I’ve loved being a volunteer at COCO! I think what I’ve appreciated the most is having a unique perspective on the challenges that present themselves to the children and schools which COCO supports and seeing how the staff work so hard to meet those needs in all of their diverse roles. It’s really encouraging to be a part of, even just in a small way!
Engaging with some of COCO’s largest supporters and those who don’t yet support COCO (but hopefully will do soon) has been a real joy as well – I’ve felt as though the COCO staff have given me plenty of opportunity to do this and once I’ve understood all the details of what goes on within the charity it’s been great share that news with others or discuss the new things COCO are doing. Many of COCO’s supporters are incredibly generous and it’s humbling to see such generosity go towards such a worthy cause.
COCO is ambitious, the diary is full of goings on and there is never a quiet moment in the office! This means there’s always a range of things that need helping with and completing so being a COCO volunteer is an incredibly worth-while and varied experience.
I’d definitely recommend volunteering at COCO with whatever time you can spare. Not only will you be using that time to provide valuable help to keep the COCO train moving, more than that, in your work you’ll be contributing in your own small way to the availability of education for marginalised children in East Africa. This kind of work is, by nature, complex and helping in a meaningful way can be hard to achieve. COCO have really thought about this over their 20 years which makes being a apart of that team a really eye-opening and encouraging experience with much to take with you once your volunteering comes to an end.
Finally, though you’ll also have a lot of fun; with the staff and volunteers as well as the supporters. From helping at balls and events to chatting over a brew in the office, those working at COCO are people that care about people and they so clearly believe and embody that this begins on the inside of the organisation. This a rare but wonderful environment to be amongst!
My tip for any future volunteers (other than to actually volunteer in the first place!) would be to get stuck in in whatever way you can; get to know the staff, ask questions about how things work, take time to understand the systems, take opportunities as they arise and don’t be afraid of asking for more to do - there is always plenty to go around and the more you do the more you’ll understand, be involved in and delight in about COCOs work!
Find out about the different volunteer roles that we have available and how to apply here!