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How do you best use your skills as a volunteer?

Adriana-banner Adriana's trio volunteered to support local pre schools

By Adriana Millalen Rivas, Development Volunteer team February 2023

Engaging in a volunteer programme can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life, particularly when shared interests and passions align. It becomes evident that gratitude is boundless.
Why participate in a volunteer programme? There is much to be done in the world beyond what meets the eye, and many of these tasks are within our grasp. Across the globe, there exists a substantial gap; what is abundant in some countries is lacking in others. For this reason, you have the opportunity to effect change. By leveraging your skills, you can transfer knowledge and provide support to contribute towards a better world.

What can you do to support where it is most needed?

After the 3 month study & preparation period at CICD, our Trio arrived at NHQ in Malawi in May 2023. We took the first steps to comprehend your surroundings, including the culture, customs, lifestyle, and work methods. Observing and identifying needs should be a meticulous process, requiring time to see the big picture.
Next, begin to articulate your ideas. Engage in conversations and seek feedback from the Project Leader, and get support from local individuals to gauge their receptiveness to your ideas. A key aspect is understanding your own skills, showcasing your abilities, and aligning them with identified needs before embarking on your volunteering journey.
Here are some showcase that my trio implemented once we conducted the exercise of understanding the needs of the place:

Our trio was supporting especially one of the proe-schools in the area

Our trio was supporting especially one of the proe-schools in the area

We worked closely together with the staff in DAPP Malawi and the Teachers Training College

We worked closely together with the staff in DAPP Malawi and the Teachers Training College

Prepared to start construction work on the preschool!

Prepared to start construction work on the preschool!

Preschools - an important first step in children's education

Once we had visited the 26 preschools in the area, we decided to support one of them. We engaged in the reconstruction of Mphatso Preschool in the village of Kumbirina, which was partially destroyed by Cyclone Freddy in February 2023 in Malawi. To fund the reconstruction, we organised a fundraising effort that involved contributions from family and friends in Chile, France, Mexico, Colombia, the USA, and the UK.
Another significant initiative was the Sustainable Feeding Project for the 26 preschools. This is a three-year project where we sought resources from a major local company in Malawi through a partnership. The primary goal is to empower the community to cultivate cereals collaboratively and ensure the sustainable feeding of children in each preschool.
Additionally, we conducted an Innovation Contest, inviting all students in teacher training colleges to propose solutions for managing waste in campus areas. Beforehand, we provided training on the methodology, project development, and encouraged out-of-the-box thinking.
In executing these initiatives, our trio identified and leveraged our individual skills. We divided tasks to achieve optimal results: one member excelled in planning activities and setting deadlines, another focused on establishing contacts and securing resources, a third member was adept at seeking assistance and posing challenging questions, and finally, another member organized and mobilized individuals to carry out the tasks effectively. We took all the decisions together like a team.
Sometimes you have a lot of ideas, and the time is going fast, but your determination is the driving force behind achieving these goals. While the journey may be challenging and energy-draining at times, it is essential to readjust and persevere.
Keep in mind that making a difference for just one person can lead to significant changes, all by using your skills in the service of those who need it most.

Good luck 😊!

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Tuesday, 27 February 2024