Feature articles about Oxford University Press around the world
Supporting SolarAid through virtual volunteering
27 January 2021
Each year, all OUP employees are given two days’ volunteering leave (three in the US) which they can dedicate to supporting organizations that align to our mission. We believe that giving our people the chance to spend a few hours volunteering is another valuable way we can support research and education around the globe.
One of the charitable organizations we support is SolarAid—an international charity which aims to combat poverty and climate change through providing solar lighting. Its goal is to create a world where ‘no home, no school, no clinic in Africa is left in the dark by 2030’.
Working closely with the SolarAid team, we identified several projects that could benefit from our support, through enabling our people to volunteer virtually and donate their time and expertise. One such project was working with the SolarAid team in Uganda to help write and launch its local website, so that the team could reach out to more people and promote its important work.
‘With such a small team, and limited resources at SolarAid, we rely on skilled corporate volunteers to help us achieve our goals through specific projects like this website,’ said Georgina Oxlade, SolarAid’s Partnership Manager.
In response, Siobhan Murphy, Development Editor from Content UK, and Emma Brooks, Pre-Press Editorial Lead, teamed up to offer their support. ‘It was a privilege to be able to use my volunteering time and skills in support of an organization which focuses on social justice, education, and combatting climate change. A fantastic combination!’ says Emma. ‘I found it refreshing to focus on something a bit different from my day job and learnt some new skills. I also enjoyed working with someone from a different part of OUP.’
Echoing Emma’s sentiments, Siobhan said, ‘I really valued the opportunity to work with Solar Aid’s Uganda team on building and writing their website. ‘It was inspiring to learn more about a female-led initiative that does such great work in a country that is very close to my heart. I got the chance to use my skills for something a little different from my day job, and to push myself to learn some new things I had no idea how to do before!’
By working together and using their volunteering time flexibly to draft and develop the website, Emma and Siobhan were able to provide a valuable resource to the team in Uganda.
‘We really value the specific skills that Siobhan and Emma brought to us to deliver this website,’ concludes Georgina. ‘The outcome was incredible, and we truly wouldn’t have been able to achieve this on our own.’
Find out more about employee volunteering at OUP.