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Bob Handby


Australian Red Cross water and sanitation specialist aid worker
Australian Red Cross Ambassador

Bob Handby has worked in conflict and disaster zones all over the world. His first mission with Red Cross was to Uganda in 1984, helping provide clean water and sanitation to those displaced in the country's civil war. Since then he has worked in Iraq after the Gulf War, Serbia during the Kosovo conflict, Myanmar, Uganda, Rwanda and most recently in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak.


Trekking on foot to remote regions and hitching tractor rides up mountains, Bob has helped thousands of people to rebuild and recover after floods, cyclones, tsunamis and the outbreak of disease. With expertise in water, sanitation, shelter, health and hygiene issues, he also trains other aid workers headed to disaster and emergency zones.

Bob has visited water and sanitation projects with Red Cross major donors in Timor Leste and Fiji in recent years, which have transformed the lives of entire villages. He is passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of entire villages while helping women and children to escape the daily burden of collecting water so they can seek an income and education.

Bob is a tremendous ambassador for the everyday work of Red Cross in impoverished remote communities in the Asia-Pacific region, work which is largely funded by our regular monthly donors.

Bob is an advocate for our long term approach to community development, lifting people out of extreme poverty by providing a clean sustainable water supply and reliable sanitation. He explains "it's my job to bring the basics to people when it seems all has been lost#-#I help get clean water and basic sanitation to people struggling to survive."

After three decades as an aid worker and witnessing scenes of utter despair, Bob has seen first hand why some people would risk their lives to find a safe place for their families.

Read more about his experiences in the field