Name: Finn Homfeldt
Hometown: Hamburg, Germany
Occupation: Assistant Manager at KPMG
Languages spoken: German, English (fluent), Spanish (beginner)
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Microfinance and Income Generation in Phnom Phen, Cambodia
Duration: 5 weeks
Start month: April 2016
Claim to fame: Finn always strives to reach the best results. UBELONGers are the best, thanks for your service, Finn!
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
My primary goal was to use my knowledge and experience to contribute to people in need. In the last five years I had the opportunity to learn a lot of things, especially in the fields of business and finance. I experienced a steep learning curve and many people shared their knowledge and experiences with me. I felt it was time to not only receive education and knowledge but to share it and help others.
During my research I talked to a colleague who told me about UBELONG, and I felt like it was the most authentic organization to plan my trip with. I took initiative and now I am happy and proud that I got the opportunity to serve as a UBELONG Volunteer.
What was your impact on your volunteer project?
In the business development project, I consulted a local charitable company, which supports people in rural areas with financing, knowledge and market access, to grow micro and small businesses. The company’s goal is to enable their clients to feed their families, send their children to school and to improve living conditions for the people of Cambodia, eventually. During my stay I helped fellow volunteers to develop a cost calculation model for a small banana chip business, built an inventory analysis and control tool for a pig farm and created checklists for internal audit purposes. Moreover, I developed an Excel-based loan and interest calculation tool.
I think the biggest challenge in this project is to focus on the usability of your work results, as there might not only be a language barrier but a knowledge barrier, too. This includes a lot of communication with the colleagues who are supposed to profit from your work. Even though I was not always sure whether or not the tools I developed would be used in the future, I always felt the appreciation of my colleagues. In the end it was a very rewarding feeling when, for example, the CEO and the Finance Manager decided to translate the loan calculation tool to Khmer and train the Credit Officers to use it in the field.
What is your favorite memory?
When I had dinner and a little party with my two fellow volunteers Jillian and Tyler at a local tuctuc driver’s house together with his family and friends.
In a sentence or less, how would you sum up your experience?
I experienced, that I can contribute quite a lot with what I have learned so far and I definitely improved my understanding of poverty, despair and hope of people in a country like Cambodia.