Discover the Philippines with the Manila Changemakers Group
Nik knows what it’s like to start a Changemakers Group from scratch. When he first arrived in Manila, there was no group that focused on volunteer work. Being from Munich, he visited InterNations headquarters and talked with our team about his idea to make a difference in Manila, and how InterNations could help him. The idea turned into a volunteer group which soon officially became a Changemakers Group.
When asked what his best experience with the Changemakers has been, Nik told us that he “met some of the best people on the planet” through his work as a Changemakers Consul who have become close friends, and that the Changemakers “are a constant inflow of great minds and souls” with an incredible sense of solidarity.
However, things are not always easy. Manila is one of the most densely populated cities in the world and lots of people get stuck in traffic, which does not make things easy in terms of organization. To respond to this issue, Nik regularly communicates with the attendees before an activity, keeps them engaged through surveys, for example, and uses a pre-payment system. But he also found some creative ways to keep members excited: he recently launched the “Escape-the-City Series” and his “Volunteering and Vacation” concept, where the members have the opportunity to volunteer for NGOs in the province during the weekend. This is the perfect opportunity to discover the Philippines while supporting a good cause!
The NGOs they are partnering with are carefully selected by Nik. He either finds them himself or through recommendations by members. Given that corruption is an issue in the Philippines, Nik wants to make sure that the donations reach their goal and, of course, that members are safe at the activities.
Looking back at his experience, Nik has gathered some tips that he wants to share with new and experienced Changemakers Consuls. First of all, he told us that it’s important to set up a preparation activity with the members some weeks before the actual event so they can meet in a relaxed atmosphere and get briefed — it also allows you to get a better grip on the team. According to him, this is particularly relevant for sensitive topics like autism or abused children.
Secondly, use your networking skills! Whether it’s by partnering with local NGOs or asking the Ambassadors to give you a speaking slot at the next official event to present the Changemakers Group, it’s important to get the word out there. And finally, even if the number of participants is quite small, “keep in mind that even the smallest change has an impact."