The relationship between the Irish Mission Union, UCD Volunteers Overseas and 121 Digital was one made in heaven.
The premise of the project was this: recently returned missionaries from the IMU would be taught IT skills by UCDVO volunteers, who are heading to Tanzania this summer. In return, the missionaries would tell the future volunteers stories from their time overseas and offer some tips and helpful hints for successful placements. The project was facilitated by 121 Digital, which introduces those who would like to learn IT skills, to those who would like to teach. And that is how the exchange began.
The returned missionaries and future volunteers met for 2 hour workshops, on the UCD campus, for 4 weeks. Each missionary worked with one volunteer in one particular area of IT, so that each couple were working on different activities at all times.
From the introduction session one thing became clear; there was a great deal to teach and a great deal to learn, for everyone. The future volunteers introduced the missionaries to Social Media, Spotify, booking flights online and the nuances of taking complimentary selfies. In return, the missionaries had much to say about their experiences overseas, which wasn’t a month or six months or even two years, but decades and longer. These women and men had left Ireland in the 1970s, to work as nurses and teachers, pyscho-therapists and managers, and have only recently returned home.
The pilot project was also a practice run for the volunteers who will be delivering IT skills to primary school teachers in Morogoro and Mikumi, in Tanzania this summer. Through this project, they experienced some of the challenges of delivering IT training to people with different needs, expectations and requirements, which will hopefully prepare them for their placements this summer.
The last session of the project took place on 12 April with speeches, refreshments, certificates of participation and some words of wisdom, from the past volunteers to the volunteers of the future. After a power-point presentation, delivered in both English and Swahili, the new volunteers were advised to “be careful with your promises”, to respect the host community and local culture as much as possible, and to come home safely.
We here at Comhlámh wish all the participants of this project the very best for the summer too.
For more information about 121 Digital go here: http://www.121digital.ie/
For more information about the IMU go here: http://www.imu.ie/
For more information about UCD Volunteers Overseas go here: http://www.ucdvo.org/