Introducing... Leanne March 16 2017

At the beginning of the 2017 we welcomed Leanne to the EdUKaid team. Here is her story. 

So I’m coming to the end of my first couple of months as a Programme Assistant at EdUKaid, an education charity which works to improve the education prospects of children in one of the poorest regions in rural Tanzania.

Why I’m doing a placement year

When I first started university, I was on the fence about a placement year. I was going into further education after a year out already, and to be honest I wasn’t 100% sure on the idea of still paying (admittedly reduced) tuition fees to work, when surely that’s what I’d be doing when I graduate anyway? But after two years at university it became abundantly clear that it was something that would hugely benefit my employability after graduation.

While I love my course, and being able to explore different theories of development and figure out what interests me and what I hope to specialise in, is fantastic, working in the industry has been a real eye-opener to the kind of skills you need in addition to the theory to be employable in the development sector. University is designed to prepare you for the real world, and taking the opportunity to test the waters so to speak, while still having the University to support you is a great way to do that. So to anyone reading this who is considering a year in industry I can’t recommend it enough!

My role

Because EdUKaid is dedicated to keeping overhead costs low, Programme Director Teresa has taken over the day to day running of EdUKaid in the UK, and as Programme Assistant my role is to support her in any way I can! This changes day-to-day, in the morning I can be researching links between primary education and economic development, and in the afternoon I can be drafting a proposal letter for DFID funding. Because it’s just the two of us alongside the Chair of Trustees, there’s a fair amount of responsibility.

Of course it’s not just us here in the UK! In order to ensure that development is sustainable, it’s incredibly important that the community take ownership of the projects and adapt them to be as localised and effective as possible. This is key to EdUKaid’s ethos and so we’re incredibly lucky to be working with a committed and capable team on the ground in Tanzania who provide us with an abundance of information and research which helps to shape our policy.

So far

This is an incredibly exciting time for EdUKaid, we’re going through a bit of a restructure, trying to formalise our strategic plan for the next few years and focus on maximising our effectiveness. We’re also starting to expand our project reach into inclusive education, which is an incredibly exciting project to take on, and so crucial to community development. 

I’ve already had the opportunity to meet with people from various organisations in Development, such as ADD and the Salisbury Soroptomists, I’m attending the British Foreign Schools Society AGM in London. Working with EdUKaid has already provided some fantastic experience, as well as amazing networking opportunities, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this placement has in store!

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