Chief Executive Officer Isak Pretorius, who led the organisation in a minute of silence, said: “We grieve the death of our colleague and friend Walter Otto, ForAfrika’s Nutrition Officer, who diligently served his people, the communities in South Sudan and the entire organisation with commitment and diligence. Walter exuded the ForAfrika core values and shared our vision; to see Africa thrive. He will be greatly missed as a humanitarian, community servant, colleague and friend. We hold his family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Chief Programmes Officer Abeba Amene, who as the Country Director for South Sudan at the time, remembers the day Walter started working with us:
“One morning in March 2020, UNICEF called us in for a meeting and asked that we take over the nutrition project in Boma from a partner exiting the area. We accepted. We needed to move pretty fast as the first quarter of the year had lapsed and we could not afford a gap in service delivery. We considered that one of the fastest ways to manage the transition and ensure service continuity was to employ some of the staff from the exiting organisation. Walter worked there and that is how he came to join us.
“Walter was a modest, unassuming, deeply committed young man. In the last three years that he served as a nutrition officer in Boma, Walter wove himself into the fabric of the community. He woke up each day with the singular purpose of saving children. He met the community at their point of need and vulnerability. Whenever there was a conflict and most agencies would evacuate their staff, Walter was the kind who would refuse to leave. That is just the kind of humanitarian he was.
“His death underscores the profound risks that humanitarian workers willingly confront to support those in need.
“If there was ever a person deserving of a long life surely it was Walter Otto. Walter, you were our very special and greatly admired colleague. Your very nature taught us to be better human beings. I wish you eternal rest.”
From all the tributes and messages of condolences that have poured in from his colleagues, it is evident that Walter was a much-loved and respected person and this is a great loss for our organisation and the people of South Sudan:
“Walter gave his all and more to his work. He was a modest, loyal, and dedicated colleague. A champion of going above and beyond so that the children of Boma can live past their infancy.” Leader Kwami Makumator, South Sudan Country Director
“It is hard to accept what has happened to our humanitarian hero, friend and brother. His call to serve the most vulnerable has been put on hold and yet the need is ever increasing. We pray for Walter to rest in eternal peace,” George Opiyo
“He served with a smile and humility, always available when needed. Nothing was impossible for him when it comes to serving the community of Jebel Boma and the greater Pibor County,” Susan Alobo
“Walter was like the dynamo and engine of ForAfrika in Jebel Boma and friend of everybody in Boma. It's difficult to accept that he can leave us this way, rest in peace my brother,” Dr Batal Elias
“We will miss you Walter. We have been robbed of you, you left us too early and left us wordless, frustrated and badly heartbroken,” Stella Elias
“Walter was one of the the most dedicated staff in the Nutrition sector, he was very competent and passionate. It's painful to lose such a colleague,” Reggie Ann Jaji, Health and Nutrition Advisor
Rest in peace Walter as we vow to continue your work and follow your example.