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Stories from the field

EUAV apprenticeship setting the foundation for a successful deployment

Angelina KANEVA in Kenya

EU Aid Volunteer Angelina Kaneva shares experience from her apprenticeship at DRC’s Headquarters in Copenhagen and how it prepared her for her deployment as a Code of Conduct and Accountability Officer in Kenya.

I first learnt about the EU Aid Volunteers initiative several years ago when I graduated from university , but never felt quite ready to apply as the programme is aimed at people who already have experience and knowledge in the humanitarian sector and it includes a rigorous selection process. At the beginning of this year I finally felt that I had enough experience and was ready to try, and I was lucky to be offered a position as a Code of Conduct and Accountability Officer at the DRC Country Office in Kenya. One of the biggest benefits of my position is that it involves a 2-month apprenticeship at DRC’s Headquarters, meant to prepared me for my deployment.

One concern that I had about the apprenticeship prior to coming to Copenhagen was that it would be too similar to an internship and would involve a lot of administrative tasks that would not, in fact, help prepare me for working in the field. However, these concerns were entirely unfounded – every day at work has felt productive, exciting and full of new things to learn. I am currently at the end of my 2 months in Copenhagen and I can definitely say that my work with the Code of Conduct team at HQ has been an extremely valuable experience that has really prepared me for my future work with DRC in the field.

I was able to reach out to some colleagues in the country office in Kenya and speak to them about aspects of my future position and tasks I could help with. I also worked closely with another EU Aid Volunteer on producing a document with recommendations on handling cases of sexual exploitation and abuse at community level and supporting organizational learning in this area.

Not only did I learn a lot about the Code of Conduct system and the existing internal reporting mechanisms, but I also had the opportunity to develop technical skills, particularly how to conduct a Self-Assessment against the 9 commitments of the Core Humanitarian Standard of Quality and Accountability. In addition, I had the chance to participate in a workshop on facilitation skills, organize a mock training and give a Code of Conduct presentation in front of colleagues. I had meetings with various DRC staff working on Safety, Risk and Compliance, Protection, Learning and Development etc., and discussed how code of conduct issues relate to other technical areas and the impact they have both on the organizational reputation and the quality of DRC’s programming across the world.

The apprenticeship has definitely been a huge investment in myself, both in terms of acquiring specific technical knowledge and experience but also taking care of all logistical aspects of a deployment.