Where Are you Based?
Xela (Quetzaltenango), Guatemala
What is your intern project?
Intern Program and Volunteer Coordinator – My role is to ensure that the program down here runs smoothly, and that the work we are doing on the ground is fulfilling AIDG’s goals and missions. I recruit new interns to meet project and training needs as they arise, help ensure projects are run on time and budget, and manage the daily operations of the program. I also work on the overall strategy and direction for the Intern Program, looking at the next steps, reviewing projects and making sure that we are constantly evolving and growing to meet the new challenges faced every day.
Describe what your normal day as an AIDG intern in like.
I will be surprised if anyone can describe a “normal” day with AIDG in Guatemala – the only thing constant is change, and perhaps the challenges working in a developing country – lacking electricity, internet, water or sometimes all three! Generally, I am working on reviewing intern needs, analysing potential projects and installations, helping in project planning and management, and dealing with the wide array of challenges that an NGO must deal with working in an country like Guatemala.
What are the main challenges you face?
For me there are three main challenges that I face every day: finding the right balance between appropriate and sustainable, which can sometimes be mutually exclusive, searching for the right model to get this infrastructure and technology to those in need, and finding the best way to provide leadership, yet encourage independence within XelaTeco.
What has been the most rewarding moment for you?
Not so much a “moment”, but definitely the most rewarding project I have been involved in is Proyecto Futuros Verdes – the Environmental Education Centre for children in Xela. While not yet completed, this project is incredibly inspiring to me as we will be providing the tools to empower the youth of today – the leaders of tomorrow – to build their own sustainable future, creating a generational change in how people see their environment.
Who have you met who has inspired you the most and why?
I am inspired every day by the people that I work with – it is so amazing for me to see such an incredibly talented group of people with such different backgrounds and experiences that have all come together with the same focus: to make a difference…everyday watching this I realise that it isn’t necessary to be inspirational leaders such as Mandela or Gandhi, we just have to be ourselves and believe in what we are doing.
Why did you choose AIDG? What inspired you about the organization?
I believe that AIDG’s model really has the potential to transform both development and the impact of foreign aid in the developing world for the good. AIDG’s model takes sustainability further then just the environment, into the way we work and interact with communities and people. There are still many questions that remain to be answered, and everyday is a challenge (which is what I love) – but if it was easy, then someone else would have already done it!