katy athersuch, nepal, 2003
TIME WITH RESTLESS
The placement had a few initial problems in that the school we were mainly working in closed for four months! So a lot of our time was spent trying to work out how to be useful when we couldn’t do the main activity we were there for, but this made us use our initiative. We were teaching English and Environmental Science lessons, and after school we met with the ‘Green Club’, a group of volunteers from the school who wanted to do after school activities. Drama classes were an effective activity as we would try and tackle social issues affecting the community, along with arts and crafts sessions to decorate the classrooms. On
the other days we met with local women’s groups and demonstrated how to build fuel efficient stoves. In general, living day in, day out with people you haven’t known and the logistics of meetings was challenging, but immensely rewarding.
MY INVOLVEMENT WITH THE ALUMNI
I worked with other ex-volunteers at Sussex University to set up the Stop AIDS Campaign Society there. I joined the 2005 G8 protests and media actions in the run up to the G8 summit at GlenEagles with StopAIDS/Restless Development (SPW at the time). I also worked as the Campaigns and Advocacy Coordinator for almost two years before moving to Switzerland to work for Medicin Sans Frontiers.
WHAT I AM DOING NOW
I am a Medical Innovation & Access Policy Advisor for Medecins Sans Frontieres. We campaign for access to affordable medicines and medical tools and also for new medical innovation that is designed to meet public health needs – i.e. affordable, suitable and able to tackle diseases that are often overlooked by commercial companies. I’m a member of the policy team, so work across a range of issues, from helping with analysis to forming our policy ‘asks’. I’m also involved in our advocacy work, where I present our campaign to policy makers, give media interviews and talk to governments about particular concerns we have. I have always thought I wanted to go into development work, and my time in Nepal really gave me an understanding of the contradictions and difficulties involved.
Katy says: “Restless Development influenced me a lot in determining my future career. My work with the SSAC resonated as it showed the urgency of demanding that our politicians live up to their commitments.”