13.05.2020 - Before Chantelle Lincoln left Solomon Islands, she was working with her counterpart, Emmanuel Pitakaka, on two key partnerships and funding proposals. Now working from Aotearoa, she has continued to provide advice for Emmanuel. “I have been able to contribute suggestions and reviews of documents,” says Chantelle. “We’re pretty stoked that both proposals have been accepted by both key partners.”

Since lockdown began, Chantelle has been working hard to support Emmanuel, who is the Coordinator for the Young Entrepreneurs Council Solomon Islands (YECSI), remotely in her role as Organisational Development Adviser for the youth focussed organisation.  

Chantelle’s work includes Health, Safety and Code of Conduct planning. “We’re having discussions around what Health, Safety and Code of Conduct policies look like. We’re a very young organisation so this is fairly new for us. So far, I’ve worked with Emmanuel to design a skeleton template and, with the help of feedback from the board, we should have this firmly embedded within YECSI’s strategic documents in the next month or so.”

Chantelle working with the Young Entrepreneurs Council Solomon Islands (YECSI) before returning to New Zealand

Chantelle regularly checks in with Emmanuel to see how his day to day tasks are going. “We flip ideas around and look at whether there is anything he needs support with. He was only two months into the role before I returned home due to COVID-19, so is still learning.”

As much as Chantelle would love to be ‘on the ground’, she is excited about YESCI’s plans for the coming year. “We have some great activities planned that are really going to make an impact for young Solomon Islanders and hopefully the way they think about business and their futures. It’s great to still be able to be involved and be able to contribute to the planning, process and strategic side of things.”

“Before I left, we had just run our first community workshop in a vulnerable community alongside local police as an initiative to build capacity and generate interest in a social enterprise project. I hope to be in the planning phase to roll this out later in the year.” 

Chantelle has found the transition to e-volunteering relatively straight-forward. “YECSI already had group chats through Facebook messenger for various subcommittees to enable fast decisions to be made on the go. Many of our board members are young professionals so cannot always make it to meetings. This has been helpful and worked really well. It allows me to add in little bits and pieces where needed.”

Chantelle would definitely recommend e-volunteering. 

“As long as the partner organisation and volunteer have a mutual agreement around the mahi that needs to be done and the volunteer has an understanding of the environment the work is being applied to.

“Having the opportunity to form those important working relationships on the ground beforehand and my vested interest in creating better communities in the Pacific, has given me more motivation during this time to e-volunteer. 

“Emmanuel seems to value my contribution. it is great that we are able to connect so well, and that he is comfortable coming to me for advice around things he is not sure of.”

Emmanuel confirms this. “Despite Chantelle working remotely from Aotearoa, I am grateful for the advice and support she has provided on the two key initiatives we undertook. Her passion to assist as well as expertise and guidance were instrumental to the work that YECSI does. Without Chantelle’s continuous support, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do”.

One extra thing Chantelle has noticed during this time is how COVID-19 has initiated discussion around contingency planning and put more emphasis on health, safety and security including the ‘what if’ scenarios. “I’m really proud of YECSI for taking lead in this. The YESCI team is encouraging its members to think differently around their businesses and where they are going. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the year pans out for YECSI!”