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"When I first started it was a bit awkward for me to work in the camp”


Every year on August 19th, we celebrate those who work in the humanitarian field around the world. This year’s theme focuses on the passionate, strong willed women who dedicate their lives to serving beneficiaries in the field.

"When I first started it was a bit awkward for me to work in the camp,” said Wafa. “Not for me as a person but for me as a woman culturally.” She is one of Action Against Hunger Jordan’s employees who has a degree in Water and Environmental Engineering from the German Jordanian University and worked in Azraq Refugee Camp for two years. She is now the Food Security and Livelihoods Deputy Programme Manager in Azraq Town.

She used to hear a lot of comments about how it was strange that women were working in the field and not in the base office itself, yet she was determined to work side-by-side with the refugees, which caused perspectives to change. “The look I started to get from people was changing as I was doing my job perfectly without any comments,” said Wafa. “I was proud.”

Wafa has benefited personally and professionally from working in the humanitarian sector. “The way you look at people, the way you look at your friends, the way you look at how people are living and compare it to how you are living on a daily basis,” Wafa commented. “You start giving examples of how people are creating things from nothing and begin to realise that whatever you are going through is a luxury compared to what I see on a daily basis.”

As a role model for women working in the humanitarian field, she always sees how her work is benefiting Syrian refugees. “Whenever someone requests anything simple from you and you go the extra mile to help them and you see them thanking you and smiling and to an extent feeling satisfied about your service, at the end of the day this is how you measure the work you are doing compared to the actual need,” said Wafa with a gleam in her eyes. She supports women who are “more passionate and careful” when working in the field as women in general are always under the spotlight. She hopes that the “female image” changes for women in the humanitarian sector for future field workers. “It would be nice for a change for people not to be surprised that you are a woman or a girl or a fresh graduate or an engineer that has no issues working in the field,” said Wafa.

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