Introducing Matt King

New EWB volunteer placement
We're excited to announce that our project in collaboration with Live and Learn, focused on sanitation in challenging environments, has found a placement volunteer. Matt King will be heading off to start his work in a little over a month. He kindly took the time to answer a few questions.

When did you first get involved with EWB and what made you want to be involved?  

I first became involved with EWB when I was approached to give a presentation at the 2015 EWB NZ Conference. The presentation focused on ECT -   Emergency Compost Toilets, a social enterprise I founded following the Christchurch earthquakes to develop and promote a more effective emergency toilet solution to the portaloos and chemical toilets.

The journey to establish ECT has given me some interesting insights from understanding a complex problem to creating an appropriate solution that reflects the social context. This example aligns well with the ethos of EWB and the work EWB volunteers will encounter during placements.

Why did you decide to do this placement?
When I read the job description, my first reaction was "this is my perfect job!". Having studied and worked in development over a number of years (mainly in post disaster reconstruction), this placement is a great opportunity to further apply my knowledge and experience.   Taking  on a new challenge, learning and seeing if I can make a difference.

Can you give a brief description of what you will be working on?
My role is Facilitator and Technical Mentor for the Sanitation in Challenging Environments Program in Vanuatu. I will be working with a local NGO called Live and Learn to:
  • provide support in developing and improving existing sanitation options with associated  social marketing.
  • facilitating conversations and information sharing across the Water, Sanitation and hygiene (WASH)  sector both within Vanuatu and across the wider Live and Learn and EWB network.
  • provide  context support for the EWB Challenge program
Initially I will travel to Cambodia to work with the  Live and Learn team to gain an understanding of the Cambodian sanitation in challenging environments context and lessons learnt.

What excites you most about the placement?

I am most excited about the challenge of working in a completely different context to New Zealand. Learning another language, climate and immersing myself in a different culture. There is also the bonus of talking, creating and thinking about toilets all day- everyday!