Tuesday 11 August 2009

So what's it all about?

Work permits etc permitting I am off to India as a volunteer with VSO sometime in early November. In effect I shall be based in Rayagada, working as an Organisational Development Advisor for an Indian NGO called Shakti, which carries out projects within the rural communities in Orissa State.

Shakti carries out projects in a number fields including self help group management and micro credit, water and santitation, mother and child health, HIV/AIDs, child labour rehabilitation, women's income generation activies.

Within these, Shakti works to build capacity of community representation, womens representation and empowerment, developing micro plans and creating sustainable secure livelihood options.

However, Shakti have a high turnover of staff/local volunteers and lack the back office systems to affect quality programme delivery. And that's where VSO comes in. VSO volunteers will share their business systems and organisational practice learning with Shakti staff and so help build up Shakti's capacity to deliver. Specifically there is a lack of a way to take information from projects and to reuse this for strategic planning, programme planning, marketing and fundraising.

This is the first time VSO has worked with Shakti and I will be the first and, at least initially, the only VSO volunteer there. - which means I will be the only VSO volunteer in Rayagada! I'm sure that will generate a bit of interest for everyone concerned.

As the countdown gathers momentum towards November departure I'll be posting here about preparations, then arrival and training in Delhi and eventually the India crossing to Rayagada and then full on blogging about my improessions and activities.


  1. Wow - being the only representative will be exciting in a trailblazing kind of way, and yet nervewracking at the same time I imagine. Lucky for you you have the support of all your friends in the virtual world to help you along the way! I'll be tuning in.

  2. Tx Molly much appreciated. I've been the first person in a country for a company before in my working life so hopefully that will help. But you are spot on about the balance between trailblazing and being a nervous wreck! I am also hoping some of my friends will be coming to visit me in person - so eating dinner in the local Indian restaurant will take on a whole new meaning!