2009.06.30: June 30, 2009: Headlines: COS - Afghanistan: COS - Kyrgyzstan : NGOs: Wall Street Journal: Kyrgyzstan RPCV Jonathan Bartolozzi runs the Afghanistan relief efforts for Umcor, the humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Afghanistan: Peace Corps Afghanistan: Peace Corps Afghanistan: Newest Stories: 2009.06.30: June 30, 2009: Headlines: COS - Afghanistan: COS - Kyrgyzstan : NGOs: Wall Street Journal: Kyrgyzstan RPCV Jonathan Bartolozzi runs the Afghanistan relief efforts for Umcor, the humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church

By Admin1 (admin) (151.196.24.37) on Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 12:43 pm: Edit Post

Kyrgyzstan RPCV Jonathan Bartolozzi runs the Afghanistan relief efforts for Umcor, the humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church

Kyrgyzstan  RPCV Jonathan Bartolozzi runs the Afghanistan relief efforts for Umcor, the humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church

After I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to get into the nonprofit sector internationally. I found out about Peace Corps and decided that it was my ticket to gaining some more experience in the field. I stayed in Kyrgyzstan [in Central Asia] as a Peace Corps volunteer for three years and havenít looked back since. I began working for Umcor-Afghanistan in July of 2008 as program manager. The job was posted online. After a phone interview and an in-person interview I was offered the job. I was in charge of a program where I met with the local leaders, made sure that the work went smoothly and that nobody was unhappy with the work. After a couple months the head of mission left Afghanistan and I was asked to step into the position in an interim role. Six months later I was asked to stay on as head of mission. When I first arrived there were a few high-profile events targeting foreigners that had me wondering about how safe life in Kabul really was, but I have learned where the risks lie. Now that I have spent almost a year living in Kabul, I can safely say that I feel safe. Not 100% safe of course, but neither did I feel 100% safe living in Washington, D.C.

Kyrgyzstan RPCV Jonathan Bartolozzi runs the Afghanistan relief efforts for Umcor, the humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church

A Well-Traveled Life Leads to Kabul

By TODDI GUTNER

Jonathan Bartolozzi spent his childhood in Italy, Britain and Brazilóand now calls Afghanistan home. He started a career in international aid work as a Peace Corps volunteer after college. Now 28 years old, he runs the Afghanistan relief efforts for Umcor, the humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church.
Jonathan Bartolozzi

Jonathan Bartolozzi in Kabul

Q: You had a very international upbringing.

A: My mother is American, my father is Italian, so I have dual citizenship.

He worked for the Italian company Fiat and sought out international postings. We moved to London after elementary school, then to Brazil where I finished high school.

Q: How did you get interested in nonprofit relief work?

A: I had studied abroad in Chile and had gone to high school in Brazil, which exposed me to some of the challenges that people in developing countries face. I was determined to work in a developing country and be part of the change taking place there.

Q: How did you end up in the Peace Corps, and where were you sent?

A: After I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to get into the nonprofit sector internationally. I found out about Peace Corps and decided that it was my ticket to gaining some more experience in the field. I stayed in Kyrgyzstan [in Central Asia] as a Peace Corps volunteer for three years and havenít looked back since.

Q: How did you end up in Kabul?

A: I actually volunteered to come to Kabul. Not only did I [come] voluntarily, I pro-actively sought out job opportunities in Afghanistan.

Q: When did you start working at Umcor, and how did you get the job?

A: I began working for Umcor-Afghanistan in July of 2008 as program manager. The job was posted online. After a phone interview and an in-person interview I was offered the job. I was in charge of a program where I met with the local leaders, made sure that the work went smoothly and that nobody was unhappy with the work.

After a couple months the head of mission left Afghanistan and I was asked to step into the position in an interim role. Six months later I was asked to stay on as head of mission.

Q: What do you do?

A: I manage the programs, make sure that we are doing what we told our donors we would do and that we are doing it well. I also write new proposals for future programs and manage the day-to-day office headaches. I meet with donors and partners to see what direction things are going and plan for the future.

Q: How does your family feel about your decision to work in a place that many people consider dangerous?

A: When I first came to Kabul they were all terribly worried. I have tried to reassure them that Kabul is not a very dangerous place.

Q: Do you feel safe in Kabul?

A: When I first arrived there were a few high-profile events targeting foreigners that had me wondering about how safe life in Kabul really was, but I have learned where the risks lie. Now that I have spent almost a year living in Kabul, I can safely say that I feel safe. Not 100% safe of course, but neither did I feel 100% safe living in Washington, D.C.

Q: Do you ever get overwhelmed by the nature of your work?

A: I chose this field because it brings me personal satisfaction and I enjoy it. Of course, sometimes things donít work out the way you plan Ö that is the nature of work in countries like Afghanistan or Sudan where you are not sure what will happen tomorrow. But I think the great challenges are what makes it fun and rewarding.

Q: Are there any other locations or non-profits where you would like to work?

A: For me there is something special about Afghanistan and Central Asia, so I am certain that I will keep returning here. That being said, changing location and being able to take your experience in one country to another context is invaluable in this field.

Q: How often do you get back home to visit your family?

A: My parents are in Italy, my sister is in Boston. I usually try to see them twice a yearÖ for our family thatís normal and itís been happening since I was 18 and went off to university.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: June, 2009; Peace Corps Afghanistan; Directory of Afghanistan RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Afghanistan RPCVs; Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan; Directory of Kyrgyzstan RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Kyrgyzstan RPCVs; NGO's





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Join Us Mr. President! Date: June 16 2009 No: 1377 Join Us Mr. President!
"We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th anniversary in 2011. And we'll reach out to other nations to engage their young people in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity," said Barack Obama during his campaign.

Read how RPCV's rallied and and marched to the White House to support a bold new Peace Corps for a new age.

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Story Source: Wall Street Journal

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Afghanistan; COS - Kyrgyzstan ; NGOs

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