Monday, May 28, 2007

Global Development Links - John Bainbridge

After leaving Weymouth College in June 2004 John decided, like many people of his age, to take a gap-year before proceeding to university. After working and travelled in the Indian subcontinent for roughly six months, he returned to the UK with fresh ideas about his future career but more immediately about his degree.
After careful consideration he declined a place studying ‘Sports Science with Outdoor Education’ and began to look into the social sciences. It was not that his passion for the outdoors had been lost or even subdued – it was more a conscious decision to keep sport as a hobby rather than make it a livelihood. He applied and was accepted to study ‘International Development’ in London with and eye to making a living in the charity sector, ideally within Humanitarian Relief or Project Design. He is now at the half way point of his course and loving every second of it! The course is mainly focussed around the study of poverty and the developing world and includes a wide range of modules. From refugee studies to politics, economics, trade and history, this subject truly is lesson in the global issue that we all must face.

In the first week of his first term John stumbled across a student run charity called Global Development Links.
The project was mainly environmentally based working within deprived committees on reforestation programmes. Only accessible firstly by plane and then by speed boat, John and his group were truly isolated with no roads, phones or hospitals.
John firmly believes that he would not have had this opportunity offered him nor would he have considered undertaking such a task if it wasn’t for the experience and confidence that he had gained from the DES.
After returning from Peru John applied for the position of Director of GDL, was successful, and in October 2006, took up his new role. The position is difficult and demanding and requires roughly 25 hours a week work but he finds his passion for what they are achieving at GDL spurs him on. .Such commitment has received universal recognition, and John was recently presented to HM The Queen, where he spoke on the work of the charity.

GDL, much like the DES, is a non-profit driven charity that offers students the chance to get involved in overseas projects at a cost price. GDL is currently focussing its efforts on a project in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania that is in its third year of operations. Having recently received the backing of the Department for International Development (DFID) it is moving from strength to strength with over 15 volunteers going out this year to take part in the project.
Students must be over 18 and ideally have an interest in international development however this is not necessarily essential and the enthusiasm and willingness to learn top any other prerequisite. To find out more about GDLs projects or how to get involved please visit or email John at