The concept of volunteering has been strong since the inception of TASTE. Our first field worker, Andy McMillen, was a volunteer. He must be credited with getting things started in Nigeria. Then there was Kathryn who helped in the office in Sheffield. She’s been followed by a host of friendly volunteers who have stayed between two days (Song) and two years (David). Each of them making a valuable contribution in their own field. And should we count the partners of our CEO & Trustees? They are non-volunteers who contribute so much to the work of TASTE!
In Nigeria, volunteering is an everyday activity, as potential staff work as a volunteer to demonstrate their abilities to a prospective employer. Whenever a UK Trustee visits Jos, they ask the same question, “Who are these people waiting in the office?” Each time the answer is the same, “Oh, they are volunteers”. Actually, in Nigeria, it’s a great way to evaluate new staff – Grace, Yop and Julie initially all served with us as volunteers.
More recently, Andrew has volunteered to support the drilling team with his plumbing skills. Although his stay was cut short, we are receiving reports from the field that the drilling team really benefitted from his presence. And we don’t mean that they learned how to eat anything that moved, which seemed to be Andrew’s philosophy! The feedback is that the team are working together more effectively and that their organisation has improved. Whether we like it or not, an ex-pat has much more credibility than a local manager. And, for potential volunteers, that’s the key thing to remember – your contribution will be taken very seriously and people will be so grateful that you’ve given up your time to work with them.
TASTE volunteering is in its infancy but we have established a few principles.
1. We aim to support volunteers in just the same way as if they were paid members of staff.
2. We expect volunteers to match the work standards of our paid staff.
3. Volunteers have to be responsible for the full cost of their trip – although we will help as much as we can in fundraising. We encourage volunteers to actively involve their friends or church in funding their trip.
4. Travel cannot be undertaken without appropriate travel insurance.
5. To ensure you are well looked after, volunteers will be under the management and control of our team co-ordinator, Tim Danchal, throughout their time in Nigeria, even if they are seconded to a partner organisation.
6. Volunteers can only travel after their ‘application’ (usually an interview with UK Trustees) has been approved in UK and Nigeria.
7. TASTE reserves the absolute right not to accept a volunteer offer for any reason.
CURRENT VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES
The TASTE team in Jos are keen to hear from anyone who would like to spend time with them.
Any skills would be welcomed but we would love to hear from an administrator or a plumber to take Andrew’s role supporting the drilling team.
If you are interested, call Steve on 0114 273 7880.
LONGER TERM WORK WITH TASTE
As we develop our new site in Jos, we are keen to include a workshop for our vehicles. more on this