Can you please give some advice to other NOHAs about how to look for a job/internship?
I got my first internship with DARA through looking at their vacancies section on their website whilst doing research for my thesis. Whilst there I kept receiving e-mails about internships from our coordinator, one of which was for the EVHAC programme run by Save the Children. I decided to give it a shot and was glad I did so as most NOHAs who applied got a spot on the programme. Surprisingly, only three NOHAs from my year applied to the programme. My advice then is to always just go for it, even if you don’t think you have a chance.
What skills have your acquired during the NOHA programme and how have they been useful in your current work?
I think the main difference between NOHA and other programmes such as Bioforce is that NOHA is more theoretical. Although this might not ‘prepare’ people better for getting a job at the immediate stage besides gaining a general overview of the sector. However, I think NOHAs great strength lies in gaining more long term strategic insights, which you will obviously be more likely to translate into action once you attain a position of some decision making power.
What's your assessment of the security situation in South Sudan?
I can’t speak from firsthand experience as I am currently based in Juba and you wouldn’t even know there was violence along the border. However, I have to agree with most of the pundits, it seems to be mainly grandstanding with the government in Juba quite eager to appease the international community. Nonetheless, if ‘hawks’ within both governments get their way and moderates decide that war is actually a good way to hide the economic turmoil that both countries are currently in (which worked quite well for Thatcher and Bush at the time), then who knows what might happen.
What is your general feeling of South Sudan being many NOHAs first field experience?
I actually haven’t got any field experience in South Sudan having spent the last seven weeks in Juba. Nonetheless, there is a lot going on here, so it’s a great learning experience and the humanitarian assistance is definitely needed here.
During your time in Sudan, have you seen any changes in security that has effected your work since the independence?
The main security incidents around Juba seem to be mainly crime related. Just before I arrived Save the Children tightened their security regulations because of some security incidents involving shootings.
How have the recent developments in the region effected your work and security?
Save the Children recently had to pull out of Bentiu as a result of the bombing. We are however returning to the north of Unity state and other programmes are carrying on as usual.
Can you tell us what has been the biggest constraint you have faced in Sudan during this period and what was the best or most valuable part of your job there?
Both the biggest constraint and the most valuable part of my job (besides the actual nature of my work) has been the steep learning curve here. It is quite hard to get your head around all of the issues, but I know that I’ll have learned a lot when I leave here.
How do you keep yourself updated on skills and knowledge while in the field?
As I only recently started I’m able to update my skills and knowledge just by going to work every day.
How have you dealt with stressful periods of time? What advice would you give to new graduates to last as a humanitarian worker?
Don’t build up your expectations too much. Keep yourself busy, any fool can be uncomfortable.