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Volunteer Voices

Key insights from international development experiences
Edited By Duncan McNicholl

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Volunteer Voices
ISBN: 9781853399428
Format: Hardback
Volunteer Voices
ISBN: 9781853399435
Format: Paperback / softback

Price: £7.00

Was: £14.95

Volunteer Voices eBook
ISBN: 9781780449432
Format: eBook

Volunteer Voices View Jacket

  • Synopsis
    Do you want to want to spend time on the other side of the world, seeing how people in developing countries live, and doing something to ‘make a difference’? Do you want to get first-hand experience of grassroots development as you start a career in international development? Volunteer Voices is a guide for the critically minded volunteer and early career development worker. It is designed to help aspiring young change-makers engage with the complicated environment of international volunteering from a hands-on perspective that can help them to benefit and contribute as much as possible from the experience. Beyond technical expertise and factual knowledge, creating change comes largely from our own mind sets and attitudes.
    By sharing stories, mistakes, and lessons learned in this collection of short stories, the book guides readers to reflect on their own work and how their own practice might improve. Each individual and experience is unique, and no blueprints are offered. Providing stories and concepts for reflection instead allows readers to consider how particular ideas relate to their own contexts and then to determine how to proceed. This process is crucial to the development of an effective volunteer, and this book provides practical support.

    This book is essential reading for gap year students, volunteers, and early career professionals embarking on work in grassroots international development projects.
  • Table of Contents
    Contributing Authors
    Part I – Working with Yourself
    1 It’s not about me: mistakes from being too personally ambitious when supporting a small
    agricultural business
    Duncan McNicholl
    2 Pursue the art of being humbly radical: my choice to try and solve the hard parts of climate change problems
    Mike Kang
    3 Know how you expect success to feel: a time in Malawi when feeling good about work was not the same as doing good work
    Duncan McNicholl
    4 Understand why you want to work abroad: developing a passion for social justice in a Zambian refugee camp
    Jennifer Gottesfeld
    5 Persevere with intention: the tragedy of watching capable volunteers give up when things get difficult
    Duncan McNicholl
    6 Remember your own needs: how a friend reminded me of what I had forgotten when I left Ghana to help others
    Sam Atiemo
    7 I don’t change anything alone: learning to let go of personal projects to better support others
    Duncan McNicholl
    8 Find the balance between giving and staying healthy: remembering to see patients as people in Kenya
    Sanchia Jogessar
    9 It should hurt a little: confronting power structures in Canada on indigenous community development issues
    Mike Kang
    10 Understanding problems from within: experiencing discrimination in Ethiopia
    Megan Geldenhuys
    11 Doing lifelong work: how I always needed more time to support agricultural businesses in Zambia and Ghana
    Mina Shahid
    Part II – Working with Others
    12 Believe that everyone can teach you something: how I overlooked the most important person in Northern Malawi
    Duncan McNicholl
    13 Be more conscious than professional: suspending judgement and learning from sex workers in Malawi
    Sam Atiemo
    14 Perspective matters: becoming the beneficiary of an NGO sanitation project
    Duncan McNicholl
    15 Strive for real learning: a journey of transformation with indigenous youth in Canada
    Alyssa Lindsay
    16 Don’t do it for glory: the frustration of optometry volunteers who wanted to do it themselves instead of supporting local systems
    Sanchia Jogessar
    17 Offer real value: how criticizing the ‘playpump’ was not the same as helping people access safe water
    Duncan McNicholl
    18 Don’t fight brick walls: how a volunteer turned a challenge into an opportunity when working with local government
    Duncan McNicholl
    19 Create the space for colleagues to lead and grow: lessons learned micromanaging a tax reform project in Ghana
    Fariya Mohiuddin
    20 Find the best idea, wherever it is: listening to the wisdom of chiefs in rural Malawi
    Duncan McNicholl
    Part III – Working with Issues
    21 Do good work: struggling to support a cassava flour factory in Malawi
    Duncan McNicholl
    22 Make it last: the disappointment of a broken water filter at an earthquake survivors’ camp
    Duncan McNicholl
    23 Aim for ‘great’: learning from agricultural investments in Ghana through ambitious goals
    Mark Brown
    24 Choose the right time: learning when to keep my mouth shut in government policy forums in Malawi
    Duncan McNicholl
    25 Choose the information to ignore: how more data on water pump functionality in Malawi did not answer all of our questions
    Duncan McNicholl
    26 Big data, big mistake: overlooking details about water access in Malawi
    Muthi Nhlema
    27 Get to good enough: testing ways to support rural water pump repair mechanics
    Duncan McNicholl
    28 A story that sells: the challenge of communicating both need and the dignity of those who need help
    Sarah Rawson
    29 Understand what is already happening: appreciating existing responsibilities of local government in Malawi
    Duncan McNicholl
    30 Find the linkages: learning about the complexity of issues in South Africa
    Duncan McNicholl
    31 Learn to tell form from function: gaps between policy and practice from engineering education to national water strategies
    Mike Kang
    32 The funding is rarely secure: how our work on livelihoods in Uganda was cut unexpectedly
    Tamara Baldwin
    33 Know that some things can’t be known: having to guess about which donors to influence in the Malawi water sector
    Duncan McNicholl
  • Endorsements
    ‘Incisive, insightful and honest. If you have the ambition to change the world, or your neighbourhood, this isn't the book you want to read; it's the book you need to read. In my two decades of working to change systems, the authors of this book come closest to a "how to" guide -- radical openness, deep reflection and powerful questions to reflect on constantly.’
    George Roter, former CEO and co-founder of Engineers Without Borders, Canada

    ‘McNicholls has surfaced reflections from authors we learn with, not just learn from. Their voices shine a light on usually hidden, and hard, lessons from volunteering – they will resonate. Prepare to laugh, cry, wince, think and reflect… and then to be able to make change better.’
    Andrew Lamb, Innovation Advisor, Field Ready

    ‘This outstanding book asks the right questions, and is willing to explore hard answers that can lead to mutual respect and growth. It is a must read for the 21st century volunteer who wants to be more than the classical do-gooder.’
    James Orbinski MD, former international president of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Co-Founder of Dignitas International, and Professor in Global Health, Balsille School of International Affairs, Waterloo Canada

    ‘An important book for anyone thinking about volunteering to work in another culture, and for those who are already there. It is about balancing help with humility, guarding against hubris, understanding the difference between ambition and responsibility and -- for people in a hurry -- getting to grips with the reality of time.’
    Ian Smillie, author of Freedom From Want and Diamonds, former CUSO volunteer in Sierra Leone

    ‘Packed with insights gained from working in the field, Volunteer Voices both informs and inspires. The book’s multiple contributors, through stories and personal reflection, provide advice that is at once practical and wise. This book is a must-read for anyone in the field of development and social change.’
    Jaideep Prabhu is Professor of Business and Enterprise at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge

    ‘Duncan McNicholl’s collection of volunteers' experiences is an important examination of the complexities of what it means for outsiders to “help” marginalized people and communities. Social and systemic injustice has deep roots, and solutions don’t magically appear with the introduction of a new volunteer, idea, or resources, nor do they happen overnight. Volunteer Voices offers vital reflections for do-gooders to expand our hearts and minds as we find the courage to ask sometimes perplexing, frustrating, uncomfortable -- but always liberating -- questions of ourselves.’
    Jennifer Lentfer, creator of and Director of Communications at Thousand Currents
  • Details
    Sub Title Key insights from international development experiences
    Author No
    Editor Duncan McNicholl
    Number of Pages 170