“When out in missions, it is all the encounters that I always find very memorable”

Maxime Banchereau is 29 years old. He is Emergency Officer for the Première Urgence Internationale’s Emergency Response department (SUDO). Working in the humanitarian field was a true vocation for him. He tells us about his career in the NGO and his motivations.

Maxime nous raconte son parcours dans l'humanitaire

How did you end up in the humanitarian world?

I started with a law degree followed by a first year of master’s degree in Dublin. Then I attended a master’s degree in law and humanitarian action in Aix-en-Provence. In the same time, I had the opportunity to work for 3 years at the Social Emergency Medical Service in Aix-en-Provence. During my experiences, I gradually evolved towards humanitarian action. In this perspective, after a first internship in a NGO and a mission in Mali, I joined Première Urgence Internationale.

Why become involved in the humanitarian sector?

For me, being involved makes it possible to contribute to a laudable objective while living strong experiences on a daily basis. I particularly appreciate the collective framework of humanitarian work and the teamwork towards a common goal. These are enriching encounters and lifelong learning.

Indeed, beyond the daily tasks, the purpose of our work is the support we provide to people who need it at some point. We can always do better, be more responsive or effective in our response, but in general, I think the answer we can provide is positive. And knowing that is a real motivation.

What do you remember from your missions?

I had the opportunity to work in several countries with Première Urgence Internationale: in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Iraq, Nigeria and Bangladesh. I also had the opportunity to perform different positions. These varied experiences make it easier to put things into perspective. So I try to rely on these today in order to take a step back on the encountered problems.

From a more individual point of view, what leave a mark on me during missions is especially people that I met. We are dealing with people who have experienced extremely intense events in sensitive contexts – whether it is people who have lived in Iraq under the Islamic State, or Rohingya refugees who have fled the violence to Bangladesh. We also share our daily life with national teams. It is all those encounters that I always find very memorable. The human relationship that we share with these individuals is not comparable with what we can find elsewhere. And from one context to another, it is never the same. For me, this is what makes this job exciting.

What are your goals on the long term?

The goal for me was to return to France and work at the Première Urgence Internationale’s headquarters in order to have another point of view of our activities. Working in the field is a very intense experience and we might feel the need to take a step back sometimes. Being in the SUDO allows me to follow from a distance the field while having a little more perspective.

Ideally, I would like to continue to evolve and progress in my role. In the longer term, we will see what the future holds for me. I can imagine continuing in this area as well as returning to other professional sectors, the possibilities are endless.

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