“As long as they are treated in hospital, you see them communicating. And as soon as they get out of the hospital, they are pointing a gun at each other.”

Aboubacar Kampo is UNICEF’s Director of Health Programmes but he has also worked as a physician and surgeon in some of the world’s most complex emergency zones, from Afghanistan to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Abou shares his experiences from the ER wards of Chad, where the government is forced to share beds between the rebel forces. He also recounts the harrowing story of Irene, a victim of rape and violence in Liberia. Abou’s life-changing work is proof that, even in areas facing gross atrocities, we can see the good side of human nature.

“The one thing that we learn with complex emergencies is that the condition of the peoples is always the same. In Liberia, they have been fighting a war for more than 10 years... [but] ...if you meet the local population, as poor and as deprived as they may be, they still share a meal with you.”



Full Transcript +



Melissa Fleming 00:00


From the United Nations, I'm Melissa Fleming. This is Awake At Night. Joining me today, here in our studios in New York City, is Aboubacar Kampo, who is UNICEF's Director of Health Programmes. Everybody calls you, Abou, is great to have you here and you work across the street at UNICEF headquarters. And you've also worked as a physician and a surgeon in some extremely challenging places, including Afghanistan, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, South Sudan. What is it like working in places that have so little in the way of healthcare?


Aboubacar Kampo 01:03


I mean, I started very, very young, in the complex emergency, and right after medical school, in my own home country, I was posted in a very remote area and developed some kind of affections for public health in that sense. So immediately after my training here in the US, where I did my Master's Degree in Public Health, I got an offer to go to Liberia. And it was just after the war. I mean, we were still posted in rebel-controlled areas. I must say, it was some quite exciting times. I mean, we did a lot of public health, we were running a hospital, we were doing a lot of surgery, it was exciting. I was much younger at this time, at that time, as well. But I really liked it a lot. And from there, I just kept going in complex emergencies with NGOs. And then finally, I joined UNICEF in 2007, which also took me to amazing places, and we did some great jobs and I think the United Nations is a great organisation who can get things done if they want to.


Melissa Fleming 02:04


There are a lot of young people who go through medical school, study medicine, study public health, but they don't necessarily choose to go to a place that is just emerging from conflict. Tell me about what motivated you and what was it like starting your first job there in Liberia?


Aboubacar Kampo 02:27


When I came to the US, I actually studied epidemiology and complex emergency. And I always had this feeling that, you know, I could serve better, you know, in public health, in areas where my need is mostly needed. I mean, I come from Mali. But if I have to work in Mali, we have many doctors in the capital city, maybe not in the entire country but the capital city, I could have worked there. But I'm curious by nature, I'm curious. I'm by nature, I like to travel, I move to see other places. And yeah, I mean, that was the first offer that I got. And I said, ‘Okay, let me just do it.’

And I had an amazing time. I learned a lot from many people. I met wonderful people in this area. I think the humanitarian community is an amazing community. And I really fell in love with that. And this is what has kept me going there. I mean, yes, I had my doubts at the beginning and I had my fears, you know, and I can still remember when I arrived in Liberia, I spent one night in Monrovia, which is, which was government-controlled. And then they shipped me over to Buchanan, which was completely rebel controlled areas. No government, no army over there. And we were, we were actually guarded by child soldiers. I mean, this was, for me, something that you have never seen.

But they were in charge because the area was still controlled by the rebels. And my second night in Buchanan, some of those rebels wanted to force their way into the compound. So they were shooting and they were knocking on the compound. And somehow, it happened again, in terms of circumstances, I was put in charge because they actually, the coordinator went to Monrovia the same day when I arrived in Buchanan, and he put me in charge. It was a learning experience for me.

So the next morning, when we woke up, nothing really happened. It was just noise banging on the door shooting outside. The national staff was telling me, ‘Now we need to go and see the commander so that you can raise this issue with them.’ And I said, ‘Okay’ so they took me to a very shady hotel, which was the headquarter base. I had this young boy who was probably 19 or 20 years old, and who was the one in charge of an entire region. And it stumped me because I was expecting this very senior staff, maybe older than me, at this particular time. And this was this young boy and I laid out my case, he said, ‘Yes, we will take care of it.’


Melissa Fleming 04:56


What did you ask him?

Aboubacar walking along a dirt road and children are walking on his right side. They are all waving at each other.


