MY LIFE CHANGING VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE8th February 2016 was a life changing day for me. I began a new journey having been given the opportunity to volunteer at International Transformation Foundation (ITF), a reputable youth nonprofit organization in Nairobi. When I got to ITF’s offices that Monday morning, I had no idea what great opportunities lay before me. I was determined to make the best out of the opportunity and I began by setting goals for myself. Through my time as a volunteer, I got to learn so much and grow as a person and it was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. Here are some of my highlights:
JOIN THE PIPE PROJECTOne of my favorite moments as a volunteer was impacting lives through Join the Pipe Project. Through this project, I got to visit various places in the country, distributing water bottles to children in marginalized communities so that they no longer have to risk their health by drinking unsafe water from their hands. The bottles are made from BPA Plastic which is friendly to the environment and they have a unique design that children would love. The feeling of seeing those beautiful children with a smile on their faces after receiving their bottles was so priceless and it’s something I’ll always treasure.
WORKSHOPS AND CONFERENCESBeing a volunteer at ITF opened up the doors for me to attend various workshops and conferences that broadened my knowledge on various topics, taught me networking skills and boosted my confidence. Being a fresh graduate with not much work experience, attending these conferences opened my eyes to different solutions to various challenges especially concerning the youth. Some of the memorable conferences I attended were; TICAD IV Conference as a youth delegate, AIDEX Africa Conference and ‘Maji ni Ustawi’ Conference.
A TRIP TO BOLOGNA, ITALYThis has to be my most memorable moment. I had never gone beyond Kenyan borders, let alone even thought of having a passport before this. When the opportunity came to launch a new project that will boost youth employability in Kenya, my boss Venuste Kubwimana forwarded my name to the ITF board and I was chosen together with two of my colleagues to represent ITF on a 10 day conference on the BEE (Building Empowering Environment for Youth Employability) project. The project, organized by You Net brought together 13 countries from 4 continents to come up with working solutions to the global challenge of youth unemployment. I got to meet people from all over the world, build lasting friendships, be part of the solution of youth unemployment and also tour the beautiful Italy.
SOCIAL MEDIABefore I started volunteering at ITF, I underestimated the power of social media. After being entrusted with the running ITF’s social media, I had to learn how to use social media professionally and also how to make use of the different social media platforms. That helped me rebrand myself on social media as well and take up social media as a passion. Due to my volunteer experience, I now run social media pages for a few organizations and am proud to say that I grew from it.
FUNDRAISINGThe toughest challenge for me in the role of International Relations Assistant volunteer was fundraising. This was one role that often put me in a tough position with my boss especially during Monday morning meetings. However, challenges excite me and I never gave up writing proposals, making applications and hoping one would work out. During that process, my writing skills greatly improved and my general knowledge on what donors expect was broadened. Better still, I managed to raise almost 5000 US Dollars thanks to The Pollination Project who believed in me and funded two of my proposals. One of the proposals they funded was the construction of a Join the Pipe Tap Station at Uhuru Park which now serves over 3000 Nairobi residents weekly. They also funded the construction of a Join the Pipe Tap Station at Patriana Educational Centre, a primary school in ‘Makongeni’ area that faces the challenge of lack of access to clean water.