Why did you decide to start working with MSF?
I've always taken an interest in humanitarian and development work, since my engineering studies. I always wanted to help those who are in need. There was a volunteer opportunity that I was interested in at Auckland University to go to Vanuatu and rebuild pipes for a community, however, I was not able to go due to funding.
I graduated from engineering, spent five years in a consulting firm and decided to pursue development and humanitarian work again. I quit my consulting job and applied to different humanitarian agencies including MSF.
How do you juggle MSF assignments and your regular work life?
Initially I quit my full-time job as a civil and environmental consultant so that I could pursue a career with MSF, so I didn't have to juggle. But now that I am back in the workforce in New Zealand, I try to time my MSF assignments when we are not so busy at work.
Even though MSF is a medical organisation, logisticians are essential in any MSF project. How would you describe the role of a logistician, and why is the work so essential?
There are a few different types of logisticians, I am a water and sanitation logistician. In my role, we ensure that the hospitals, refugee camps and villages that MSF supports have clean water, adequate sanitation and appropriate waste management and hygiene (‘WASH’ facilities).
This role ensures that treatment provided to the patients is followed up with access to adequate WASH facilities. It involves collaborating with the medical team on infection control and patient flow in epidemic situations.
Another part of being a watsan is being involved in construction programs. A lot of the professionals in this role have a civil and environmental background.