I chose to volunteer with Restless Development as they are a youth led development agency and this made them stand out from the other organisations. Their focus areas of HIV/Sexual Health, Livelihoods and Civic Participation also aligned really well with my own interests. I had two weeks of in country training with 19 other international volunteers and the 20 national volunteers that we would be working with for the next 11 weeks. Training consisted of cultural awareness sessions, language lessons and learning about the three key areas we would be working on, although by the end of the two weeks training, everyone was itching to go on to placement and start using everything we had just learnt. So then we got to spend 8 weeks on placement; the group I was in was placed in a rural community called Chalata, where we spent our time integrating into the community, mapping the area, and doing research in terms of what the community wanted and how they wanted their resource centre to be used. While volunteering in Zambia, I really learnt how to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and see what the real issue is and work to resolve it, which is something I have brought back with me and try and do when I face any problems.
From receiving the Alumni newsletter, I learnt about my internship and now I am working with Restless Development! I have kept in touch with a few people from my ICS experience that I would count as some of my closest friends. I think after spending 12 weeks with a group of people on placement you create friends that you genuinely miss after coming back and settling into your old life so it is nice to be able to call those people or see what they are up to on Facebook and have that connection again.
After completing the ICS programme, I finished my last year at university and started thinking about gaining some experience working directly with NGOs. Luckily a role as recruitment and programme support intern came up at Restless Development at the perfect time where I had just graduated and was looking for way to move in this direction. It was also a role I felt I could use my experience of being on the ICS programme and my passion for youth led development towards. I think from my experience I would like to take forward the impact youth led development can have. Using the skills, talents and passion of young people to make a change in a way that is long lasting and will actually change perceptions and policies is a way of working I always want to have at the forefront of my mind.
Temi says: “Being in Zambia with Restless Development gave me a new perspective that I don’t think I would have gained otherwise”