Roshan Christy is FSD Sri Lanka's first National Technical Adviser and has just returned from an intensive training course in Kosovo. Roshan is part of the PMWRA support to the FSD mine action programme in Sri Lanka.
“I got my first big break in mine action almost by accident!” says Roshan during an interview at FSD's Operations Center in Vavuniya in the Northern Province, “I applied for an FSD vacancy after coming back from India where I had been living with my family as a refugee.” Roshan went on to explain how his family had been displaced 13 times due to the conflict in Sri Lanka; from Batticaloa to Vavuniya and Mannar and how his family had moved to India so that he could get his secondary education. “However, when I landed a job as a GMAA Survey Trainee, I knew I had found my calling.” he concludes.
Initially, Roshan assisted 3 GMAA Survey teams while getting ‘on-the-job training’ and produced hand-drawn maps of minefields in Vavuniya and Mannar Districts. His duty was to assess every village in the government controlled areas and produce impact survey reports, maps and information about landmines and unexploded ordnance. Later in 2003, he was promoted to GMAA Team Leader where he had responsibilities for information gathering, coordinating with local government authorities and UNDP and for gathering relevant information for socio-economic impact assessment reports. “I love to see the finished project of a donor report including my maps and data after all of the legwork has been done.” adds Roshan.
To assist in his development, FSD ensured that Roshan received training on Geographic Information System (GIS) applications, Advance DGPS course in LEICA (GS50) and IMSMA (Information Management System for Mine Action). “Hands down, I will say that practicing and studying gave me my biggest career break.” says Roshan who also trained the FSD Burundi programme in DGPS and ArcView systems. “ As the days pass by, I continue to study further in mapping and have networked with the major players in the mapping industry.” To date, Roshan has uploaded more than 2,000 photos in Google Earth related to mine action. Roshan also worked in the Philippines and in Sudan as a DGPS trainer where he taught the staff to create field maps and minefield reports using the latest DGPS technology.
Roshan successfully shifted between often-contradictory working paths. In the year 2006, Roshan was designated as the Logistics and Procurement Officer, where he had to undertake responsibilities in the areas of procurement, control of equipment and fleet management. “It was a brand new field, totally different from what I had been doing but it was really fun to learn how happy my field colleagues were when I organized their required items.” Looking back, he acknowledges that this busy position indeed gave him knowledge of another field and was a resounding success. Roshan was then promoted as the Deputy Operations Manager of the FSD programme in Sri Lanka based on his significant experience and expertise in humanitarian demining. “FSD has given me a lot of exposure and I am fortunate to work for such a reputed humanitarian demining organization which treats all employees fairly: My boss Marc Farineau, is my teacher” says Roshan with an innocent, proud smile.”
Having just completed the IMAS Level-2 Field Operators course held at the International EOD & Demining school in Kosovo, Roshan was promoted as the first National Technical Adviser in November 2011. “Roshan has demonstrated initiative and a strong work ethic. He is a talented young man, able to portray technical information to non-technical individuals in both written and oral communications. I wish him all the best.” says Marc Farineau, Operations Manager for FSD.
“Roshan is a truly outstanding individual for whom the journey is truly the reward,” says Nigel Robinson, FSD Programme Manager in Sri Lanka. “We are proud to have him as part of our demining family.”