Everyone likes to read stories of how people are being helped and lives changed as a result of supporting Canadian Lutheran World relief and its partners. Those stories are compelling and need to be told. However, in learning about those being helped we sometimes overlook the helpers.
This interview is with one of the helpers, Jennifer Adong of the LWF – Uganda, Adjumani sub-office. These hands-on workers spend long hours under difficult circumstances bringing hope to people who need hope the most. They are often a very long way from home and family for long periods of time. God bless them for all they do in our name.
Jennifer Adong, Project Officer, LWF- Uganda, Adjumani sub office – interviewed by Heather Platt, CLWR Program Manager
How did you become involved with LWF?
Jennifer Adong has been working for LWF-Uganda for four years. She first started off with the organization as a volunteer before she was promoted to a Field Extension Worker (FEW) in an LWF project in Pader, a town in Northern Uganda. It’s very apparent that Jennifer is very thoughtful, detailed-oriented and extremely capable woman. Not surprisingly, in 2014 she was promoted from a FEW to a Project Officer. Fortunately for CLWR, in May 2015 she was transferred to the Adjumani sub office and was given responsibility for managing the CLWR and Global Affairs supported project.
What motivates you?
What drives Jennifer in her work is to see those who suffer helped. She explains that we all have a role to play in responding to humanitarian emergencies —as donors in Canada we often provide relief in the form of money. Her role as Project Officer, she explains, is to work diligently and honestly to ensure that those funds are used in a responsible way to make sure those who require assistance are helped..
What do you love about your job?
Jennifer loves being busy! This is very clear from the long hours she works at the LWF office, in addition to studying for a diploma in Project Planning and Management in nearby Gulu district on the weekends. She loves that her work allows her to meet new faces from around the world and that she’s able to engage with different tribes and ethnic groups and learn from new experiences. It’s clear to me, that Jennifer is a self-motivated person who is determined and dedicated to meet whatever task she’s given. She explains that “she will work in any country of the world, in any conditions, she will adapt no matter where she is” because she is committed to helping the worlds most vulnerable. She is very grateful to be apart of the LWF team—she speaks very highly of the management staff in Adjumani and in Kampala who are always available to offer guidance and support when needed.
What challenges do you face in your work?
One of the biggest challenges Jennifer faces in her work is the weather in Adjumani. Rainfall can be very erratic and this makes it different to implement some project activities as planned. For example, the short rainy season never came this year and this made it difficult to distribute tree seedlings and to plant woodlots according to the schedule. The other challenge she faces is language barriers, as many different tribes in the settlements speak different languages.
What does she want people to know about life in the Adjumani settlements?
Often people think about the urgent need to provide life-saving services in refugee situations. Of course, she says, this is very important. But she says its important that people recognize that livelihoods support is just as urgently needed—“People need something to do, hands on activities so that they can be productive and not idle”. With support from CLWR and GAC, LWF is providing agricultural inputs such as training, seeds and tools to support the livelihoods of South Sudanese refugees in Adjumani district.
“We really appreciate Canada’s support and are so very grateful for your assistance!”