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Volunteer stories: Jon's story

Jon Bird – Livelihoods Advisor and Capacity Builder

Jon Bird

Before SEED Madagascar, I worked for the British Red Cross and studied a masters in development and livelihoods. I learned a lot from these experiences, but I knew it was important for me to gain first-hand experience working on livelihoods projects in order to understand the practical reality of livelihoods programming and to move on in the field.

I took up a role as Livelihoods Advisor and Capacity Builder for SEED Madagascar. This job was a rare opportunity for me to get direct experience working on livelihoods projects overseas. I was given real responsibility for significant programme design tasks, which helped me to develop key technical skills in this field. Having the opportunity to see programme activities being delivered at first hand also gave me a clear understanding of what implementation is about at the coal face and helped me build the skills I needed to contribute towards it.

After finishing my work at SEED Madagascar, I went on to work for a major livelihoods programme in Bangladesh (and then to work on Value Chain Development programming for the UN International Labour Organisation). My time at SEED Madagascar was an invaluable learning experience and was instrumental in getting these roles and ensuring I had the skills to do them well.