Nigeria Aishatu Saleh Gimba
My priority is to improve the living conditions during displacement of refugees while seeking and advocating for durable solutions to end the camp life.
My Day as a Site Assistant
I currently work as a Site Assistant in the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) unit. My priority is to improve the living conditions during displacement of refugees while seeking and advocating for durable solutions to end the camp life. I also ensure that key services fill critical gaps and advocate for targeted and immediate delivery of services through community participation. Community participation from the displaced is key in expressing their views and needs and identifying possible collective action that contributes to solutions. Another key part of my job is ensuring that the camp’s physical safety and security mitigate protection and health risks through the care and maintenance of camp facilities.
The Good and The Bad
When working in the humanitarian field, you will encounter various situations. Good and bad. There are so many moments that have made me feel good and proud to be doing what I do. I can think back to when we were able to help camp members almost immediately with food assistance when they were in need. The joy on their faces makes it all worthwhile. There was an occasion when a camp member had an accident and broke her leg. It was not carefully taken care of resulting in her leg getting infected. A referral was made immediately from the team to have her taken to the hospital for treatment. After a few weeks, she was able to walk again, and she was thankful for our swift response.
However, you will also experience sad situations that leave you feeling helpless. One that really stuck with me was encountering a mother at the campsite that gave birth to a baby girl. The baby was born with an abnormal growth on her back. The team and I referred the mother to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital but after 40 days, the baby did not make it. This broke my heart.
It requires you to speak up, be a critical thinker, have the necessary patience, good communication skills and most importantly, to be selfless and want to help those who need it most.
The Challenges Faced
We face many challenges in this line of work especially when it comes to referrals. It is quite a slow process, yet it is so crucial for patients to get seen as soon as they are referred. We also experience a lack of strong community participation. This could be due to a language barrier. That’s why it is important to have strong leadership skills if you want to do this kind of work. It requires you to speak up, be a critical thinker, have the necessary patience, good communication skills and most importantly, to be selfless and want to help those who need it most.
Making a Difference in the Lives of Others
Being a Site Assistant in the Camp Coordination and Camp Management unit for the past five years has been the most rewarding job. When it comes to the displaced community, they are often left feeling helpless, shattered and discouraged about life. Gradually through sensitization, community participation and engagement, the community are able to get back on their feet. We prioritise getting feedback from the community so we can continue to improve by helping them. Relevant awareness is spread through radio station programmes so people are informed and educated. We also have a women’s participation programme that encourages and empowers women by providing them with business skills to help them in their everyday lives. This makes me feel like we are truly making a difference in the lives of others, one step at a time, despite the challenges faced.