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Interview with Sunday Onuminya Yusuf – Project FIN/HR Manager in Boma (South Sudan)

Interview with Sunday Onuminya Yusuf – Project FIN/HR Manager in Boma (South Sudan)

Yusuf Sunday Onuminya is 34 years old. He is married with 2 children (a boy of 2 years and 9 months, and a girl of 3 months) and comes from Nigeria, Kogi State. He started with MSF as a Locally Hired Staff in the Maiduguri project (Nigeria) in 2017. After a few years, he decided to take the leap towards a career as an International Mobile staff. He talks with passion on what it means to work for MSF from South Sudan (Boma Project), where he is currently doing his second assignment. 

HR FIN manager

Dear Yusuf Sunday Onuminya, what is your background?

My background is in Accountancy and Finance, and my highest education is MSc. in Accounting and Finance. I joined MSF in 2017 as a Finance and Human Resources Assistant. I became accountant of the project in July of the same year. I worked in this position until April 2020 when I had the opportunity to take the role of Finance Manager for 9 months ad interim. I was validated for an international mobile staff position in October 2021. I started my first mission in April 2022 in the South Sudan Mission (Yei Project) as a Finance, Admin and Human Resources Manager for a period of 9 months. I came back to the South Sudan Mission in February 2023 for a second Mission (Boma Project) expected to last for 12 months.

Before joining MSF, I worked with a private Audit Firm where I worked as an Administrative Secretary, Audit Trainee and Audit Team Leader. I also worked in a Bank as Cash Service Representatives.

What does an ordinary day look like?

Ordinarily, I do the following:

  • Management of the budget of the project
  • Management of administration; recruitment, induction, Learning and Development
  • Disciplinary procedures and exit of all Locally Hired Staff
  • Safe Management/cash management (ensure the liquidity to manage daily payment)
  • Management of Payment; salary, suppliers, daily worker, Ministry of Health incentives
  • Coordinate the management of the staff roaster, leave planning
  • Coordinate the management of Finance/HR software
  • Custodians of all MSF’s policies and internal regulations of the Mission

According to you, what are the key competencies needed to work as an HR/FIN Manager with MSF?

According to me, these are the skills needed to work as an HR/FIN Manager for MSF:

  • Analytical skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Report writing skills
  • Good team player
  • Computer skills (Ability to use the basic office softwares)
  • Listening skills
  • Empathy skills
  • Conflict Management skills
  • Technical know-how of the job

Working for MSF is more than just a job – what does that mean for you?

Working for MSF to me is more than a job, it is a way of life (with “humanity” as the key word). This is because, sticking with MSF and continue to work for MSF is not because of the financial benefit only. On the contrary, I am working for MSF for the sake of “humanity”. I would have left MSF for another organization before now if it were because of the monetary benefit alone.

When I first joined MSF, in 2017, I wasn’t aware of the comprehensive spectrum of this organisation. By that time, working for MSF was a conscious choice to serve humanity, to engage in the humanitarian field and aid those who need the most in the capacities I was able to.

The start of my career with MSF happened in a moment of high insecurity in Maiduguri (Borno State, Nigeria) and both my family and friends were pressurizing me to leave the region… But MSF on the contrary was coming in to render help to the population in need (Malnourished children & Internal Displaced Persons). The decision of MSF to come, when everyone was leaving, and to reach out to the most vulnerable and neglected when assistance was most needed, increased my passion to continue to work for this organisation until this date, and follow the Movement’s social mission.

Since the beginning of my work with MSF I knew how enriching this opportunity could be and how fortunate I was to be directly involved in humanitarian issues and operations that could indeed have an enormous impact on the lives of the most vulnerable and neglected individuals around the globe.

My decision to become an international mobile staff was born out of the fact that, my passion to service humanity will not be fulfilled if I didn’t go outside my comfort zone (my home or my country) to support the work of MSF and  to bring my expertise on the field. I am enthusiastic to work with causes so close to my heart. Willing to pursue on a great professional career in the humanitarian field, I would like to emphasize how important and relevant I believe the work of MSF is; and how I expect to contribute; aiming to engage and promote actions focused on the needs of the most vulnerable and neglected.

My decision to become an international mobile staff is not without my knowledge of what is involved: separation from family, working in an environment with volatile security situation, and so on and so forth… But it is worth it! Considering what MSF is doing for the sake of humanity, and becoming an international mobile staff is a perfect way to show my commitment to the organisation and to gain and share experience. This is an exciting opportunity, which perfectly complements my professional aspirations and personal expertise.

Looking at the above, to me; working for MSF is indeed more than a job.

Do you have a motto that summarizes what working for MSF means for you?   

It is not all about your or me, it is about the patients!