Blog posts

KEEN London Finale

The final week at KEEN London, how the days flew by! My task this week was mainly focused on the requirements of the new site. I carried out an inventory of all the equipment KEEN has, involving toys, clothing, first aid kit etc. so that we could have a list of the things to purchase for the new site in east London. Moreover, we had a few raising awareness sessions at the KEEN Office, where we spoke to teenagers from the local schools, introducing them to KEEN and the volunteering recruitment programme in the hope to raise interest and provide new opportunities to KEEN East London.


The LUCIA Library at Saria

This is a photo of the library that LUCIA built at Saria – I fundraised for it last year (my school raised £5000 in a term) and I’m reviewing the project now as part of a grant proposal for a girls’ toilet block and handwash station on the same site.

Unfortunately there’s been a bit of an issue with the stoves project, so I’ve shifted my research focus into Bees! Ethiopia produces about 40000 tonnes of honey a year, and we’re looking into developing a bee project of sorts to help communities make money. I’ve got no experience with bees – so I’ve been doing a huge amount of product analysis, reading papers and reports and budgets for the different kinds of beehives (who knew you there were so many different types of beehive!?), and I’m currently chatting with my supervisor about us running the project itself, instead of going through an NGO – which would be a first for the charity and really exciting!

Of meetings and speeches

I’ve just come out of a meeting that I arranged with a local ‘Green Business Advisor’ and an ‘Ethical Business Coach’. We discussed issues around green infrastructure, general ‘green’ practice in businesses and their experiences working in Bristol. It was good to get some first hand, local expertise and heartening to see two old guys still passionate about what they do. They also told me about some interesting examples that I might use as case studies in my project.

I’m now well underway with writing up my project – a framework for the further ‘greening’ of UK cities. Sure enough, my preparatory research was not enough and I’ve been finding out more and more as I’ve been writing (I came across a speech by Iolo Williams which is the best, most moving speech that I’ve ever seen:

KEEN London Fundraising_Part 2

In my last blog, I mentioned that most of my work was focusing on organising fundraising events for KEEN, so today I would like to share another project that I organised, which I must say was very different from what I expected and helped me develop many new skills.

The project entitled the design of an online survey. KEEN has been running for 10 years now, and the organisations who kindly fund KEEN London require a tangible outcome of how KEEN has had an impact on the children/teens that attend it, which means they want to know how it benefited them in their daily lives at home and at school.

KEEN Fundraising_Part 1

Hello everyone! It has been such a busy time at KEEN! As I previously mentioned KEEN London is a charity that works with children with disabilities in north London.  This charity has been running for 10 years now and there are plans of expanding it to East London. By November, KEEN will be offering sessions in a new site in order to accommodate more children, recruit more volunteers and provide more opportunities for the East Londoners!

This is a big project that requires a budget of £45,000! What a huge number! That is why most of my project has been focusing on organising fundraising events for this amazing charity.

More Excel? IDEAlly not…

My project involves a large amount of data processing. When I say a lot, I mean A LOT. I’ll briefly break it down for you:

At an average debating competition, there are approximately 40 teams. Each team consists of 2 people. That’s 80 participants per competition. No information is provided about them apart from their name and their institution, and often people decide to input funny names instead of real ones.

The information from each debating competition is called a “tab”. I am currently processing over 50 tabs from 2010-2013. I have to identify each participants gender, which takes longer than you’d expect!

A New Farm

So on Wednesday I submitted the memorandum of understanding for my first project.

I didn’t do a lot of work on this one, but I took it over because it was convenient and I’m waiting on a reply from our people in Ethiopia before I can go on with the stoves and wash-station one.

Basically, we wanted to build a farm at the Saria Kebele Primary School in Amhara, Ethiopia. This is all well and good – but how is it going to work? Our contact in Ethiopia had put together a budget and a proposal for us, and I had to go through it and put it into a Memorandum of Understanding (basically, the sort of contract that NGOs use).

A Good IDEA?

I’ve never had a proper job before, so two weeks working 9 to 5 at IDEA has been a bit of a reality check. Not because it hasn’t been fun, but it is a bit strange having to say to friends “I can’t come out today, I’m working”. However, even with the 7am wake up calls, I’m really enjoying my time at IDEA.

For those of you who don’t know, IDEA is a charity which works on a global scale to teach debating, a skill which is so, so, so beneficial. It can improve your confidence, your ability to read and write, and also, most importantly, can enable critical analysis of issues from more than one point of view.

1st Week at DWT

Last week I started my internship at Durham Wildlife Trust (DWT). I’ve always had a love for nature but it is only recently that I have thought about working for a conservation charity. At the trust, I am working on a project concerning GIS maps of ecosystem services. GIS maps are a relatively recent development in ecology and aim to map ecosystem service demand and supply. This information can then be used to identify areas that provide valuable services and should therefore be conserved, but also “gaps” or areas where there is demand for a service but supply could be improved.

Mingling with Bristol’s greenies

I’ve recently been to the monthly Bristol Green Mingle with Charles and Fi. It was the first time I’d been to a mingle and I didn’t know quite what to expect – but unsurprisingly, it was just people (specifically Bristol’s greenies) drinking, eating and chatting. I met an interesting mix of people including local MPs, an ecologist and the director of the Bristol Green Capital initiative (who’s become a local hero after Bristol won the European Green Capital Award earlier this year). As well as being an enjoyable, relaxed and interesting evening it was also very useful – I gained a few handy contacts who seemed to know something (if not a lot) relevant to my internship project.