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Six things ICS staff around the world pledge to do in 2019

Meet Oliver, Nicholaus, Yvonne, Feroze, Alex and Hassan – six members of the ICS team. From Nigeria to Bangladesh, they're delivering our programmes on the ground. Find out their stories – and what 2019 holds for them.

ICS volunteer Julius Ayella takes photos of the ICS launch event in Hoima, Uganda
© Daniel Grabowy
ICS volunteer Julius Ayella takes photos of the ICS launch event in Hoima, Uganda
Ugandan project officer Oliver poses for a photo
"ICS volunteers have taught me to be sensitive to people’s needs and ideas," said Oliver, pictured

Uganda

Oliver Namusisi

Programme Officer
Restless Development, Jinja, Uganda
1 year with ICS

Tell us one part of your day-to-day job

Part of my role involves taking a lead in planning and implementing the ICS programme in Jinja. I identify host homes for volunteers to stay in during their placement and I’m responsible for their safety and welfare during the 12 weeks they spend with us.

What projects will ICS volunteers be working on in 2019?

In Uganda, ICS volunteers work on youth sexual reproductive health and rights. They’ll be holding community events such as health days, talks, dramas, intergenerational dialogues – in partnership with local government departments and health workers.

What have ICS volunteers taught you?

ICS volunteers have taught me to be sensitive to people’s needs and ideas. They always look up to me as someone who is able to provide them with solutions to their challenges, so I’ve had to become innovative – and I’ve learnt to work with people from totally different backgrounds!

Name one personal resolution you’re making this year?

My New Year’s Resolution is to study Project Planning and Management – I want to develop my capacity building in 2019 so I can work efficiently in my ICS role and achieve more milestones!

Two volunteers sit in a classroom and talk
© ICS / Andrew Aitchison
ICS volunteers in Tanzania will help women-led businesses to grow
Tanzanian project officer Nicholaus stands by a blackboard
"In 2019 I'm going to surround myself with people who are really knowledge about project planning," said Nicholaus

Tanzania

Nicholaus Jackson Ambwene

Project Officer
VSO, Iringa, Tanzania
1.5 years with ICS

Tell us one part of your day-to-day job

Supporting the volunteers in their daily work is a big part of my role. I help them with their daily placement activities, such as working with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and make sure that the training we’ve given them is being used to its full advantage!

What projects will ICS volunteers be working on in 2019?

I’m a Project Officer on VSO’s T-LED (Tanzania Local Enterprise Development) project in the Iringa region. Volunteers support SMEs to overcome social and economic barriers through improving their market knowledge – and also help women-led businesses to grow and access finance.

What have ICS volunteers taught you?

I actually started as an ICS volunteer in 2017! Now in my role, I enjoy working with fellow young people in making positive changes in communities. It’s increased my leadership, team work, and communication skills as well as having opened up new ways of living, learning and networking!

Name one personal resolution you’re making this year?

It’s a career one – to learn more about project planning and management. In 2019 I’m going to surround myself with people who are really knowledge about it – but also by reading up, researching and finding out things for myself from different sources of information.

The local matatus (buses) and boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) transport commuters to work in Machakos, Kenya
© Lukasz Wiktorowicz
The local matatus (buses) and boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) transport commuters to work in Machakos, Kenya
Project officer Yvonne stands inside a VSO office
"ICS has taught me discover what I love to do most and do it to my best ability," said Yvonne

Kenya

Yvonne Komora

Project Officer
VSO, Oloitoktok, Kenya
6 years with ICS

Tell us one part of your day-to-day job

Organising the team so they’re able to cope living in a host home, in the team and in the community. I’m constantly networking with potential partners and looking for ways that our team can make an impact, as well as making sure each member of the team gets the best chance to be an active citizen.

What projects will ICS volunteers be working on in 2019?

Volunteers will be working on girl empowerment projects – helping build their confidence and improving their decision-making skills through peer education. They’ll be showing them how to conserve energy and water so they can spend more time out of the house and in education.

What have ICS volunteers taught you?

ICS has taught me discover what I love to do most and do it to my best ability – and that is mentoring and empowering the youth. Most important of all, ICS has taught me to be myself and not fear sharing my thoughts on the many issues that affect the communities that I work in.

