15 July 2013

Five on a Five-Point Scale

by Raymond de Asis

I never thought I would do volunteer work right after getting my undergraduate degree. I saw myself getting a job with the government right away, beating the election ban and hitting the ground running and in time for the new set of local government officials. I had a plan, but things don’t always go as planned.

Demanding that the government do its job (efficiently and effectively) is hard; getting them to welcome citizen involvement in their work is even harder. The process is tedious, and when you finally get them to agree, they could change their mind in the blink of an eye.

As far as volunteer opportunities go, it’s also not as familiar as feeding the children or building classrooms or houses. It also involves a lot more paperwork. Still, I think it’s important – important enough to give time to instead of enjoying what is possibly my last real summer vacation. All in all, the decision wasn’t that hard to make.

I discovered ANSA–EAP through my work with Checkmyschool.org, one of their big projects. Being interested in development work, particularly governance, I saw an opportunity to learn while contributing to the social accountability effort. Shortly after graduation, I began working as a volunteer for the Executive Director’s office, the big boss. He was a great boss, and made sure I had good exposure to the other projects. What I went through taught me a few things - how strictly details should be monitored, how small decisions can have large effects down the road, and that sometimes you just have to take the plunge and take it on faith.

I also acquired some new skills, and found out exactly how fast I could work after a particularly fun night out. It took no prodding from anyone; just bad decision-making after office hours. I’m happy to say that it didn’t affect the quality of my work or the punctuality of  my submission.

Of more important note, though, were the people I got to work with. For a time, I was considering joining them full-time and officially – but I knew I had to stick to my plan. I’ll be seeing some of them a lot, though, and this I am sure of. I really enjoyed my time as a volunteer, and I would probably find myself back here, one way or another.

After all, they need more good-looking guys in the office.


Raymond is a recent graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines (AB Interdisciplinary Studies). When he’s not volunteering in ANSA-EAP, he’s busy lifting heavy weights, eating lots of beef, and having a good time while preparing to take on the daunting task of being a good public servant in the Philippines.

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