This month, we sat down for a Q&A with Tana Juko, our Senior Research Associate, to learn more about her background and motivation for working with the World Food Bank.

Q: Tana – Tell us a little about your background. What personally motivated you to join the WFB and work in food security?

A: I have always been kind of a nerd when it comes to research, but my passion has always been in literature. Since I can remember, I have enjoyed learning, even in areas that are completely unfamiliar to me. So I often find myself jumping into things that seem counter-intuitive to what other people expect of me, and sometimes what I expect of myself. When I met Richard in 2017 at the East Africa Chamber of Commerce Conference, I didn’t know anything about agriculture. Nothing. I was intrigued by his presentation because I knew global hunger was real. I knew that it was a problem many of us are trying to solve. But what caught my attention was that his solution was so scientifically advanced and really simple all in one. I didn’t know, initially, that I would become so involved in WFB, but I knew I wanted to help in whatever way I could. Since writing, reading, and researching is not only what I love to do in my free time, but is also what I have been trained to do, my assistance took shape in my truest form.

Q: What are your personal goals in your role with WFB?

A: I am only interested in being as supportive as I can be to any and every person within our organization and those we impact. I hope to continue to research and write so that we all remain informed on how the industry is changing and what role we can all play in reducing and eliminating global hunger. I would love to take a trip with the team to one of the countries with which we have collaborated to do some onsite research. I would also consider speaking on behalf of WFB (hopefully with the same dynamism as Richard) at conferences or other events within my region in the future. I think more people need to know about the good work we are doing, so that we can solve issues revolving around hunger together as a global community.

Q: What excites you the most about the work that WFB does?

A: I am most inspired by the impact WFB has already made in such a short time. Between the work we are doing to insure global food security and the partnerships we have made with other groups and organizations that address areas within and outside of agriculture that are equally important, I find so much inspiration to be committed to the change I can make just in my own neighborhood. I think sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the world’s problems, but being part of an organization like WFB proves that when we come together, we can achieve so much. If we each take a little time to go after our own goals and dreams, anything is possible—one step at a time and one connection at a time.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

While I haven’t had the opportunity to meet everyone on the World Food Bank team, those who I have met share a few qualities:

  1. They genuinely care about food insecurities across the globe and want to be a part of the solution;
  2. They are brilliant—so many great ideas and ways of thinking circulate this group;
  3. They’re driven;
  4. They are informative, and happy to share what they know, as I have had the opportunity to learn from a few folks who have been involved in this industry longer than I have; and
  5. They’re kind.

I think each of these attributes are a testament to why we’re all here together with WFB, and I am proud to surround myself with such good and talented people who want to make a difference.