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Carly Court was a volunteer in Guatemala with YCI in 2010 and then returned to the Toronto office in January 2013 as YCI’s Volunteer Program Assistant. She recently arrived in Mwanza as a Youth Innovator to support YCI’s partners. Read about Carly’s experience in Tanzania by following her blog The New Smart.
“Travelling alone. As a girl. In East Africa.
If you want a genuine reaction when you are informing people about your upcoming travel plans, open with the latter statement.
Shock value aside, there are considerable challenges and rewards that come with working alone as a YCI Innovator. This is especially true when working in a city that is new to both yourself and the organization you are representing. YCI’s programming is still relatively recent here in Mwanza, as there has only been one YCI volunteer here before me. Partnerships with local organizations are still fresh and developing. Speaking of developing, my YCI in-country Program Manager and I are still learning how to navigate Mwanza’s dala-dala interpretation of public transportation. So far, all things considered, I have encountered many challenges- from coordinating and scheduling trainings, to finding someone to hang out with during my time off. But one of the true joys of travelling and volunteering abroad is turning challenges into adventures, and adventures into rewarding experiences and memories…“
My first few weeks in Accra have given me a small taste of West Africa. As I write, I sit hear listening to the sounds of this city. Vehicles constantly honking and horns of food vendors layered on voices from churches and schools. This organized chaos of sights and sounds has quickly become familiar in my few short weeks here. I spent the first few weeks acquainting myself with the city and partner organization with which I work, YES-Ghana.
YES-Ghana is a youth empowerment NGO with its head office in Accra and networks across Ghana. I am working from this office to conduct research within the organization. The work I am doing focuses around building functionality and capacity, which will aid the organization in sustainability and effectiveness. My work focuses less on program delivery, and more on effectively managing the structures and organization, which works to deliver the programs. Over the past few weeks, I have been working with the partner to establish a capacity building work plan. This plan outlines some of the possible future undertakings of the organization to make sure it is functioning at full capacity in its operations and programming. During the remainder of my time here, I will work with the staff at YES-Ghana to create personnel policies and other manuals to guide this NGO.
Working within the partner office has given me a unique perspective on the operation of a non-profit in a developing country. Through this complete submersion into the operations, I remain keenly aware of the difficulties of development and non-profit work. However, the value in what is being done far outweighs the difficulty. I hope that in the next stages of my placement and the placement of those who will carry out the implementation of the remainder of the work-plan with YES-Ghana, functional and operational sustainability for the partner organization and the youth it serves will be achieved.
-Tammy Lambert, Youth Innovator, Tanzania 2010 and Ghana 2011
YCI is currently recruiting for a Small Business Development Innovator Team in Tanzania this Winter. Applications are due on Monday October 24th.