Webster Hakata (53) is a Logistics Assistant with GOAL Zimbabwe and recently marked his 18th year with the agency. Starting his career with GOAL as a driver, he now manages the GOAL Zimbabwe’s fleet. Here is his story.
‘‘When I joined GOAL over 18 years ago, I could feel the humanitarian spirit of people working for the poorest of the poor’’
Finding my true GOAL!
I joined GOAL Zimbabwe from the public sector 18 years ago. I was working in the Central Statistics Office in Zimbabwe and wanted a change. I felt I needed something more diverse that would give me room to grow. I sent in an application to become a driver with GOAL Zimbabwe, and luckily enough I was offered the job.
After just one month I was promoted to fleet officer, and from then was able to move quickly up the ranks in the organization. I will always be grateful to Patrick O ’Rourke, an Irish man who was the first Assistant Country Director of Progmammes with GOAL in Zimbabwe. Patrick encouraged me to train in the logistics area, and that led to me being trained in managing the fleet.
The more I got to know GOAL staff the more I realised how special they were. And this is still the same today. They didn’t just have expertise in their area of work, but they also had passion. I could feel the humanitarian spirit of my colleagues who were working with the poorest of the poor. The work was different than that of the civil service, of course. The demand for delivery was quite high, but I was committed to what I was doing and got satisfaction from that.
For my first 9 years with GOAL I worked in Marondera, a city in in Mashonaland East, located about 72 km east of Harare. I moved to Harare in 2012.
My personal highlight in my time with GOAL Zimbabwe
In 2014 I could see something different happening within GOAL Zimbabwe. Our programming started to move away from food distribution and towards programmes that build longer term sustainability for communities. During that year GOAL Zimbabwe introduced the Nutrition in Positive in Positive Practice (NIPP) programme to two of our districts. This programme is designed to tackle malnutrition at source, addressing the underlying behavioural causes of malnutrition. I spent the whole of that year in the Makoni District working with the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) team, along with GOAL Zimbabwe’s nutrition team. I was helping with NIPP intervention logistics, supplying training material and mobilization.
It was the first project where we were impacting people lives without general food distributions, and this was something which gave communities a positive way of life. You could see the difference in people each week, and how they were improving by the end of the programme. It was amazing to see the impact this GOAL-created intervention was making on the lives of GOAL communities.
Response to Cyclone Idai showed true spirit of GOAL
Another memorable and challenging period was when Cyclone Idai struck Zimbabwe in March 2019. It was a very difficult time for everybody, and put huge pressure on the GOAL Zimbabwe team. But we stepped up! This emergency was the first of its kind for us. The devastation was immense, I had never seen anything of this magnitude during my time with GOAL. We had to respond to protect the lives of affected communities immediately.
What I remember most from that crisis is how it showed our team spirit. Our response to the cyclone and its devastating aftereffects was about teamwork. It was not unusual during this time to see our Country Director on top of a truck, off-loading emergency material. Everybody was on the same team and together. There were no titles or divisions – just a team working closely together to get things done.
As part of my job, I also train our drivers. I am proud to say there has never been a serious accident. At GOAL Zimbabwe, we train our driving to stay alive. It is safety first, and everything else after. Drive to stay alive, not to arrive – we are proud of our record here.
As well as loving my job over the last 18 years and being part of the GOAL family I have been blessed with a wife and three children, two girls and a boy – Phanisa , Farai and Vongai. I have a two grandchildren both girls, Shantel and Shamaine.
My ambition is to work in other GOAL offices. This interest comes from my time working in Tongogara Refugee camp in Chipinge where I met people from different cultures and countries.
I am looking forward to working with GOAL for many more years to come.
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