My name is Ben Atkinson and I am 2Way Development’s Regional Placement Manager for Asia, and a volunteer for rural development NGO, Seva Mandir. I originally came to India in May 2011 on a volunteer placement with 2Way Development’s South Asia hub, Shaishav. I worked as Shaishav’s Communications Coordinator, a broad role that included liaising with donors, preparing funding proposals, documentation of Shaishav’s programmes and research on the status of children within the city of Bhavnagar, Gujarat.
In August 2011, I became 2Way Development’s India Country Representative, which involved creating new partnerships between 2Way Development and grassroots NGOs operating across India. In July 2012, this position evolved into my current role as 2Way Development’s Regional Placement Manager for South Asia. In this role I am responsible for 2Way’s operations in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. This involves creating new partnerships with grassroots NGOs, along with managing current partnerships. It also involves organising the placements of future volunteers, and monitoring the placements of those volunteers currently placed in South Asia.
I completed my placement with Shaishav in December 2012, and am now living in Udaipur, Rajasthan, where I divide my time between my 2Way Development role and working within Seva Mandir’s Natural Resource Development Programme, focusing particularly on project management of four fisheries livelihoods projects and monitoring of water and sanitation projects. In August 2013, I took on the responsibilities for 2Way Development’s work in Cambodia, Vietnam and Fiji. Though I am only beginning to scratch the surface of this region, I hope that through my work I will be able to better understand these countries, both from a development perspective and in a general sense.