Raphaël: EU AID VOLUNTEER

Raphaël, 28 years old, French

Back in Ecuador for a new adventure

Going back to a country you loved is a very nice feeling. Going back to set up a new project on a very interesting theme is also a good perspective. I did not hank a lot before taking the decision to come back to Ecuador.

I am Raphaël, I am 28 years old. It’s my second time in Ecuador and I am working with communities in our project. After 2 years working in NGO in the Educational sector in South America, I am very happy to work with adults and communities. This is lot of new things and challenges for me.

         Twice in Ecuador, different volunteering

We are working on lot of different interesting things related to our project: Risk Management of Natural Disaster in Ecuador. I am learning a lot on all the risks existing in Ecuador (earthquakes, landslides, floodings, volcanic activity…) and try integrating those risks into people’s mind so that they can build strategies to face them.

To do so I’m learning a lot on new topics such as construction, emergency plan (for schools, families…). To carry out this work I take advantage of the knowledge people have in my team. The meetings we are organizing with people are very interesting for me and for the people. It’s a lot about understanding their perception of the risks that exist in the place they live and try to raise up questions in order to increase their knowledge and preparation. Each time, I realize that the knowledge already exists in the community and its more about sharing it and organizing all the resource that are around. I am just here to try to organize the things and make everyone participate.

For me these things represent a strong apprenticeship. It’s always about understanding people life’s and perception of problems that we can act on it. I can’t impose my way of seeing the problems or my methods to solve them. As our project is at a long-term scale, one of the challenge is to make people interested in it. In the communities I am working people have more short-term worries and priorities (food, daily life…). So, we try to be as innovative as possible for making the topic as interesting as possible. By working in small group, enhancing people knowledge and participation we are doing a good job. We are able to meet amazing personalities that have a lot to share with the rest of the community.

   An invaluable experience with lots of new learning

It’s also a good experience to meet all the leaders of the communities and have their perception of the country, the government and the problems that are facing the people.

This experience is giving me a lot for the time to come. Learning to work with adults and other NGO requires flexibility, being able to multi task, and to study various topics. At the beginning I thought I wanted absolutely to work on project with kids and teenagers but more and more I am really appreciating the work in community and with people of all generations.