My name is Margaret and I’ve spent the last month and a half working at the offices in Richmond on a summer volunteering position. As an undergraduate who’s never had a job that didn’t involve bringing food to hungry customers, I thought I ought to actually experience working in an office before I graduate next year. So I’ve been spending my summer writing the articles for the new blog, as well as doing various pieces of research.
The Just a Drop team is tucked away in the corner of the larger Reed Exhibitions offices. (Just a Drop has been one of Reed Exhibitions’ official charities since its inception and the company supports the charity with office space).
The team comprises three hard-working full-time staff and a variety of part-time volunteers – all of whom liaise with the two members of staff in the project team in the Gillingham office (in Dorset) and the project engineers who visit Just a Drop’s projects in the field.
Water, water everywhere
I’ve always had an interest in international development, but working at Just a Drop has made me realise how vital water is to the whole process. No matter what part of development you’re interested in, access to clean water and sanitation is not only relevant, but essential:
- Interested in education? Clean water not only reduces child mortality rates, but water in schools is necessary for good attendance;
- Gender equality? Access to water can dramatically improve the position of women who no longer need to spend hours collecting it each day, and can spend more time on education or business;
- Empowering local communities? Maintaining water facilities can bring community groups together and gives people a sense of ownership and autonomy over their resources.
Just a Drop
My time here has not only made me consider the role of water in international development, it’s also made me reflect on the nature of charity. It has driven home how important it is to give dignity to those you are attempting to help. Disadvantage and poverty doesn’t strip people of agency, and it is so important to see communities you are working with are people who can be empowered to make a positive change in their lives. This I think Just a Drop does well.
We live in a media-saturated age and the voice of a charity needs to have character as well as inform in order to be effective, and that is hopefully what this blog will achieve – to show the human stories behind Just a Drop’s work, both on the side of those who work for the charity, and those who benefit from our work.
It’s been a really enjoyable experience. I’ve learned about how vital water is for lifting people out of poverty, and also how the mysterious world of offices works. I’ve met some really lovely people and gained a better understanding of what working in the charity sector looks like. I’ve read the word ‘blog’ so many times it’s stopped sounding like a real word. And I finally learned how to spell ‘diarrhoea’!
I’d like to thank Just a Drop for giving me this experience – good luck with the blog!
From Just a Drop: It has been an absolute pleasure to have Margaret with us for the last six weeks and we are delighted with her contribution to our new blog. Many thanks indeed Margaret and best of luck in your final year at St. Andrews!
If you would like to get involved with Just a Drop, click here to find out how.