In the dry, dusty climate that characterises West Africa’s Harmattan season, Richie Bhattarai stands on an elevated concrete platform watching her team conduct an MSU set-up training for humanitarian organisations responding to the ongoing crisis in north-east Nigeria.
As a roving logistics officer overseeing common storage services for the Logistics Sector in Nigeria, Richie has noticed a need to diversify the logistics trainings on offer, including warehouse management and logistics assessments.
In 2019 the Logistics Sector seeks to address this, developing a targeted training schedule aimed at increasing organisational logistics capacities for agencies responding to the ongoing crisis.
From technicians to trainers
Richie has been coordinating storage services for the Logistics Sector in Nigeria for 18 months. Prior, she worked in Nepal, her home country, at the Humanitarian Staging Area in Kathmandu. Travelling from Nepal to a new operation means new challenges. In the Nigeria context, one of the biggest challenges Richie has faced as a logistician is insecurity.
“When insecurity results in movement restrictions, we are unable to travel to field sites, however we can continue to support our partners by providing coordination and logistics expertise, including by organising trainings in Maiduguri,” she explained.
“As a national staff member in Nepal, I learned a lot about warehouse management. One of my main goals here in Nigeria is to pass on my knowledge to my team and to partner organisations to ensure they are set up for success.”
Richie demonstrated this goal at the training where she encouraged her team members, Emmanuel Peter and Mohammed Kachalla, both MSU technicians, to take the lead, stepping in only when necessary to prompt deeper explanations of the set-up steps.
“It’s important to not just keep the knowledge for myself, but to extend it to the partners so they can put it into practice,” said Emmanuel.
Under Richie’s guidance, Emmanuel and Mohammed – who both began working with the sector in April 2017 - are learning new skills in warehouse management and gaining confidence in training facilitation.
Richie’s enthusiasm and encouragement is contagious, with the team consistently learning from her work ethic and determination.
“She is always determined to get the job done.”
That’s Adedayo Adeniregun, the fourth member of the storage team and key to ensuring the MSU training took place safely and on time. Having previously worked in the private sector in Aubja, Adedayo changed his career to contribute to the emergency response in his country. As an engineer, he is charged with inspecting the storage sites before MSUs are erected.
“We work in an insecure environment, but we need to get on with our work and continue supporting the response,” he said.
Mohammed, Emmanuel, and Adedayo are working far away from their homes and families to support the operation, but they have no complaints. They believe it’s their duty to contribute to the response efforts in their country.
The passion of the sector’s storage team is evident and unyielding for staff and participants alike. Having worked in the humanitarian sector for nearly five years, Richie is determined that this passion is channelled into creating new opportunities for national staff, particularly women.
“Logistics is a male-dominated field, I would like to see more women in management roles. Our goal when organising these trainings is to create a strong knowledge base among national staff who will remain long after international staff leave the operation,” she said.
“I always encourage partners to nominate female staff for trainings to ensure they are included in these types of opportunities and are given the chance to build their skillsets.”
Find out more about the Logistics Sector operation in north-east Nigeria here.