A bit of everything as volunteer in coordination in Ecuador

                                                                Cristina Po, Pedernales, 2018

As volunteer in project management and coordination, one can say that I, Cristina Po, do a bit of everything. I work together with the project manager, Andrea Cuisana, in giving support to all the teams, consolidating the information of their work and making sure the project is following the established steps and is going in the right direction. Apart from report writing, skype calls and many meetings, there are also some specific activities which I develop in the field of coordination.

On one hand, there are the visits to the different cities. Up until very recently, there were teams working in five cities apart from Quito: Pedernales, Atacames, Portoviejo, Cuenca and Ambato. We divided the visits between the coordination team in Quito and I went to visit Portoviejo with Paola (the director of the Foundation) and Pedernales alone.

In Portoviejo we met with the team to establish what had to be done before closing the project in that city: contacting all the actors they had worked with and some final activities with the communities. Moreover, we worked with them on a framework for a final report, where they had to present the needs assessment of the communities, the context (social, economical and cultural), all the actors they had worked with, the activities they had done, and the results accompanied by the indicators and sources of verification.

Travel to different cities

A few weeks later I went to visit Pedernales, where the team had been working together with ADRA and UNICEF in the community of Mache on a project which involved constructing a clean water source and capacity building activities on the proper use of water and the importance of maintaining these water sources. My visit coincided with the inauguration of this water source so I was able to attend the event, where the team was formally thanked by the community and given a plaque (see photograph). I ended up staying in Pedernales for a week, so I was able to accompany the team to another community, Nuevo Pedernales, to witness their work with the AVC workshops, which consist in analysing, together with the population, the hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities of the community. During the week, we also worked together on developing a working plan for the following months, to be able to plan ahead have a more structured working plan.

On the other hand, I also work together with the team in Quito in the different projects we are developing. For example, my colleague Rita, who is in charge of investigation and research, approached me to see if I wanted to participate in the creation and opening of a semi-permanent exhibition in the city of Ambato, giving support in coordination and logistics. We would work in collaboration with the NGO NEO and the exhibition would revolve around the natural hazards in Ambato, previous natural disasters such as the earthquake of 1949 and promoting a culture of prevention and resilience. We have been working on this for the last two weeks now, and my job involves coordination of the different actors working in the exhibit, make sure everybody knows what is happening and what their tasks are and to ensure we are on track.

So far, I am enjoying my job very much and I am looking forward to see how these activities and projects develop in the next months.