Jonathan Phillips

Impact: Our Volunteer

Jonathan, an Economics graduate gained solid, practical experience of working with an NGO in his placement. He later  was awarded a post as a fellow of the Overseas Development Institute, in which he will work as a Civil Service economist in Africa. 

Impact: The Placement

Our partner NDEF focuses on sustainable development. They needed help with organisational development, strategy and fundraising. During his placement, Jonathan focused NDEF’s strategic priorities, drew up a management strategy and submitted proposals. 


2Way Development Volunteer: Jonathan Phillips

Jonathan’s academic background before his volunteer placement was in Politics, Economics and Development. He had also gained practical experience through internships with private-sector organisations and previous volunteer placements.

Having learned the theory in a classroom, Jonathan wanted to apply his knowledge in a more practical setting and to gain experience of working in development before he undertook a Masters degree. Volunteering gave him the opportunity to apply his skills at the grass-roots level and to develop the knowledge and skills he would need for his future career.

The Match

NDEF needed a volunteer to join their small team and help them to raise new funds and set new strategic goals. Jonathan’s training as an economist gave him the skills necessary to make a positive contribution to NDEF, and he joined them for one year, assisting with organisational development, strategy and fundraising. Jonathan gained vital experience of how NGOs function and the challenges facing them on a day-to-day basis, while NDEF benefited in the long-term from the new strategic direction he set in place.

Impact: Jonathan’s Career Progression

 “I have recently been offered a post as an ODI Fellow, which is a scheme to send postgraduate economists to work in selected African Ministries for two years as civil servants. Not only did my placement in Cameroon give me an edge in the interviews, where I could show an understanding of practical policy constraints and give some concrete examples of how I responded to the frustrations of everyday life, but it has given me the confidence that I will be able to adapt to a new job and lifestyle.”


“Working for a respected local NGO placed me in the most diverse and representative situations to get a grip on the complexities, and these have definitely helped me to frame my thoughts on my current Masters course.”

“When I arrived, the objectives of NDEF - like many NGOs in this part of the world - were vague and constantly changing to match aid and grant programmes. The scatter-gun approach to fund-raising clearly constrained the organisation so after a few weeks I decided that my biggest contribution would be to help focus the organisation so it could at least do one role really well.”

2Way Development Partner: National Development Foundation (NDEF)

The National Development Foundation (NDEF) is an organisation working for sustainable economic development in Cameroon. They aim to promote sustainable solutions to the problems faced by impoverished communities by focusing on the following main areas:

  • Environmental Protection
  • Economic Development
  • Child Development
  • Health and Education 

Impact: The Placement

  • Jonathan spent the initial period of his placement researching NDEF’s work and visiting their projects in the field in order to advise on the strategic priorities of the charity and put a new management strategy in place.
  • Jonathan advised NDEF on their strategic priorities, and worked with the management and partner organisations to “focus the organisation so that it could at least do one role really well.”
  • The second key element of his placement involved drawing up funding proposals to match the new priorities and submitting them to foreign embassies, foreign development agencies and international NGOs. This  helped to sustain the work of the organisation.
  • He helped NDEF to manage their resources more effectively, and drew up a new management strategy for the future development of the charity.
  • Jonathan advised on the development and sustainability of micro-enterprise projects, and also helped with the monitoring and evaluation of existing projects.