As part of the EUAV initiative, ACTED is deploying skilled EU citizens as volunteers to support ongoing missions. Eleonore and Niamh are two such volunteers who have recently begun working in Tajikistan.
Tajikistan is the most impoverished nation in Central Asia, rich in water resources but prone to natural disasters and highly at risk due to climate change, which affects it both environmentally and economically. The EU Volunteers working with ACTED in Tajikistan aim to bring support the NGO’s projects to prevent natural disasters and help the country adapt to the challenges that climate change brings, while fostering opportunities for sustainable and inclusive disaster risk reduction and the development of the country.
After 6 months in Tajikistan, I can say I have gone beyond the wonderment of the first months to discover Tajikistan, its culture, its people, in more depth. It has helped me do work that is more applicable, taking into account beneficiaries’ everyday lives, which are so far from mine.
Eleonore has been working with ACTED as an Integrated Natural Resources Management volunteer for six months. She is part of the field team working together with the local communities on improving the management of natural resources. These changes will reduce the risk of mudflows within mountainous regions in northern Tajikistan. One aspect of her work involves a pilot project in Watershed Dialogues to encourage change in the way people use water. It is unique in Tajikistan and will be continued during the second phase of the project, beginning in July.
In the end, volunteer job is no more “exotic” or ”adventurous” than any other job but our big opportunity is to be able to grasp our job impact on peoples’ life: it is a key motivation for me.
Building the capacity of rural communities to prevent natural disasters, through the improved management of natural resources, and promoting local mechanisms for the efficient administration of water resources are key elements of the work in Tajikistan. ACTED works through a varied approach to tackle this and other issues, empowering local people and striving for sustainable change.
I think that it is rewarding to see the changes, large and small, that we are helping communities to achieve. I find it very motivating to work in such a dynamic environment where I can directly contribute to improving quality of life for people here.
Niamh began working in the ACTED mission in Tajikistan in February, but with a different role. She works within the Monitoring and Evaluation unit to analyse the progress of ongoing projects, to support upcoming proposals and to assess the outcomes of the finished programmes. She is also involved in sharing knowledge of the best practices and lessons learned as well as engaging with local populations on their perception of and involvement within ACTED’s activities. One of her upcoming tasks is with the ELMARL project, which focuses on enabling knowledge sharing between farmers. By developing short videos on problems facing farmers and the practical solutions to address these issues, farmers in Tajikistan can learn from each other’s successes and improve their farming methods and land management.
I feel like I am utilising my skills and creating beneficial resources for ACTED while also learning a great deal from my work and colleagues about the organisation and Tajikistan, and what life is like for people here.
The European Union Aid Volunteers (EUAV) programme offers young European citizens the opportunity to contribute to missions in the field by joining a NGO affiliate. In partnering with ACTED, the programme places skilled volunteers within field assignments, with a specific focus on addressing disaster risks for communities. Empowering local people is extremely important for ACTED to ensure sustainable and beneficial changes. In these countries, the volunteers apply their knowledge and provide practical support to the local teams. Their work directly impacts projects by supporting the most vulnerable populations, strengthening the local capacity and building the resilience of disaster-affected communities. At the same time, the EUAVs also have the opportunity to engage with new ideas and new people and to experience a new culture.
Currently, ACTED has seven EUAVs deployed across different missions of the organisation including Cambodia, Senegal or Tajikistan. They work in a diverse range of positions such as Research and Development, Communications and Project Development. Be sure to follow their journeys and learn more about their work in-country on Facebook here!