Volunteering at Dynamo International

In September 2022, a new adventure began for me at Dynamo International as part of a Civic Service thanks to the association ADICE.

Based in Brussels with a branch in Namur, this NGO is dedicated to helping young people through its various divisions: youth mobility, the international network of street social workers and development cooperation. For my part, I worked mainly in the cooperation department. As an assistant project manager, I was able to find out about the cooperation programmes that Dynamo coordinates with partners on the ground in Benin, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The aim of these programmes is to improve the living conditions of street children and make them professionally independent, while combating the discrimination they suffer in society.

After discovering the tools specific to the field of Belgian cooperation, the issues linked to African countries and, above all, a great team, I was lucky enough to be able to go on a 10-day mission to Kinshasa for the launch of a project funded by the Brussels-Capital Region in January 2023. The aim of this particular project is to give young people living on the streets a socio-economic boost by teaching them livestock rearing, market gardening and beekeeping techniques.

Going to the DRC took me out of my comfort zone and was quite a challenge, as I’d never been to sub-Saharan Africa before. Once there, I was finally able to meet our Congolese partners from the Comité d’Appui au Travail Social de Rue (CATSR). Being in daily contact with them from Brussels, it was a real pleasure to finally be able to talk to them face-to-face and learn more about their work.

Not only did discovering Kinshasa move me, but it also gave me a personal insight into what children in street situations and our Congolese colleagues have to deal with every day. It was mainly thanks to this mission that I understood the importance of development cooperation and its benefits, but also the limits of its intervention because it goes without saying that there are many unpredictable hazards on the ground.

Volunteering at Dynamo was a very enriching experience, both professionally and in human terms, thanks to the wonderful people I met. I’d particularly like to thank Barbara, Annick and Marie, my colleagues of development cooperation, for trusting me and supporting me throughout my time as a volunteer. I would also like to thank the Dynamo team in Brussels and Namur for their warm welcome and their joy of life.

Mazarine Merlevede