Perspectives on international volunteering: a look back at Causeries #3

On 2 May, three international volunteers currently working in Burkina Faso, Tunisia and Colombia with the PRIDE* project came together to share their experiences and commitment to children’s rights through international volunteering with the Canadian public during a virtual session of the Bureau’s Causeries. The three volunteers, deployed within the framework of the PRIDE project, were able to share their experience and their commitment to children’s rights through international volunteering.

*Project to Strengthen all aspects of Children’s Rights

Kelly O’Connor, Katiba Nebti and Marie-Soleil Sturm shared their reasons for volunteering internationally, expressing their desire to explore the world and discover new ways of living and working, different from what they had experienced before.

I wanted to see the world. I wanted to discover new cultures, to get a change of scenery, to see how things worked elsewhere than at home.Marie-Soleil Sturm, volunteer social work advisor in Tunisia since 2021

They then shared the successes and highlights of their mandate, describing how their efforts have translated into concrete impacts for the organisations they support. The challenges they faced were also mentioned, including adapting to other cultures and customs, but also to new working environments. All three stressed that being a volunteer requires constant adaptation but also introspection. For them, the pleasure of discovering other ways of living and working is enriching both personally and professionally.

A common theme that emerged from the webinar was the importance of balancing the technical expertise of the Bureau with the practical experience of the partner. The three volunteers described a reciprocal exchange of knowledge and learning, where they bring their own perspectives and expertise, as well as that of the IBCR, but also learn a lot from their partners.

One thing I really like about the IBCR is that it has an innovative aspect. […] we are really working on a project where we are going to support and strengthen our partners.Katiba Nebti, volunteer counsellor deployed in Burkina Faso in 2021 and 2022

Overall, those present were given an insight into the world of international volunteering and the life of a volunteer, and the impact of such an engagement on partner organisations, people and children in the country where the mandate takes place.

Panel members present:

Marie-Soleil Sturm, social work advisor to the Office of the Delegate General for Child Protection (DGPE) in Tunisia.

Marie-Soleil, a social worker by profession, spent a decade working in the child protection system in Quebec before moving to Tunisia. She is currently completing her second PRIDE term as a social work advisor to the DGPE.

Katiba Nebti, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Advisor from June 2022 to April 2023 with the Association of Women Lawyers of Burkina Faso.

Katiba Nebti has a background in international law and specialises in project management. With several years of experience in West Africa, particularly in Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso, Katiba has provided support to various local and international organisations. Recently, Katiba completed a 10-month assignment in Burkina Faso with PRIDE.

Kelly O’Connor, Volunteer Child Rights Advisor to COALICO in Colombia since July 2022.

A lawyer by training, Kelly is currently serving as a volunteer legal advisor to the Coalition Against the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict in Colombia (COALICO) in Bogota, Colombia. Prior to her work with PRIDE, Kelly gained experience with various international organizations and worked as a law clerk at the Federal Court of Canada, specializing primarily in human rights and immigration law.

Les Causeries

Open to the public, Les Causeries are intended to be moments of exchange between invited specialists and the public according to the theme of the day, and aim to better understand current issues related to the rights of the child in the world. They take place on a regular basis, online or in person if the context allows it. Stay tuned for the next ones by subscribing to our newsletter!



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PRIDE voluntary cooperation programme funded by Global Affairs Canada.