Most development organisations want people with development experience - but how do you get that experience in the first place? Luckily I came across Trade Aid advertising for positions in Mikindani for motivated people with transferable skills, and before I knew it I was on a plane to Tanzania in May 2006. For my first nine months I worked as Education Supervisor, and in March 2007 I took up the role as Programme Director.
“Living and working in Mikindani is a real experience. It is at the same time exhilarating, refreshing, infuriating and beautiful!”
Every day is different, with challenges along the way. Whether it be cycling round the village having meetings with prospective loan groups, meeting with government officials to discuss fishing regulations, organising business training courses, delivering books to local schools as part of our mobile library, transporting beehives to help our beekeeping group or simply trying to send documents to UK via a slow internet connection and variable electricity supply. All in a day's work in Mikindani! Speaking a basic level of conversational Swahili is a real must if you want to integrate in the local community, as people here speak limited English. I also quickly realised that the local knowledge of our Tanzanian employees is absolutely invaluable in implementing our projects and without them we would be nowhere. Thank you so much Ally Masudi and Mika Mambo!
Mikindani is a beautiful place. But the thing that makes it special is the people and the community. People want to learn new skills and use this knowledge to earn money so that they can offer their children more opportunities in the future. Working to assist this progression is both humbling and rewarding.
Trade Aid gave me the opportunity to take my first steps in a career in development, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I hope that my work over the two year period will have benefited Trade Aid's projects and in someway improved the lives of people in Mikindani. With this experience under my belt I will return to UK in July 2008 and start a Masters in Development Finance at IDPM, Manchester. I will most definitely come back as a visitor, and Mikindani will always have a place in my heart of its own.
Trade Aid Education Supervisor, May 2006 – February 2007
Trade Aid Programme Director, March 2007 – current