A great experience and “living” proof of what is possible if you engage with the right people.
Greenpop’s positive energy and work ethic
When looking for an internship placement with a South African NGO in 2014, I found Greenpop’s website and YouTube channel. Their incredibly positive energy and work ethic struck me immediately! After watching one of Greenpop’s YouTube videos (about the reforestation projects in Livingstone, Zambia and the Platbos Forest in South Africa), I had goosebumps. I knew that I just had to work with them. I was extremely excited being offered a placement for a two-month internship in the Event Production department. My responsibilities included scheduling and event preparation in the office as well as on-site. One of these events was the Cape Getaway show. Greenpop had an activation there to spread the word on the Platbos Reforest Fest. This was also my main focus area, and I had a great part in the administration for this event.
From Event Promotion to Green Living during my Event Coordinator Internship
You should know about Greenpop that being on-site at their events does not include a typical handing out leaflets and looking professional vibe. They have their own and very fun and creative ways, which make you forget you’re at work. So we danced around, had a fashion show made out of compost-bags, a compost-bag wedding, and a doodling station for kids and grown-up children alike. We had an incredible weekend! I also learned a lot, not only about project planning and event administration but also about bringing more sustainability in my lifestyle. For example, Greenpop tries to engage its green living in every part of the organization. They use grey water (see picture on the right) from the washing-up station to water the plants on their balcony. Apart from that, they have an “upcycling policy” for any plastic or Styrofoam items brought into the office. They also encourage a plant-based diet in the office, especially on the weekly Friday office lunches. These were greatly anticipated by volunteers, interns, staff, and Greenpop friends.
Not your 9 to 5 workplace
The whole organizational management is completely different from what most of us would know. This is because of the inspirational spirit and work ethic of Co-Founders Lauren and Misha. They bring so much enthusiasm and passion into the office, it’s contagious! They try their very best in making everybody feel welcome, appreciated, and valued. It doesn’t feel like a stingy 9-to-5 workplace. It’s more like a living room, hanging out with friends while working on projects which everyone is passionate about. This also includes spontaneous dance and yoga sessions. 😉
Apart from working onsite and in the office, I also got to go to the Greenpop Nursery, where the trees for planting days are kept and where all kinds of fruits and vegetables grow to nurture the team during Friday lunches. It is a great way to spend some time away from the office and brings some variety into daily life as an intern. What is definitely the highlight of a day at the nursery is preparing lunch produced directly from the site itself and cooking it with self-built solar cookers (which work impressively well on really sunny days!). Furthermore, and most importantly everybody has the opportunity to get active and start digging at the many planting days Greenpop organizes with schools, Day-care centers, and many other incredible organizations. These connections are just something no one should miss!
The people at Greenpop are so enthusiastic and inspiring. There is nothing like the feeling of a proper Greenpop high-five after accomplishing a task, participating in a spontaneous dance session in the office, or planting a tree and getting your hands dirty. It’s only then that you realize; this is more than an internship, this is a way of life. It makes you want to do more, give more, and change your ways.
Fundraising for Greenpop and my birthday
Shortly after leaving Greenpop, I decided this wasn’t the end of my journey with this NGO. I wanted to come back and do more! So, I collected money at my birthday party instead of presents. This way, I could go and plant some more trees with Greenpop. I came back in November. Together with some adorable kids and dedicated workers, we planted the 28 trees, sponsored by my family and friends. It feels so good to have proof of what is possible with the right people!
I recommend you to get active, step out of your comfort zone, and intern with this incredible organization. I try to tune in as often as possible, so perhaps we would even meet! This experience changed my life. Now, I am doing my postgrad degree in Sustainability and Consultancy, encouraged by Greenpop. I also joined the Greenpop Zambia Festival of Action. Here, I met even more like-minded people, who I can gladly call my family now.