My experience of virtual volunteering - Climate change Officer

Publié par : Jean Emmanuel Vincent

After some working experience in Haiti and Africa in emergency relief and community development, I discovered a passion in me for international cooperation, particularly for institutional capacity building. Therefore, I decided to do a master’s degree in international development and humanitarian action at Laval University to increase my skills to better serve the vulnerable people. To complete this master’s study, I was very interested in doing my internship with CECI due to many positive feedback received from friends working with this organization who presented CECI me to as one of the best places to work. In fact, I have been accepted to do this virtual mandate with CECI Nepal.

While pursuing its mission to combat poverty and exclusion by strengthening the development capacity of disadvantaged communities, CECI Nepal is committed to achieving many sustainable development objectives. Through its new volunteer cooperation program (VCP), CECI Nepal aims, among other specific objectives, to build the resilience of communities in the face of climate change, one of the most pressing issues of our time. As climate change officer,  my main responsibilities are to develop a tool including a guide to assess and build CECI Nepal partner’s capacities in adaptation to climate change; Support partner organization’s capacity assessment and the reporting and suggest VCP team for plan of action to prepare the partner better respond to climate change impact. In addition, I have to provide tips to CECI Nepal office to become environmentally sustainable. As men and women are affected differently by climate change, largely because of their differing roles within communities, I also must Integrate gender equality in all the mandate-related activities with emphasis on the participation and representation of women and young women.

Although I had quite a few concerns about doing the internship completely remotely, I am pleasantly surprised at how rewarding the virtual internship can be. I am developing skills in remote management. Thanks to regular meetings with the CECI Nepal team, follow-up meetings with the CECI office in Canada, I have no problems with motivation or productivity. However, I realize that building interpersonal relationships is much more difficult remotely and time zone difference does not facilitate communication. Even so, I have managed to develop an excellent collaboration with the contacts I have at CECI Nepal.

Working with CECI Nepal team is a very great experience which is meeting both my personal professional expectations. I am taking advantage of this opportunity  to learn more about Nepal context , climate change impact on the most vulnerable, particularly on women  while enhancing my technical and interpersonal skills. Im also applying knowledge acquired through my master’s program in international development and humanitarian action. As expected, this experience with CECI Nepal team is giving me a better understanding of new approaches to address climate change impact on vulnerable people, and how to mobilize and support women to engage in fighting climate change impact at community level. This experience is improving my personal development, particularly my English writing and speaking. As part of my personnel objectives, I expected to provide my contribution to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable in Nepal through CECI Nepal interventions in response to climate change. By developing tools to assess organizational capacity on climate change and the recommendations I am providing to CECI Nepal teams and its partner organizations, I feel contributing reaching a great objective.

This experience is increasing my motivation to pursue a career in international cooperation , an area very compatible with my values of solidarity and my beliefs in the possibility of making the world a better place for the most vulnerable. As women are among the most affected by climate change impact,  I feel great interest in contributing to improve women’s resilience to climate change.

As advice to those  who would be interested in an international volunteering position,   I would say it is an excellent opportunity to learn, to improve skills, and try out a career field.  It is very important to take it seriously. In the case of a virtual mandate, with self-discipline and time management, it can be a real transformative online working experience.

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