Global Citizenship & Me – My DiA Journey by Sarah Burns

Global Citizenship & Me – My DiA Journey by Sarah Burns

Sarah BurnsName: Sarah Burns

Placement: Seva Mandir

Year: 2010

What is your favourite moment from interning with one of DiA’s placement partners?

I couldn’t chose just one moment. I had so many amazing opportunities and experiences during my placement, both professional and personal.

What skills and experience did you develop through interning with DiA one of DiA’s placement partners?

Sarah Burns 2I think the main group of skills I developed, which were also the most transferable, centered around working independently, using my initiative and taking responsibility for the work being done. As an intern I was given pieces of work which no one else in the team were working on so it really taught me the importance of taking ownership of a piece of work and having the confidence to take the necessary steps to drive the work forward.

Throwing yourself into a new country, culture and environment and having to build working relationships across cultural and language barriers is an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience. At the end of my placement I felt I had the confidence in myself to tackle any new work situation. Coming back to the UK and joining the management committee really cemented those skills. It gave me the opportunity to use them and take the lead in shaping the charity during each committee year.

 What did you do once you returned to the UK?

Immediately after my placement in India with DiA I travelled to Nepal to complete another Internship. On my return to the UK I began applying for jobs and joined the DiA management committee. I was on the committee for three years. I joined in 2011 as Secretary and became Chair in 2012 for two years.

How did you time involved with DiA help shape your understanding of global citizenship?

Sarah Burns 3I applied to DiA because I felt their focus on global citizenship correlated with my own views. So I would say that I had a good understanding of global citizenship on joining and this was developed during the UK and India orientation days. But what my experience through DiA did do was provide me with real life situations where I was able to reflect on my own connections with people all over the world. One of my most vivid encounters was during my first week in India when I turned a corner and saw clothes from the UK high street being sold on market stores. This immediately made me question the clothes I buy and how and where they are produced, and how the things I buy can affect communities on the other side of the world.

Has this shaped your subsequent professional (or further voluntary) experiences and/or your personal outlook?

I have no doubt that the skills and experience I gained through DiA had a positive effect on my employability when I returned to the UK. Not only has it allowed me to develop important skills, it has given me great examples of these skills and knowledge to use in applications and interviews. In my roles it has allowed me to approach tasks with flexibility and confidence. Even today, 5 years on from my placement I reflect on how it has shaped my skills and ability to respond to challenging situations.

Personally, it has had a huge impact on my views and behavior. My experiences overseas have fed into the decisions I make about how I live my life, from the things I purchase to the causes I support. I also now have an amazing network of friends and contacts from my time in India and as a member of the committee in the UK. 

What are you doing now?

I currently work for Resource Futures, an independent environmental consultancy business.

What advice would you give to people thinking about applying to the DiA India Internship Placement Scheme?

I would encourage interns to get involved with any extra activities within their host organization or community. It’s a great way to learn more about different projects/departments to your own, meet other volunteers and staff members and generally feel more involved with the organisation. Take every opportunity to ask questions and talk to other volunteers and interns about their roles.

 

Join Development in Action and Tenteleni for the Global Citizenship Forum 2015: ‘At home and overseas: The impact of young volunteers’. An interactive, audience-led discussion and Q&A on the contribution of young volunteers to development.

Tuesday 17th November, 6pm at Rise London, 69-89 Mile End Rd, London E1 4TT.  More information, including that of guest speakers available at gcf2015.wordpress.com


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Global Citizenship & Me – My DiA Journey by Josh Reece-Moore

Name: Josh Reece-MooreJosh

Placement: Deep Griha Society

Year: 2014

What is your favourite moment from interning with one of DiA’s placement partners?

I have so many positive memories from the experience so it’s hard to look back and pinpoint a specific moment although I thoroughly enjoyed bonding with everyone that I worked with in the office. Everyone was so welcoming and I really felt at home because there was such a strong sense of community. I found that things fell into place and happened very organically.

What skills and experience did you gain through interning with DiA / one of DiA’s placement partners?