Aboubacar Kampo 04:58


I told him that, definitely, we had shooting around our compound yesterday and some of your boys wanted to enter into our compound. And we are here to support your community so you really, you know, need to sort this out because otherwise, you know, we will have to close the compound and then move and he was very professional, actually, you know, he told me, we will take care of it, said ‘Don't worry.’ So then I went back and we didn't have any incidents from this time on.


Melissa Fleming 05:24


What kind of work were you doing there? And tell me like, what was the typical day?


Aboubacar Kampo 05:29


We renovated the entire hospital in Buchanan. And we opened up primary health care centres in the entire South so we had about 25 health facilities which we were managing. It might not sound a lot, but at this particular time, we're the only ones providing health care for the entire South East. So our day was basically in the morning, you know, we go to the main hospital. We see patients and, at this time we were two international doctors, and one Liberian doctor who was with us there. We had a lot of Liberian nurses in the hospitals.

It was a 50-bed hospital but we were seeing 150 patients a day in consultation. We were doing at least five to six operations a day. It was a lot of work for us. But I do want to believe that we did a wonderful job at this particular time we were there, we managed to give a little bit of hope to the local populations while we were there. So for my experience, it was a wonderful professional experience. And it gave me a very good taste for emergencies, humanitarian complex situations... But all of them are different. You know, I think Liberia is one thing DRC is...


Melissa Fleming 06:36


I’m going to come to that, but one more question about your first encounter when you went to the southeast was to see these child soldiers. I mean, and now you're working for UNICEF, which works on behalf of children. What struck you about seeing those child soldiers, has that stuck with you and left an impression in any way?


Aboubacar Kampo 06:57


It always left an impression to us. I mean, I remember a child who is 12 or 13. And he had his gun over his shoulder. He was so small and short, but he was carrying a gun, which, you know, was still trailing on the floor because he wasn't tall enough. And you really wonder, you know, what his suffering must have been? Definitely children who have been robbed of their childhood.


Melissa Fleming 07:21


So from there, from Liberia, where next?


Aboubacar Kampo 07:25


Goma, DRC.


Melissa Fleming 07:28


Why there and what was it like?


Aboubacar Kampo 07:31


Well, it's more that my organisation said, ‘Okay, Liberia is under control, you have done a good job. So let us send you to another duty station.’ So I went to Goma. I think the one thing that we learn with complex emergencies is that, you know, the condition of the people is always the same, I think there is always suffering from the local population, iniquities are then also very, very wide, you know, you have some very rich people in capitals or town centres. And then you have the local population, you know, who do not know what they will be eating today on a day-to-day basis. And then the other thing that sticks with you, they're still wonderfully nice people. I mean, you wonder in Liberia, how, you know, they have been fighting a war for more than 10 years and they are lovely people. The same in DRC. I mean, if you meet the local population, as poor and as deprived as they may be, they still share a meal with you. It's amazing.


Melissa Fleming 08:31


What did that tell you about humans?


Aboubacar Kampo 08:34


I don’t know, should we say that the more you have, the more greedy you become, you know? I think the one thing which is very very common is, you know, no matter in which socio-economic situations you are, good people always have a smile on their face. Always. And you can always have a laugh together, even if you come from different worlds. But what has always struck me is the kindness of people. Even in a place where you had cruelties and you had atrocities happening. You also see the good side of the human nature. Not everything is atrocities. I think there are some very humbling moments in which we have lived in those situations.


Melissa Fleming 09:27


In these areas, which you call complex emergencies, where they're in conflict areas where there are perpetrators. Were you ever in situations where you had to treat people who you knew were responsible for atrocities?

A woman distracts a baby while Aboubacar administers a shot to the child's arm.


Aboubacar Kampo 09:43


Yeah. We had. But we were looking at the patients. You know, I think when you come to the hospital, we treat you like anybody else. And I remember in Chad, we were responsible for refugees coming from Sudan. And one night we had the government forces fighting with the rebel forces in the town in the village. It was a bit of a scary moment. We all called on our beds, we heard gunshots and even heavy artillery actually. It was quite...Those moments, you're thinking, what the hell am I doing in this moment?

And after one hour and a half of fighting, somebody was knocking at our gate, you know, and they were calling us, ‘Doctor, please come to the hospital.’ And when we went there, you know, it was their casualties from fightings, rebels and government officials. And we went into the ER we took everybody, we treated everybody, which gave us always respect on both sides. So we had in the hospital, which was not a big hospital, it was maybe just twenty beds or something like this. So they had to share the beds between the government forces and the rebel forces.

