Maurice McDermot writes about how participating in Comhlámh’s new online course on volunteering was a game changer in shaping his opinion of what he could do.
had been playing with the idea of volunteering overseas on and off for several years but each time I came to the same conclusion: my skills were not in demand and to volunteer overseas required fundraising or a hefty upfront payment, neither of which appealed. With this in mind I signed up for the Comhlamh webinars seeking to crystalize my expectations and motivations while picking up a few tips on the way.
The course exceeded my expectations and I gained greater insight into development, what it means to be a volunteer, the dynamic that exists between the volunteer, the sending organisation and the host community and the role of the global north in maintaining the status quo. I found myself questioning my motivations and as a result they became more defined as did my power to effect change at home particularly on my return from overseas.
I found that the effectiveness of the course was helped by the use of a mixture of formats designed to challenge how I felt about the issues. The anonymous input of other participants added to the enjoyment of the course.
And so I now find myself in pretty much the same position as when I started the course with the exception that now I realise that I have greater knowledge of the complexities of the journey ahead. I am applying to several sending agencies, attending as many conferences and talks as possible and talking with as many returned volunteers as will talk to me with a view to taking on a short term placement.
Regardless of whether or not I find a placement overseas I now feel more confident that I can have an impact on development in the global south by my actions both abroad and in Ireland.
If you are interested in taking part in the course, then sign up now.