There are many professionals working across the globe to provide aid to the world’s poorest. We want to support them by linking them up as peer coaches.
There are many people working in the field of aid and development across the globe with minimal support and guidance. As development workers ourselves, we are aware that resources are limited
in the humanitarian field. However, we also know that through support networks, and specifically, peer coaching, we can increase the return on investment for these workers and enable them to be more effective in helping the world's poorest and most vulnerable
We want to provide a service that matches them up, so that they are able to support and learn from each other via Skype, email or other methods. This service therefore does not require more resources to be added to the sector (in the form of professional mentors, coaches or counsellors), but rather, builds on existing resources that are not connected.
Since asking for expressions of interest on the 2nd of February, we have had close to 300 people respond to our survey, telling us that they want to be part of our program. A common response has been along the lines of this person's comment:
“I feel isolated, uncertain and a little forlorn about finding my way into development-related work, and would like to have someone to share my experience with, who is perhaps also experiencing the same thing.” - E, 18-25 year old male, Honduras.
We know that there is a high rate of burnout in humanitarian workers. Stress, isolation and a lack of support are certainly key factors in this. We believe that peer coaching is a cost effective way in which isolated humanitarian workers can support each other.
Funding that we receive will be crucial in helping us set up this platform, to support those who are working daily to support others. Once the platform has been set up, we will no longer require seed funding to sustain the platform.
A lot of the hard leg work has already been done, voluntarily and in our spare time (or what's left of it!). We have set up whydev.org, an online platform that aims to promote discussion around aid and development amongst younger people working and studying in the field. We have distributed an online survey and have had over 300 people to date tell us that they want to be part of our program. Now, we just need the seed funding to be able to dedicate a solid amount of time to building the platform, providing the right guidelines for peer coaching, and matching people together in the most effective way. Building the platform will involve spending time on infrastructure - website redesign, functioning and creating a space so that matching can occur. We'll also need to build the database of peer coaches from the ground up and create the resources to support peer coaches as the program continues.
If we reach out seed funding target, we will be able to connect 300 aid workers together to support each other. That's potentially thousands of people affected by more supported aid workers, with less stress and burnout.
Once the platform is built, we think that we can keep the service running by adding in a tiered system of participation. But first, we need to get the service started.