Aid worker stories

EAST AFRICA AID WORKERS: Tom Ogol, WASH Engineer & Project Assistant, Norwegian Refugee Council

Dadaab, North West Kenya

Here in the Dadaab region of North West Kenya, we know only too well that the East Africa food crisis and drought is still far from over.Tom Ogol in a refugee camp © REDR

I work in a refugee camp called Ifo 2 and I’ve been here for nearly a year. It’s a big place – there are 40,000 people and nearly half a million when you include surrounding camps. Even now, we have 1500 new arrivals each day.

The NRC is responsible for providing Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) support. That means we do everything from ensuring people have access to clean water for drinking and showering, to activities like monitoring the effectiveness of our work, dealing with excreta disposal, and more.

I have learnt so many things in this role. One of them is that you can’t just wake up and achieve your aims: you have to plan well, and budget well, especially as there are so many different organisations involved.

It’s also important to make sure that everyone you work with has the latest skills, knowledge and training. That’s why my colleagues and I recently completed two courses, one on a system to help us monitor and coordinate our activities (called the WASH ‘monitoring system’) and a second on technical skills. Both have helped us to deliver better quality services to more people.

Of course, you always sympathise with the people living in the camps when you see the conditions they live in. But as an aid worker, I am here to help people lead a more dignified life.

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Photo: Tom Ogol © RedR

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