Volunteer stories: Rachel's story
Rachel Bown – Assistant to the Director of Programmes and Operations
Photo of Rachel on her last day in the SEED Madagascar office.
Prior to joining the SEED Madagascar team in Madagascar I graduated University in the summer (2:1 from Portsmouth in International Development) and then worked various temporary jobs whilst living at home looking for my first overseas or London-based Development job.
I hoped to gain hands-on experience of Development projects and programmes to supplement my academic understanding; it is almost-impossible to get a job on the back of a development degree without overseas experience. I also realised it was an opportunity to live in a completely unique part of the world.
I gained all of the above and more. I learnt the real ebb and flow of life on the ground in an overseas organisation, the highs and lows. I learnt more about myself, as well as what I want from a career in Development. I gained friends and some of the happiest memories!
Nothing can understate the sheer beauty/paradise of Tolagnaro and Madagascar as a whole. Its honestly one of the world’s hidden gems. It was always so satisfying to see the impact of projects, and the well-deserved gratification when donors realise this and commit funding. My expose to the commitment and dedication of the local staff team was truly special – you realise your impact is temporary compared to their bottomless commitment. The lifestyle isn’t bad either – lunch on the beach, weekends on the beach, learning to surf, plenty of parties, cheap food and drink, road trips…..
After leaving Madagascar, I came back to the UK, lived at home, put money back in the bank and began the search for Development jobs in London. This took 6 months but eventually I landed a fantastic job in DFID working on Deployments of Experts to areas of conflict and instability in Africa. I couldn’t have landed this without SEED Madagascar on my CV and being able to talk about all the various experiences it gave me.