Discovering humanitarianism and getting involved through a “Civic Service”: Naomi and Olive’s testimonies

Publication date: Jul 23, 2020
Naomi and Olive's unique experience in “Civic Service” at TSF in times of COVID-19.
Naomi in Miarinarivo durfing Safer Internet Day

Over the past six months, we have welcomed Naomi and Olive, who have participated in a “SESAME” reciprocity project, led by the New Aquitaine Region and coordinated by Cool’eurs du Monde.

Naomi and Olive worked on both individual and joint missions. Naomi supported educational activities for children at the IT Cup and Alabri centers in Miarinarivo, Madagascar, while Olive prepared communication content at TSF headquarters. As for the joint mission, they worked on the development of a digital platform aimed at bringing together the activities offered to young people in Miarinarivo and its associated actors.

A discovery experience marked by COVID-19…

Both expressed their feelings about their mission, and Naomi particularly appreciated "the teamwork which enabled the exchange of enriching knowledge and skills", and "the contact with young people and children. I was also able to better understand the challenges of sustainable development and international solidarity as well as the implementation of projects relating to these areas". As for Olive, she enjoyed her training in video editing and computer graphics, as well as discovering several communication tools, including social networks.

In addition to these positive aspects, both have seen their missions interrupted or greatly affected by the global pandemic. Olive, as the rest of TSF’s team, “was able to continue by working from home, but my training was affected by the distance. I had planned to do a correspondence activity with children that could not be done. I had also planned to do animations with another Malagasy volunteer in her reception structure, which was also canceled. I regret not having been able to make entertainment sessions for children”. For Naomi, the situation was even more complicated since her mission was at a standstill and she had to be repatriated before the end of it. "I regret not having been able to complete my stay in Madagascar, and therefore not having had the time to continue and complete certain projects, and to spend other moments with the people I met there".

... but enriching for their future and for understanding the role of technology in humanitarian aid

The experience was still a success for both of them. It allowed them to gain better self-confidence, and to develop skills, such as open-mindedness, adaptability, communication and interpersonal skills, which will be important for their future projects.

This experience also allowed them to understand the importance of technology in humanitarian aid. Olive was able to "discover that technologies play a very important role in helping the most vulnerable, because they allow them to contact their loved ones, get information, and help them move forward". Naomi agrees: “I didn't necessarily have a great interest in the role of technology in our society and in the world before my experience at TSF. So I hadn't realized the importance of the latter, especially in developing countries. Indeed, access to the internet - and therefore to information and knowledge - is not easy for everyone. I was able to realize its role and that of new technologies in the development of a country and in reducing inequalities".

In summary, this experience was very positive for both Naomi and Olive, and for TSF, since their mission contributed to the IT Cup project in Madagascar.

What stands out for them regarding TSF? For Olive, “TSF plays a very important role. Helping people and giving them the means to learn and be informed allows them to move forward and supports their personal development" and Naomi was able to see at the IT Cup center "activities and projects that have a meaning and a real impact on the life of the beneficiaries".