Making a podcast – how volunteer Zara is making fantastic use of her skills

Making a podcast – how volunteer Zara is making fantastic use of her skills

Volunteer Zara has a placement planned – she is going to go to Treak Community Centre in Cambodia  ̶̶  she works in the publishing industry and she is going to use her skills to help develop a literacy strategy at the school at Treak.  Her plans were to travel this year, but of course the pandemic has intervened.  So Zara is using her skills on an e-volunteer project until she is able to travel.

As part of her work in the publishing industry, Zara hosts the Insight Guides podcasts – follow this link to listen to her work:  

Because of the pandemic we at people and places are currently unable to send volunteers to travel to the projects we support – however we do want e-volunteers for these projects, who will work to support them from home.  How can we generate interest in projects when people are unable to travel there and experience the country and culture for themselves?  Making a podcast which people can listen to, including discussions with local people talking about their work and culture seems a perfect solution.  So how incredibly lucky we are that Zara has exactly the skills we need!  She is currently working on a podcast about Cambodia, as that is the country where she will travel to volunteer.  However the plan is that she will then go on to work with more of our local partners, creating podcasts for their projects too.

Zara started by writing questions which were sent out to our partner in Cambodia for consideration – it was important to have questions which Zara as a volunteer would want to ask, and also to include questions from local people covering issues they think volunteers should be aware of when working with people from their culture.  An interview then took place via Zoom between Zara and Dara, head-teacher at Treak, which Zara recorded.  She then researched audio-editing software and has been learning to use it.  The editing process has involved removing pauses and breaks, and re-recording her own questions to make sure her voice and Dara’s are of equal volume.  The next stage will be to write and edit in the intro and outro, and to add music.  Dara provided appropriate music but not in the correct format, so researching music editing software has been another challenge. 

Zara says creating the podcast has been a steep learning curve for her, but something she is thoroughly enjoying.  In her work for Insight Guides she has written and selected content for podcasts and hosted them, but this is the first time she has been involved in the technical side of recording, editing and production.  She even spent a weekend on an online course about making podcasts (some of it useful!) to help her learn how to make a really good job of this task.  The job is proving more time-consuming than she expected but is something she feels is really worthwhile – and the next podcast she makes won’t take anything like as much time!  

What a great e-volunteer placement – a useful resource for the project who will be able to use the finished podcast to promote what they do and encourage interest from potential volunteers, and good professional development for the volunteer herself.  Also really beneficial for people and places as we start to attract interest from e-volunteers – with any luck we will end up with podcasts hosted by Zara for all the projects where we are placing e-volunteers.

We hope to include Zara’s completed podcast for Treak in our next newsletter – look out for it!

If you are interested in an e-volunteer project with Treak Community Centre check out it out here – you don’t have to be able to make podcasts – they can use your skills in lots of other ways too!

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