On February 24, 2022, USAID immediately deployed an elite Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to address growing needs stemming from Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine.
The DART, made up of more than 30 disaster experts from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, has worked in five countries to lead the U.S. humanitarian response to the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. For the past seven weeks, the DART has been identifying critical needs, conducting up-to-the minute humanitarian assessments, and quickly ramping up aid for affected communities.
In the second of a two-part series, we wanted to introduce you to three additional members of our DART, who have put their own lives on hold to save others thousands of miles away from home. One of the women is RPCV Samantha Croffut, a Seattle native, spends much of her days working with humanitarian organizations to find ways to ensure much-needed assistance can reach communities affected most by this war. A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer of Niger and South Africa, this is Samantha’s first time working in eastern Europe.
Q: What is your role on the DART?
“My role as the DART’s Program Officer is to discuss opportunities with UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO) to fund impactful programs that meet the humanitarian needs of people in Ukraine and then manage the oversight of the programs we fund.”
Q: What has been your most memorable moment so far?
Q: What motivates you?
“Hearing directly from the people in Ukraine and knowing that we are uniquely equipped as a humanitarian bureau to support an effective response.”
Q: What do you want to accomplish on this response?
“Prioritize funding for and effectively manage programs that are meeting the evolving humanitarian needs in Ukraine, lay the groundwork that allows our programming team to work as efficiently as possible, and implement supportive systems that promote the well-being of our staff.”