3 essential qualities for doing aid work in disaster situations

A local and international staff from ChildFund Philippines share their insights

When disasters strike, aid workers are always among the first responders — but what specific skill are best for doing humanitarian work in these settings?

Three qualities are essential, according to local and international aid workers working in the Philippines a year after the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan: passion, commitment and technical capabilities.

“A development worker or a humanitarian worker requires you to work extra more time and it also requires you to make sacrifices,” Celita Catibog, ChildFund Philippines local staff in Tacloban, told Devex in a video interview. “Imagine going to other places, helping other people while you're living away from your family who also have some problems of their own.”

The aid worker added that passion also plays a central role in being effective on the work that they do, because “it’s not [about] the money [but] the smile on [people’s] faces” when they get the help they need.

Watch the above clip to learn more about the key characteristics of an aid worker in disaster situations along with insights from Dionne Akiyama, a ChildFund international humanitarian, on her experience doing development work in Tacloban.

About the author

  • Lean 2

    Lean Alfred Santos

    Lean Alfred Santos is a former Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. He previously covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics.

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