AfID Volunteer Judith Hartley featured in October's CIPFA magazine01.10.2015

Judith Hartley used her CIPFA background to volunteer in Burundi for three weeks with Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), who help people affected by armed conflicts to rebuild their lives.

Judith’s placement was arranged through Accounting for International Development (AfID), who offer accountants like Judith the opportunity to provide invaluable support to grassroots organisations across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

‘Having worked in the UK charity sector for several years, and having a longstanding interest in the developing world, I took voluntary redundancy from my previous post to have a career break and try to make the move into the international NGO sector. I lacked experience working overseas in the field, so the volunteer placement with two small NGOs in Burundi was just what I needed. It gave me the opportunity to improve my French, as well.

‘Before I left, I was anxious about meeting their expectations, but I received such a warm welcome, and they were so grateful, that it was quite humbling. One of them said that just by being there, and showing an interest in their work, I had helped to give them a renewed sense of purpose.

‘The training I received at London South Bank University, in conjunction with CIPFA, gave me a good foundation in charity accounting, and on the placement I was mentoring two finance officers, evaluating their financial management procedures, and compiling a finance procedures manual.

‘I didn’t have a lot of free time, but one day I took a trip out of Bujumbura, where I was working, to see a bit more of the country, and followed the coast of Lake Tanganyika southwards towards Tanzania, and saw some beautiful beaches and scenery, in contrast to the desperately poor living conditions of the rural population.

‘I enjoyed the placement so much I was planning to do another one, when I was offered several interviews, and as a result have secured an interim position with an international NGO in London. I would definitely recommend an AfID placement to other CIPFA members.’ More than 30 CIPFA members have taken up an assignment through AfID since 2009 - could you be the next one? 

See the full article in the CIPFA magazine here.