Why did you get involved with DiA? Our committee speaks

Why is Development in Action so important? Members of our management committee give their thoughts

DiA committeeSarah Burns, Chair

“After graduating I was looking for opportunities to develop my existing skills while working overseas. Development in Action provided the perfect opportunity to gain this experience while also returning to India, a country I had been captivated by on a previous trip.

Another draw to DiA was the opportunity to get involved with the organisation in the UK. Following my placement in India I joined the management committee and have now been involved with managing the organisation for the past 18 months. During this time I have progressed within the organisation and developed a number of professional skills which have led me to my current job at a local environmental consultancy.

In addition to the skills and experience I have obtained through DiA, I have also had an amazing time and developed friendships with fellow volunteers which have shaped my personal life.”

Jamie Pett, Vice Chair

“I first volunteered with DiA as a two-month India volunteer at St Gonsalo Garcia school and orphanage near Mumbai in the summer of 2010. I was thrilled to find a volunteering organisation that gave such a personalised service with very reasonable fees compared to other organisations. As well as being an incredible experience I’ll never forget, my time in India confirmed to me my ambition to work in international development.

A year after my return, when I moved to London to start a Masters degree in International Development, I joined the DiA committee as Communications and Marketing Officer. I’m now Vice Chair of the organisation. This was a fantastic opportunity to repay my gratitude to DiA and get involved in running a small charity. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great people and have gained a lot of skills, from managing a communications strategy and networking on Twitter to interviewing and training new recruits.”

Mike Perry, Treasurer

“I originally found out about DiA while at university, looking for something compelling to do with my summer. DiA stood out from the crowd as being a genuine and honest approach to volunteering abroad, and by the time the training days came and went I’d met a good number of the young, enthusiastic and hardworking volunteers running the organisation.

I was lucky enough to spend my summer volunteering in (and travelling around) India. After my return, I was initially involved as an ordinary member of the committee, helping to recruit, select and train volunteers. This led to a role as Recruitment Officer, and ultimately, as I was looking to develop my own skills and experiences further, I took on the role of Treasurer.

It’s now been four years since I first got involved, and in that time I’ve had the opportunity to grow personally, work with a group of talented and like-minded people, and continue the work of DiA to ensure that these opportunities will always be available.”

Catherine Glew, Secretary

“I first spotted DiA at a careers fair during my second year at Durham University. Though that first encounter was set against the dreary backdrop of Durham Students’ Union, my experience with DiA over the past two years has been anything but mundane. Admiring the ethos of sustainability and local partnership offered by DiA’s India placements, I took a two-month internship in Pondicherry, working with some of the most hard-working, committed and inspiring people I have ever met.

Though an interest in India brought me to DiA, the quality of Indian NGO partners and the UK committee inspired me to stay – and two years on, I’m sitting on the committee myself, working to spread DiA’s passion for responsible development among young people in the UK. For fascinating experiences and inspirational people, DiA can’t be beaten!”

Lisa Holmberg, Fundraising Officer

“DiA is a true inspiration for me. It offers something unique, and is a forum for committed and forward thinking young people to use their talents and skills. I became involved with DiA because of that inspiration and because of the role that DiA plays in promoting international development.

By engaging young people in what it means to be a global citizens, through for example workshops in schools, or through sending volunteers to work with grassroots NGOs in India, DiA encourages young people to look beyond their immediate environment and reach out to people in less fortunate circumstances. In doing so, DiA not only creates opportunities for people in developing countries, but also contributes to the personal development and leadership skills of young people in the UK. That for me was motivation enough to get involved, and what continues to drive me in fundraising for DiA.”

Nate Barker, Communications Officer

“I first came to be involved with DiA after a friend took part in their flagship India programme, spending a year in Pondicherry. I started blogging for DiA on the political issues around aid and international development, before joining the marketing team where I currently use my experience in digital marketing to manage DiA’s online presence and social media channels.”

Frankie Rushton, Development Education Co-ordinator

“Upon finishing university, I wanted to do a placement with an accredited organisation. Rather than spend my time and money on “voluntourism”, I wanted to be sure I used my skills wisely. This is why I first got involved with Development in Action (DiA) – it offered just that. After six months in India with one of DiA’s grassroots partner organisations, researching and developing a programme that continues to run today was incredibly rewarding.

I valued my experience so much so that I joined the UK committee on my return, working to extend our UK education programme and later as chair of the charity. I got involved with DiA because I wanted to develop my understanding of development, not just in the theoretical sense but in a practical one too. I achieved all that and more, making some incredible friends along the way.”

Jessie Kirk, UK Volunteer Programme Manager

“I first got involved with DiA when I secured a five-month placement in Pondicherry as part of our India Volunteer Programme. I gained several skills and first hand experience of global development issues. When I returned to the UK, I joined the management committee to further develop skills and experience in the charity sector. It gave me the means to get onto the career ladder at a time of huge youth unemployment.

My role is UK volunteer programme manager, and this is something I did firstly alongside my job at the British Red Cross and then my masters degree. I run our Global Citizenship Workshop project across schools in Greater London as well as managing our UK volunteer base, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it despite the hard work! Its given me the chance to design, manage and evaluate a project for a small NGO, develop management and leadership skills, and network with others in the third sector. I couldn’t recommend DiA strongly enough to other young people!”

Emily Wight, Blog Officer

“After university I wanted to volunteer in India, a country I had long been fascinated by. When I found DiA at a careers fair at the University of Warwick I could tell right away that it was an organisation which stood out from the crowd. DiA is committed to responsible, sustainable volunteering that benefits local communities in India as well as young people in the UK. The idea is that when volunteers have returned to the UK they will use their experience in India to promote global citizenship.

On my return I was elected to the management committee in the role of Blog Officer and have been doing this on a voluntary basis for two years now, firstly alongside my Masters degree and then alongside a full-time job. It has been hard work but has given me invaluable experience of working on the committee of a charity as well as project management, editing and commissioning experience. I’ve also formed long-lasting friendships with other volunteers.”


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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