Community Centre worker

Arab World / Community Development / 1-11 months, 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 1506

Established in 2015 the Centre is a holistic response to the unique challenges faced by the most-at-risk communities. At the Centre we provide a safe space for women to come together to learn grow and share their experiences making our work essential to the local community. An average of 700-1000 visits are made to the centre every month. The programs and safe space that we offer make a difference to each and every one.

Our work involves improving the lives of locals including refugees and vulnerable nationals. We provide vocational skills such as computers and literacy to create empowerment and self-sufficiency. We also offer counseling and lectures to equip beneficiaries with coping mechanisms to deal with stress and for the integration of refugees into the host community. We would like to begin providing vocational skills for men also. Our mission is to provide a safe community equipping through education counseling and mutual support. We welcome volunteers who can pass on skills such as English teaching and handcrafts. Other classes offered by the centre include aerobics and soap-making. We are particularly in need of social workers Funding Proposal and report writers Business Strategists for handicrafts marketing and product development social media and marketing specialists.

Good English skills and relevant experience in their field are needed. Some Arabic is vital. We need empathic people with a servant heart. You need flexibility a love for people and a desire to share Christ in word and deed.

Aerobics / Zumba instructor

Central Asia / Community Development / 1-11 months, 12-23 months / Job ID: 379

A community centre set up in 2003 aims to provide a range of services to the community.

The job involves running aerobics/Zumba fitness classes for young adult to older age groups. The applicant will work alongside a mixed local/expat team. Other community outreach programs include English clubs Chinese classes and family/marriage enrichment courses.

The applicant should have relevant qualifications and experience. The applicant should have a willingness to learn Russian to a basic level.

The work of walking humbly

A friend recently commented that living cross-culturally strips back your identity to its most basic shell. My experience took me on a journey from being a competent, confident adult who was contributing to his community to a place where every aspect of my identity was challenged.

This was partly by my own choosing. Several years ago Marie Clare and I, along with our two children, departed Melbourne (one of the world’s most livable cities) for Bangkok, Thailand. We spent our first year studying Thai. We easily could have moved to Thailand to teach in English or to work in a large international church or school. However, we felt a strong desire to partner with the local church, to be involved in community and to learn to speak Thai.

We have now been in Thailand for three years. A large portion of our time has been dedicated to learning Thai, watching the people and environment around us and attempting to understand a culture that often intrigues us. We are often exhausted, frustrated and at times desire to return to a place where we are understood and are able to clearly articulate our thoughts and feelings.

Thai is a tonal language with 5 distinct tones. The meaning of a word changes based on its tone. Thus far I have yet to master these tones. I have discovered I enjoy getting out and about and speaking to people. In English I love to talk to people about politics and debate the current hot topic. However, in Thai my conversations last 5–10 minutes before I run out of things to say. In meetings I am 5–10 seconds behind the conversation. By the time I have decoded the conversation and translated my thought into Thai, the conversation has well and truly moved on. Thai people are kind and they are always amazed by how much Thai I can speak. But I know how far I have to go before I can think and speak Thai effortlessly. The more I learn, the more I know how much I don’t know.

So is learning Thai worth it? Why can’t I, like many mission workers here in Thailand, just speak English and get someone to translate for me? Then I could get down to doing what I really love: teaching and discipleship.
The answer is yes, it’s worth it! I don’t always feel this way. It is hard living in a place where you can’t express your thoughts clearly and have deep conversations. However, this journey is not about me. I have come to understand that without walking humbly with God, one cannot understand or practice justice, mercy or humility (Micah 6:8). Not being able to speak has provided me with an opportunity to observe, to slow down, to listen and to pray. Language learning has taught me to rely on others and on God.

God often reminds me that I am not walking on this journey alone, nor am I leading the way. I am walking humbly with Him. My identity is not found in my Australian passport, my Persian heritage, my science and teaching degrees. My identity is found in God my father.

Emmanuel is a qualified chemistry and biology teacher. He and his family are in Thailand long-term, partnering with the local church in outreach and discipleship.

