Awa Diagne

How did you come to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement?

Before joining the Red Cross I was working for the Senegalese Agency for Regulation of Telecommunications in Dakar. I joined the Movement because I used to dream of becoming a humanitarian worker in order to help others. And when the occasion arose, I did not hesitate.

What are your current role and responsibilities within the IFRC?

As manager of organizational development, I support ten National Societies in the Sahel. There is a particular emphasis on improving National Society leadership and capacities in human resources, programming and planning, gender and non-violence issues, managing volunteers and governance development, while improving their legal base.

What attracted you to the IFRC and your position? What is your favourite thing about your job? 

The main thing that attracted me was the opportunity to work in a multicultural environment with diversities and unexpected challenges, which although very exciting is also very stressful. The favourite thing about my job is working with volunteers in the field knowing that they do it without expecting anything in return aside from the feeling of assisting vulnerable people.

What has been your most memorable moment (so far) in your job?

The most memorable moment in my job was my deployment as part of a Regional Disaster Response Team in the field during the 2005 food security crisis. I will never forget the images I saw while visiting the nutrition centres. I was shocked by seeing so many malnourished children.

What qualities do you feel are necessary to be a successful employee at the IFRC?

Humanity, self-control, patience, willingness to help. Working for IFRC means dealing with National Societies, different people, different cultures and beliefs, focusing on meeting the needs of vulnerable people and communities. Operating in some of the toughest imaginable circumstances is sometimes very sensitive and challenging. In addition to some qualities such as humanity and the willingness to help, an IFRC employee should be thoughtful, dedicated and passionate.

Have you had the opportunity to travel as part of your job?

By covering ten National Societies in the Sahel, I have the opportunity to travel and work in many countries. This makes my job more exciting and allows me to develop my global mindset through very diversified environments and cultures. I also have the opportunity to visit other zones through an exchange between regions and experience sharing.

What are the positive things about working at the IFRC?

The opportunity to work in a multicultural environment where we learn from each other and the possibility to work with different experts who help to develop our skills. The opportunity of getting very useful training courses through the Learning Platform is also an advantage.

What advice would you give to an aspiring aid worker?

It is not evident at the beginning, but the further you go the better it is. An aid worker has to be patient and committed in order to get their work recognized by the organization. The most important thing is ambition and belief in humanitarian work.


Organizational development manager, Sahel Regional Representation

Educational background: Law and English, University of Paris. Management Ecole Supérieure de Gestion de Paris. Master’s in project management.