Initially, we thought we could separate in between the different rooms. But then we also had females in one of the rooms we can't kick them out just because of them. So we had to share beds, then you realise, you know, most of them, they actually know each other. So you can see them talking among themselves. While in the hospital we had to clear everybody and say, ‘No arms in the hospital,’ and so on, so forth. I think that's, that was a must. As long as they are treated in hospital, you see them communicating. And as soon as they get out of the hospital, they are pointing a gun at each other. I mean, it's again, you know, what is happening in the minds of people in this particular sense.


Melissa Fleming 11:28


In many of these conflict zones and countries that you worked in, it was particularly treacherous and difficult for women. Rape was often used as a weapon of war. As a medical doctor, a professional, did you encounter the consequences of women being attacked and used in this horrific way?


Aboubacar Kampo 11:56


As you say, Melissa, it is a very difficult situation. And when you see them, you really have… You sometimes feel that humans were not supposed to be given this gift of Earth, because you're not managing it that way. Because you do have human atrocity. I can tell you the story of Irene. I think the worst atrocity that we have seen and we have dealt with, but it's also a very beautiful story from our side.

Irene was brought to us. She was basically dumped on our hospital doorsteps in Liberia when we were there. The car who actually brought her, the driver didn't even want to take the money because she was basically almost a dead body. She was decomposing. She was smelling very, very bad. She was highly infectious. So we took her in, we cleaned her up, we treated her for three months before she got basically rid of all her infections. Long story short, is that Irene, a very beautiful Fulani girl who got caught in between fighting between the rebels when the rebels took over one of the villages. This was still during the time when Charles Taylor was in charge of the country. But she was in the rebel-controlled areas.

Those rebels raped her and at a time when she was raped, she was actually also pregnant. And when those who raped her found out that she was pregnant, they actually shot her in her stomach. And naturally, she lost the baby and she developed a fistula and she was dragging this fistula for almost two years before she ended up in our hospital. And the reason why she was highly infectious is because when they shot her in her stomach, she got paralysed from the lower limbs, both of her lower limbs.

So she couldn't walk and she couldn't sit. So she was laying down for the next two years after this incident happened. She was laying down and she had a fistula so she was losing urine all the time so her husband had abandoned her and she was only with her mother. And her mother has carried her from every single hospital. They even went to Monrovia into the two main hospitals and they couldn't fix her. And then they landed up in a Liberian government hospital in Buchanan.

We looked at her. We took her in. We had to isolate her because she was basically infecting all our patients in the hospital because she was highly infected. She was smelling. It was very uncomfortable for a lot of people but we had very dedicated nurses. We kept her, we treated her. We fixed her. After two months, we worked on her fistula so we tried to repair it didn't work the first time. The second time it didn't work. And then the third time is ‘Okay, let's just close everything so that we make sure that it doesn't leak anymore.’

And Irene, all this time, was still lying down because she couldn't, but we started treating her and laying her in different positions because she had very bad sores. I mean, she had bedsores. Huge ones. We had to do even skin grafts to cover them because otherwise, it would not have been possible. And the first day, I remember, after four months when we took this wheelchair, we brought it there. And we set Irene on this wheelchair, her mom started crying. She said, ’This is the first time in two and a half years that her daughter is now sitting.’ I think we went on and on and, after six months, you know, we did re-education and Irene was now self-independent, she could go from the bed herself and put herself into the chair. Then she was roaming around.

And then we asked Irene, I said, ‘Irene, I think you're good now so you can leave the hospital because we need our beds, you know, you're occupying a bed. Your mother is here. You have a room on your own.’ And the mom said ‘Abu, where should we go? In our village, we're not welcome because we have been, you know, the plague. Everybody was thinking that we are the ones who brought misery to this community.’ Her husband has left her and so on. So we were debating ‘What can we do?’ I mean, because we need this bed.

And one night when we were coming, when me and the Liberian, Dr. Pratt were going and doing the ward rounds. We had one terminally ill patient, she came with liver cancer. So there's nothing that we can do. We knew that she was dying. So we were there's nothing that we medically could do at this particular stage. In the evening we came and we saw Irene speaking to the terminally ill patient, comforting her telling her, ‘Let me tell you my story, you will see these doctors are amazing. As long as you're here, everything will be fine.’