Microfinance Support Worker

South East Asia / Community Development / 1-11 months / Job ID: 877

A young vibrant NGO working in community development runs a microcredit project in 5 villages a playgroup/kindergarten for village children and after-school learning-support classes for children in 6 villages. Inter-village events are also organized. There is a good team atmosphere in this locally run organization with basic facilities.

The Microfinance Officer would help to set up training programs and administrative systems and would join in thinking about strategy. The team is young and enthusiastic but lacks administrative and training skills.

They need someone with a passion to see the poor released from poverty and an understanding of the role that microcredit can play. Educational background in community development or finance would be helpful but not necessary. The right person must be flexible able to adapt easily and willing to help out with different jobs. S/he should be physically fit and able to travel to villages on the back of a motorbike.

Development Specialist

South Asia / Community Development / 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 1464

This is a development project situated in a rural area. It has a training school for midwives nurses and community workers a community development work a research hub an English-speaking school up to age 16 and a 150-bed hospital (with obstetric gynaecology surgical medical and paediatric departments).

The Community Health and Development Program and also its other departments are involved in a large number (usually over ten at any one time) of internationally-funded development projects mainly focused on the projects core expertise in the area of mother and child health.

The project is seeking an experienced development professional with skills in project development donor liaison grant application writing and project analysis monitoring and evaluation.

BusinessDevelopment Consultant

Central Asia / Community Development / 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 1489

A faith-based NGO working in an insecure environment impacts communities in areas of health economy and social empowerment.

The consultant will advise existing projects on developing various sizes of business relating to womens empowerment and literature production train project staff in areas of business development marketing and sales management and facilitate development of a project into a sustainable business.

We are looking for a good communicator who is interested in literature and experienced in various areas of business and management able to train and build capacity of national staff and project beneficiaries able to work in a physically demanding environment willing to learn local language and culture and able to apply business principles to a range of business models including micro-finance.

Monitor/Evaluation consultant

Central Asia / Community Development / 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 1496

A faith-based NGO working in an insecure environment impacts communities in areas of health economy and social empowerment.

The person in this role will have the privilege of helping to improve the effectiveness of the various relief and development projects of the organisation having input into the monitoring and evaluation processes of these projects in order to help us better understand the impact of the work we are doing and building the capacity of local and expat managers.

You will need to be willing to travel within the country and to learn language and culture. You should have experience in relief and development and knowledge and experience of data gathering and basic analysis. We need you to be good at working with people and able to pass on knowledge and skills.

Community Development Worker

South East Asia / Community Development / 1-11 months / Job ID: 883

A number of NGOs are involved in development initiatives in cities and rural areas across this country where there are many physical and social needs. Poverty lack of education and inadequate medical services prevail.

There are opportunities for highly qualified community development workers to come alongside with professional training to support national initiatives in areas such as sanitation agriculture and healthcare education and income generation. Visas are very difficult to obtain for these jobs though so the person should be flexible about doing other jobs or be willing to be under a business visa.

The qualified candidate must have a heart to learn and serve the ability to relate across cultures and in difficult contexts and a willingness to learn the local language and culture to a high level. Having appropriate training and experience in community development s/he will be a team player with a commitment to community engagement and empowerment.

Working for transformation

“What do you do?” he asked, by and by.
“Well, I work”, answered I.
“What as?” he continued, with aplomb.
“I do my job …”
“Yes”, he said, “I see,
that this work is why you are here”.
“Yes, indeed”, with much in store,
waiting for a chance to tell him more,
Sharing with him about how much he is loved.

So, our identity is in our work. Rarely are we asked, “Why do you work?” and “What is your motivation?” Usually, it stops at “What do you do?” and that is enough to satisfy the curiosity of our host country, host organisation, local friends and complete strangers.

But isn’t our identity more than work? We are loved and completely accepted—isn’t that our identity? Hence, we often experience a tension in how we share our identity with those around us. What we do is less important than who we are. It’s easy to say that we work; indeed, it is expected. If not, then suspicions are raised—how can they really live here if they do not work? Or, if we say we are doing one thing but in fact are doing something else, we actually have a major problem with integrity. I define integrity as having just one story about who I am and I share the details of my story in a way my hearer will understand. But, what I say is what I do, because it usually is, in terms of my work.

