Day 1 – Liaising with L’Auberge

Written by Tudor Etchells

A team of three is easy to motivate, as Chris proved when he pulled us out of bed to join him in his morning exercise regime. With the blood flowing well, we made our way to visit Sam, the head of the Mobile Distribution Team at the L’Auberge warehouse. The main task of the day was to touch base with her, and discuss how best to collaborate in the coming three weeks.

Having first met Sam in April,  she was happy to see our faces back in Calais. She invited us over to her caravan where we sat cosily, along with her rabbit Chai, and described her work in greater detail; we then expanded the conversation to brainstorming how the project could complement the work that is already being done and best help her team. Currently, her Mobile Distribution Team completes a needs assessment. Working in teams of two, they each visit one of three demarcated areas of a single sector of the camp. Then they return to the warehouse with information from the sector, have lunch, pack the bags and return to the camp in the afternoon to deliver the packs to the shelters.

From the start, she has been incredibly enthusiastic about Zaroorat, believing that our system of centralising the needs assessment on to a single database could help increase the amount of shelters they could provide to in a day. Putting the question to her about how else the system could help, she suggested some form of stock monitoring interaction would be hugely beneficial. A method that would increase efficiency was suggested– teams would have to check the warehouse each morning for what aid they can offer each day to avoid over promising aid that may be unavailable.

As the meeting came to a close, Sam suggested we take part in the needs assessment process to get a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the system. We followed her to the office and began our training. Well prepared with readings, Sam introduced us to how stay safe on the camp, how to approach residents, how to say “no”, and how to be as engaging as possible. Although we had all visited the camp before, being told how important it is to be aware of our own personal physical and mental well being was a stark reminder of the challenges that we may face over the weeks. One this is for certain, it will be important that we look out for each other over the coming days, trust our gut feeling, and remember to take mindful breaks if necessary.

Encouraged by hearing how anticipated our project is, we made our way back to the apartment to begin a few demonstration runs with the software. Like excited little children we ran around outside the apartment answering the survey, plotting the GPS position on the survey, then returning inside to check the results. Voila, it worked! We ended the day motivated to test our training and our software on the field tomorrow.


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