Zhuoting Xie is a recent graduate of the Brandeis University International Business School, where she earned a master’s degree in finance in a STEM-designated program. Based in Norfolk, Virginia, Zhuoting is a first-time volunteer with ACDI/VOCA. We talked to Zhouting about her experience volunteering remotely with the USAID/Zambia Enterprise Development and Growth Enhanced (EDGE) Activity, implemented by ACDI/VOCA and funded by USAID.
What Attracted You to This Assignment?
I am a recent graduate with a master’s degree in finance, and I have experience working in financial analysis and focusing on secondary markets at a local bank. My skills relate well to what the USAID/Zambia EDGE Activity is currently doing.
What Did Your Volunteer Assignment Focus On?
I was matched remotely with several small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Zambia. I mainly provided financial help for the SMEs I worked with. They didn’t really need operational advice, since they clearly know what they are doing. However, they were lacking in liquidity and needed access to cash to support day-to-day activities. I was able to provide financial guidance and bookkeeping strategies, which will improve their ability to get small loans from local banks.
What Would You Tell Someone Who Is Considering Volunteering for The First Time?
I loved volunteering! As I worked with each SME, I learned to really understand their situation before giving any advice. I used to have many assumptions, and, in many cases, was proved wrong. If they have a clear goal, just encourage them to achieve that because usually they have much more information than we do about their business. We need to admit that we know very little about their business and ask what we can offer sincerely.
I recommend this ACDI/VOCA program to everyone who has spare time. It is not very time consuming to volunteer, and volunteers can work with real people in other countries and deal with real situations.
Learn more about our Volunteer Programming here.
Learn more about our work in Zambia here.
Learn more about Zambia EDGE here.Comments