Aleksandra Godziejewska is Head of Mission for Polish Humanitarian Action in Somalia. This June, as part of her job responding to one of the most complex crises in the world, Aleksandra did a ‘Needs Assessment’ training with RedR in Prague. Aleksandra took time out to answer our 60-second quiz.
Q What’s it like working in Somalia?
AG: I tried to have no expectations, because it’s a place that has a very bad reputation due to security. Of course there are always expectations that you will be able to do what you’re supposed to do, but it’s not easy working here. Things are going much slower than in the previous places that I’ve worked. I’ve been here 11 months now.
Q What are you working on?
AG: We are working in Puntland in the north, and in Mogadishu. Nutrition is still an urgent issue in Mogadishu, because of the number of IDPs (internally displaced persons). We’re working with a Somalian NGO on a nutritional project for malnourished kids under five and lactating and pregnant mothers. In Puntland, water is a big issue. One of our projects involves connecting a village with a water supply using a spring that is in a deep canyon. It will benefit around 4,000 people.
Q Why did you do the Needs Assessment course?
AG: Our mission here is quite small; we are not a big organisation in the field, and a lot of the needs assessment responsibilities lie with me. I’m conducting assessments for new project locations. So it was really good, I think it was a great combination of theory and practical knowledge. Sharing experiences with other course participants was helpful too.
Q How will you use your new skills?
AG: We are in the second half of the year, so now’s the time when we start preparing project proposals for next year. I am sure I will come back to my materials from the training. The needs assessments I do involve analysis of data, coordination with other NGOs as well as meeting with the community to find out exactly what’s needed and how we can help.
Photo: © UN Photo/ Stuart Price