We would like to send a warm welcome to Cheryl, who started work with YCI in Tanzania at the beginning of April. Cheryl comes to YCI from the US Peace Corps as Director of Programs and Training in Cambodia. Cheryl has tons of valuable experience working with youth development and volunteer programs; we are excited to have her on board! Read on to find out what motivates Cheryl and how many African countries she has visited.
What does your job with YCI involve?
As the Country Manager, I am responsible for managing all aspects of the YCI Program in Tanzania. I get to work with the staff at each of the three project sites – Zanzibar, Morogoro and Arusha – to develop interesting and valuable opportunities for our Volunteers to support the work of our partners on the ground. I also keep finances and logistics flowing smoothly, stay in touch with other youth development organizations working in Tanzania and provide local support to other YCI programs.
How did you get involved with YCI?
I am new to YCI, although I have been involved with youth development and volunteer programs for a long time. My last job was Director of Program and Training for the US Peace Corps in Cambodia, where I established Education and Youth Development programs there, supporting over 100 American Volunteers over a four year period. With YCI, I look forward to continue my work facilitating international cooperation and youth development.
What’s your inspiration?
I am constantly amazed at the resiliency of people living in some of the poorest parts of the world. I admire the hopes and dreams I see in the youth I have met in my work, and their ability to find joy in the simplest things – a hand-made toy, a good joke, a thunderstorm on a hot day. Traveling around the world, I inspired and reassured by how much the people I have met have in common.
What motivates you?
I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to work with so many excellent Volunteers over the years. I am always excited when I can provide a little bit of extra support or a new idea or approach to a Volunteer who needs some help. I help them stay motivated, and then they motivate me with their renewed energy and creativity.
Which youth issue most concerns you?
I think unemployment is the biggest issue facing youth today. In so many countries, there are not enough jobs and opportunities to keep young people feeling like they have a role to play in society. Even those with good professional skills often have to leave their communities to find employment. I think the key to development is finding ways for youth to be engaged as positive leaders in their own families and communities.
Wow. I don’t know. Isn’t that the fun part?
Seriously, I just arrived in Tanzania three weeks ago. I still have so much to learn about this country and its cultures. Moving the YCI office to Dar Es Salaam, starting a new program in Arusha, implementing programs in a broader variety of sectors, sharing this new experience with friends and family back home, meeting new local and YCI Volunteers – it’s all ahead!
What else do you do?
I like to stay up on the latest movies and music. I am working on being a better photographer. I’m trying to learn Swahili. I’d like to visit every country in Africa (I’ve only visited 14 so far).