Volunteering in Kenya

Through GSK’s PULSE Volunteer Partnership, our employees can use their professional skills to help create sustainable change for our non-profit partners and the communities they serve.

In July 2015 Alicia Cook, a communications manager at GSK Australia, went on assignment in Kenya to work with AMREF Flying Doctors to develop and implement a fundraising strategy.

These fundraising activities would allow for the continuation, expansion and sustainability of AMREF Flying Doctors’ outreach activities to reduce morbidity and mortality in certain areas of Africa.

In an excerpt from one of her blogs, Alicia describes her extraordinary experience and the significant work performed by our community partners in Kenya:

"One of the things that struck me most when I started working at GSK four and half years ago was the insane amount of brainpower that surrounded me. Big brains with bright ideas were everywhere. My contribution as a communications specialist playing with words paled in comparison to what these brains did. Chemists, scientists, doctors, engineers, health economists, regulatory boffins – there was a whole ecosystem of intellect churning within the company. I felt constantly awe-struck by the newness and magnitude of it all.

Reminiscent of the overeager grasshopper from Karate Kid, I asked a lot and learned a lot in those early days. But, as with everything, the ‘wowness’ faded over time. The significance of the work being done never diminished, things just became… normal.

Now, nearly three weeks into my PULSE assignment with AMREF Flying Doctors, the moments for ‘wowness’ are back....

AMREF Flying Doctors operates in a wonderfully contradictory way – uncomplicated service delivery in a very complicated environment. Conversations here are not about refining process and procedure. They’re about navigating inadequate runways and poor infrastructure, security clearances for inter-regional transfers and conflict zones, visas and passport checks and, of course, let’s not forget the ever-narrowing funding streams and increasing competition for money to keep things going.

I can’t pretend I am not still slightly girly about working with the big brains of pilots and medics (a leopard can’t change her spots), but if I am to take anything from the subliminal messages given by Rees’ father and my first few weeks working here, it’s that the size of your brain is irrelevant. It’s what you do with it that really counts!"

For more information about GSK’s PULSE program and to read other volunteer blogs, visit: gskpulsevolunteers.com

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