Contributing to change through volunteerism?
24 Jun 2015
In my last post I raised a hope that something new and exciting will have started to happen for the project in the near future. Well, now an intern from France has joined me in Tanzania on the SkillsFAST project planning phase to help develop a business plan for Vikuruti and conduct market research. I decided to interview Elsa to give you an introduction on who she is.
Who are you?
I am Elsa, a curious person who always wants to learn new things and understand what is happening around her. I was born in Lyon and grew up in the suburbs of Paris. Having lived in an urban environment all my life, I was never really interested in rusticity or conserving the nature – until I started travelling. When I began to discover the world, I also began to appreciate the environment, which has since become a big part of my values and everyday life. I am also strongly determined to discover and understand all sides to it.
Where have you travelled before? Why?
After having completed my Bachelor’s degree in history and political science, I wanted to travel somewhere far away. I ended up spending five months in Australia exploring its beautiful scenery and various landscapes. After Australia I was presented with an opportunity to move to Italy, which I happily took. During my nine months in Italy, I learned a new language, improved my social abilities and finally became interested in environmental issues. Back in France, I decided to move from theory to action and therefore started a professional Master’s program in international humanitarian actions and management of NGOs.
What has been the most important thing you have done in life?
The most important thing I have done has been to change the way I think about life. My main goal in life used to be not to make mistakes or things that I could be blamed for. Nowadays I am more concerned with doing things the right way – not only avoiding the bad things but also actively doing the right thing.
Why did you choose to volunteer? Why Tanzania?
While working on my Master’s thesis on the eviction of indigenous peoples in Kenya in the name of conservation, I discovered Shalin. By exploring their website I quickly discovered that we share the same philosophies and values, and decided I wanted in on the action. The expected wide impacts, coherence of the initiative and the duplicability of the activities convinced me to join the SkillsFAST project. All the more so, I am glad the project took me to Tanzania since I had been keen on exploring it due to its amazing nature, cultural diversity and interesting history.
What do you hope to learn while in Tanzania?
I hope to develop professional skills in project implementation and management, to learn more about social reinsertion by agriculture and to increase my knowledge in sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and concrete, local and adaptable responses to universal challenges. I also want to learn the Swahili language. Furthermore, I wish to learn about the culture and everyday life of the Tanzanian people. I am willing to take in all the experiences that I can’t even expect or imagine yet.
What is your dream outcome for the project?
The dream result would be for the project to create a strong base for Vikuruti farm to launch from on its way to becoming a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable venture.