To continue our celebration of Cameroon Catalyst’s tenth year, this week we’re going to highlight some of our fantastic Student Volunteers, who, together in Southampton and Birmingham drive the charity’s work.
Gemini Joshi – Birmingham Student Chapter President
Gemini Joshi is the Birmingham Student Chapter President for the 2019/20 academic year. She has volunteered with the charity for the past three years and within this time she has held the role of Birmingham Student Chapter Assistant Design Coordinator and participated in the annual Student Trip to Cameroon. Gemini was presented with the Best Newcomer award in 2018 as a result of her enthusiasm and contribution to the charity.
“Cameroon Catalyst has made me realise the impact I could have as an engineer. It has been great to be a part of a like-minded team eager to make a positive change. I am looking forward to a successful year, ready to meet our designing goals and fundraising targets”
Tom Edwards – Southampton Student Chapter President
Tom Edwards is the Southampton Student Chapter President for the 2019/20 academic year and Cameroon Catalyst’s youngest Trustee. After joining in 2015 at the start of his Civil Engineering degree, Tom coordinated and attended the 2016 annual student trip to Cameroon where he and the team identified appropriate well sites as part of the current Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project.
Since then, Tom has managed the Southampton Student Chapters finances, monitoring the charity’s income, controlling project payments and evaluating fundraising efforts. Over the past year Tom also led the grants team and worked with Rotary International to support a £6,000 donation towards the construction of this year’s well.
“My involvement with Cameroon Catalyst and the international development industry has hugely benefited my initial professional development. I’ve improved my skills in project management and leadership, and gained valuable practical engineering knowledge that has supplemented my academics. I’m proud to volunteer alongside a dedicated team, all working to improve the lives of communities in rural Cameroon!”
Will Reed – Birmingham Assistant Design Coordinator
Will Reed joined Cameroon Catalyst in the first year of his Civil Engineering degree at the University of Birmingham in 2016. Over this year, he worked on researching and developing a design for communal clothes washing facility. This lead on to his involvement on the 2017 student trip, in which he led the clothes washing research surveys.
With a new enthusiasm for the charity, he was elected onto the Birmingham Student Chapter Committee as the Assistant Design Coordinator. Whilst holding this role, Will developed risk assessments for the domestic latrine project, assisting the delivery of the associated work packages as well as hosting the chapters first Games Night.
“Cameroon Catalyst has been a learning experience beyond what I’ve learnt in my degree program. I would’ve never thought I would end up in a latrine in rural Cameroon a year before the trip! There are so many aspects of the charity that have helped me to develop as a young professional, and I’m very excited to be part of this once again!”
Billie Pavey – Past Southampton Chapter President, Current Student Treasurer and Grant Team Leader
Billie Pavey is a fourth year Civil Engineering student at the University of Southampton, and has been part of Cameroon Catalyst since she started her course in 2016. During her time involved with Cameroon Catalyst she has led the fundraising team, organising events including cake sales and sports events, and also acted as the Southampton Student Chapter President for 2018/19. This year Billie is the Southampton Student Treasurer and leads the Grants Team, aiming to apply for grants to fund both our projects and student development.
“With Cameroon Catalyst I have had the opportunity to visit Cameroon, where I learnt a lot about their culture and collected data to be used by the design team. Being able to see first-hand the impact that Cameroon Catalyst has is incredibly rewarding. It is important to me that Cameroon Catalyst is a student led charity as it has given me opportunities and skills beyond what is taught through my degree.”
Thom Dutton – Past Southampton Chapter President, Current Student Treasurer and Grant Team Leader
Thom Dutton has been involved with the charity for three years throughout his time studying at Southampton. During his time as a Student Volunteer, Thom has sat within the Southampton Design Team, been involved with fundraising events and travelled out to Cameroon twice on the Student Trip in 2018 and 2019. As part of his design work, Thom has acted as Design Lead and Assistant Design Lead, roles which have meant he has been heavily involved in the design and delivery of wells in Cameroon as part of the current WaSH project.
Thom is now responsible for the research towards new projects and decisions regarding the charity’s future design focus.
“I originally got involved in the charity because I wanted to apply what I was learning at university to improving people’s lives. The more I got involved the more I realised that clean water is the greatest need in the villages we work in, so had the potential to have a huge positive impact. Cameroon is also one of the countries that have contributed the least to climate change but are experiencing its worst effects, which really drives me to help alleviate their infrastructural needs.
My favourite part of volunteering for Cameroon Catalyst is that it gives a rare opportunity to be involved in the design and fundraising of an engineering project, and then go out on trips to meet the local people using it to see the benefit it has had. It has also been fantastic for my own personal and career development, allowing me to learn and demonstrate skills I otherwise would not have.”
Sharon Adewusi – Birmingham Student Secretary
Sharon Adewusi is the Birmingham Student Chapter secretary for the 2019/2020 academic year, continuing the role from 2018/19. She first became involved with the student society and charity in 2017 and went on to coordinate and participate in the annual student trip in conjunction with the Southampton Student Chapter in June 2018.
Sharon has gone on to play roles in organising and promoting fundraisers such as Krispy Kreme sales, and a sponsored walk, across campus and on social media.
“I started attending Cameroon Catalyst meetings as a way of socialising with friends, but as I found out more about the goals and objectives of the charity, it has become a central part of my university experience. I’ve been able to see the work Cameroon Catalyst do for myself and the need for sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene projects, and being involved is very rewarding. I’ve developed professional skills and have had invaluable experiences working in a team, but most of all, I am proud to be a part of Cameroon Catalyst.”