Aid Workers

West Africa (photo credit: Shannon, UNHCR)

West Africa (photo credit: Shannon, UNHCR)

Generally, we aid workers are quite content with our work and particularly the benefits we ourselves reap (the opportunity to help others, a chance at changing the world, travel, cross-cultural immersion, intellectual challenges like language-learning, etc.).

But, at some point in our careers, greater awareness of the realities of the field and the challenges in achieving our objectives cloud over our previous jovial naivety and altruistic dreams. If we don't wake up jaded, we at least find ourselves questioning the system and those within it - including ourselves. This questioning often equates to complaining.

Now, it's easy for us to sit back and complain when colleagues do not seem to be fulfilling their roles or do not seem 100% invested in the humanitarian or development cause. It's also easy for us to critique our employers and the humanitarian/development system as a whole.It's up to each of us to improve aid work.

But, what are YOU doing to help render aid work more effective? to ensure aid workers are genuine in their roles? to ensure aid workers carefully balance their personal and professional lives so they are emotionally and physically well enough to contribute effectively? to ensure our employers practice what they preach within their own office walls, promoting work-life balance and prioritizing the well-being of staff members?

If we only complain casually amongst friends or simply voice our concerns to our employers but do not make efforts to improve the system, we are collectively doomed.

It is up to each of us to take on the responsibility to help improve ourselves, our employers and office environments and, thus, the aid work we can provide to those most in need. What are you doing to render aid work more effective?

In this section, we explore how we can personally affect the aid work we individually provide and ways to advocate for greater awareness of aid work and issues facing aid workers within and beyond our offices: