Behind the scenes in South Sudan #2 – Stephen Laki
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 Laki from Rumbek to understand what it takes to work in one of the Logistics Cluster hubs in South Sudan.
Stephen Laki, Storekeeper
Laki, the longest serving team member, first arrived in Rumbek in 2014 and never left since!
“Over the past six years working for the Logistics Cluster, there have been a lot of changes and I’ve been able to witness the evolution of the humanitarian response in South Sudan,” explains Laki. “When I joined the team, the relationship and coordination with partners was challenging, however, over the years and through trainings we offered to the humanitarian community, partners learnt how to follow the Logistics Cluster procedures to benefit from our services, which is great!”
Laki's journey is a tale of gradual progression driven by ambitious goals. After returning from Uganda where he found refuge with his family during the prolonged years of conflict in Sudan, he joined National Non-Governmental Organisations in the field. However, he decided to move to Juba and started working as a porter at the Juba International Airport to support the Logistics Cluster operations, which then led to obtaining the job of storekeeper in Rumbek, his current position. “For me warehousing is the backbone of any logistics operation”, Laki says with enthusiasm. “It is the most important step of the process because, most of the time, humanitarian cargo will need to be stored in a warehouse prior to the final distribution to beneficiaries.”
Laki with his colleague Sabri, Logistics Cluster Information Management Officer in Juba. March 2020.
“What I really like about my job and what motivates me to wake up every morning is the coordination,” he continues. My colleagues are great, and our teamwork is perfect! We all work together towards common goals and this is possible because we cooperate, always trying to understand and help each other. And all of this always with a good laugh!”
For Laki, good coordination and communication is the key to everything. He truly believes that working as a storekeeper is vital to ensure that humanitarian relief items are stored and tracked properly which ultimately helps the people of his country.
Looking ahead, Laki’s other dream would be to invest in education and build a school. “I am convinced that education will be the key for a bright future in South Sudan!”
To learn more about the Logistics Cluster's South Sudan operation, visit our dedicated operation page here.