Vodafone World of Difference Interns join Ashoka

Submitted on Wed, March 7, 2012

First in a series of blogs written by Amy Berkhout during her internship at Ashoka UK

The World of Difference Programme is something different. Its a competition held annually by the Vodafone Foundation, centred on the innovative premise of donating time and people rather than money.

On first impressions it may seem like a cunning marketing ploy to step away from donating funds. Quite the opposite. What this actually means is that each year instead of simply giving sums of money they grant 500 winners the opportunity to work with a charity of their choice and, perhaps increasingly important in the current economic climate, be paid for the experience!

Its a win-win; while charities across the nation are donated a committed and skilled presence over two months full-time or four months part-time, the winners have the chance to get involved with a cause which they feel strongly about.  They are allowed to convey their passion, time and skills whilst not having to burden the cost themselves. Meanwhile the Vodafone Foundation can quite tangibly gauge the impact of its giving through the stories of the people and charities it supports.

Above the financial gains however, what the programme essentially offers to people is the empowering opportunity to experience being a changemaker. The winners have the chance to contribute whilst gaining relevant experience. They have the chance to be involved, to be inspired, to act, to learn and be part of a team of people working towards a socially-geared missions.    

Great! And even better the Ashoka UK team has got not one but two World of Difference Winners. Introducing Will and Amy….

Will Bentinck, himself a social entrepreneur, is working alongside Rob Wilson in Youth Outreach for two months full-time. Having graduated last year in studying Philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London, he has since then been keenly involved in the establishment and development of two social enterprises, as well as travel in Nepal.

Amy Berkhout recently graduated from studying History of Art at the University of Bristol. Since then she has interned at the small social enterprise whomadeyourpants?, done a spot of travelling around India and is currently undertaking a six month internship with FoodCycle. She will be joining the Ashoka Team for four months part-time and working primarily with Julie Whittaker on Communications and Youth Outreach.