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Anwar Gul, Programme Officer, Pakistan

Anwar works in Pakistan as Programme Officer (Head of Sub Office Swat). Copyright: WFP/Ikram Ullah Ikramullah.

Anwar is head of WFP's sub-office in the northern Pakistan region of Swat. As a programme officer he oversees most of the organisation's activities in the area. These include school meals, Food-for-Work and nutrition programmes. Anwar's job involves a lot of coordinating with local administrations, which are of course involved in the planning and implementation of the programmes.

1) What is the hardest thing about your job?

To keep staff motivated all the time and moving towards our strategic objectives. I have plenty of contact with staff, through meetings, informal discussions and monitoring visits. Every month we present staff achievements, recognising those who have done well, and go over the plan for the month ahead.
 
2) What did you do before joining WFP?

I was a teacher at a college in Peshawar (northwest Pakistan).
 
3) How did you find your way into WFP?

During the floods of June 2005, I was working as volunteer leader in the Peshawar district. I mobilized more than 100 young people to help flood victims. During this emergency I met the head of WFP's Pakistan office and I briefed him on the flood situation and organised a visit to a flood-hit area. The following October, Pakistan was hit by earthquake and again I volunteered, without knowing how I would help the victims. Shortly after I arrived on the quake zone, I received a call from WFP asking if I could go to their office in Muzafarabad as soon as possible. As I went, there were dead bodies on the roads and it made me very upset. I started helping with WFP operation and was present at the first food distribution of this emergency. It was covered by the BBC. When I worked for about two weeks, a lady from WFP Islamabad interviewed me on phone and the next day I started working as a food aid monitor.
 
4) What’s your most moving experience with WFP?

It was when I was working with WFP during the 2005 earthquake. Every house had dead bodies and there was no one to take them away. People had nothing to eat, no clothes and no shelter. At this time I was distributing food directly to those people. It is a feeling which cannot exactly be expressed in words.
 
5) What’s your most frightening experience?

I was with a team driving three trucks, loaded with food aid, through the Neelum Valley. After about 30 minutes, we were stopped by a group of people  with sticks. They asked me to get down from the truck. I was frightened that they would beat me and loot the food. They told me to unload all the food here and then go back. I asked them to give me five minutes to talk. I explained we were taking food to hungry people and asked them to let me speak to a committee of elders. I convinced them to let us distribute food to 25 households in the area. Interestingly, the elders gave me three men who would provide support and guidance in the area. Then we could carry on with our mission.
 
6) What is a humanitarian?

A humanitarian is someone who shows compassion for other humans by their acts of kindness
 
7) Are you one?

Yes.