by Romina Oliverio
Published on: Oct 4, 2009
Type: Interviews

Maria joined NABUUR in early 2009; since then she has been involved as online project manager for a village in Uganda, and also supports other projects on the NABUUR platform. Maria shares with us a bit about herself, and her experiences with online volunteering.

"I am a graduate student in European politics, specialised in European development policy. I am currently working in the field of development policy dealing with issues of aid effectiveness and good governance. Originally from Germany, I studied in Lille/France and in London/UK and live now in France. Being a very international person, I have a very strong interest in international relations and international development policy. I have been to Mexico, but I would love to go one day to Africa and Asia.

"Online volunteering for Nabuur allows me to get in touch with people from very different backgrounds and countries and to get engaged with a local community in a developing country. Being a facilitator, that is to say a coordinator, for the village Wakitaka in Uganda has provided me with the possibility not only to develop jointly with the local representative a project that helps the youths of the village to generate income and to get out of poverty, but also to get a very deep insight into the Ugandan reality.

"When I was searching on the United Nations Online volunteering platform for suitable projects to become engaged with, the idea of Nabuur to facilitate a village and to become engaged in very different projects (opposed to very specific projects from other NGO´s) convinced me. I was very lucky to soon get in touch with Emmanuel, the local representative of Wakitaka.

"Online volunteering is a great way to make a difference while being at home and not travelling to Africa. You do not have to be a specialist in development, all kinds of skills are needed. Of course there are also some challenges – I had to get used to the idea that things move very slowly and that communications are often difficult due to limited internet access and black-outs. But things are moving, and my recompense was to read from the youths themselves what difference the projects in goat keeping, chicken, pig rearing and vegetable growing are making."

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