I gained valuable experience that university could never have provided me with. When I was studying I found myself stuck in a marking matrix which wasn’t at all true to real life and in my mind I was shifting from focusing on letters and grades to people and experiences in the ‘real world.’ It was really, really refreshing to collaborate with others, which is something that I love doing.

Through DiA I was given the chance to initiate my own project and learned how to plan, deliver and manage creative workshops. I also learned how to work effectively when facing cultural barriers and how to improvise and explore during these workshops in ways which were completely new to me. Communication skills were also essential in order to pass on my subject knowledge and I became aware of different ways to communicate visually and also through gesture.

Josh 2

The experience you gain definitely contributes to both your personal and professional development. I became so much more culturally aware and I absolutely need to take time out next year to go back to India.

What did you do once you returned to the UK?

After an uncomfortable flight home I slept for ages and then went to the supermarket to buy a feast of food that I had been craving while I was on placement. After I got that out of the way I joined the DiA committee, adjusted to life back in London and I began to make digital copies of the results from our workshops.

A lot of people always ask whether or not the fabric from my collaboration with DGS was made here or in India. I used a printer based in London called Bags of Love and produced a small collection of samples which I then entered into creative competitions. I have now found more time to collaborate and I want to bring even more designs out from the sketchbooks that we produced in India.

How did your time with DiA help shape your understanding of global citizenship?

When I first got involved with DiA I knew very little about development issues or the concept of global citizenship – if I’m completely honest it was something that I’d never heard of before.

We attract involvement from a diverse range of people and I think it’s safe to say that what I learnt with DiA would never have been covered in my creative education. I’m continually learning through experience what it means to be global citizen and am always interested in how others interpret the definition. I’m sure that the Global Citizenship Forum that we’re hosting this year with Tenteleni will provoke interesting discussion points around the topic!

What are you doing now?  

I’m managing the India Programme for 2015/2016 to make sure that it runs smoothly and that we take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. We are completely run by volunteers and we all put in a lot of hours behind the scenes to ensure that our programmes are as strong as possible.

I have also just started a new job which I’m really excited about where I’m hoping to gain more management experience. I still find time to work on creative projects alongside these commitments.

What advice would you give to people thinking about applying to the DiA India Internship Placement Scheme?

Ask the committee a lot of questions because the majority of us have travelled and are more than happy to discuss what life will be like while you’re on placement. Don’t forget that your journey doesn’t end when you arrive home!

 

Join Development in Action and Tenteleni for the Global Citizenship Forum 2015: ‘At home and overseas: The impact of young volunteers’. An interactive, audience-led discussion and Q&A on the contribution of young volunteers to development.

Tuesday 17th November, 6pm at Rise London, 69-89 Mile End Rd, London E1 4TT.  More information, including that of guest speakers available at gcf2015.wordpress.com


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.

Change of Blog Editor: Goodbye Joe and Welcome Kris

Change of Blog Editor: Goodbye Joe and Welcome Kris

To all the readers and many contributors who have followed shared and written for the blog over the past year I wanted to say a big thank you.

Joe Corry-Roake

The blog has grown over the past year and we have consistently had two articles published a week – a great feat and a milestone for what is still a fairly recent undertaking by Development in Action in including a blog which promotes and discusses development and global citizenship by, and for, young people.

I will be stepping down as blog editor due to other commitments but hope to continue contributing with articles. I hope you continue to support the blog and Development in Action in general and keep sharing and spreading the word to help us reach as many people as possible and bring the world closer together.

In the meantime, I am pleased to introduce you to your new blog editor, Kris.

Kris Gulati

Kris: Having started as a contributor to the blog, I am aware of the passionate and informed opinions many of the contributors have written about. This blog provides the space necessary for our contributors to express their opinions on issues which they seek to influence positively. I look forward to continue and maintain the strong output of the blog and hope to continue to expand on the blogs readership.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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200 articles posted!

200 articles posted!

To celebrate our first 200 blogs since we started in 2011 we thought we would take this opportunity to present our most read blogs of each year so you have the chance to reunite yourselves with some of our great articles!

