverse conditions affected your life?

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, my life has changed completely. First, my contract with my previous employer was suspended due to the pandemic, and I was involuntarily unemployed for more than five months. Second, working with the most vulnerable populations has shown me that anyone can suddenly become vulnerable. In areas where human life is not taken into consideration, I have come to understand that the good deeds we do leave their mark long after we leave. This pushes me to do even more for my fellow human beings in distress.

   *the cover photo is illustrative

Autor: Zawadi Izabayo

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