I am a Nigerian, and for the last five years I have worked for GSK in Nigeria as an operational excellence expert. This year, I am on a six-month assignment with Direct Relief through our PULSE volunteer program. I'm using my professional skills to help improve the efficiency of their warehouse processes. GSK PULSE assignments are with nonprofits throughout the world, and I had no idea I would land in Santa Barbara doing work to support my home continent.
I am helping streamline operations to ship supplies during times of crisis, like the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Continuing work from the last PULSE volunteer, who was from Belgium, we have been able to make process improvements and recommend system improvements to help Direct Relief and their shipping process.
I am so proud to be part of the Direct Relief team that sent their largest shipment ever – 370 pallets of medical supplies –to West Africa to fight Ebola. The process improvements I helped make meant that Direct Relief could handle this immense shipment (100 tons filling a Boeing 747) without hiring additional staff.
Normally, volunteers are able to return home once during our assignments to visit their family. But with the Ebola virus, things aren’t normal back in Africa. If I go home, I may not be allowed to return. I miss my wife and four young children – ages 4 through 8 -- but we talk frequently. They were very proud when they saw me on the tv segment highlighting the amazing work of Direct Relief during this Ebola crisis.
I truly believe I am in the right place at the right time doing the right thing to help humanity and my continent.