What do you do?

I manage the Bougainville programme and help in-country strategic direction. This includes activities such as scoping and designing assignments, ensuring our placements align with the governments development priorities and building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders in the region. I am also responsible for managing the volunteers once they are in-country, which consist of securing adequate housing, monitoring their safety and security situation and generally ensuring they are happy and healthy.

What’s your favourite thing about working for VSA?

We work across a variety of sectors and my role varies hugely day-to-day, which means I’m always learning! I could be taking apart a volunteer's old washing machine in the morning, meeting with the Minister for Health to discuss potential assignments over lunch, then negotiating the intricacies of a lease agreement with a landlord come afternoon. It's always an adventure.

What’s your favourite Pacific or Timorese phrase or saying and why?

Bougainville is home to the Rotokas language, which has an alphabet of just 12 letters – reportedly the shortest alphabet of any language in the world. Aiokopa means a “person who gulps down food”. A label one or two of our volunteers may have attracted when visiting the Rotokas people.

If you could be anywhere in the world on a Friday afternoon/evening, where would it be?

In Buka, on my deck, which is up on cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean, with G&T in hand (gotta keep those mozzies away).

Paul Bedggood 2017