Meet Vicky, one of many strong women on the frontline at UNHCR

Home    Insight    Insight

Vicky thrives on her challenging role with UNHCR

Vicky Munguriek is one of a handful of women drivers for UNHCR in Uganda. She works on the frontline of humanitarian action, serving one of UNHCR’s largest operations. Out of the 11,000 staff working for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 87% are based in the field; including 35-year-old Vicky who joined the agency as an aid worker in 2016.

And you can research career vacancies with UNHCR and join the talented teams and impressive women too at UNHCR like Vicky.

Like many of the committed and passionate people who work for UNHCR, Vicky wanted to make the world a better place and help those in need. On spotting a newspaper ad for the role of driver, she knew the position would be perfect for her. Leaving her home and her family in Kampala, Vicky moved back to her hometown of Arua in northwestern Uganda to work. “I feel good. I am a strong woman and I do my job with passion,” says Vicky.

Vicky handles every challenge with passion

Before joining UNHCR, Vicky spent more than more than five years as a driver for commercial trucking companies in Kampala.

“I am the only female driver here and I have people who encourage me, and I have others who try to discourage me and tease me,” explains Vicky. “But I tell them not to tease me, that we are here to help people and that we must all join together to do our job.”

Vicky drives UNHCR staff to their roles in different sectors, including site planners and members of the protection team who help newly arrived refugees to settle in. She also drives visitors, such as donors and journalists, to the settlements.

But, Vicky’s role does not come without hazards along the way.

“I encounter potholes, bad drivers, wildlife and livestock – mostly cows, goats, and pigs. Driving 150 kilometers of potholed roads is challenging,” comments Vicky. “The roads get muddy and very slippery during the rainy season. Bridges get washed away and roads are cut off, making it necessary to take longer routes. When I come across animals while driving, I apply the ‘safety first’ rule by slowing down and allowing them to cross before I proceed, to keep my passengers, the animals and myself safe. Using the defensive driving rule enables me to anticipate the actions of bad drivers and give them a way to avoid accidents.”

Vicky stands strong for those in need

Working for an agency like the UNHCR is a hugely rewarding role and many employees have a strong sense of compassion and empathy for those in need. Although emotional challenges are part of everyday life, the sense of achievement is a valuable prize for strong women like Vicky.

“A few weeks ago, I saw two girls crossing the border from South Sudan who were very young, they were teenagers, who were travelling in a group and had left their parents behind,” explains Vicky. “They were dirty and hungry and waiting to be registered. There was a delay and they started to cry. So I went to a registration desk and begged them to register the girls and told them I couldn’t leave until they passed through. They registered and managed to get food at the collection point and I was happy.”

“A week ago I was at the Imvepi settlement in the north,” continues Vicky, “and the two girls saw me and came over to say hello and give me a hug. They are now settled and have a plot of land. I was so impressed. They have gained weight. And, they have shelter and are going to school. They have their basic needs and are in safe hands, even though their parents are not with them.”

Join a career with meaning with many opportunities for talented women at UNHCR

Women are encouraged to apply for roles with the UN Refugee Agency because UNHCR actively recruits for a diverse workforce. Join strong and talented women like Vicky and search the many exciting and important roles at UNHCR.


Find out more

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

Share this page:

Join our women's careers community