Today, we want to introduce you to a new series we call: Ask Alumni.
In this series Alumni from PROJECT-E will answer our interview questions about their volunteering experience at PE. This is going to be really interesting.
We are kicking off the series with Nadja Frercksen, a woman who has been with PROJECT-E both as member and Head of Department of PR, as well as Chairwoman. Thank you, Nadja.
In three words, how would you describe your experience as a volunteer at PROJECT-E?
Educational, rewarding, life-changing!
What was your most memorable experience with PROJECT-E?
Each project visit on the ground in Addis Ababa was so memorable – from my first three-months of volunteering to the short-term visits for the Management Board.
Seeing PROJECT-E grow over the years in the number of students we are able to educate and service we can deliver to make the training outstanding has been the greatest joy. Every visit made the great developments more tangible.
What do you think sets PROJECT-E apart from other “international aid” projects?
The team behind PROJECT-E in Europe and Ethiopia have an outstanding drive and energy that results from the very personal dedication to women empowerment and education! Moreover, nearly 100% of all donations reach the project directly since all the fundraising, PR and European administration is done on a voluntary basis. Last but not least, it is the long-term vision of PROJECT-E that aims at establishing some form of income-generating mechanism to finance the project at least to a certain extent in the future.
Why did you have to leave PROJECT-E?
I was involved in a management and team leading position for about three years, so it was time to make room for the next generation of PROJECT-E team leaders (it wasn’t an easy decision though!).
What are you doing right now professionally?
I am working in the field of international development cooperation (this career choice was definitely also influenced by my time at PROJECT-E).
Do you still follow PROJECT-E’s activities on Social Media or are involved in any way?
Yes, I follow PROJECT-E regularly on Facebook and Instagram. I am also happy to receive the newsletter once in a while, to get a more comprehensive summary of all the activities! From time to time I do provide some advice to current team members, informally of course 😊
What did you learn from volunteering at PROJECT-E?
I learned to work independently and self-responsibly. I learned how to continuously motivate a team of volunteers to stay engaged despite the geographical distance to the project that benefited from their work.
Do you have any suggestions or critique for PROJECT-E, something Team Europe can or should work on?
I think the most important is the knowledge transfer and management – there has been so much try-outs in all departments, so many lessons learnt in any departments, it is important to store this knowledge, make it accessible and transfer it (e.g. on Strategy Weekends). Most important, however, is the personal connection to the project in Addis – so encouraging every team member in Europe (and possibly set incentives to do so) to volunteer there for a short time, I feel, is highly rewarding.
Why would you recommend someone to volunteer for PROJECT-E?
Volunteering with PROJECT-E is the chance to grow personally and professionally. The hierarchies are flat and every new idea that contributes to the cause and the effectiveness of our work is highly welcomed and encouraged. It is also the chance to pass on the privilege of receiving a great education in Europe (or elsewhere) to those who do not have it. And it might just be the cause that “you” were meant to be become passionate about 😉
If you feel inspired to become a volunteer at PROJECT-E by our Ask Alumni series, check out the following link to see our open positions.