My first exposure to humanitarian aid – this was a great job and a huge learning opportunity.
The job – which frequently took me back to Africa, ran the whole gamut from development projects and disaster risk reduction to humanitarian assistance following drought, conflict, epidemics. BRCS provided both structure and opportunity; it was a link in the chain between donor and implementer – I was more humanitarian bureaucrat than practitioner. But I did have solid experience in Africa, I could analyse context and solve problems, and I could write.
So I learned. Lots. Logframes and accountability; more about monitoring and reporting, about budgets, about coordination and the humanitarian architecture. This is where I observed my first cash programme, in Ethiopia in about 1999. This was also my real introduction to the about the wider Red Cross – wonderful, flawed, vital, necessary.