A Focus on the Human Side of Human Resources | The Center for Victims of Torture

A Focus on the Human Side of Human Resources

Monday, May 7, 2018

Nimo Khalif is administrative/human resources officer, CVT Nairobi.

At CVT, we think about hope. And the hope at the heart of the organization is the human resource. This is the resource we have to take care of. I’ve worked with other NGOs, but CVT is a different thing for me. At first when I came to CVT, I had to change my thinking – I worked to understand the clinical perspective.

Because we extend care to torture survivors, I’ve learned that the most important thing is that staff are comfortable so they can focus on service to clients. So in my work, I always put staff needs first – I always want to make their work more comfortable.

Many years I worked in the humanitarian world with other agencies, and their main focus was livelihood, water, sanitation and health issues like HIV and AIDS among others. These agencies had other resources that were given priority more than the human resource. It was all about management making sure all day-to-day activities were accomplished without putting into consideration the staff’s mental health. At times, that didn’t feel quite right. At times, I felt like a robot, unlike at CVT where it is all about leadership working with the team to achieve the goals. The mental health of staff is a priority to CVT, and this made me feel valued as a staff.

Having worked with the most vulnerable communities in Northern Kenya, I saw people suffering with so many mental health issues who had lost all hope – it touched me. When I joined CVT, I was amazed with the kind of work they were doing giving hope to the client. I felt this was interesting, and I wanted to learn more about the mental health interventions. Now I understand better all about mental health, and together with my fellow colleagues we work hard to ensure our clients are given quality service. I am always touched to see our clinical team run to the clinics every day with lots of passion to attend to that vulnerable client.

I started working at CVT from 2016. I started out early in the year working at the CVT center in Dadaab refugee camp, and I was transferred to our Nairobi office in September 2016. As an admin/HR officer, my main duty is to ensure all staff are comfortable and safe when they are executing the day-to-day activities. I also ensure the staff follow the CVT policies when undertaking those activities, and I assist in developing administrative and HR policies ensuring the staff are doing their due diligence when it comes to CVT national policy. Every day our staff are out there assisting clients; this make me feel as the HR officer, I have an obligation to ensure the staff are less stressed. So we try to simplify the administrative procedures to enable them have less worries and give quality service to our client, which is our major objective.

As an example, we introduced HR software to the office. With this software, staff can complete their administrative tasks from anywhere, using the internet. We made it easy – they no longer have to come into the office to complete that, which was taking up a lot of their time.

My role in Dadaab was similar to what I am currently doing in Nairobi except that our work in Dadaab was limited to the confined area – in the camp, the security risk level is high, so our movements were restricted. Everything is located in the same compound. Most movements were done after consultation with the security team and we had to use UN convoy. This was a very organized way to work and live. Here in Nairobi it is different because I have to travel to our office; I have to wake up much earlier for work!  

I support the Nairobi program as well as the programs in Dadaab and Kakuma. With the inclusion of Kakuma as our new program, the number of staff has increased drastically. This means I have to work closely with HR representatives in both Dadaab and Kakuma to ensure the staff needs are met. I also strive to ensure our policies are favorable to both the organization and the staff.

Because we work with torture survivors, which can sometime affect our staff’s emotions, that is the main reason I focus on taking care of all staff needs. I ensure they have a conducive environment at the clinics to at least reduce the stress level that comes with their work.

There is so much we can do in all areas of CVT. I see a lot of hope in our staff when it comes to serving the clients. As HR, I focus on how to improve the human resource to ensure our staff are taken care of. I believe if we take care of our staff they will be able to take care of the client by giving quality service.

I appreciate CVT’s work and I believe this job is about working for others. It has really changed me to look at the human resource department with a different perspective.


CVT’s work in Nairobi is made possible by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture; and the S.L. Gimbel Advised Fund at The Community Foundation – Inland Southern California.



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