And we looked at her, we were hiding behind the door. But we were hearing how Irene was basically comforting this particular patient. So we gave Irene the job of Counsellor for Terminally Ill Patients in the hospital. And she was doing an amazing job, you know, and that's it. But yes, I mean, we were encountering these stories, and sometimes it's difficult and tough. But sometimes you have these beautiful stories coming out of it. And, you know, which just keeps you going. And it's always different, but you have those ones and it's not always easy because you see things which, you know, in normal circumstances, you would never see or encounter.


Melissa Fleming 17:55


I wonder, you just spoke about Irene and I could tell that you felt, you felt quite proud of that. Is there anything that you would say, you're still in the middle of your career and you have a long career ahead of you too, but what do you feel most proud of so far?


Aboubacar Kampo 18:13


I think I have quite a lot of good stories, you know, which I encountered. But the thing that I'm most proud of is that it cannot be attributed just to me as a person. I think I have wonderful teams who have basically helped me in doing so. And I think there are many things which we have done in the field. With the UN it’s bigger because you can help many people at the same time. If I'm thinking for example, of my first position with UNICEF in Zimbabwe, I mean, we created health pooled funds, and we reduced maternal mortality by half in three years. It was amazing.


Melissa Fleming 18:54


Just paint the picture of the before and the after?


Aboubacar Kampo 18:57


Before, I mean, maternal mortality was at 900, almost 900 women dying per 100,000 lives. That’s the indicator.


Melissa Fleming 19:06


In childbirth?


Aboubacar Kampo 19:08


In childbirth, giving birth, and we said ‘Okay, what is missing in Zimbabwe?’ I think they had the technical expertise because Zimbabweans are very highly educated. The systems are there. But we need more midwives because most of the midwives during the crisis have fled to the neighbouring countries. So they were in Botswana and so we had to reopen the midwifery schools, you know, and start training about 1500 midwives in the next two years. So we had the programme in place. We got the nurses who wanted to go into midwifery schools.

We increased the technical plateau of the facilities. We supplied them with medicines, the primary healthcare facilities, and the secondary hospitals, all of them were supplied with health kits. For three and a half years, we did a survey to measure maternal mortality and we were from 900 to 473. I think if my memory is correct. So we reduced it but, you know, we strengthened the system, in a sense, it was beautiful. I mean, that's one of the good achievements. I mean, the other one, which I'm proud of is Nigeria. We started the interruption of transmission of polio in Nigeria which has been lingering for quite some time.


Melissa Fleming 20:24


How did you do that?


Aboubacar Kampo 20:27


Well, I think the official certification came after I left Nigeria because then I became a Rep in Cote d'Ivoire, but we basically changed the way of how we should be doing the programming. I think the programme has been stalling for quite some time.


Melissa Fleming 20:40


So this is vaccinating people against polio. What were the obstacles and how did you overcome them?

Aboubacar stands surrounded by children in school uniform with the minister of education next to them.


Aboubacar Kampo 20:45


I mean, Polio has been a very long programme for a very long time. So we really needed to make sure that, you know, the government comes fully on board and starts owning the programme. That's number one. Number two, in the communities, [there was] a lot of resistance to these programmes also, because we're going to a community just for polio, and then there's a measles outbreak, and you're not treating them for measles. So, you know, we need to listen to communities. You know, communities have other demands. Instead of just going out there for polio, let's have mobile health clinics, you know, covering every health issue which they're basically facing. And at the same time, we're doing basically polio as well which created a little bit... building a little bit of trust between the communities and ourselves. With the acceptance of polio has basically been increased. Last year, Africa was certified polio-free from the wild poliovirus. We were still having a vaccine-derived one but I think we will be getting there. But at least, you know, that's a very beautiful moment we are very proud of.


Melissa Fleming 21:44


How did you feel when you heard that news?


Aboubacar Kampo 21:46


It was great. We were happy because the current representative in Nigeria made us part of the success. So he credited us for the pre-work that we have done so far because they just continued to work with them. But you know, it gives quite good satisfaction to ourselves.


Melissa Fleming 22:03


With vaccines, I mean, you need everybody to be immunised and now we have COVID-19. And we have a situation where 80% of the vaccines are being delivered in just ten countries, ten rich countries. And the rest of the world there are many countries in the world who haven't seen a single shot. Luckily, we have the COVAX facility that is trying to at least get 20 to 30% of the population by the end of the year, even in countries where you worked like Afghanistan. I know that UNICEF is the key delivery partner for COVAX and is trying to insist on vaccine equity. What is it that you're most worried about when you think of the context of COVID-19 and vaccines?


