Dan is the passionate Business Manager for our African Impact volunteer projects in Cape Town. With overall responsibility for these amazing community projects, let’s find out more about his role and why our Cape Town projects are so special.
First of all, why should a volunteer choose the CT projects?
The Cape Town projects have something for everyone – no matter what your interest. Our dynamic, welcoming community partners have a contagious energy meaning you never feel tired or uninspired in their company. The projects allow for volunteers to make a genuine, meaningful, measurable impact. The Cape Town team’s energy, sense of fun and desire for everyone to feel at home means everyone feels instantly settled. And that’s before you consider this all happens in the greatest city on Earth.
What’s been your journey with African Impact so far?
In African Impact terms, I’m one of those rare breeds – a staff member who didn’t volunteer with the organisation prior to pursuing employment. Seeking a change to my London-based 9-5 and with a friend recommending African Impact so highly, it was easier than you may think to apply for a role in the Cape Town team. Arriving into Cape Town with an open mind, a desire to learn as much as possible and a willingness to work as hard as I could, I discovered it was the perfect place to challenge myself in new ways, teach me treasured life lessons and gain valuable professional experience. I’m now the Business Manager for the Cape Town projects with overall accountability for our projects, volunteers and business performance here and I couldn’t be happier.
So, tell us where you’re working from right now? What’s your office like?
My ‘office’ takes on various forms and no two days are ever the same. Sometimes I have the challenging task of focusing on my computer screen when all I want to do is stare at stunning Devil’s Peak through the window as it looms over the volunteer house. Meetings have also taken place by the beach, at local coffee shops and in the bedroom of a lady’s shack – the variety day to day is vast.
Any outstanding highlights of your time as Business Manager? Proud moments?
Too many to mention! Launching our new Girl Impact project was a real highlight with the opportunity to work with new partners and also existing partner organisations with an altered focus. It’s something I’m personally passionate about and being able to pursue this and ultimately being surrounded by like-minded volunteers is great!
Being part of the Cape Town THAF focal project events such as GAPA trips and Street Cricket has been a high point but also an honour. To see people’s kind donations come to life and the impact they have – a true highlight.
Our community partners are all wonderfully unique and dangerously addictive. We never use the F-word in Cape Town, simply because it’s impossible to have favourites!
So many other highlights - not forgetting the fun I had getting my head around the clicks of the local language, feeling an accepted part of the local culture, trying out some of the Cape Town activities – Shark Cage Diving, Abseiling from Table Mountain, wine tasting, sea kayaking with huge whales, hiking, scuba diving, kloofing, surfing, trail running – the list is endless!
Tell us 2 truths, 2 lies... (We won't worry about putting the answers!)
- This role has been the most challenging, most rewarding and overall most enjoyable I’ve ever taken on.
- Cape Town is hands down the most incredible city I’ve ever and will ever live in: mountains, oceans, diverse and varied cultures and languages, wildlife, weather, activities to suit any interest and sunsets to die for.
- Cape Town is ugly and I regret ever moving here.
- I’m bored, get me out of here…
And finally, 1 piece of advice for upcoming volunteers?
The formula is simple – arrive with an open mind, a desire to learn, work hard, try new things, be a team player and use all of the skills you have in your locker. Do this and you’ll gain more than you ever imagined possible and will leave (if we let you) with more memories, experiences and skills than will fill your suitcase.