You are a STM volunteer who wants to change the world.
To your friends and family you are one incredibly sexy beast. To the machinery of big-international relief and development agencies you, a STM Volunteer, are the problem.
You need to know that there are huge systems already in place.
- Governments have committed 10s of billions of dollars to fixing the poor.
- Famous brand name agencies have done this work for centuries.
- Experts have written the book on centuries of failures.
- Researchers spend millions of dollars to study and research and collect and collate and teach new standards and blah, blah, blah. Then everyone decides to change them next month.
- Rock stars bring their massive star-power and swagger
- Countless students with doctorates in international studies are willing to work for anyone, anytime, anywhere just to gain some practical experience so they can start to pay their student loans.
To this massive beast of an industry – you, a volunteer with a good heart and a few months – are not even noticeable.
You are not even a cog in this machine … yet.
The Idealism of the STM Volunteer
You are not the first one into the community. In most cases you are not even the 101 person into the community.
Your solutions have been thought of, by people with doctorates on their office walls, many times over.
As a STM volunteer into this world, you are the punch line to the jokes.
You say your heart led you here.
You are unpredictable, unwanted and untested. For the experts your two weeks in that Guatemalan orphanage, cruise around the Caribbean and band trip to Europe don’t count. In fact they are a liability!
You want to understand but you don’t know the insider language that development experts speak. You won’t even realize it when you are being evaluated: When someone asks to see your EPR or whether your WASH program meets SPHERE – you will be judged and dismissed in moments. You are rejected before you even knew it was a test.
They see the idealism in your eyes, passion in your heart and enough support from friends and family to stay on the field for a few months and they will wait for you to fail and go home already.
That’s the bad news
- You are not alone.
- You can succeed.
- And you will make a difference if you are willing to change everything you thought was right.
There are a thousand reasons why you can’t do this, you need the one reason why you will.
What’s your reason?