Aboubacar Kampo 22:55


I think on the vaccines, definitely, you know, our biggest worry right now is that there is not sufficient vaccines available to vaccinate everyone shortly in one go. It opens up a door, as we already know right now, we have already three variants of viruses out there, stemming those changes of those viruses or mutation, if you would like to, would be that we have quite a large number of people vaccinated in a very short time. Unfortunately, the situation is what it is. We do not have sufficient production capacity, even this year to vaccinate everybody on the planet. I mean, that won't be happening.



Melissa Fleming 23:39


And yet we have certain countries... like, we're here in the US and President Biden has said we're going to have... he could have everybody vaccinated all adults, by the summer. There are other countries who have ordered and secured deals for even five times the amount of what their population would need. So what do you say, what’s your message?


Aboubacar Kampo 24:01


You’re absolutely right, Melissa. I think we all like to say that no one will be safe until everyone is safe. That's what we like to say. And the only thing that we can say yes, you might be able to vaccinate 100% right now, but if you have a new variant coming up, what is it good for? That’s basically the fear which we should be having on those new variants and there will be new variants, as long as we are unable to contain this pandemic. I mean, some of these variants were generated in different parts of the world. But you already have the four variants. You have the three which we know and then you have the original one. Most of the big countries have all three of them already.


Melissa Fleming 24:50


Here in New York City.


Aboubacar Kampo 24:52


Here in New York City. So it basically means that if you have another variant which is coming, you know, we hope and we touch wood that the existing vaccines will be working on those ones as well. But we don't know. That's just the fear of the unknown and this is where, you know, the equitable access, you know, was supposed to be probably much better. I think the COVAX facility, as noble as their idea was, didn't take into account that we are not in a very noble world. Fear is driving people to behaviour, which they shouldn't be having. And we might be dealing with those consequences for a very long time.

The second aspect, which is concerning for me, is that all our focus is on COVID. And yet, if you're looking at mortality figures, we have diseases which are killing by far more. Cancer is probably much bigger and because of COVID-19, we have patients which have been offloaded off their schedules of being operated on and so on, so forth, because there is no capacity there. I mean, things will be getting better, hopefully. And I think with the introduction of the vaccines which we have right now, hopefully, there will be some sanity coming back. But there are some very long-lasting effects from some of the decisions which we have taken, which probably we shouldn't have taken as well.

And then we have the economic factor. And whether we like it or not, you know, the biggest disease right now, which is killing probably most of the people is poverty. And COVID-19 has driven more people into more poverty. What we are battling with in the UN, in UNICEF, in particular, you know, is that our biggest diseases are in low-income families, low-income countries, low-income households. So poverty for us is the biggest reason. If there's something which drives people more into poverty, it's not helping us; neither with education, neither with social protection, neither with child protection, neither with health. So that's, that's really something which we need to look into very carefully, which probably has a much bigger impact on in terms of death than COVID-19, per se.


Melissa Fleming 27:08


I imagine that a lot of this is very distressing for you. What in particular is keeping you awake at night?

Rapper NASH poses for a photo with children and Aboubacar.


Aboubacar Kampo 27:18


I think everything that I have said, I think, keeps me awake at night. It's really making sure that we have sufficient vaccines out there so that we can basically ship them out, that's really something which keeps me awake at night. And then I actually thought that when we had Ebola, that this was a wake-up call to fix the health system and to make them stronger. Because, you know, it is a failure of the health system to basically detect early and then to respond to it. And if you had a better system in place, we would have probably contained things much faster, much easier, much cheaper.

With COVID, it resurfaced again and we’re making again the big pitch in terms of strengthening those health systems. My worry is that as soon as richer countries get comfortable, we start forgetting about it again until we have the next pandemic. And maybe we won't be so lucky as we have been with, I mean, put it in between brackets, we might be having a virus which is much more virulent, and much more severe than COVID-19. If you had, for example, combinations, which spread as fast as COVID-19, which is as little as Ebola, this would be a disaster. And I think it is time that we really think about it. That you're not looking at health just as an expenditure bucket, but as an investment for the future, to really make sure that you know that we don't have this economic loss but also not this human loss and so on so forth. Because in many, many instances, the recovery will be very, very tough for many, many countries because of the crisis that we are seeing right now. This recovery, if it's not really sustained, will be leading to more deaths, and more sad stories, than what we have seen before so it is probably important that we look into it and say, ‘Okay, how can we prepare better?’


