What is an international aid worker? Well like any term it’s open for debate. But for me an aid worker is someone who has dedicated his or her life to working with marginalised or disadvantaged communities to find ways to reduce poverty and improve life situations. The work of an aid worker spans everything from working with the environment to engineering. Whether it be working to build the capacity of teachers in remote schools or working in partnership with farmers to find ways to make their crops more drought resistent.
For many aspiring or experienced aid worker there is often one element they have in common (apart from unhealthy bank accounts) and that’s isolation. Often aid workers will be posted to extremely remote locations in cultures different to their own and often without their families. It can be extremely stressful and emotional especially when working in places experiencing extreme poverty or natural disasters.
The guys over at whydev.org are doing something to support aid workers by developing a peer coaching network. In a nutshell, whydev are developing a matching service that links aid workers with each other so they are able to support and learn from each other via Skype, email or other methods.
Brendan and Weh from whydev have done their research and feel there is a real need is out there. As one aid worker said:
“I feel isolated, uncertain and a little forlorn about finding my way into development-related work, and would like to have someone to share my experience with, who is perhaps also experiencing the same thing.” – E, 18-25 year old male, Honduras.
But of course, like any good project they need support. To get this project off the ground they’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign over on StartSomeGood where people can chip in amounts of money, small or large, to help get the project going.
They are aiming for at least AUD $3000 in seed funding to dedicate a solid amount of time to building the platform, providing the right guidelines for peer coaching, and matching people together in the most effective way. Building the platform will involve spending time on infrastructure – website redesign, functioning and creating a space so that matching can occur. They also need to build the database of peer coaches from the ground up and create the resources to support peer coaches as the program continues. Not an easy task as you can imagine.
Whydev predict that if they reach their funding target they could get this peer coaching service up and running within a month, pretty awesome right?
So if you find yourself wanting to contribute a few dollars to something with substance then this is the project. Let’s face it $3000 bucks isn’t really that much money for a project that is going to support those people who work to improve the lives of millions around the world.