07 March 2016
Catherine Ngave, a national UN Volunteer in Kenya: I started volunteering at a young age in our community. We would volunteer to clean the market places and also fetch water for the elderly women in the village. I never knew it would lead to national volunteerism.
Catherine Ngave (on the whiteboard), UNV program assistant-statistics, Makueni County, Kenya, leading the education department team in report writing after a survey on restructuring and revitalizing the youth polytechnics in the county. (Photo courtesy of Catherine Ngave)

Makueni County, Kenya: Catherine Ngave, a national UN Volunteer in Kenya: I started volunteering at a young age in our community. We would volunteer to clean the market places and also fetch water for the elderly women in the village. I never knew it would lead to national volunteerism.

I began my assignment as national UN Volunteer in November 2015. I am a UNV Programme Assistant-Statistician in Makueni County. At the onset of devolution in Kenya, the government encountered a lot of problems and that made many Kenyans regret devolution. Rather than sit back and complain, I decided to do something about it. I volunteered.

I am stationed at the Department of Finance and Socio-Economic Planning where I collect the latest data to facilitate the planning and resource allocation in the county. I compile this data from the field and various county government departments.

I help various departments carry out baseline surveys before embarking on projects; interpret the data to various stakeholders; and assist the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit in the county to support the Participatory Rural Appraisal. Additionally, I also help the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit report on the state of development projects across the county.

It’s rewarding to be part of a team that fulfills the essence of devolution, bringing government to local people. To see the marginalized and the poor learn about self-sustainability is not only motivating but provides ultimate satisfaction.

My role in the county has enabled me to address so many community challenges and opportunities. I am currently involved in bringing together women from all the wards in the county for a volunteer event during International Women’s Day – to ensure women are effectively involved in gathering development data that informs the county resource allocation.

Working alongside the department of volunteerism in the county, we intend to establish a stronger women empowerment network that will also provide a tool for voter education as we approach next year’s general elections.

My overall experience has been quite profound. I have been able to grow both professionally and personally through volunteerism. My message to everyone, and especially to women who want to see a change in the community is that the world is changing.

Are we? Will we take the initiative and volunteer to make our communities better, safer and more productive?

Sub-Saharan Africa
Sustainable Development Goal: