Virtual Talent Exchange (VTX) In Action!
EWB-Canada has been supporting early-stage and Series A social ventures in tackling poverty and inequality in sub-Saharan Africa by providing financial capital and volunteer talent to help them succeed. With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, measures taken to contain the spread in many countries, took many by surprise particularly given how restrictive they were and the abruptness with which they were announced.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continued to spread, businesses across the world were facing significant challenges that they needed to respond to rapidly as this has been causing economic damage globally, and we know that it is the poorest and most vulnerable in the global south who suffer most in these situations. We also know that it is the social enterprises that are doing important work that will be hit the hardest.
It is with this in mind that EWB launched its Virtual Talent xChange (VTX) program in 2020 in order to facilitate the process of matching bright talent with the needs of our partner ventures across sub-Saharan Africa, remotely.
The VTX program offers volunteers and ventures access to our pool of highly talented and passionate individuals across Canada and the rest of the world, as well as networking opportunities during and after placements. This talent-matching program is not just about the industry experience and opportunity description. Many at times, volunteers and ventures are paired from completely different regions, worldviews and cultures. Which also provides unparalleled insight and programmatic strength as both entities will learn about each other.
This is what one of VTX volunteers, Jean-Sebastien Penney from SBSA Structural Consultants, Montreal attached to EWB Venture Kwangu Kwako in Kenya had to say:
“The placement is going well. What excites me the most is having to think outside the box. We are trying to come up with a two-story modular system, which is quite challenging given current restrictions. Modular construction has been growing in popularity all over the world, however, in almost all cases it requires cranes and large trucks to assemble the components together, which are hard to access. I think so far we have been able to present ideas that they hadn’t thought of before, make them more aware of how different loads such as wind, concentrated roof loads and others will become more important as you go to two stories. Also being able to size members and give the weights of these to quickly determine maximum member lengths based on how much they can lift by hand, etc”.
This is also what one of our partners, Kungula Foods in Zambia, had to say about our VTX volunteer, Bethlehem Zebib:
“Despite her having a full-time job, Bethlehem has been committed to attending weekly management strategy meetings. Her level of commitment has enabled us to remain engaged and accountable to achieve the set weekly and monthly goals. Bethlehem has exceeded our expectations and become a relevant force in our team.”
Since its inception last year, the program has matched over 40 volunteers across different fields such as Tech support, business development, data management, fundraising efforts and so much more, where on average the volunteers have been clocking about 12 hours per week of volunteer assistance.
Currently, the program is looking at ways to add more value to our offering and is exploring corporate-volunteering options to be able to get more senior and technical skills, as the need for these skills are on the rise. On the volunteer side, the program is exploring ways on how to engage the volunteers through our leadership and professional development opportunities.
If you’re interested in becoming involved in EWB’s VTX program or want to learn more, please visit our program page here.