Botswana? Why Botswana?

When I came back from climbing Kilimanjaro last year, I promised myself that I would go back to that continent “one day” to focus on giving to the local people. I felt that I’ve been given so much by experiencing a small part of Tanzania. I never expected the “one day” to come so soon, and I am stoked!

Deloitte (my employer) partnered up with a NPO called World University Services Centre (“WUSC”) to send employees to volunteer in developing countries. WUSC is partially funded by the federal government, and partially funded by the employers making contributions to the program for the employees they are sending.

The program is such that once you’re approved to go somewhere, WUSC then finds a developing country that can use your expertise and sends you there. For example, I applied for a position in Vietnam, initially got placed in Nepal, but ended up being sent to Botswana.

WUSC determined that this local organization in Maun, Botswana can use my help with evaluating their financial system. I am more than happy to go to Botswana. If you know me, you know how much I am in love with that continent!

Below is a simplified chart of how the program works. In a roundabout way, the majority of the funding comes from the federal government. The training that WUSC gave me relates to awareness of different cultures, and plans on public engagement. The place I’m volunteering for is called Women Against Rape (“WAR”).

By way of background, Botswana is in Southern Africa, landlocked by South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Namibia. In a space the same size as France, the population is only about 2 million. Diamond production put the country in a good economic position on the continent. The city I’m assigned to is Maun, on the Southern tip of the Okavango Delta, on the North side of the country.

I know my romantic view of Africa will be challenged on this assignment. My previous trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar was just playing tourist, and was sheltered from the real life of the local people. This assignment will put me to work alongside local residents, and I can’t wait to find out what it will be like!

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