International Volunteers Day- Reasons to Volunteer

I’m an EU Aid Volunteer from Durham in the UK. I’ve recently moved to Jordan to support gender mainstreaming in humanitarian action with Alianza por la Solidaridad, as a senior EU Aid volunteer in project monitoring and evaluation.

As an EU Aid volunteer, we undergo a two- week (rather intense!) training period, covering everything from project cycle management, EU institutions and cultural awareness, to security in the field, psychological first aid and training from European paramilitary organisations. It really is such an interesting, unique, if not slightly unexpected experience.

In February 2020, I was deployed as a Junior EUAV in a similar role in Tarkeshwore, Nepal, to support gender empowerment projects with Volunteers Initiative Nepal. As luck would have it, after only one month of fieldwork the situation in Europe worsened with the global pandemic, and we were brought back to Europe where we began working from home. Fortunately, with the EUAV programme, once you have completed and passed the training you are then entered into a pool of applicants, in which many opportunities are shared on a monthly basis for deployment. When the situation with coronavirus calmed down in Europe in August, many opportunities became active again under the initiative, including the one that I’m currently deployed in!

Since I’ve only been in Jordan for a few weeks now- unfortunately most of them spent in quarantine- I decided to speak to the lovely Nardin, a field officer in APS Jordan, and find out a little more about why she began volunteering. She told me about her experience so far.

Nardin Mahamid, APS Jordan

My name is Nardin Mahamid; I’m a field officer in Alianza por la Solidaridad Jordan, based in Amman. I started volunteering at the beginning of 2020 in January as a translator After volunteering for 5 months, I accepted a new role as a field officer, in which I manage my own projects. This involves supported needs assessments for the most vulnerable cases for Syrian and Jordanian women in two governorates in Jordan, preparing and submitting reports, organising the logistical issues during the delivery of trainings and distributing hygiene kits to the most vulnerable women.

I wanted to partake in humanitarian work to support the most vulnerable people in our society such as Syrian refugees and other vulnerable communities, and to contribute to the empowerment of women to help them gain their rights. I also wanted to gain experience in the humanitarian field whilst applying for job vacancies, since I started volunteering right after graduating.

Nardin distributing hygiene kits as part of an APS project in Irbid, JordanI love volunteering, I always thought I would enjoy it. Since starting with APS, I’ve had support that allowed me to dive deep in the humanitarian field- I’ve really learned a lot from this experience, despite projects being affected by the global pandemic. We started working remotely and many tasks were postponed due to Covid-19 unfortunately. As a volunteer, I wanted to be in the field more and be more involved with the people, so hopefully I will have the chance to do this again soon.

My favourite part of volunteering is gaining a lot of experience, learning new skills, meeting new people and being in the field. As a result, in September 2020 I started undertaking a course in project cycle management, because I wanted to improve my skills and work as a project manager. If you’re thinking about volunteering, I would say go ahead and do it because it’s a great experience, and can lead to many great professional and personal opportunities!