Vijay Singh from India, was a volunteer at the ICV office until January this year. Armed with sales and marketing experience, he helped to contact companies in Geneva to interest them in sponsorship for the CyberVolunteers Program. Vijay has now joined his wife and son in New York.
How did you get involved in ICV?
For the last eleven years or so of my professional career, I worked in sales in different countries. That gave me opportunities to work and interact with people from different geographical backgrounds. I moved to Switzerland from Kenya with my wife, who works for the United Nations. Once in Geneva, I used my so-called 'sabbatical break' to discover activities which probably would not have occurred to me otherwise.
One of them happened to be in the field of volunteerism. In order to get international conference exposure, I got involved in the World Summit on the Information Society (i.e. the WSIS conference in Geneva 2003, ed.), where I volunteered for ICVolunteers. One thing led to another and I eventually became part of the fundraising team of ICV, particularly focusing on the private sector.
How different was your volunteer work from previous jobs?
Before ICV I had been using my professional skills to facilitate sales and generate business, following the norms of the profession. Using my experience and skills for community development without any 'materialistic' gain was sort of unusual to my mould! So my volunteering was not only challenging but also an opportunity to learn new dynamics of interaction with people on a totally different level.
My role was primarily to initiate contacts with the private sector to discuss the CyberVolunteers Program and explore possibilities of forming a partnership to support the program. Through the program, volunteers who specialize in information and communication technology contribute to development projects with a special focus on the African region.
How do you rate your experience at ICVolunteers?
Great! It was a tremendous experience. I truly enjoyed working in a field which I only had encountered from a business perspective. Working at ICV also gave me an opportunity to interact with and learn from people with different backgrounds and experience.
Would you be pursuing volunteerism in the future?
First of all, I am happy that I contributed my time and experience to a project that benefits Africa, where I lived for almost eight years. Given the chance, I would be happy to volunteer for the CyberVolunteers Program as a side activity in the future.