Richard Takes Action Back Home

Richard Sieff is a member of the Leicester-Masaya Link Group who joined as a result of visiting Nicaragua through Raleigh International. In this guest blog, he writes about his experiences and his commitment to take ‘Action at Home’.

Action at Home’ – I knew the requirement of this vital component of the International Citizen Service programme: raise awareness of an issue (global or local) and inspire others to make a positive change and in doing so become Active Citizens. I’d heard a range of suggestions for what I could do for my Action at Home, all credible and worthwhile, but really I wanted something representative of the work I had undertaken during my three months in Nicaragua. I found it right on my doorstep: building sustainable gardens, constructing tippy taps and discussing global development issues with school students in Leicester. Even better, I was doing it with the Leicester Masaya Link Group (LMLG) , a local sustainable development charity that runs Leicester’s town twinning link with the Nicaraguan town of Masaya.

Promoting understanding between the two towns and facilitating sustainable development projects in Masaya are the two main objectives of the LMLG. The charity’s projects are similar to ICS projects, as they focus on waste management and crop diversification programmes, installation of solar panels and solar wells, and business skills training for women and young people. In Leicester, the LMLG focuses on raising awareness of global development issues in the local community, mainly by delivering projects in schools, but also through organising cultural activities, speaker meetings and other public events such as the Riverside festival in June.

What made the experience with the LMLG particularly rewarding was working alongside people with such a keen interest in Nicaragua, who had spent considerable periods of time working on development programmes across the world. It was rewarding working with people who could relate to my experiences and were keen to listen.

Since volunteering with LMLG, I have become a committee member of the organisation which helped me secure a PhD position focussing on rural energy in Kenya. I don’t think I could really have asked for more from my Action at Home project, as the support, experience and friendship the LMLG has provided has enabled me to make the most of what began in Nicaragua with Raleigh.

Still not sure what to do for your Action at Home? Fancy trying your hand at a bit of local tippy tap construction? The LMLG are always looking to attract more volunteers and Raleigh returnees are well placed to make a valuable contribution to the group, drawing upon their experiences to help with our educational workshops and awareness raising activities in schools and the wider community. Not based near the East Midlands? Why not try contacting the Nicaragua Solidarity Group or one of the many other twinning organisations in the UK that have links with Nicaragua and other countries.

Most rewardingly, the fact that organisations like the LMLG share the same aims and themes as Raleigh mean that they are ideally positioned to help promote Raleigh’s ICS programme to other young people, hopefully inspiring future generations of volunteers to take up and benefit from the opportunities Raleigh offers.”

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