The Broader View: In a remote village in DRC, “We need you here, come on in!”

15 December, 2011
Dominic MacSorley, Operations Director, Concern.
Dominic MacSorley, Operations Director, Concern.

Twenty years ago, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution, 46/182, to establish a global humanitarian system. The resolution called for governments and aid agencies around the world to work together to deal with the rising number of crises.  Two decades on, that system is more important than ever.

Dominic MacSorley, Operations Director of the aid agency Concern, recalls a trip to a remote Congolese village where he was surprised, and reassured, to find a Congolese OCHA  staff member who could tell him exactly who was operating where, and what kind of help people needed.

A couple of years ago in the Congo, driving for hours in Masisi… we’d heard there was a group of displaced populations in need. We finally got there after four or five hours on a dirt road, to this small village, expecting that there would be nobody else there.

And there was a small little hut, with an OCHA sign on it, and I went “wow.” So we knocked on the door. And inside was a young Congolese guy - he was probably 25,30 - with a plastic briefcase and a little metal desk.

He said “Hello, welcome, I am OCHA”. And within half an hour he had told me all about international humanitarian law, he knew the lay of the land, he knew where the populations were, he knew what agencies were there, and he said “We need you here, come on in!”

It was unexpected and it was reassuring, that they had managed to get in ahead, and they were operating at that remote level.

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