Melissa Fleming 29:20


Just going back quickly. You are a citizen of Mali, but you grew up in Eastern Germany. And then you went on to become a doctor just very briefly because I'm sure we could have an entire Awake At Night segment on your fascinating childhood, but tell me about it?


Aboubacar Kampo 29:46


My parents studied medicine in East Germany. So this is where they studied, this is where they met. So I was born in East Germany in Karl Marx Stadt which is now Chemnitz, when they finished their medical studies, they did their specialisation in West Germany. So I grew up partly in West Germany. And then my dad decided that it is time to serve his own country. So my mom is actually from Senegal, and my dad is from Mali. So then we moved back in 85, back to Mali, where I did my high school. After high school, I got a scholarship to go to Russia. So I started my medical training actually in Russia. In the Soviet Union, this time it was still the Soviet Union. I spent four years there, and then I decided that I don't like it that much. So I went back to Mali, and I finished my medical training in Mali, and I did my internship in Mali.


Melissa Fleming 30:39


Fascinating, so you speak German and you speak Russian?


Aboubacar Kampo 30:41


Russian, I can understand it. But I haven't practiced for a long time. So I need...speaking would be a little bit difficult...


Melissa Fleming 30:51


It does take practice. You speak French, obviously, and English. Why did you want to become a doctor? Did you want to follow in the footsteps of your dad?


Aboubacar Kampo 31:02


Life is sometimes...It happens. I didn't want to be a doctor, I actually wanted to go into aviation. I wanted to be a pilot. But, you know, pilot study is very expensive. So I don't think that... I didn't get the scholarship for it. But I got a scholarship for doing medicine when I was in Mali, so then I said ‘Okay. My parents are doctors. Okay, let me just do it.’ So that's not a big deal.


Melissa Fleming 31:


I guess you don't regret that?


Aboubacar Kampo 31:23


I don't, I don't, I don't. I think there are a lot of things… I think I have done the necessary steps in my life to maybe become what I am today. And I do not regret anything of what has been. Yes, I had other dreams, you know, but looking back to it, I'm quite pleased, you know, the things which have happened to me and, and they have served their purpose. You know, I mean, you struggled along the way, but you know, those struggles will serve you in the future of what you should be doing. I mean, it wasn't always that easy, but it helped me in Liberia, and whatever I struggled with in Liberia helped me for DRC. Whatever I've struggled with in DRC helped me to get into WHO and then further on to UNICEF. And I think when I got to Afghanistan, I was quite well seasoned with all the things which you struggle with, and you are better prepared. And then you came to New York, and then you're not prepared enough for New York HQ.


Melissa Fleming 32:38


Well, that's another whole story. But I'm sure that we are very glad that you chose you made the decision to become a doctor. And I think hopefully, the world through COVID-19 has recognised the importance of people who work in public health and public health also, because this pandemic has hit, not just the distant far off, poor countries, but it's a global pandemic, and it has affected us all. So thank you, Abou, so much for joining us on Awake At Night. It's been a real pleasure to hear your story.


Aboubacar Kampo 33:12


It's a pleasure, Melissa, very much. Thank you for having me.


Melissa Fleming 33:24


Thank you for listening to Awake At Night. We'll be back soon with more incredible and inspiring stories from people working to do some good in this world at a time of global crisis. To find out more about the series, and the extraordinary people featured, do visit un.org/awake-at-night. On Twitter, we're @UN and I'm @melissafleming. Abou is at aboukampo. Do subscribe to Awake At Night wherever you get your podcasts and please take the time to review us, it does make a difference.


Thanks to my producers, Bethany Bell, and the team at Chalk & Blade: Laura Sheeter, Cheri Percy, Fatuma Khaireh, and Alex Portfelix, and to my colleagues at the UN, Roberta Politi, Darrin Farrant, Geneva Damayanti, Hilary He, Tulin Battikhi, and Bissera Kostova and my teeam at the UN Studio.


Special thanks to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for their support. The original music for this podcast was written and performed by Nadine Shah, and produced by Ben Hillier. The sound design and additional music was by Pascal Wyse.