Saiful Ariff, a Malaysian national, has been serving as UNV volunteer Procurement Assistant with UNMIS for the past three years. Saiful's work is related mainly to activities with the MovCon and Transport sections.
Requests for spare parts, machinery and maintenance of UN vehicles throughout the country flow in his office daily from the Transport Section; whereas for MovCon, he handles the issue of contractors responsible for moving all materials in the mission area.
When talking about his motivation to volunteer, Saiful remembers the experience that touched him the most:
"Back in 2004, I was working in logistics for oil and gas operations in Borneo. Good days. After the tsunami hit, the TV was full of images of dead people on the ground in Aceh, Indonesia, and I felt I just needed to do something. So I did, and UNV flew me right into Banda Aceh.
The scale of the destruction was enormous. Within 30 minutes everybody had been thrown back into the Stone Age: no water, no electricity, no food. Many others, including children, later died due to resultant injury and infection. I met a guy who ate leaves for almost week, and another who was saved by a buffalo. Horrific.
But what amazed me was how quickly people recovered – within two weeks – because they all shared the same fate, no one felt abandoned or alone.
It was a good, but crazy experience and I'm glad I was there."
After his experience in the emergency response to the 2004 tsunami, Saiful chose to continue serving as a UNV volunteer, however in a different context and in a different capacity. He defines procurement as working in the shadows of things, so that those in the front line of every section and every region are able to get their jobs done:
"I think I know how the UN support systems work, from the people in the background that work quietly at their desks, to those who are risking life and limb out on the front lines because I have done them both."