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Department of Engineering

Researcher’s new book offers support and guidance to volunteers abroad

Researcher’s new book offers support and guidance to volunteers abroad

Duncan (centre) helps to interview community operators managing arsenic removal filters in West Bengal, India, as part of his PhD research.

PhD researcher Duncan McNicholl has published a guide for volunteers heading abroad for the first time.

Effectively participating in complex issues abroad requires continuous reflection, humility and personal growth

Duncan McNicholl

Prior to his PhD studies in the Centre for Sustainable Development, Duncan spent five years working in Malawi with Engineers Without Borders Canada, where he managed an international team of volunteers and collaborated with others across Africa.

By sharing stories, mistakes, and lessons learned, his book titled Volunteer Voices:  Key insights from international development experiences serves to encourage readers to reflect on their work and ultimately improve their own practice. This collaborative project features more than a dozen writers and their stories and challenges with personal growth while working abroad.

The book is also suitable for anyone working on international development and is designed to help aspiring young change-makers engage with the complicated environment of international volunteering.

“Effectively participating in complex issues abroad requires more than just the right technology or approach,” said Duncan. “It requires continuous reflection, humility and personal growth.”

Duncan’s current work focuses on stakeholder networks in rural water service delivery, to better understand dynamics that help improve the management of services.

His research has involved case studies in Ghana, Malawi, India, Tajikistan, Bolivia, and Bangladesh.

Volunteer Voices is available to order from Practical Action Publishing and https://volunteervoices.info/.

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