Pray Gwatinyanya started his WFP journey with WFP Zimbabwe, where he served as a Logistics Assistant between 2003 and 2005. Since then, he has had a diverse logistics career including postings with WFP in Swaziland and South Sudan, and with the World Health Organization as a Logistics Specialist in Liberia.

Pray joined WFP’s Somalia Country Office in 2017. There were many challenges, but the most urgent need was to effectively deliver humanitarian supplies to hard-to-reach locations. As air was the only available delivery mechanism at the time due to security, Pray played a dual role facilitating the air operation for WFP Logistics and the Logistics Cluster.

When asked about what had changed since he first joined the Somalia office, Pray remarked, “through close coordination and collaboration with other stakeholders on the ground, the Logistics Cluster team has supported partners by facilitating the opening of corridors that were previously inaccessible, such as Quansadhere and Bardale.”

Pray Gwatinyanya facilitating air operations in Somalia - Photo credit: Logistics Cluster

What do you identify as best practice, based on the past five years you spent with the Logistics Cluster in Somalia and your almost 20-year WFP career?

Strong partnership with partners and stakeholders: “It is important to treat everyone as an equal and true partner. Partners and stakeholders must be kept fully informed at all stages of the operation. Transparency is key!”

Strengthening the capacity of partners: “Consistently strengthening our partners’ capacity is essential to the Logistics Cluster’s success. In Somalia, the Logistics Cluster continues to facilitate training for partners – specifically on warehouse management, setting up mobile storage units and other technical skills pertaining to humanitarian logistics – in various locations across the country. Both WFP Logistics and the Logistics Cluster also provide capacity strengthening to the Government for cargo tracking through training. Capacity strengthening activities are prioritized jointly with regional authorities on a demand-led basis, focusing on gaps in logistics skills identified by partners in-country.”

Preparedness is critical: “Somalia is a complex country that is prone to very diverse emergencies, including droughts, floods and security challenges. Therefore, preparedness and the ability to constantly adapt are critical. To operate effectively in Somalia whilst it endures these crises, it is vital to pre-position stocks at locations identified as being at high risk to drought or floods.”

You’ve already mentioned some of the challenges experienced. What would you say is the most difficult?

“The diversity and complexity of these challenges. Somalia is one of the most complex and protracted humanitarian crises in the world. It is affected by climatic shocks, combined with other persistent drivers of vulnerability, including insecurity leading to displacement.’’

What are some ways you have found effective in overcoming these challenges?

“It is essential to be well informed about ongoing developments, trends, and events. Accurate, reliable and timely information is vital to effective decision making.”

Since its activation in April 2020, the Logistics Cluster has facilitated the transport of 2,482 mt of cargo of life-saving items for 18 organisations.

If you wish to learn more about the work of the Logistics Cluster in Somalia, please visit the dedicated page here.