 

garment1
Women in a garment factory

2011: The garment industry in Bangladesh – from a woman’s perspective

Marie Pettersson, explores the repercussions, the burgeoning garment industry in Bangladesh has on people’s lives with a particular focus on the gender inequality which exists within the supply chain.

 

©TAKEHIKO ONO/Creative Commons License
©TAKEHIKO ONO/Creative Commons License

2012: Cultural observations: the concept of “India time”

David Carzedda, one of our great volunteers, wrote a  piece, outlining his frustrations and the trials of moving to a new country and being faced with cultural differences such as ‘time’ in India.

 

Photo courtesy of OR Books
Photo courtesy of OR Books

2013: Unveiling female realities in south India: An interview with Tamil poet, Rajathi Salma 

Following the success of the film Salma, Louisa Jones was lucky enough to interview Rajathi Salma to gain an insight into the challenges of talking and acting openly in a conservative society.

 

Students in the Mi’gmaq Culture Room of Alaqsite’w Gitpu School, Listuguj. © Louisa Jones
Students in the Mi’gmaq Culture Room of Alaqsite’w Gitpu School, Listuguj. © Louisa Jones

2014: Every child in school: how Westernised education is shrinking knowledge in the 21st century 

Louisa Jones’ discussion of the homogenizing force of western style education she asks whether it is possible to learn from Canadian schools, which are designed to protect indigenous knowledge, thus allowing for cultural variations and equality.

 

© Save the Children /Creative Commons License
© Save the Children /Creative Commons License

 

2015: NGOs in South America: Better off without? 

Alexander Conesa-Pietscheck discusses the role of NGOs in the South American development success story, and whether nations would do better without them and the importance of NGOs and government institutions to work hand-in-hand to achieve development goals.

 

Whether a recent reader or if you’ve been with us since the beginning thank you for your continued support over the past 200 articles and we hope you will continue to join us every Tuesday and Thursday!

For those who want to write, please get in contact with our Blog Editor Joe at j.corry-roake@developmentinaction.org

Please subscribe to receive the latest updates from our blog!


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Human Rights Watch Film Festival 18th to 27th March, 2015

Human Rights Watch Film Festival 18th to 27th March, 2015

After last years rave reviews, we are once again encouraging you to take the opportunity to attend Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2015 in London. This year, it brings a host of new and powerful films capturing both individual and community wide injustices.

In keeping with this focus of Development in Action, one of the main themes running through this year’s collection is the importance of young people in advocating and contributing to positive change:

Nearly every film in this year’s festival celebrates the power of individuals and communities to challenge and interrupt the status quo, whether societal taboos or family truths. Particularly heartening is how young people from all around the world are demanding change and transparency whether its through the democratic process or, on a more personal level, by knowing and challenging difficult family truths and taboos.”   John Biaggi, Festival Director

See the timetable and apply for tickets here

Last year, our series of reviews was well received and we urge any of you lucky enough to attend a screening and the subsequent Q&A to write in with a review or your thoughts. Email Joe Corry-Roake at j.corry-roake@developmentinaction.org


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Happy New Year From Development in Action!

Happy New Year From Development in Action!

As 2014 draws to a close we take a look back at the most popular* articles from 2014.

In reverse order:

5) Corruption, controversy and ballooning costs: the dark side of the Olympics

Ever wondered how huge sporting events like the Olympics impact the communities that host them? Connie Fisher provides answers in this insightful article where she tracks the damage done to both infrastructure investment and individuals.   

4) The state of homelessness in France: a British perspective

Ruth Mattock gives a first-hand perspective on homelessness in Paris.  She also compares and contrasts the attitudes that prevail in Paris and Britain, which then affect how homelessness is perceived and tackled.

3) Power Africa: the ethics of electrification

Hypocrisy or a positive step forward? June Sun examines the actions of the United States encouraging and funding the use of renewable energies in Africa while remaining addicted to fossil fuels.

2) Aid to Somerset: Can we do better than comparing vulnerable populations

Richard Moran asks whether we need to continue to worry about ‘charity beginning at home.’ He also problematises how comparing needs can give value to some individuals over others, and the moves that can address and prevent this.

