Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hi everyone - my name’s Rich and I’m the new kid on the block for the Alumni Board!

Having just stepped off the plane from my ICS placement (July till September this year) in Burkina Faso, I jumped at the chance to be involved with the board’s work! I am determined to make sure that every opportunity is given for return volunteers to get involved and continue their work/development here in the UK. I hope my energy and relatively fresh experiences will prove beneficial to newer cohorts coming back from their volunteer placements.

That’s me in the middle (maroon top) on placement in Burkina Faso.

So the big question - why did I get involved in ICS programme? 

After gaining my degree in International Relations and dabbling in social science research, I wanted to challenge and support my theoretical understanding of international development with practical work in the field, and my placement in Burkina Faso certainly did that!

Working on a newly formed project with the National Paralympic Committee gave me an insight into some of the toughest challenges that ICS volunteers face in-country. It really gave me a direct knowledge of how hard international development can be. Frequently our original plans would need changing, our meetings would be delayed, or events postponed. 

I have learnt that this isn't necessarily a sign of failure – the important thing is that you learn from the experience, adapt and improve. I guess that’s why they call it international development – whether personal, professional or social. I hope I can bring this same positive attitude to the alumni board.

The IS team with a local wheelchair basketball club on the Inclusive Sports Day.

My most treasured memory from my placement would have to be the success of our inclusive sports day, run in collaboration the Inclusive Sports Education team in Ouagadougou. One of the main objectives of our project was to raise awareness of sports for people with disabilities and to promote inclusion through sport. People with disabilities in Burkina Faso are highly marginalized, so running a sports day was a fun and interactive way for the local community to alter their perceptions and get involved. The event was a massive success and the smiles on everyone’s faces spoke louder than words.

Richard Poole
Burkina Faso  July - Sept 2013

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