The work of an EU Aid Volunteer

The work of an EU Aid Volunteer with Alianza is extremely diverse which allows for a wide variety of learning opportunities and the ability to contribute in many different areas. Like myself, one can spend days quietly in the mountains becoming versed on the destructive capacity of the Scolytinae. Commonly referred to as the bark beetle, this tiny insect has been a major threat to the livelihoods of Haitian coffee farmers.

The following week one can be working on crowd management as you are processing several hundred people a day who are anxiously waiting to be registered to receive humanitarian assistance after the passage of a hurricane. The diversity of experiences requires a high degree of flexibility, patience, collaboration and perhaps most importantly, a sense of humor to deal with the often challenging work environment.

The success of a project is by no means guaranteed, therefore, developing a strong relationship with your colleagues and members of the local community is critical to accomplishing the mission. The knowledge and understanding of the local staff is invaluable in grasping the political and cultural intricacies within the community that one is working with. These relationships may decide the ease and perhaps also the success or failure of the given project.

Wether studying insects or distributing humanitarian assistance, the experiences had as an EU Aid Volunteer are profoundly transformative and the relationships made enduring. One realizes quickly that the very essence of volunteering is mutual exchange and understanding which will indelibly change those involved.


Eric Adrien