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Flore, a driver’s assistant with HI: portrait of a woman who sets herself no limits!

Burkina Faso

Flore is a woman of commitment, passionate about her job. She is responsible for ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian supplies in Burkina Faso in a complicated security context.

A young black woman sits in the cab of a truck. She's holding a pen and papers and looking down at the camera with a smile.

Flore, a driver's assistant with HI for 3 years, ensures the safe delivery of humanitarian supplies in Burkina Faso. | © B. N. Lawson / HI

Flore Sawadogo is a 22-year-old mother of a 2-year-old boy who has been working as a driver's assistant for HI for around 3 years. This is a job traditionally done by men, but today women also see it as a way of making a living. Flore is one of these young women who have chosen to fight for their future.

Finding her place

Flore left school after three years of secondary education, as she wanted to start supporting her family. She joined HI's Atlas logistics project as a driver's assistant. Her job consists of supervising the loading of supplies onto trucks, accompanying the drivers to their destination, supervising the unloading, and ensuring nothing goes astray. 

"The job of driver's assistant chose me. When I applied, there were only two women among all the men waiting to be interviewed. During the discussion, I was told what the work involved. I liked it right away, because the supplies we are transporting help people in need," explains Flore.

"Nobody has ever told me that I don't belong here; on the contrary, my colleagues congratulate me, often encourage me, and respect me despite my young age. They don't see any difference between us," explains Flore. "My family and friends are happy for me too,” she continues. “My parents have always told us that with hard work and determination, you can succeed in life. They encourage me and give me the strength to keep going.”

A job that looks difficult, but…

Flore loves her job as it allows her to help people in need. © B. N. Lawson / HIFlore says that she has not encountered any major difficulties since the start of her adventure with HI. In fact, the organization trains all the driver's assistants to work efficiently in a difficult security context. There was a time, after giving birth, when she wondered how she would be able to travel with a baby at home. But HI arranged her schedule so that she traveled shorter distances and wasn’t away from her son for more than a day.

The main difficulty is the security situation in Burkina Faso. The supplies transported are often destined for areas that are difficult to access or dangerous and Flore was nervous at first. But thanks to the security measures taken by HI and the system for tracking the trucks, Flore doesn’t feel that she is in any danger. "I often go to the Center-North, the West or the North of Burkina Faso for deliveries and everything goes fine," she says.

A word of advice to young girls and women

Being a driver's assistant is an exciting job for Flore. It allows her to contribute to her family's expenses and look after her son. But in the future, she would like to explore other horizons and maybe even develop her passion for decorating. In the meantime, Flore urges her sisters who, like her, want to work in "men's" jobs, to be brave and give it their all

"You shouldn't be afraid to look into these professions, to take the plunge, and you shouldn't limit yourself. Women are capable of doing 'men's' jobs – I'm proof of that," concludes Flore.

The Atlas Logistique platform project has been operating in Burkina Faso since 2021. Its aim is to support and optimise the humanitarian response by providing pooled logistics services in an insecure context and strengthening the capacities of the various actors in the humanitarian supply chain, thus contributing to the implementation of operations. Since 2021, it has delivered 2,968 tonnes of supplies on behalf of 26 international and local organisations.

Date published: 05/24/24


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