1) Every child in school: how Westernised education is shrinking knowledge in the 21st century

The most read article on the Development in Action blog for 2014 is Louisa Jones’ discussion of the homogenizing force of western style education. In her succinct yet sharp analysis, she asks whether it is possible to learn from Canadian schools, which are designed to protect indigenous knowledge, thus allowing for cultural variations and equality.

*These are based on the number of views that articles published in 2014 have had over the year. Tell us your favourite article in the comments section below!

Looking forward to 2015

This coming year on the Development in Action Blog will contain our contributors’ thoughts, comments and analysis of a range of topics concerning development and global citizenship. These include:

  • The culmination of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the creation of the post-2015 development agenda
  • The UK General Election
  • The 2015 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris

We will also be bringing you articles about the work Development in Action does, with participants’  thoughts on our UK school based citizenship workshops, and internship placements in India.

Thank you for reading in 2014, and we hope you continue to move forward with us in 2015.  Join us this year with a new article every Tuesday and Thursday!


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.

Happy Holidays from DiA

From all of the committee here at Development in Action, we wish you Happy Holidays. Wherever you are in the world, and whatever you are doing today, we hope you have a great time.

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As a special treat to all you development minded people, we have a little gift for you: Michael Hobbes superb description of everything wrong with International Development or, more accurately, why it’s our expectations of it that are broken.

Look out for our top 5 blogs from 2014 as well as a glimpse of what is to come in 2015 in our New Years Day blog!


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.

10 Reasons why we love Volunteering

10 Reasons why we love Volunteering

On International Volunteer Day, we decided to ask our own wonderful volunteers at Development in Action why they love volunteering. Here’s what some of them had to say: 

ceridwen_lewis

dali_ten_hove

dan_cumber

hannah_weston

isobel_wilson-cleary

Joe

josh_reece-moore

sidra_khalid

vanessa_cameron

rianna_kelly


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.

Volunteering Abroad: A Do or a Don’t?

Volunteering Abroad: A Do or a Don’t?

Volunteering internationally has been a rising trend for students and fresh graduates in  recent years. Our India Programme Officer Caroline Townsend offers some thoughts on steps to take before deciding to volunteer abroad. 

Thinking of volunteering overseas?

Here’s why you shouldn’t.

© Neon Tommy/ Creative Commons license
© Neon Tommy/ Creative Commons license

It was learning about the darker side to international volunteering which surprised me most when I attended the Tourism Concern International Volunteering Conference on Saturday 25th October. This conference aimed to debate the implications of international volunteering, ethical options and alternative local opportunities. Before the conference, I was sceptical of volunteering internationally as I felt most opportunities did not make a significant difference and concentrated instead on marketing and false promises. I found the conference very insightful. I am still sceptical but feel much more informed on how to responsibly volunteer abroad. Volunteering abroad can be very enriching for volunteers and beneficiaries if done well. At the conference I learnt the following handy tips when considering international volunteering:

  • Think about your motivations to volunteer. This can help you decide if international volunteering is right for you. There are plenty of reasons to volunteer (i.e. develop your CV, make new friends, see the world, learn about a new culture etc) but volunteering abroad is only one way of fulfilling these aspirations.
  • Do your research to find a scheme which makes a sustainable difference to the people you wish to help. Click here for detailed tips on how to do this. There are many schemes that cause more harm than good; just look at orphanage volunteering. Other schemes take away jobs from local people and do not give volunteers any sense of achievement or fulfillment.
  • Higher cost placements do not indicate quality. Many costlier placements mean higher profits for companies. Many lower cost placements can be more ethical and it’s really important to do your research to find out as much as possible about the organisation.
DiA Volunteers in India
DiA Volunteers in India
  • Get detailed and transparent information from the organisation about the costs and what it covers. Make a budget of the costs for the whole trip as you don’t want to run out of money while you’re away.
  • Not all roles are suitable for all volunteers. Good placements wouldn’t recruit unskilled volunteers into skilled roles. Be wary of schemes offering placements without a recruitment process as it means it isn’t a priority to them who they send out to help people. Additionally, the placement should offer relevant training and induction to their volunteers to ensure that they are fully supported.
  • Worthwhile volunteering is hard work and not a relaxing holiday as advertised by some travel operators. You should treat volunteering like a job as a good placement requires you to be reliable, flexible and hardworking. This gives you a much more enriching experience and a chance to grow.
  • If you’re mainly looking for a holiday/travelling and wish to support local peoples consider ethical travelling where a lot more of the money you spend goes directly to the communities you visit. Also, you might want to consider fundraising for a charity which supports people internationally, as they have the expertise and infrastructure to help.

