Behind the scenes in South Sudan #1 – Ayangi Alipayo
Active since 2011, the Logistics Cluster supported over 200 organisations in 2019 in South Sudan, making it the biggest operation in terms of partner support that year. The country also represents one of the most logistically challenging environments for humanitarian workers. Can you imagine how complex it is to deliver humanitarian aid to populations in a country with very few paved roads or tarmac airstrips?
To provide logistics common services to the humanitarian community in country, the cluster operates with seven hubs strategically located to ensure the most efficient response: Bentiu, Bor, Juba, Malakal, Rumbek, Wau and Yei.
Today, we meet Selina from Rumbek to understand what it takes to work in one of the Logistics Cluster hubs in South Sudan.
Ayangi Alipayo, (colleagues call her Selina), Logistics Assistant
After nine years of working with Non-Governmental Organisations and UNICEF as a Programme Officer, Ayangi wanted to develop her skills in logistics, a mostly male-dominated field not only in South Sudan.
“When I first joined the Rumbek team in June 2019 it wasn’t easy every day, but I knew I had the strength in me to do it”, says Ayangi. “A year later, I had proved everyone including myself that I am a logistician and gained respect among my male colleagues.”
A nurse by qualification, Ayangi explained that the daily routine in Rumbek can be stressful and that living conditions are tough. “The typical day for me as a Logistics Assistant in Rumbek is to go early in the morning to the airport to load partners’ cargo in the helicopter,” she continues. “It is quickly followed by a return to the office to prepare and send reports as well as communications to partners. Depending on the number of helicopter rotations planned per day we then return to the airport located some hundred metres from the WFP compound. It is then time to start preparing for the next day which means receiving cargo in a warehouse to be transported to deep field locations the day after.”
Ayangi with Mary, a colleague from UNICEF, coordinating the dispatch of lifesaving nutrition cargo. March 2020.
Working with the Logistics Cluster allows Ayangi to see the other side of the humanitarian response in South Sudan. Before joining the cluster, she was implementing lifesaving activities for years in hard to reach areas to directly assist populations in need. Today, she supports the humanitarian community by ensuring that critical humanitarian cargo is transported to where it needs to be for programmes to continue to be rolled out in the country. “What satisfies me is that I am fully aware of the importance of this humanitarian cargo for teams in the field,” says Ayangi. “I know that without these supplies we send daily, organisations would not be able to provide assistance to the populations. I also like that this work requires constant coordination with partners to make sure our work is as efficient as it can be”.
In addition to her Logistics Cluster duties, Ayangi was recently appointed as the COVID-19 Preparedness Focal Point for the WFP Rumbek Field Office. This has enabled her, for a few months now, to put her medical expertise at the service of all her colleagues through the implementation of COVID-19 preventive measures, ensuring the continuity of critical humanitarian operations in Rumbek.
To learn more about the Logistics Cluster's South Sudan operation, visit our dedicated operation page here.