Opting out of ‘Business as Usual’

One of the planned 4400 EU Aid Volunteer trainees is Imelda Phadtare. "I'm originally from Australia but also a British citizen, qualifying me for the program. I’ve worked in Greece with refugees for the past year as Head, Humanitarian Response for ActionAid. When I saw the opportunity to become a climate change volunteer in Colombia, I was deeply inspired to act on-the-ground to answer the increasing impacts of global warming. Going off salary, speaking a second language and working in remote communities, I have no doubt this next 12-months will provide a huge return on investment in both my professional and personal life."


Post-conflict preparation

Imelda will be implementing climate change adaptation and ecosystem-based management initiatives in an impoverished community in a post-conflict situation. "Even though I have been an environmental practitioner for many years, this will be quite challenging because it’s the water-food-climate nexus along with health and gender issues so I’ll be looking to build capacities in a holistic way. The training was excellent as were the trainers and helped me to prepare for this role. I gained knowledge in local context assessment, problem analysis, project management, communications and train-the-trainer, as well as new topics in first-aid, safety and security. Further insights into the EU, DG ECHO, the minimum standards in disaster response, and the humanitarian principles enables me to be more confident in the field as an EU Aid Volunteer representative and hopefully better apply that knowledge." 


Earthquakes and kidnappings

The training consists of 12 modules, with a real-life scenario at the end. "These days really stood out; it was very realistic and we all made judgements errors. The trainers handled it well and positively." Carmelo Triolo, also one of the trainees, confirms: "The real-life case sticks in my mind. I've studied many years but now I have practical knowledge on what to do when an earthquake will occur or when there’ll be kidnappings. The trainers assisted us in a simple but clear way. I'm still on the reserve list to be placed in Ecuador, but this training was already very beneficial!"


Read more about the project on our website or get in touch with one of the trainers: Marie-José Niesten. If you want to become an EU Aid volunteer yourself, please visit their website and we hope to see you in one of the coming training programmes.