Do you want to want to spend time on the other side of the world, seeing how people in developing countries live, and doing something to ‘make a difference’? Do you want to get first-hand experience of grassroots development as you start a career in international development? Volunteer Voices is a guide for the critically minded volunteer and early career development worker. It is designed to help aspiring young change-makers engage with the complicated environment of international volunteering from a hands-on perspective that can help them to benefit and contribute as much as possible from the experience. Beyond technical expertise and factual knowledge, creating change comes largely from our own mind sets and attitudes.
By sharing stories, mistakes, and lessons learned in this collection of short stories, the book guides readers to reflect on their own work and how their own practice might improve. Each individual and experience is unique, and no blueprints are offered. Providing stories and concepts for reflection instead allows readers to consider how particular ideas relate to their own contexts and then to determine how to proceed. This process is crucial to the development of an effective volunteer, and this book provides practical support.
‘Incisive, insightful and honest. If you have the ambition to change the world, or your neighbourhood, this isn’t the book you want to read; it’s the book you need to read. In my two decades of working to change systems, the authors of this book come closest to a "how to" guide — radical openness, deep reflection and powerful questions to reflect on constantly.’
George Roter, former CEO and co-founder of Engineers Without Borders, Canada
‘McNicholls has surfaced reflections from authors we learn with, not just learn from. Their voices shine a light on usually hidden, and hard, lessons from volunteering – they will resonate. Prepare to laugh, cry, wince, think and reflect… and then to be able to make change better.’
Andrew Lamb, Innovation Advisor, Field Ready
‘This outstanding book asks the right questions, and is willing to explore hard answers that can lead to mutual respect and growth. It is a must read for the 21st century volunteer who wants to be more than the classical do-gooder.’
James Orbinski MD, former international president of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Co-Founder of Dignitas International, and Professor in Global Health, Balsille School of International Affairs, Waterloo Canada
‘An important book for anyone thinking about volunteering to work in another culture, and for those who are already there. It is about balancing help with humility, guarding against hubris, understanding the difference between ambition and responsibility and — for people in a hurry — getting to grips with the reality of time.’
Ian Smillie, author of Freedom From Want and Diamonds, former CUSO volunteer in Sierra Leone
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