Kaisa Loikkanen is interviewed here regarding her position as a youth delegate in Western Africa. Also scroll further down to check out the nice video she made from her home. Got interested in this kind of a job? The application time for the next Red Cross Youth delegate course is open now!
1. Hi Kaisa, where are you now and what are you doing there?
I am a Finnish Red Cross Youth delegate in Cote d’Ivoire, based in Abidjan. Finnish Red Cross is supporting a community based health and first aid project in Cote d’Ivoire and most of my work concentrates in that project. My tasks vary a lot. They include supporting planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting about how the project progresses and contributes to the Red Cross of Cote d’Ivoire. Especially due to the current ebola preparedness operations that are going on. Finnish Red Cross organizes meetings and participates in different workshops and trainings. Being the only Finnish Red Cross delegate in the country has increased in the scope of my work; there are no typical working days. I’m based in Abidjan but I spend about one fourth of my time in the field; Basically I participate in the monitoring visits, trainings and evaluations.
2. What made you apply for the Youth delegate course in the first place?
I had been a volunteer in the Red Cross and a member of the Helsinki Uudenmaa region’s youth council for a while when I applied for the youth delegate training. I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the work that the Finnish Red Cross does oversees. I was also keen in meeting Red Cross volunteers from all over the world. In my course we had participants from Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Estonia and Malawi.
3. Alright Kaisa, now that you have accomplished the course, where has it taken you and what kind of future plans do you have?
After the course in autumn 2013, the Finnish Red Cross was looking for a youth delegate to work in IFRC’s (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societes) the Asia Pacific zone office for one and a half months. The mission was starting already in a few weeks and the application process was urgent. I happened to be available and decided to send in an application and got the post. My task was to assist in the Global Review on volunteering: I interviewed Asian national societies and transcribed the interviews. I also got to travel to Myanmar to write a Volunteer investment and Value audit case study on their relief project. During that mission I realized that this is what I want to do: I want to work for the Red Cross movement. I decided that I will apply for the next open youth delegate post, where ever it may be. The next post happened to be in Cote d’Ivoire, so here I am. After this post, again, I hope to continue working in the Red Cross movement.
4. What other factors did the course bring to your life?
We did a lot of team building and group work exercises in the youth delegate course. Many of them had some kind of self-reflection included in the exercises: we pondered what kind of a role does one take in a team and how we react to conflicts or other difficult situations. I also learned a lot about my self during the course; especially my strengths and weaknesses. These are super important viewpoints when working with people from different cultural backgrounds.
5. And one last question Kaisa, how have you changed as a person during the last year?
The mission in Côte d’Ivoire has given me so much perspective; many of the things you take granted in Finland are luxury here.
Thanks Kaisa, be safe and hope you have a succesfull mission!
Editor in chief,