Logistics in the danger zone

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He has worked as a logistician with international aid agency, Goal, for the past three years, and has just signed a new contract that will take him to Mozambique to continue doing humanitarian work.

Glasper started in his current position as roving logistician with Goal when he spent four months in Pakistan after the earthquake that killed 73,000 and left 2.8 million people homeless.

For 16 months before that he was an emergency logistics coordinator providing logistics training and assessment and audit control for Goal’s programmes in a range of African countries, including Angola, Mozambique and Uganda. He also spent six months providing logistics support for an emergency programme in Iraq. In his role as roving logistician, Pete will be moving around, spending five or six weeks in each place.

“Going to Iraq with Goal was hard work. It was during the last days of the war, before things got nasty when we were able to work where we were. It’s not easy now; it’s so insecure we can’t really do much. We did what we could in six months and got out of there.

“All the places I’ve been to with Goal have been outstanding in their own way. I’ve worked in a lot of interesting places, like Thailand and Burma. It was great working out in the remote villages. Sometimes we had to walk for days to get to another village.

“It took five days to walk around the route we were serving as there were only a few months of the year when the roads were open.”

“I’m more aware of global issues since I started working with Goal. At the beginning I had to get the atlas out just to locate the country I was going to. It’s important to know what’s going on in other parts of the world.”

Glasper has previous experience working abroad with other agencies including working in North Thailand where he gave logistical support to medical programmes in three Karen refugee camps on the Myanmar (Burma) border.

He was also involved in the management of the water and sanitation projects in villages near the border.

In Kenema in Sierra Leone he worked with humanitarian organisation, Merlin. He was responsible for programme coordination and security on medical programmes in three refugee camps, 25 village clinics and support of Kenema District Hospital. He led a team of five project managers and two logistician managers, overseeing a staff totalling 350 people.

After university Glasper completed a number of courses from RedR, an international non-governmental organisation that provides recruitment, training and support services for humanitarian professionals. He completed a number of courses including: security and communications, project support, environmental health, and operation of plant and vehicle maintenance in emergencies.

He first got interested in working for aid agencies through a friend in university. “I met a guy who worked for a charity based in Bosnia. He worked in their office in Edinburgh, but when he expressed an interest in going out to work in the field he was refused because he didn’t have a Heavy Goods Vehicle licence to enable him to drive a truck.”

“This got me thinking. At the time I was working in a health centre and I knew they had equipment they were throwing away that still worked perfectly. I contacted the charity and asked them would they be interested in the equipment, and I offered to come out and install it. They were interested in my offer but worried about the logistics of getting it to the remote locations where it was needed most.

When I said I was a licensed truck driver it swayed their decision. That first trip to Bosnia changed my life.”

l For more information on Goal, go to www.goal-uk.org.

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