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Eriasafu Lubowa, Progressio's Development Worker who is a specialist in advocacy and communications, shares his experience and achievements so far in the capacity building of the Malawi Civil Society Organisation Nutrition Alliance (CSONA) secretariat, and its member organisations around advocacy and communication.
Team Tiwale were placed in Mzuzu, Malawi, between July and September 2016 to work with local organisation Tovwirane HIV and AIDS organisation. We were all very anxious to get started and begin work on what would turn out to be the most rewarding summer of our lives.
Lubowa Eriasafu, from Uganda, was until recently a Progressio development worker in Malawi, with Concern Worldwide Malawi (supporting the Malawi Civil Society Organisations Nutrition Alliance - CSONA), where he worked as an Advocacy and Communications Advisor. Prior to this, he worked as a Progressio development worker in Somaliland (2013-2014) with Save the Children International Somaliland, as an Organisational Capacity Building Adviser.
What is your work background?
When I first discovered that I had been accepted to go on an ICS volunteer placement in Malawi, I was obviously extremely excited and grateful to be given such an amazing opportunity. However, a big part of me was getting increasingly nervous as to how I would be able to manage to maintain my vegan diet once in Malawi.
Sparing time to volunteer with local organisation Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) is the best thing one may think in life. This could help bring answers to some of the questions we usually have.
Different organisations work in the communities where we come from, but it becomes very difficult to understand the impact of the work they are doing to Malawian livelihoods. Now YONECO, in accordance with Progressio ICS, has got answers to these questions and worries.
I first found out about this volunteer opportunity at the beginning of August when my parents came home with an application form that I filled out and sent off to YONECO (Youth Net and Counselling). After submitting my application, I began to worry and was afraid of what the role will be like, how I could cope with other volunteers?... So, I decided to research other previous volunteer stories as well as additional information regarding the charity itself.
At pre-departure training, we had to make a list of hopes and fears from our placement. In all honesty, my biggest fears predominantly included falling ill and getting extremely sunburnt. Being ginger, I burn almost everywhere, including on a rainy day at Wimbledon, let alone in an African country in the peak of dry season. When we were arranged into our respective teams at the training, it was clear that most the gingers going to Malawi ended up placed in my group, with nearly half of us (Oli, Julia and I) having ginger, or strawberry blonde, hair.