Students Without Borders is a WUSC and CECI program that enables Canadian university and college students to participate in exciting, volunteer learning opportunities in South America, Africa, and Asia.

OK..about work this time

June 3, 2009

I have been at work for almost 2 weeks now. So it’s time to talk a little more about what I do and the real reason why I’m here for the summer. The organization I’m working for is called Somarelang Tikologo (Translation: Somarelang = conservation, Tikologo = environment). Its mission is to educate and encourage people in Botswana to protect their environment hence improving the quality of life. It is a member-based NGO, with an approach to empower local communities to take ownership and responsibility managing their waste and resources.

Our office is located within an Eco Community Park at the centre of Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana. The eco-park is the first of its kind in the country, integrating urban planning principles on uses of public open space and showcasing our various green initiatives under one roof. We have an organic garden, an eco-café, the country’s only recycling drop-off centre, and a Green Shop, where we sell locally made products from recycled material.

ST has been an important player working to transform Gaborone into a greener city. They fought for the plastic bag legislation, run the city’s only recycling centre, hold waste management workshops with community members in villages, build eco-schools, and just had their first annual fashion show.

Green Shop & Eco-Cafe

Main "buildings" of the Eco-Park: Green Shop & Eco-Cafe

Childrens playground and our office at the back

Children's playground and our office at the back

Me & Co-workers at our Annual Dinner Dance Fundraiser

Me & Co-workers at our Annual Dinner Dance Fundraiser

I was originally assigned to work with the PR and fundraising department. However, having been here for 2 weeks, I found myself getting involved in all areas, especially with developing educational material and a better communication strategy. I finalized my work plan last week and here are some of my key objectives:

1) Conduct a survey study to understand people’s awareness of ST ‘s programs and attitude towards environmental protection
2) Develop an online communication strategy to ensure ST is leveraging the web effectively to reach a greater audience
3) Work with Matt and other ST officers to deliver a junior version of workshop to kids at Stepping Stones International
4) Assist with planning community outreach (+ fundraising) events including a photo exhibition, a cycling competition, family clean up days, eco-film field trip for high school students
5) Look to see if ST may benefit from using a wiki

If anyone has worked in any of the above areas, please contact me. I would love to learn from your experience and leverage resources I have back home to help ST grow.

I am only here for a short period of time. Whatever I do, I always try to keep in mind that the most important thing is to build capacity and transfer skills. At times it’s hard when I just want to take the easy way out and implement my own ideas. So everyday before I start my day, I say to myself: listen, understand, and collaborate.


happy me, eating a fat-cake outside my office :)