Finally, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities at home as well. It is obviously much cheaper, gives you a chance to develop your CV and make friends. Additionally, many of these volunteering opportunities will increase your skills more than going abroad. You can find volunteering roles online on websites such as do-it and at your local volunteer centre. And remember, DiA is always looking for volunteers too. Good luck!


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.

NEW BLOG EDITORS- kicking off on Development Information Day

Welcome to the new blog!

We thought it would be fitting to introduce our new Blog Editors, Joe Corry-Roake and Sidra Khalid on Development Information Day, a day designed to “to draw the attention of world public opinion to development problems” through the use of new technologies such as the internet.  The Development in Action blog seeks to build on this idea every day of the year.

Over the next year we will be continuing with pieces by our great contributors, both new and old, on specific issues close to their hearts, opinion and comments on current affairs along with some short and thought-provoking content you can share with your friends.

We will also be hearing from our devoted international volunteers as they describe their experiences before, during and after their time in India. This is an excellent chance for anyone who is thinking of volunteering overseas to get an idea of the rewards and struggles that the experience can bring. Also, we will be bringing a brand new segment involving DiA’s work on development education workshops in English schools.

We want to thank the outgoing blog editors Louisa Jones and Richard Moran for all their wonderful work and for giving us the opportunity to continue and build upon their efforts.

If you are interested in contributing for the new DiA blog then please contact us at either j.corry-roake@developmentinaction.org or s.khalid@developmentinaction.org

Thank you very much!

 

 


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Why did you choose DiA? Reflections from a former India volunteer

Why did you choose DiA? Reflections from a former India volunteer

With applications for DiA’s 2-month Indian Summer placements closing on Friday 2 May, 2012 volunteer Jenny Frydrych talked to Blog Editor Louisa Jones about her experiences abroad and how they have helped her break into the International Development Sector.

 

Jenny (far right) at Deep Griha Society's Melava+ event in August 2012. Photo courtesy Jenny Frydrych.
Jenny (far right) at Deep Griha Society’s Melava+ event in August 2012. Photo courtesy Jenny Frydrych.

Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.

10 Years on From DiA and I’m Still Learning…

10 Years on From DiA and I’m Still Learning…

TEN YEARS ON FROM VOLUNTEERING WITH DEVELOPMENT IN ACTION MANDARIN BENNETT IS STILL PASSIONATE ABOUT ENSURING THAT INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEERING HAS A LASTING IMPACT AND ETHICAL UNDERPINNING. HERE WRITES ABOUT WHAT SHE HAS LEARNT (AND CONTINUES TO LEARN) SINCE HER TIME WITH DIA.

 

I became the UK coordinator for Development in Action nearly a decade ago. What drew me to DiA was that its philosophy on volunteering and development was exactly in line with what I had learned experientially after a year volunteering in Nepal.

I volunteered with a rural development organization straight after I graduated from university. Every time I thought I could offer a solution or way of contributing, I would realize that it wasn’t so simple. In fact, the more I looked into the root causes of the problems faced in Nepal, the more I discovered how closely interlinked they were with issues back in the UK. I remember thinking that whatever small contribution my presence could offer to a remote Nepali community, I would be able to have a more powerful impact on the same issues as an activist and educator in my own country.

To sum up what I had learned during my year volunteering in a sentence, it would be that the impact of an international volunteering comes only marginally from what you contribute overseas, and much more about what you do with the knowledge and experience you have gained later in your life.

DiA encourages volunteers to continue to engage in debates on global issues, to get involved in activism, to make conscious and conscientious lifestyle choices, and, most importantly, to educate others by sharing what you have learned while volunteering. Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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