Sarah Humphreys

Impact: Our Volunteer

Sarah, a community support worker with horticultural experience, wanted to use her skills in development and income generating projects. Sarah gained experience of working in Latin America and made a significant contribution by establishing a horticulture project.

Impact: The Placement

CIESCU, needed support with project management, vocational training and income generation. Sarah set up a ‘Build a Greenhouse’ project to help the local community grow their own produce, delivered training in horticulture and helped to develop capacity. 


2Way Development Volunteer: Sarah Humphreys

Sarah’s skills and abilities had been built up through working for a substantial amount of time in the area of social housing and community services, including freelance gardening. In her work she often dealt with people who had been homeless or who had alcohol or substance dependency issues, which provided her with excellent communication and project and staff management skills, as well as the ability to work under pressure and with challenging clients.  Sarah was also a Spanish and French speaker.

The motivation behind Sarah’s placement was firstly to engage with practical development work and to gain further experience of working with disadvantaged groups. Furthermore, she wanted to use her vocational skills to contribute to income generation projects. 

The Match

In February 2008 Sarah began a three month placement with CIESCU, the Centre of Research and Economic Educational Sociological and Culture, Peru. The skills and interest Sarah had in community development, Spanish language skills, horticulture and income generation knowledge meant she was well placed with CIESCU to assist with two of their projects. She spent her time working with local women to develop horticultural projects, delivering training on organic techniques and carrying out community projects.

Impact: Sarah’s Career Progression 

After her placement, Sarah worked with vulnerable adults and continued to take on gardening work. The ideas and experiences she had in Peru have “helped me to broaden my ideas for organic gardening.”

Her experience in Peru has given her a range of new interests: “I have also been able to benefit from improving my Spanish, and I am now a member of the Anglo-Peruvian Society in London.” After her placement, she commented that living with her host family had “given me the most opportunities to learn about life in a Latin American Country.” She still maintains the close ties she made and currently helps to support her hosts daughter’s education: “we exchange ideas, and mutually support each other.” 


“I worked for CIESCU whose main project at the time was setting up a school canteen to provided undernourished, and consquently underachieving primary school children with a balanced midday meal.” 

“Once the project was establised, numbers of children dropping out fell steeply and some of the non attenders returned, so there was a core of over 90 children being fed each day.”

“We carried out both theoretical and practical training sessions on horticulture, with the emphasis on growing organically, as there is a big issue around contaminated irrigation in the area.”

“As well as seeing the project get established, I was able to participate fully in family life out there through my homestay - the factor I had been most dubious about before going, but which probably gave me the most opportunity to learn about life in a Latin American country.”

“It has been great living with my host family.  They are wonderful, and couldn't have been more welcoming or friendly.”

2Way Development Partner: Centre for Research and Economic, Educational, Sociological and Cultural Studies (CIESCU)

CIESCU is an NGO based in Peru, which seeks to alleviate the poverty of the people of the High Andes. With special emphasis on the indigenous population, CIESCU aims to promote development and to combine traditional social and cultural knowledge with new technologies. Their main programmes focus on the following areas: 

  • Community development projects, including income generation, agriculture and skills training.
  • Cultural identity projects; conserving the heritage of the Quechua, Aymara and other Peruvian indigenous groups through language and cultural education. 

Impact: The Placement

  • Sarah launched a ‘Building a Greenhouse’ horticultural project: a project aiming to deliver income generation opportunities to disadvantaged communities in the area. This project involved project management, planting and design.
  • Sarah delivered training for beneficiaries in basic planting and horticultural skills to empower the local community to grow their own produce.
  • Housing and social projects: for example Sarah worked on a project setting up a school canteen to provide undernourished and consequently underachieving primary school children with a balanced midday meal.
  • Sarah conducted training for parents, teaching staff and school children in the principles of good nutrition.