MITARBEITERINNEN VOR DEN VORHANG
INTERVIEW WITH ZEINAB SOUEIDAN, AUTRC LEBANON
First of all, I would like to welcome you in our MENA team! You are working since March 2018 in our small MENA delegation in Beirut. What is your motivation working together with us?
I started my humanitarian career straight out of college but due to some unforeseeable circumstances I had to work in a private company. After a couple of years in the private sector, it was finally time for me to go back to the humanitarian world. Choosing the Red Cross was quite easy, it is a very well-known fact that the Red Cross generates a tight-knit community for its members and it creates a humanitarian-oriented environment where you can clearly feel that everyone is completely involved in helping the disadvantaged and it’s not for the sake of simply doing a job.
After going through the recruitment process, especially the interview where I learned a bit more about the actual projects that are being implemented and developed and after seeing a glimpse of the overall team dynamics, my decision grew firmer. In addition, I believe that being part of the Red Cross will allow me to fulfil my future plans to be part of an international team and travel to disaster-stricken countries and assist in the mission. On the other hand, the role and the responsibilities that my current post presented offered some exciting challenges but also left room for development and allowed the possibility to add more tasks.
The fact that the AutRC Lebanon delegation team is small appealed to me, in the sense that it’s more personal, flexible and inclusive and that I could be involved in various activities and tasks related to the projects. And now after a month of being part of AutRC, I know that I certainly made the right decision to join this organization and the AutRC team in particular since I’ve felt really welcomed here and everyone made sure I was included.
What are your main tasks in our Beirut office?
I am mainly responsible for the general administration and financial matters related to the AutRC Lebanon Office and supporting the Head of Office in the management, administration and logistics related to the AutRC presence in Lebanon as well as the relationship and interaction with the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC). My financial tasks revolve mainly around supporting LRC to achieve and deliver high quality and timely financial reports and to review these reports while making sure that they abide by the requirements of our back-donors. I am also required to prepare reports of all our projects on quarterly basis according to AutRC and back-donors requirements. I’m also responsible for tracking the cash flow and day-to-day office expenses as well as booking all the expenditure on CAT (our accounting software) and to ensure the correct budget coding. I’m also responsible for archiving (soft/hard copies) all supportive documentation in line with AutRC filing system Responsible for procurement, commissioning and timely execution of audits related to AutRC projects in close coordination with the LRC, including preparation of audit ToR, contract agreements and documentation required for auditors as well as facilitation of cooperation between auditor, LRC and AutRC HQ and reviewing of draft reports. As for the administrative part, my tasks revolve around supporting Lisa (Head of office in Beirut) in the overall monitoring, coordination and implementation of AutRC projects in Lebanon and to handle all logistics aspects and daily running of our Beirut office.
How do you wish to further develop in your humanitarian career with the Red Cross?
My ultimate goal is to be able, in a couple of years, to travel to an underprivileged or disaster-stricken country for a one or two-year mission (as previously mentioned). However, in order to do so, I recognize that I need to learn more and to gather additional experience. Therefore, to be able to reach my goal, I would like to further develop my financial skills by working on bigger budgets and to work with multiple partners, to also make reports and submit them to our back donors, furthermore to make budgets for various projects and to learn everything possible about CAT. On the other hand, I would also like to delve into non-financial tasks, such as writing proposals, narrative reports, even learning the process and procedures of managing a project. In conclusion, my humanitarian career development could be summarized in wanting to learn everything that can be learned and acquire all the necessary knowledge and experience in order to prepare myself to work in an international post.
Interview by Sonja Greiner.