A former Red Cross employee, Marion Agache has travelled the world to help the disadvantaged. This former member of the D.U. (Bac+3) Humanitarian Project Design and Management tells us about her time at IFF Europe in 2008 and what she did afterwards. Interview.
What led you to pursue your training at IFF Europe?
When I graduated from high school, I tried several courses but I was struggling to find my path. There were two things in common to all my attempts: working to help others and being able to do my job abroad to discover other cultures. And then one day it clicked. What if humanitarian work was my vocation? So in 2008, I applied to join CIRFA (the former name of IFF Europe, editor's note) as part of the D.U. CPH (Humanitarian Project Management).
What did this training bring you?
At the time, we were a very small group with a wide range of profiles and experience. This year at IFF Europe was a pivotal year for me. It confirmed my desire to work in the humanitarian sector. But it also brought me face to face with my faults and my qualities both on a human and professional level, and I met some incredible people, still present in my life more than ten years later.
In the end, has IFF Europe been a real launching pad in your life?
Much more than that! My year in Humanitarian Project Management was also the foundation for the rest of my studies and then my career. And it opened the doors to a Master's degree in humanitarian work in Paris.
What is your best memory of your time at IFF Europe?
It's difficult to give a single memory, as this year has been rich in every way! But I particularly remember the humanitarian project we carried out in Chile, via the Graines en Vie association. For many of us, it was our first real experience in project management, and what an incredible country!
And afterwards, did you continue your studies? What job did you do?
After IFF Europe, I joined the Master's programme at UPEC (Université Paris-Est Créteil) International Actions and NGO management. During this Master's degree, I did several internships, the last of which was with the French Red Cross at the International Emergency Unit. From then on, emergencies became my credo as I followed on to salaried positions at ̶ for more than seven years, always within the ̶ office. These posts enabled me to carry out many emergency missions, whether in Chad, the Philippines, Senegal or the Bahamas! These seven years spent at the Red Cross headquarters were interspersed with long missions: first eight months in Cameroon as a logistician-administrator in response to the arrival of Central African refugees; then in Algeria, with the Spanish Red Cross, for two years, part of which as head of delegation on the spot. There, we set up numerous projects for the Saharawi population (all the people living in Western Sahara, editor's note).
What are you currently doing?
Having become a mother, emergency missions are more complicated to take on. I am therefore looking for a job in France, always driven by my desire to give meaning to my profession: professional and social reintegration, training... I have a lot of desires, all I have to do is find one! And at the same time, I haven't forgotten my "first love" because I still volunteer for the Red Cross.
What advice would you give to current IFF Europe students?
This school is a real opportunity to get to know each other, discover each other and make important encounters: so let yourself be guided, take all there is to take and enjoy! And above all, listen to yourself, trust yourself, you are capable of anything... and IFF Europe will help you!
Marion Agache, seven years at the Red Cross' headquarters!