microfinance-income-generation

“Everyone was always trying to give their best.”

UBELONG

UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Carlo Enrico Morozzo
Age: 23
Hometown: Milan
Nationality: Italy
Languages spoken: Italian, Spanish (advanced), French (advanced), English (fluent)
University: Università Commerciale L. Bocconi
Degree: Economics and Finance
Past travel experience: Avid
Volunteer Abroad: Microfinance and Income Generation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Duration: 6 weeks
Start month: July 2015
Claim to fame: Went to Santiago de Compostela (in Spain) starting from Saint Jean Pied du Port (in France), by bike. It took him 12 days to do the 865 kms!

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I was studying a course on project finance at my university that was describing all the problems about finding the money to invest in a project. The NGO sector was the one with more difficulties. I said to myself: “I want to see if I can solve this problem in one NGO.”

Then I decided to apply to the UBELONG project because there was the possibility of working in a Microfinance Institution (which I prefer instead of working for orphanages etc.) and because I read a lot on the internet about previous people that did the project with UBELONG and they were really happy about their experience. I had to wait 8 days before having a reply by UBELONG, where Barbara (my UBELONG Mentor) told me: “You are hired”, I was really happy, and still I am about my decision.

What was your impact on your volunteer project?
The first day I was a little bit scared because it was not easy to understand what the staff was asking me. They were talking in such a technical way that sometimes I was just saying in my mind: ”What are they talking about?”. Thanks to Mr. Chenda (one member of the staff) I understand what the NGO was trying to ask me. They needed a technical analyst who had to analyze all the investments they were doing, in order to understand where they were using their money in a non-efficient way. With my background in Economics I knew what I had to do. But it wasn’t just a work of analysis. There were a lot of moments in which we were doing meetings in order to share our ideas about how to solve problems of sharing data and news among the different offices.

While I was working with the staff, there were some communication issues due to my lack of knowledge of Khmer, but I have always seen that everyone was trying to give their best. This is why I am sure about the fact that both the NGO and I had a positive impact in each other.

What did you take from the experience?
First of all, I understood a new culture, a country totally different from Italy and, generally speaking, from Europe. A country that is always smiling and laughing out loud for everything must be a good country, and Cambodia is. From a work point of view the time spent with Mr. Chenda was like being in class. He was really kind and he tried to teach me every single thing we were doing together; with him I learned a lot about microfinance projects and analysis of the returns of the investments.

During my long period in the provinces, I had the opportunity to learn a lot with Mr Sothorn, the Project Manager of many provinces (Battambang, Siem Reap, Pursat). He is the best in the field of collecting data and helps a lot the local population in reaching their production objectives. With him I learned a lot about budgeting and report analysis. His office in Battambang was really well organized, and thanks to that I realized how important office management and strategic planning are. I have to mention the amazing figure of Mr. Somith that is still in contact with me for different projects about fundraising. With him I learned a lot about the difficulty of raising money by international organizations, such as EU and UNICEF. I hope to become something like an ambassador for my NGO in order to help it to become more and more useful for its country.

Even if it is at the end is not the least important: I learned how to live and work with an heterogeneous group of people from different countries like: Cambodia, Italy, France, UK, USA, Germany, Vietnam, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and many others; I can see how this changed me right now, while I am studying in Nice, in an international university.

In a sentence or less, what was your funniest moment?
Every day there was a funny moment. The funniest during my work time was while I was talking with Mr. Chenda and he was asking me how much time I spent to go to work while I was in Europe. I said: “Twenty minutes walking”. He was scared and replied: “No tuk tuk in Italy?? If there are no tuk tuk in Italy I will never come to your place!”.

Another funny moment was while I was in a guesthouse in the Battambang province (during work days my team was always in the provinces for the analysis). I was playing pool with the owner of the guesthouse. She won 8 times. She was starting the game, in all the 8 games I haven’t touched the white ball once. She had no mistakes. Anyway, she offered me a beer while she was playing “with me”.

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Related post:
Meet Abraham Wapner, a University of Virginia grad, who volunteered with UBELONG at the community rights project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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