Over July 2019 I commenced on a 3-week internship at COCO in Digital Marketing. I have also just finished my undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Economics at Durham University. My role has involved updating and assisting with website design, writing engaging blogs and writing reports for improvement of the website and marketing campaigns.
Before joining COCO, I had never done any charity work, bar the occasional involvement in a charity run or event. However, I have always had a passion for helping children and communities from countries who don’t have the many basic services and opportunities we take for granted. It is difficult to conceive of the lives of those who struggle just to feed themselves and educate their children to a basic level, especially when we live in such a consumption-orientated world. In my opinion, not having a full education and a means of self-improvement of one’s own economic or social situation is the most difficult injustice anyone can face.
COCO’s primary goal is to ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, one of the key UN sustainable development goals. The charity has also worked particularly hard in changing social attitudes towards women and people with disabilities. The United Nation’s African Development report has highlighted the crucial role of the empowerment of women in driving change and increasing economic growth. The report describes a continent limited in its potential by serious problems; it finds that gender discrimination leads to an average loss of $95 billion from the economy every year.
Examples of COCO’s work in changing social attitudes has been the provision of disabled facilities at schools in Litisha and Mlandizi and the construction of female toilets and dormitories to ensure girls stay in education for longer. Many members and leaders of COCO’s community-led projects are women, which is testimony to the success of the charity in changing these social and cultural attitudes.
The atmosphere in the office has been very friendly and has made me feel relaxed so I can achieve the tasks I have been assigned. Furthermore, I have been given great responsibility and freedom in suggesting and implementing improvements for website design and functionality. Ensuring the website looks professional and the content is receptive to readers is important in conveying the message across to stakeholders about COCO’s aims and achievements, as well as attracting new supporters. I will very much value the skills and experience I have gained during my internship when starting a future career.
The community-led nature of COCO’s initiatives is great to see as it reassures me of the great work charities like COCO can do, despite the many controversies of the corrupt use of foreign aid – with COCO you know exactly where the money is going and why these people need such help, adding much credibility to the charity’s work. This is great to see!
Despite COCO being a relatively small charity with only 4 full-time employees, they have a significant outreach across the North East for fundraising and volunteering. They assist development in communities in 3 East African countries, in particular Tanzania, for projects and community work focused on educational opportunities.
I am grateful to COCO for allowing me to make a small but not insignificant impact on their tremendous work. A lot of time and effort goes into organising fundraising events and implementing projects in East Africa and the team do a great job working with partners and supporters in an affable but professional manner.