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Volunteer Spotlight: Nicola McQuilkin

In celebration of National Volunteer Week 2017, we are showcasing some of our incredible volunteers. Get to know them a little bit through our Volunteer Spotlight interview.

Nicola McQuilkin, Executive Director of Amazing Children Uganda

Trusts & Grants Project Manager Volunteer with UN Women NC UK:18 months ago

Tell us a little bit about your day job?

I am the Executive Director of Amazing Children Uganda. We work to transform the lives of former street children in Uganda through education. My main focus areas are strategy development, income generation, operational management and charity governance.

Tell us how you first got involved with UNWNCUK and why us, as opposed to other organisations working for this cause?

Having worked in the sector for 16 years and been lucky enough to visit various programmes globally, I understand the delivery process on the ground and am fully aware how important it is to provide beneficiaries with a voice and the tools to help themselves.

UNWNCUK are the voice for UN Women, we not only support many programmes globally through partner organisations, but also provide technical support, rigorous monitoring and capacity development through the UN Women structure to strengthen their work and influence, which is extremely important to selected women’s organisations and crucial for ensuring goals are achieved and programmes deliver on sustainability.

What's the best thing about volunteering at UNWNCUK?

The incredible commitment and sheer determination from all volunteers to voice such fundamental issues on gender equality and economic empowerment throughout the UK.

How do you apply any of the things you've learnt or are exposed to whilst volunteering at UNWNCUK to your personal or professional life?

I am a great believer of sharing your knowledge – hey it’s no burden! Because I am signed up to the UNWNCUK newsletter, this provides me with incredible stories from women and girls from around the world whose lives have been dramatically changed through the programmes UNWNCUK are supporting; at this point I share my learnings!

What's your favourite UNW global programme?

My favourite UNW global initiative has to be Women’s Access to Land and Productive Resources for Climate-Resilient Agriculture. This is absolutely fundamental, if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30%. This could raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5–4%, which could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12–17%. These statistics are so powerful; they present me with a strong desire to want to support UNWNCUK with as much time and commitment I can possibly offer.

What do you wish other people knew about UNWNCUK?

If people knew UNWNCUK were supporting so many fantastic initiatives from women’s political empowerment, women’s economic empowerment, elimination of violence against women to peace, security and humanitarian action, I am utterly convinced we would have a huge following of advocates – we aim to reach this aspiration!

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering for UNWNCUK?

There are so many great opportunities, roles and initiatives for you to aspire to, I promise you will learn so much and feel a part of a global movement for change, and with you joining us, we will be able to make the change we need happen!

What do you do when you're not working or volunteering?

I love to travel, having grown up as a forces child and moving every two years, travelling runs through my blood – tendency to get itchy feet regularly! I love to immerse myself in different cultures; we can discover so much about people and life when we spend valuable time with local people understanding their country!

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

When I was younger, I was quite a shy person. However, I have grown up with huge confidence in my own ability and now I love nothing more than to network in a room full of strangers to hear their stories and share each other’s interests and knowledge!