Published on July 16, 2015

A brief hello and why I am here!

By Stephanie Gamauf

Stephanie is Project Officer at Involve and provides operational and project support to the team. She is passionate about supporting inclusive decision-making and identifying ways of strengthening active citizenship.

Starting a career in the charity and think tank world can be quite intimidating and stressful. Overwhelming competition, lack of suitable positions, and time-consuming application processes are just a few of the challenges a recent graduate might face when entering the third sector job market. What I have taken from my experience is that in the midst of this very uncertain stage of life it is important to step back and reflect on personal motivations.

Wait a second! What is it that I want? And how exactly do I see social change actually happening?

Thinking back now, it was by answering these questions that I found myself with Involve and my current position as Team Coordinator.

With an academic background in international development and experience in the UN project sector, I have come to understand wellbeing as a matter of inclusion and freedom of decision-making. Instead of providing standard solutions to complex problems, my interest is based in people’s capacity to have a say in discussions that affect their lives. Taking this further, it is not always the final decision itself but the actual process of finding it that defines how policies, projects or organisational plans play out in the future.

A bit more of a ‘How do we want things to happen?’, rather than ‘What do we want in the end?’, was essentially what I was looking for.

Involve puts these vague ideas into practice in a most strategic and effective way. They (or as I would now say, we) identify spaces where citizen engagement is lacking and develop inclusive and innovative programmes for different voices to be heard. With the firm belief that political participation should play an active part in people’s lives, Involve radically challenges the perception of rusty, electoral democracy. A complicated task, as transforming existing structures can be a lot harder than implementing and moving on to something new.

It has now been two weeks of working alongside this buzzing team of inspiring people, with a lot to learn and take in. Getting to know different projects, supporting operational systems and taking part in the development of concrete strategies, my position offers the unique opportunity to understand the bigger picture and Involve’s work as a whole.

What is left to say here really? I am definitely in the right place. I know, lucky me.

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