Hello, WFP speaking!

What is it like to receive feedback from the people that WFP assists every day? Hamdi, an mVAM call centre operator in Somalia, talked to us about how she manages her day-to-day work in one of the most challenging humanitarian contexts, in a country of 12.3 million people where conflict and drought have left 5.4 million food insecure.

I am a Somali national with a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Medicine and a Diploma in Information Technology (IT). I’ve also got a lot of experience with community engagement and I’m conversant in different Somali dialects and have good geographical knowledge of the country, so when WFP needed an operator for its Somalia call centre, my background and skills made me the perfect candidate for the position.

My job is all about engaging with the people we serve. As an operator, I receive complaints and feedback from people from across the country by phone, log these in an issue tracking system, troubleshoot those issues that can be resolved on the spot, and refer those that need further follow-up to the country office for action. Most of the calls we receive are enquiries about the value of entitlements, guidance on food distribution points and on how to redeem vouchers.

But this is only one part of my job — the other part revolves around conducting household surveys to monitor the food security situation and the implementation of WFP programmes at the local level, again remotely through phone calls. I usually have to talk in different Somali dialects and make sure that I establish a good rapport with the people I speak to over the phone.

My job certainly never gets boring — I find it super interesting to interact with different people working in the humanitarian field and to be the liaison point between the organisation and the population and it is very rewarding to know that I am part of the effort to improve the lives of vulnerable people in this war-torn country. I am also proud to say that the WFP call centre has a good reputation as a trustworthy source of information. I even get called by those receiving WFP assistance when they have problems with partners or retailers — their first instinct is to immediately contact our call centre for information and to report the story.

Of course, there is an endless list of challenges in a country such as Somalia which impact my work, from security issues to more practical problems. For example, we often find it difficult to reach communities in rural areas because of network problems.

Hearing people’s stories can be devastating. The story they tell is often one of deplorable living conditions. It’s about children, women, and the elderly who live in abject poverty, have lost everything and are facing a very hostile environment — a situation that is often aggravated by drought, diseases, conflict, fighting, and displacement. While these encounters do affect me emotionally, I also draw encouragement and strength from them to double my efforts.

I am proud to be part of a great team that seeks to change the situation for the better and that my dedication and hard work can really contribute positively to the struggle against hunger. I want to continue to be part of this fight, advancing my career through the UN system and developing my skills as a professional in the humanitarian sector.

Originally published at MVAM: THE BLOG.

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