Salatha Sirat, a logistics assistant for Action Against Hunger in El Barde, Somalia.

"It is incredible to see what I do make a difference"

Around the world, Action Against Hunger aid workers like Salatha are bringing compassion, dedication, and expertise to saving lives.

By Action Against Hunger

Aug 15 2019

Salatha has been an Action Against Hunger logistics assistant in southwestern Somalia for two years. A passionate mover and shaker, she champions diversity and equality in the workplace.

Where are you from?

I was born in Mogadishu during the civil war and my parents had to make a swift decision to move us to Mandera, in northeastern Kenya. That’s where I have spent most of my childhood and where I had the opportunity to go school and study. My father valued education and wanted all of his children to attend school and return to Somalia to serve the nation.

How was life growing up?

My siblings and I grew up in Mandera and I must say I love how simple life is in the rural areas. We used to drink a lot of goat and camel milk and sometimes even go out in the field with a herd of goats and sheep for a whole day somewhere a bit far from home. I used to help my mother at her shop on weekends and go to school and Madrassa during weekdays.

How did you find out about Action Against Hunger?

I was in El Barde visiting my relatives in 2015 and saw an advert for a community mobiliser. I applied for it and the rest is history.

Salatha Sirat, a logistics assistant for Action Against Hunger in the organisation's store room in El Barde, Somalia.

What motivated you to apply for the logistics assistant position?

After working for a year, I realized I was passionate about supply chains and took short courses on stock management and supply chain. In 2017, a logistics assistant position opened, and I got the job.

The one thing that has motivated me since then is the fact that some of my colleagues thought that stock management was a difficult job for a woman to handle. For me, it has been seamless joy working in this department because I enjoy my work and I serve the community.

What type of challenges do you face in the field?

I work in a predominantly male workspace and I worry that the decisions made are too often from just one perspective. Recently, we have made progress: more women have been hired as community health and hygiene promoters in our outreach programmes, which were previously dominated by men. We have heard positive feedback from women in the community about how women health workers regularly visit them in their homes to check on their children’s nutrition and health. This is important because women in the community are more comfortable communicating with female health workers and more lives are saved in the process.

Every day presents a new challenge. During one of last year’s rainy seasons, one of the trucks with supplies of Plumpy’Nut was stuck in the mud three miles from our base in Yeed. As a last resort, we hired men to carry the supplies from the truck into town. You can imagine how much time it takes to offload and carry 200 boxes of Plumpy’Nut for this distance – it took about 5 hours to get all the supplies to our center. I had to do everything I could to get them there, because the next day was a distribution day. Mothers travel as much as 25 miles to our outreach site to get the Plumpy’Nut and Plumpy’Sup for their children.

Any rewarding event in your work?

Aaah…Yes! When the nutrition supplies – such as Plumpy’Nut – get to the beneficiaries. I think about the mothers who travel for miles to get these lifesaving supplies for their children. We cover a wide area, and we are the only international organization on the ground offering lifesaving services to the children who arrive at our site every Sunday and Wednesday. I do it for them – it is incredible to see what I do make a difference.

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Photo credit: Action Against Hunger/ Fardosa Hussein, Somalia Communications Manager