Meet The Colleagues
Devin's Service Bio
I worked with a small, Christian microfinance organization to help them build infrastructure, systems and communications/marketing so that they can reach more clients. My projects included improving the reporting systems, creating a website, profiling clients, fundraising, and implementing a MIS system (database) to track financial and program data.
How Devin Used Our Grant
Attending a Microfinance Conference in Peru:
I used $500 of my grant money to pay for the cost of attending a microfinance conference. The conference, called Ricchari, was a conference organized by PEER Servants (my sending organization) and brought together microfinance practitioners as well as volunteers from more than 15 countries around the world. In addition to attending the conference, I served on the Steering Committee and was one of the key conference organizers. After months of planning, our efforts culminated in an amazing 10 day conference complete with plenary speakers, workshops, worship, and recreational activities and sightseeing in Peru.
My role in attending and planning the conference was a great leadership and growth experience for me. Although I had had various jobs with a lot of responsibility, I had never been involved in large scale event planning. And honestly, I was a little nervous to do so! My responsibilities included coordinating all of the transportation needs for 100 people for 10 days (buses, taxis, etc). This meant identifying our specific needs (when, where and for how many people we needed transportation), getting quotes, signing contracts, and then coordinating everything during the conference. While this was a lot of detail work (and not necessarily something I want to do again!), it was a great experience! Similarly, I helped plan all of the sightseeing and recreational activities, including taking 100 people to Machu Picchu, coordinating activity and sightseeing days, and coordinating small group activities. Again, these aren't my favorite things to organize, but they helped me immensely in learning to handle pressure, in learning to handle details (not just high level ideas, which is what I am used to doing at my past jobs), and in doing all this with joy, patience and a smile on my face! I was one of the key point people at the actual conference, which was often stressful and exhausting. But I believe I grew from the experience and feel much more prepared to be in a similar situation in the future. The Krista Foundation grant helped to cover the cost of attending the conference, which allowed me to not worry about money and to focus on and enjoy my responsibilities and the new people I got to meet!
Private Spanish Classes After Arriving in Peru:
I used a portion of my grant money to pay for private, one-on-one Spanish classes when I first arrived in Peru. I started out with 2 hours of class each day, and slowly reduced my class load over a course of months until I felt that the classes were no longer necessary.
By having the opportunity to spend focused time learning Spanish, I was able to get up to speed in Spanish faster and to be more effective in my service. Although I arrived in Peru with a basic, semi-functional level of Spanish, the grammar I learned in my classes provided crucial structure and framework from which I then built during my 2 years in Peru. With that solid foundation, I was able to live immersed in a Spanish-speaking community (with very limited English-speaking contact) and improve to my Spanish exponentially.
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