In this article Sian Easton reflects on her time spent with the TCW as part of the Vodafone World of Difference Award (VWoD)
The two months I have spent working at The Converging World (TCW) have been two incredible months. While my placement may not have followed the exact path that had initially been drawn out for it, my time with TCW has allowed me to really assist a wonderful charity in their mission to create a more sustainable and equitable world for all, and that is rather exciting. This has been a jam-packed couple of months with lots of hard work, wonderful people, great causes, and even a semi-naked photo-shoot thrown in. Most of all though it has been a great experience where I have been able to really give something back and make a difference. From day one TCW worked to ensure that both the charity and their volunteers got the very best out of the 2 months. A few of the things I think that were especially well done:
- During my application to VWoD, TCW designed a project that would meet the needs of their charity but that would also fit with my own personal interests. They were extremely keen for the volunteer, as well as the charity to get something out of the placement.
- Throughout my placement I had daily contact with the TCW team and had meetings and feedback sessions regularly. This helped ensure that the staff were aware of the work I was doing throughout the placement, that I was able to get feedback from the rest of the team and that ideas could be exchanged on a regular basis. I always felt I had the support of the team.
- Volunteers were included in meetings and brainstorm sessions. This meant we were able get really stuck in to all aspects of the work TCW was doing. This also meant volunteers were able to keep up to date on what was going on around them.
- The staff were open to new ideas.
- Staff provided help and assistance throughout the two months.
When planning our next assignment, the TCW staff always discussed things through with us.
- Volunteers were always able to be part of the decision making process.
Conclusions and reflections/ Overall Reflections on the two months:
I really have had a brilliant time working at The Converging World. Due to the support given by the wonderful TCW team, I shall leave feeling that I really have managed to make a difference. These two months have allowed me to apply my skills, experience and time to assisting TCW change lives across the globe. Before starting my placement, my main hope for the two months was simply that I would be able to help TCW. It turns out that it is not hard to give 110% if you are working with incredible people for an incredible cause. If I could do it all again, I would jump at the chance.I have learnt a great deal during my placement, including how to use new computer programs and the best ways to pose semi-naked behind a solar cooker. Quite honestly it has been a really invaluable experience and has left me feeling rather inspired. So while my placement here at TCW may be over, I am not going anywhere yet. I am now planning to move down to Bristol permanently, continue volunteering with TCW and get involved in as much as I can. The VWoD program has allowed me to have an impact on the work TCW is doing, and has left a huge impact on my life and the way I am looking at my future. A really superb program!