From the International Committee of the Red Cross, the experience of Elena Pedroni


Institutional Communication Service

27 April 2020

After earning her Executive Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management in 2018, Elena Pedroni embarked on a new career path that led her to the role of Assistant&Information Management Officer for the International Committee of the Red Cross. We virtually reached her at her home in Geneva, to talk about her life during the coronavirus emergency at work and at home.

The tasks of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have also been adapted temporarily to the covid-19 emergency. Among its many duties, the IRC also informs the population on the virus and on the protection measures to be adopted and provides the necessary protective material to people who are already living in difficult situations. "Many of the donations that come to us during this time are precisely intended to protect those in need from the pandemic," says Elena Pedroni.

The study path linked to the humanitarian sector has allowed Pedroni to immediately understand the importance of prevention and of keeping the population informed when confronted with epidemiological diseases: "In particular, the theoretical notions learned related to systems dynamics used as an approach to understand complex models, effectively represent the situation: social distance is perhaps the only system that can allow to curb this exponential growth. Personally, I pay a lot of attention and follow the recommendations in order to avoid spreading" says Elena. Her Master's thesis was also linked to the theme of epidemics and its aim was to understand why, in some European countries, avian influenza reached breeding poultry while in others it did not, confirming the same result: "the importance of implementing the rules of prevention as soon as the first cases in nature are identified, and of taking action with targeted measures in a timely manner. It has also become clear that epidemics have no borders, and you can see that the virus waves are spreading everywhere as time goes by," she continues.

The possibility of working from home was immediately offered by the ICRC for employees who could also organise their tasks remotely. "We alternate with other colleagues in the office to deal with paper correspondence and the signature of contracts. We clearly lack human contact with colleagues, but we are connected daily via chat, calls and video calls via Skype. One evening we even organised a team video-aperitif," she explains. 

Pedroni also stresses the importance of finding the right balance between work and free time even from home, following defined rhythms and dedicating oneself to more creative and leisure activities. The social distance is also filled by the citizens of Geneva, with new ways to stay in touch: "Here in Geneva, at 9 pm every evening, everyone goes out on the balconies to give a collective thanks to those who work to provide us with the necessary services. You can hear bells, cheers, cries of children who can vent for a moment the frustrations of the forced closure, and some took a stab at becoming a deejay by playing music on their car stereo. This social gratitude warms the heart," concludes Elena.


In the quicklinks another interview in English, dated August 2019, in which Elena Pedroni talks about her professional career and her participation in the Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management at USI.