Life as a humanitarian worker: Blessing's story
Blessing Mutsaka Emergency food security and livelihoods specialist
20th Apr 2012
Lots of people are interested in careers in humanitarian work, but it can be hard to make the move without humanitarian experience. Blessing gives some advice and talks about his career path to becoming a Humanitarian Support Person with Oxfam.
I have a BSc Hons in Agricultural economics. After graduating I started in the humanitarian sector as a monitoring officer with CARE International in Masvingo province, in my home country of Zimbabwe. This field position involved a lot of travelling and prolonged stay in rural remote and under resourced areas.
I was elevated to become an area coordinator for an emergency agricultural recovery project. Then I moved between jobs and agencies in the food security, livelihoods and humanitarian sector, and worked for several NGOS such as EuronAid and Oxfam as a national staff member. All the positions were either in food security and livelihoods or in monitoring and evaluation.
I got my first international job after working six years as a national staff member for these various agencies. Since then I have worked in Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Action Against Hunger, United Methodist Committee on Relief and Oxfam.
The role requires you to have competencies in humanitarian work and management of disasters. I would recommend that anyone who wants to work as an emergency food security specialist be conversant with basic food security concepts and frameworks, such as the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, Household Economy Approach, and tools such as the Integrated Phase Classification and also recently the Cash Programming Guidelines and market analysis in emergency. Participatory rural appraisal skills are also necessary and one could also get
training in these.
Working at Oxfam