Ever since I was in my early 20’s I have wanted to work in development. But getting into development is tough, people tell you to get practical experience, to get a masters, to learn another language, get a skill or trade, to forget about a skill get policy knowledge, to volunteer, to network.
There is no clear path in which to take – I worked for several different charities in the UK and eventually back in 2012 I decided I wanted to get practical experience in a developing country so applied to volunteer through VSO, and after a fast 5 months was on my way to Zambia.
I guess when I first came out to Zambia I had all of these idealistic ideas about how it would be, how I would be able to help, the experiences I would have, the difference I could make and over the past three years in two different organisations my perception has changed a lot.
We get a lot of requests from people who want to volunteer at Tiny Tim & Friends, and I am always fearful that they wont get what they want, that they have the same idealistic views I had and for short term volunteers wont be able to achieve what they set out to.
So for those people who are thinking they would like to volunteer for Tiny Tim & Friends or work in development in general – here are my top bits of advice (Please note these are all my own opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of TTF).