With Milena’s departure, we have welcomed Joaquin Coto to the team who has now taken over as the Volunteer Coordinator. Francisco Piccini has also started at Voluntario Global last week in a brand new position – the Communications Coordinator.
We have put together a Q&A session with the guys to get to know the people behind the faces of Voluntario Global. We hope you enjoy their insights!
What’s something that nobody really knows about you?
Francisco (F):I have been writing tales, like short stories, since I was 15 years old. I love reading all of the books that I can get my hands on. Occasionally I will share my stories with magazines and one of my stories has eve been published in a Mexican magazine, Punto Linea (dotted line). I also submit them into different competitions and have won some awards.
Joaquin (J): Well, I like to play football.
Laura: Just to clarify, do you mean ‘soccer’?
J: It’s called football (everyone laughs). I’m also writing some tango songs for a friend of mine who hosts some tango groups and we are still working on them at the moment. Another hobby I have is to play the piano. I am self-taught and it is work in progress, but I really enjoy it.
What did you study at University?
F: I first studied at UADE (Universidad Argentina de la Empresa), where I was studying advertising, but after some time, I started looking for a more sociological way to see society, in particular in communications area. I moved to Social Communication in the UBA (University de Buenos Aires) and my studies have given me a way to learn about different societies from either an anthropological, political or psychological angle. This has given me an opportunity and skills to work in different fields and social situations.
J: I graduated from the University of Buenos Aires in 2018 with a degree in anthropology. For me, anthropology asks the deepest and most interesting questions. I am fascinated about understanding more about different societies, more specifically how politics and social organizations work together in communities around the world.
What’s a current social issue in Buenos Aires and how can organizations like Voluntario Global help them?
F: I think there are many problems happening in all societies around the globe. In Buenos Aires right now, a big issue is the violence from the state and government against the workers, social activists and different collective groups who are fighting to protect their rights. In the past few years, the amount of violence used by the police has grown. We are seeing it every day and even people involved with Voluntario Globalhave experienced it, for example, the Pacheco Community. Last weekend the Pacheco Community were participating in a market where their products were sold for a very low price or given away free. There were many activists involved at the market and the police removed these groups from the square in a violent way. Therefore, the suppression from the police and lowering the peoples’ voices is one of our biggest issues.
J: In my opinion, one of the biggest problems in our society is the economic inequality in Argentina and it is possible to see this in some of the projects we work with around Buenos Aires. We see people struggling with their current state of social and living conditions and the opportunity to find good jobs to improve their economic situation.
Why did you want to part for Voluntario Global?
F: I was working in the private sector in public relations and media press agencies and I wanted to move to a place where I could be in contact with the topics that interest me. In my previous role, my work and then my social activism and political interests were two different things. However, with Voluntario Global, I think they can offer me this opportunity to combine the two passions.
J: I wanted to work in a place that makes a social impact and who is in contact with local organizations. I was interested in Voluntario Global’swork as they are connected with numerous social projects all over Buenos Aires. I also like to work with people from different backgrounds, so it’s the perfect fit because we work with volunteers from around the world.
What is your role within the organization?
F: I’m the new Communications Coordinator. It is a role that didn’t exist before I started, but I’m going to be in charge of the communications team and the work they produce for Voluntario Global. I will consider their interests and work with them in the areas they want to focus on, whether that’s writing, editing, filming or producing content, which will be published on organization’s website and social media platforms. I will try to create synergy between the volunteers and myself.
J: I am the brand new coordinator of the Volunteer and will be in contact with them throughout their experience at Voluntario Global. I will help them before they come to Buenos Aires so they have all the information they need. When they arrive in Buenos Aires, I will meet them in their initial introduction meeting and take them to their project on the first day. I will follow up with them about their work to make sure their experiences as volunteers are functioning properly and the work at their project meets their expectations. Pretty much, I’m like a troubleshooter and am in contact with volunteers for every problem or issue they may have!
What do you think you can contribute to Voluntario Global?
F: I consider myself to be an empathic person and like to think I can make people feel comfortable in a short amount of time, through understanding where they came from and their various interests. I believe this will be useful in my role because we are in contact with so many different organizations across the city. Every week there are new people from all over the world are coming to our office for their introductions and I believe it is a good perspective to work from in this type of environment.
J: I have a lot of positive energy and am motivated to enhance the volunteers’ experiences so that they feel like they are part of the VG community and also enjoy their time in Buenos Aires.
What are you looking forward to the most about working for VG?
F: Well, I started at Voluntario Global on Monday and it’s now Wednesday, so I am still settling in but I am also looking forward to building a bridge between my passion for social activism and political interest with my work.
J: We both look forward to working with the volunteers who are coming in the next few weeks and months!