Of course, work is not everything. Family, rest, sharing in communities … we all know the expression that no-one gets to their deathbed and says, “I wish I had spent more time at work”. The reverse is invariably the case. God rested, and so should we.

But identity is not the only function of work. One major function of work is relationship building. We have many opportunities to spend time with the people we work with. Indeed, I have found it easier and more natural than, for example, becoming friends with my local traffic policeman (as I did in my early language-learning days) and this is because we have more in common. Work relationships seem to last longer. And relationships are often key if we want to see transformation.

Transformation—yes, that is what we long for. Often the transformation, physically and spiritually, is through our work. When I see a community being empowered to take their own actions to address some of their limitations for health or education, then I can see transformation—and all this through work. When I see a social business being able to contribute significantly to a social cause through a business model, then I witness transformation.

What about when I don’t see transformation, though? Is my work less successful, or is it even wasted? How do I handle ‘bad days’ or even bad seasons? At various points in time I have thought about what makes success. Going back to the question of identity … if our identity is based on our success, we are setting ourselves up for a big problem.

Perhaps the end of the matter is to have a healthy attitude towards work. For most of us, that will be ordinary work. Ordinary people doing ordinary things. But we are enabled for our ordinary work to be achieving something quite out of the ordinary in kingdom terms. And, if anyone asks—yes, I am here to work; here to see transformation.

Robert has worked in community development in South East Asia for over 10 years.
Names have been changed.

Working for transformation

“What do you do?” he asked, by and by.
“Well, I work”, answered I.
“What as?” he continued, with aplomb.
“I do my job …”
“Yes”, he said, “I see,
that this work is why you are here”.
“Yes, indeed”, with much in store,
waiting for a chance to tell him more,
Sharing with him about how much he is loved.

So, our identity is in our work. Rarely are we asked, “Why do you work?” and “What is your motivation?” Usually, it stops at “What do you do?” and that is enough to satisfy the curiosity of our host country, host organisation, local friends and complete strangers.

But isn’t our identity more than work? We are loved and completely accepted—isn’t that our identity? Hence, we often experience a tension in how we share our identity with those around us. What we do is less important than who we are. It’s easy to say that we work; indeed, it is expected. If not, then suspicions are raised—how can they really live here if they do not work? Or, if we say we are doing one thing but in fact are doing something else, we actually have a major problem with integrity. I define integrity as having just one story about who I am and I share the details of my story in a way my hearer will understand. But, what I say is what I do, because it usually is, in terms of my work.

Of course, work is not everything. Family, rest, sharing in communities … we all know the expression that no-one gets to their deathbed and says, “I wish I had spent more time at work”. The reverse is invariably the case. God rested, and so should we.

But identity is not the only function of work. One major function of work is relationship building. We have many opportunities to spend time with the people we work with. Indeed, I have found it easier and more natural than, for example, becoming friends with my local traffic policeman (as I did in my early language-learning days) and this is because we have more in common. Work relationships seem to last longer. And relationships are often key if we want to see transformation.

Transformation—yes, that is what we long for. Often the transformation, physically and spiritually, is through our work. When I see a community being empowered to take their own actions to address some of their limitations for health or education, then I can see transformation—and all this through work. When I see a social business being able to contribute significantly to a social cause through a business model, then I witness transformation.

What about when I don’t see transformation, though? Is my work less successful, or is it even wasted? How do I handle ‘bad days’ or even bad seasons? At various points in time I have thought about what makes success. Going back to the question of identity … if our identity is based on our success, we are setting ourselves up for a big problem.

Perhaps the end of the matter is to have a healthy attitude towards work. For most of us, that will be ordinary work. Ordinary people doing ordinary things. But we are enabled for our ordinary work to be achieving something quite out of the ordinary in kingdom terms. And, if anyone asks—yes, I am here to work; here to see transformation.

Robert has worked in community development in South East Asia for over 10 years.
Names have been changed.