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From Tanzania to Haiti

Following the earthquake in Haiti, many Concern staff members from around the world were sent there to help with the aid effort.

Among them was Clement Mwalewela, Administration and Logistics Manager for Concern Tanzania. Clement travelled to Haiti last April. It was the first time in his life he had left Africa.

Cracks in the wall

On arrival in Haiti, Clement remembers the first signs of the earthquake were the cracks on the walls of the airport. “My mind was racing. If the airport had cracks, and a good company probably built it, then what would the smaller houses and the rest of Haiti look like? I started to picture the destruction to the lives of the people and what was ahead of me.”

Long hours

For six weeks, Clement worked for long hours, six days per week. His job was to support the distribution of items such as blankets, kitchen sets, hygiene sets, charcoal, and ropes for the tents and for drying clothes. His was a fundamental role in Concern’s emergency work in Haiti, which involves camp management and nutrition.        

Supporting families  

Clement has a huge amount of experience in this work, and can tell that Concern is doing a good job in Haiti.

Concern Haiti is paying local people to support their work which keeps the communities earning and able to support their families with food and other important basics. I admire the work, and feel positive for the relief and reconstruction effort. 

Growth and learning

Clement, who is currently studying for a certificate in humanitarian logistics, says that the redeployment has been beneficial both for him and for Concern Tanzania.

I will apply new things to my job that I learnt in Haiti – mainly in procurement and planning. On a personal level, my experience has been beneficial for my growth…I lived and worked with people with very different cultural backgrounds and skills. And that requires flexibility and understanding of people’s needs. This is vital for the kind of work we do at Concern.

Crucially, the benefit of Clement’s work to thousands of displaced people in Haiti will continue for months to come.

Clement’s case is an example of how these kind of secondments support learning and ensure that the organisation remains at the forefront of humanitarian relief.