Grow Movement is looking to recruit 1,200 remote volunteers over the next three years to help us implement our vision of raising the living standards of 38,000 people. We use modern communications to give skilled business people everywhere the opportunity to serve in international development while continuing with the rest of their lives.Grow volunteers need to contribute the cost of telephone calls (with an international calling card, these can be as low as 0.08 USD/minute) and twelve 2-3 hour consulting sessions over a 3- 5month periodat mutually agreed times.If you are an experienced businessperson and would like to donate your skills to help our entrepreneurs make a difference in their communities in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi we would love to hear from you.
Since volunteering with conflict victims in Mozambique in 1999 and studying the Rwandan genocide at university, Chris Coghlan wanted to mainly dedicate himself to protecting vulnerable communities from genocide and civil war. Originally being a British soldier, he eventually founded the NGO http://www.growmovement.org/" rel="nofollow">Grow Movement and worked for 10 years in the city with Deloitte and an emerging markets hedge fund.
Grow Movement is looking to recruit 1,200 remote volunteers over the next three years to help us implement our vision of raising the living standards of 38,000 people. We use modern communications to give skilled business people everywhere the opportunity to serve in international development while continuing with the rest of their lives.
Grow volunteers need to contribute the cost of telephone calls (with an international calling card, these can be as low as 0.08 USD/minute) and twelve 2-3 hour consulting sessions over a 3-5 month period at mutually agreed times.
If you are an experienced businessperson and would like to donate your skills to help our entrepreneurs make a difference in their communities in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi, we would love to hear from you.
I am the founder of Grow Movement, an NGO that believes in the economic empowerment of the people in the least developed countries on earth.
Grow Movement uses remote volunteer consultants over mobile phone on an ultra low cost base to help equip micro entrepreneurs in these communities with the business skills they need to relieve poverty, create employment and so also remove an underlying cause of conflict.
We operate in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi where we aim to provide free advice to 1,200 micro entrepreneurs over the next three years with the potential to raise the living standards of up to 38,000 people. We aim to show that international poverty relief efforts can be effective, low cost, scalable, transparent and owned by the communities they are intended to help.
I started Grow Movement in 2009 with Violet Busingye, a Ugandan woman who fled the Rwandan genocide when she was a child and now leads our team of 200 remote volunteers in 47 countries worldwide.
For the last 4.5 years I’ve worked as an analyst in a hedge fund in London investing $450mn in Eastern European listed companies, mainly in Russia. Prior to that I was an auditor with Deloitte for 5.5 years in London and New York.
I originally wanted to be a British army officer and was sponsored by the army at university where I attempted selection for the reservist special forces - I really didn’t get very far; I was chronically injured, medically discharged, and unable to run for the next seven years.
I was running Grow Movement for almost three years part time and by 2012 this was starting to pay off. I was lucky enough to be getting related opportunities I previously could only have dreamed of, but having to reject some for lack of time. I was preparing a TED talk, completing a part time Masters in Finance at London Business School, consulting for the African Development Bank on economic development in Egypt and Tunisia, and of course running Grow Movement, all while trying to perform my job effectively.
It didn’t work - I was getting completely exhausted and unsurprisingly my boss noticed. It was quite clear that Grow Movement was now of such a size that I could not do both that and my job so I had to choose between them.
I chose Grow Movement as that was where my heart lay. My boss was very good about it and my transition has been quite smooth. I’m also going to carry on consulting to my firm’s Africa investment fund which is a great fit with my other interests.
Messing up once made me never want to be in that situation again and I wanted to be as prepared and financially secure as I could before career changing.
I spent most of the past ten years studying and working part time on top of work to gain experience in international relations without taking a risk. I acquired qualifications, learnt French and basic Arabic and read as much as possible.
By networking I was able to work in Ukraine during my holidays as an election monitor during the Orange Revolution and used this and my French skills to do it again in the DR Congo and Rwanda. This increased my confidence that I wanted to transition back into international relations but only if I found something I could believe in. At the same time, I was shaping my finance career to asset management, the area closest to international politics.
One day I was running in my lunch break and the idea for Grow Movement just came to me, but I think it was the product of my previous experience and research.
Worst bit: Being medically discharged from the army and having my dreams shattered. I was crashing on friends’ floors in London, angry, and seemingly completely unemployable, eventually getting a job in the Prison Service HQ putting files in cabinets. My rescue came eight months later when Deloitte gave me an offer.
Ten years after being injured I was standing in uniform on a parade ground with my Troop receiving the best recruit prize at the end of basic training as a Trooper in the Westminster Dragoons, part of the British Army reserves. I had learnt to run again, rejoined the military reserves, and was finally at peace with myself.
Best bit: Recently receiving a letter from Andrew Mitchell, the Minister for International Development, telling us that the British government had provisionally awarded Grow Movement a grant to scale up and raise the living standards of 38,000 people, and the huge excitement of knowing that now Grow Movement can have a really positive impact.
If you want to do something really meaningful, unless you are exceptionally talented or lucky, you have to be prepared to strive for it and fail again and again and keep going until chance goes in your favour. I failed and was rejected more times than I care to remember, but succeeded significantly in the field of my choice once, which is all you need.
You need to work out what you believe in and have the moral courage to be prepared to state it and stand by it.
I think most people want to be part of something greater than themselves - something that we are trying to enable, and which I believe Escape the City also speaks to.
So many people told me to forget about my dreams and focus solely on being a prosperous person in business, but I did not. In our age, not only is it possible to be an idealist, but with the passing of time I realised for me I would only be content if I stood by my principles and did what I could to serve those in the communities I love.
I think it was reading as broadly as I could about the problems I was trying to tackle - both the underlying theory and current events - then using my network to talk to people who knew more about the various aspects with more experience than me to help refine my ideas and understand how I might contribute.
Three great books on different aspects of this are:
I’m sure having experience in several different areas has helped me to think creatively about the problems too; being able to apply experience from one field to a new context in an innovative way.