On assignment with Challenges Worldwide volunteer Nicholas Dear managed to turn an idea into a reality. Nicholas had been running an Internet Service Provider in the UK before completing an assignment in Kenya, where he made an NGO’s vision happen.
Nicholas wanted to live abroad and experience a different culture. He chose Challenges as he “was impressed with the level of professionalism displayed through the Challenges website, the quality of the placements and their track record. Challenges stood head and shoulders above everyone else I looked at.”
Whilst in Kenya, Nicholas worked with Allavida an organisation that believes in utilising community organizations and social enterprises to create development. Allavida run the Kenya Social Investment Exchange (KSIX) which has created a sustainable organisation that will bring social investors together with social purpose organisations in an accountable and transparent manner.
KSIX began as a small project of Allavida’s, but within 5 months it became one of their main focuses. Nicholas was at the heart of KSIX’s development.
“I was responsible for turning an idea of a social investment exchange in Kenya into a detailed model, business plan, and project delivery plan. I wrote the concept and the business plan which was incorporated into the financial application and was instrumental in achieving one of the highest grant given by Rockefeller to date.”
Being completely new to social enterprise and development work Nicholas learnt about the industry as well as the importance of building relationships and networks to assist in achieving work objectives.
Nicholas took Swahili lessons in his spare time and having met many Kenyans he travelled extensively throughout Kenya fully exploring the country and culture. Nicholas now lives in Kenya and is a director of KenyaBuzz – the country’s leading event and lifestyle information provider as well as carrying out other consultancy work.
“Challenges gave me the opportunity to broaden my horizons and open my eyes. It’s certainly changed my outlook and has been one of the best decisions of my life.”