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EU Aid Volunteer. Community based officer. February – April 2019


That´s a difficult one :P Media monitoring specialist…for now :D

3.For how long time have you volunteer in Shianda?
3 beautiful months

4.Why did you decide to go to Kenya?
Why not? :) Well I received an e-mail from the sending organisation, asking if I would like to volunteer in Kenya. I had participated in a two week training in the summer, when I planned to go to Uganda, which finally didn’t happen. I knew I wanted to volunteer in Africa for a while and I was happy it turned out to be Kenya finally, as it is absolutely beautiful!

5.Why did you decide to volunteer with WEFOCO?
I did not have a choice in that part, but I was happy I got to work with WEFOCO. Working for a local NGO is a whole different experience than working for an international one. I loved how connected the organisation was with the local community. It also gives a true “African work experience.”

6. What do you think about the work that is being done by WEFOCO?
 It is helping the local communities to get knowledge and skills from international experts. They would otherwise not be exposed to such an experience, which is really valuable. It is training communities and helping them empower each other as well. I think WEFOCO does a great job with the means they have.

7. What kind of tasks did you have?
I organised, conducted and facilitated trainings. I monitored previous projects and helpd to boost WEFOCO´s visibility online and offline.

8. What did you like the most about volunteering?
Meeting local communities and learning from them, laughing with them. People were thankful for the work volunteers and WEFOCO was doing and it feels good to get such immediate feedback from people. The nature in and around the village was amazing as well.

9. What was surprising?
That people were so welcoming. I had expected something else at least. People were open, curious, smiling. I was trained to cope with the (negative) culture shocks but it turned out to be a more welcoming environment than I had imagined. I was suprised that Kenyans drink very little water actually, I thought people in general need the same amount of water in the heat :) 

10. What kind of additional information would you have liked to know before going to Kenya?
Perhaps more about the small business systems in rural villages. Stakeholders, micro and macro influencers etc. This would help to train local communities better about market access and business development.

11. For what kind of difficulties the new volunteers should prepare themselves for?
 Finding things to do during spare time. Evenings and weekends for sure. Also setting expectations. The local people have a different approach to communication. There is a lot of miscommunication, waiting, disappointements, failed meeting and plans. But if you can manage your expectations and are able to cope with failed plans and ambitions then you should be fine. All days are different in Shianda, there are good days (mostly, really) and bad days and you should have some mental back-up to deal with the bad ones.

12. Tell about your favourite experience from Kenya. 
Oh there were so many…But perhaps my first boda drive and community visit. Strolling through the village and seeing the beautiful nature for the first time and then arriving to the yard of local hosts, who greeted with me with open arms and big smiles, as I entered into their homes and lives. That feeling will remain with me forever :)

13. Do you miss something from Kenya/Shianda?
I miss my roommate and neighbours :D That is also great about volunteering with WEFOCO as there are (usually) a group of volunteers who make the stay in Kenya like home. I also miss the “hakuna matata” lifestyle a litte, when back in Europe. And the music that played in matatus. 

14. Any other comments?
I recommend volunteering in Kenya to anyone. Taking some time out to meet a new lifestyle and mindsets really gives life a new perspective and reboots the system :)