Ebola response

Employee volunteering gets personal

Written by Peter Albert

Peter Albert has worked for GSK in Nigeria for five years. When his application to work for a charity in the USA through our employee volunteering programme was accepted, he couldn’t have known how instrumental his expertise would be in helping fight the Ebola outbreak back in his home.

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 employee volunteer programme, PULSE, using my professional skills to help improve the efficiency of their warehouse processes. The PULSE programme matches employees with non-profit organisations throughout the world, and I had no idea I would land in Santa Barbara, California, doing work to support my home continent. 

Peter Albert
Image courtesy of Direct Relief

I am helping streamline operations to ship supplies during times of crisis, such as the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Continuing the work of the last GSK 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.

370 pallets

The Direct Relief team sent their largest shipment ever – 370 pallets of medical supplies – to west Africa to fight Ebola

Normally, volunteers are able to return home once during 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 my four young children - aged 4 to 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.

Employee Volunteering Programme, Santa Barbara, California, USA

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