Blog of Alex Barrett

Posted on: 7 September, 2014 Posted in: Staff

Hi!  My name is Alex Barrett (I’m the chap stepping off the boat), and I am one of the Young Professionals currently working in the Innovation, Monitoring, Learning and Communications Unit of CLP.  For the last year and a half, I have been out here in Bangladesh and this time has been a fantastic experience for me, learning particularly from my colleagues as well as the char people themselves.

I am from British descent but spent the majority of my childhood in Zimbabwe and South Africa.  My family was posted there because of my Father’s job, who also works in the Development sector.  I feel very lucky for this time, as from a young age I was exposed to a variety of cultures different from my own.  From early on, this gave me a hunger to travel.

While in Africa, I also developed a great passion for wildlife which led me to a stint in my teens working in the Timbavati National park in South Africa.  From this, I went on to study Zoology at Aberdeen University for four years and during time there I learnt of the terrible impact that climate change is having on animal populations across the world, as well the great impact it could potentially have on people.  It made me want to make a change to this.

I went back out to South Africa when I completed my degree where I worked in a safari lodge.  During that time I visited the slums of Soweto and Alexandra and saw the terrible conditions that the poor struggled to live in.  Alexandra is particularly harrowing as it sits just across the road from one of the richest parts of South Africa, Sandton.  I saw the same when I was younger but at that time I think I didn’t fully comprehend the suffering that these people were going through.  After two years I decided I wanted to go back to the UK and get involved in poverty reduction.  I then successfully got onto the Oxford Brookes’ master’s course in Development and Emergency Practice.

My first development job after my masters was with CLP where I work within the IMLC unit as a Young Professional.  In this role I: carry out research on the impact that CLP is having on our households; communicate with our target audiences through various channels; and monitor and evaluate the status of our households.  The work has been exciting and diverse.  One of my proudest pieces of work was the research I lead on CLP’s impact on resilience of char communities.  We discovered that after receiving the CLP support package, a community’s resilience increased substantially to shocks and stresses.

My contract ends soon in October.  I would like to thank the entire CLP team for making my time here such a fantastic experience and I hope our paths cross in the future.

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