Tuesday, August 25, 2009

IT volunteers in the under-developed world

Yes, even geeks can volunteer, and they may be in just as high of demand in the volunteer world as they are in the professional world. A non-profit from the UK gives IT professionals a chance to teach their skills in the under-developed world. The NGO called Voluntary Services Overseas says the numbers of techs applying to volunteer is increasing.

From this article that we found at Silicon.com, writer Jo Best explains the work of VSO.

he international development organisation places volunteers in developing countries to share their skills and help local communities fight poverty.

Of the hundreds of people the VSO places abroad every year, 15 or 20 will be IT workers, leaving their comfort zone behind for a stint in the developing world.

Mostly, techies are needed in countries including Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia to help communities in sub-Saharan Africa learn about and deploy IT.

Repeat volunteer Don Carney, agrees: "I don't think technical skills matter so much as the willingness to pick up a tool and see how it can be made most effective."

Carney's placements include being a database specialist in the Philippines and working as an information communications specialist in Cambodia - experiences he describes as "challenging, and at the same time satisfying".

"I spent some years in commercial organisations back in the UK and although professionally challenging I couldn't help but feel that my life focused on the next paycheck and the personal satisfaction seemed to diminish over time. Volunteering in development gave me a refreshing new way to look at life and work, as well as feeling that I could do a lot more for others than I did in the commercial world," he added.


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