Meet Daniel Pedraza, one of our colleagues in Colombia! He has been working for ZOA since 2019 as a programme manager in La Guajira. In this area, ZOA responds to the needs of the many Venezuelans that have fled into Colombia. The circumstances are harsh: migrants live in self-build huts on open land near the town, without electricity, water or support. Since the land is not their own, they are often under threat of eviction. What is it like to work amongst people who are caught in such difficult circumstances?
Why did you choose to work for ZOA?
I grew up in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. I studied Industrial Engineering and completed a master in Sustainable Development in Spain and a master in Rural Development in the Netherlands. ZOA caught my attention because the organisation had a long history of working in the humanitarian sector. In my view, ZOA really focuses on the most vulnerable population. I also feel attracted to the values it represents. At the time, ZOA was starting up the office in Colombia. That was a real challenge: starting with a new team, in a new country. For me, it felt like a beautiful change to contribute to a positive change in the situation of my Colombian and Venezuelan brothers.
What do you love about working for ZOA?
I have already completed a year working for ZOA and I am very happy to work for ZOA. I am proud to work for ZOA, because it is an international organization with a lot of experience. This gives our team the confidence to start all types of programs that will help to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable population affected by migrations issues.It makes me happy to wake up every day and realise that with our actions I can help the lives of other human beings to be little less difficult.
What is the impact of your work?
To be honest, talking about achievements and the impact of humanitarian work has its complications. The immediate results are really visible: we are providing food and water solutions to a population that really needs it. It motivates me and my colleagues to see the children in the camps smiling when they see a plate of food on their table.
Seeing an improvement in lives of these children who were at risk, makes our days happy and helps us to persevere!
We are sure that we are positively impacting the lives of our brothers and sisters who, for different reasons, had fewer opportunities. Another example: we installed dry latrines. Thanks to these latrines, many girls and women avoid being victims of theft or rape. This impact might be less visible, but still very important!
How does a working day look like for you?
One thing that I love about ZOA is that each day is different! My work is very dynamic and I am carrying out different activities. For example, in the morning I could have a meeting with the mayor of a municipality, after that I might have to visit a project and help with the delivery of toilet kits and at the end of a day I might have to attend a virtual meeting to follow up on a project somewhere else in Colombia. Every day is different, there are days when I am in the field all day supporting the field team. On another day, I am at the office answering emails, making purchase requests and budget reviews. Every day brings a lot of good news, some problems to solve and a new challenges. I just let myself be surprised by what may happen next day.
What makes you proud?
It makes me proud to have my two teams in the field, committed to serving the most vulnerable people. It makes me proud to have a team with people from each region where we are, thus contributing to develop the talents of Colombian people in very remote regions of the country. It makes me proud to know that I am doing something that contributes to improving the quality of life of people who did not have the same opportunities that I had. It makes me proud to see the gratitude of the participants, their smiles and their life stories. It makes me proud to get up every morning and know that we are fulfilling God’s purpose by contributing everything I have to be a better human to serve better.
Daniel is part of a ZOA-team of 1000 committed colleagues all over the world. We are here for people who have lost everything in a war or a disaster. Interested in working for ZOA? Check our current vacancies!