Name one personal resolution you’re making this year?

One resolution for me this year is to link five of the girls I have mentored with the networks that I have formed. Many girls in Oloitoktok don’t have someone to guide them professionally and looking out for each other goes a long way in bringing the change we want to see.

ICS volunteers in northern Bangladesh meet with young people as part of a campaign on early marriage
© VSO/Qamruzzaman
ICS volunteers in northern Bangladesh meet with young people as part of a campaign on early marriage
Feroze Ahmed poses for a photo against a blue backdrop
"This year I want to do my best to make our in-country orientation as innovative and friendly as possible," said Feroze

Bangladesh

Feoze Ahmed

Project Coordinator
VSO, Khulna, Bangladesh
1 year, 9 months with ICS

Tell us one part of your day-to-day job

My role is really varied so it’s hard to choose! I’m involved with making sure our safeguarding is robust, providing technical guidance on project implementation to our ICS teams in the south of the country and all of the reports and finance preparation that comes with the role.

What projects will ICS volunteers be working on in 2019?

Young people aged 18-35 make up a third of Bangladesh’s population of 160 million. ICS volunteers will help make sure young people are engaged with local governance so employment can be created and they become more aware of their sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR).

What have ICS volunteers taught you?

ICS has taught me how to understand team dynamics, the culture and practices of the UK volunteers, as well as the practicalities of running a programme like ICS – including how to make our projects as participatory as possible and making sure our volunteers’ wellbeing always comes first.

Name one personal resolution you’re making this year?

This year I want to do my best to make our in-country orientation – the stage of ICS where the UK and Bangladeshi volunteers come together for the first time – to be as innovative and friendly as possible, and make sure we’re not repeating anything at any stage of the process!

Zambian and UK volunteers jump together in a group photo
© VSO / Elina Eriksson
Volunteers will help fight HIV/AIDS and early marriage by advocating better health for young people
Project officer Alex poses in front of a map of Zambia
"ICS has given me a far more realistic idea of how development works," said Alex

Zambia

Alex Chitumbo

Project Officer
VSO, Samfya, Zambia
2 years, 5 months with ICS

Tell us one part of your day-to-day job

I’m now supporting my fifth cycle of ICS volunteers so I’ve seen a lot! But part of my role involves arranging suitable host homes for the volunteers to live in, helping these host parents understand what to expect from volunteers and resolving any issues that come up!

What projects will ICS volunteers be working on in 2019?

ICS volunteers will contribute their expertise towards the fight against HIV/AIDS, myths surrounding sexuality and early pregnancies and marriages by advocating for better sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people, so they can make free and informed choices about their health.

What have ICS volunteers taught you?

ICS has given me a far more realistic idea of how development works. I used to be overly idealistic and want the world to change overnight. Now, I realise that sustainable development takes time and hard work – I’m more realistic about the process.

Name one personal resolution you’re making this year?

Very simple – to get married this year!

Friends work together at a youth club run by ICS volunteers in Ilesa, Nigeria
© Ieva Vysniauskaite
Friends work together at a youth club run by ICS volunteers in Ilesa, Nigeria
Project officer Hassan talks with comunity members on the street
"ICS has taught me to be create, innovative and to have patience," said Hassan

Nigeria

Hassan Garba

Project Officer
VSO, Kwara, Nigeria
11 months with ICS

Tell us one part of your day-to-day job

I lead in implementing the projects on ICS placements alongside the team leaders and volunteers who will come to Kwara soon to work in communities here. My day-to-day involves making sure they’re healthy and safe and that we’re achieving the goals we set out to.

What projects will ICS volunteers be working on in 2019?

In Kwara, there are still problems with children receiving a basic education. Our ICS programmes here help create 'Inclusive Neighbourhood Spaces' for children, where they are able to teach basic literacy and numeracy and also soft skills like personal hygiene and public speaking.

What have ICS volunteers taught you?

ICS volunteers have taught me how to work with a diverse group of young people. I’ve learnt more about other cultures in Nigeria and also from the UK. I’ve learnt how to be more creative and innovative and use a wide range of our volunteers’ ideas. Oh, and lastly, how to be patient!

Name one personal resolution you’re making this year?

To be more focused, positive and think outside the box!

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ICS is funded by the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID) which leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty.

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