-Modified from original post on 2Way Development’s South Asia blog–
I worked with Shaishav between May 2011 and December 2012, originally coming for a 6-month placement through 2Way Development, a UK-based volunteer agency. Once this original period had ended I extended my stay for another 6 months, and then another 6 months after that. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more useful and more rewarding experience.
My time with Shaishav was spent working on a wide variety of different communications, documentation and fundraising projects. This has included regular and ongoing small tasks along with major one-off projects. One of my biggest projects was the co-writing of a major report documenting the processes and history of Balsena, Shaishav’s children’s collective, since it’s inauguration in 2003. Another was the analysis and write-up of a baseline survey covering almost 20,000 children in Bhavnagar. This involved cleaning up the data, organising it into tables, analysing the results and writing up the findings.
These major projects were supplemented by various smaller tasks. One of the most regular of these tasks was writing the quarterly and half-yearly progress reports required by most of Shaishav’s funders. Another was preparing various funding proposals to provide future funding for Shaishav’s work. In order to diversify Shaishav’s funding base to include individual private donations along with a small number of large institutional funding sources, I registered Shaishav with GlobalGiving UK, and successfully navigated the organisation through the Gateway Challenge, raising £2,500 in a month and resulting in a permanent presence for Shaishav on GlobalGiving UK’s website.
My time included work on various different promotional materials, including writing and assisting in the design of brochures for Shaishav and Balsena, preparing the organisation’s 2010-11 Annual Report, improving the website’s contents and design and creating Shaishav’s presence on Facebook. I assisted in the preparation work for a major external review of Shaishav’s work, undertaken in 2011. Finally, I represented Shaishav at a national level project partner meeting for one of our funding organisations in Madhya Pradesh, and supervised the work of other international volunteers.
When I originally came to Shaishav I was just out of university with very little practical overseas experience. My time with Shaishav gave me a strong grounding in many of the roles and responsibilities of development work, and has definitely been a life-altering experience. I am sure that the skills that I have developed through Shaishav will be an excellent grounding for my future employment, and I have developed a great love for India and it’s people. I hope I will have plenty of opportunities to come back to Shaishav and Bhavnagar.