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Volunteer Spotlight: Aly Watson

Have you volunteered anywhere else and what led you to start volunteering and volunteering with Oxfam’s legal counsel in particular?

I volunteered for Reprieve in the Summer of 2014/15 as a legal intern and worked for a capital defence firm in Houston, Texas in the US. I thoroughly enjoyed advocating against the death penalty, and remain an avid supporter of Reprieve and the Anti-Death Penalty Movement. This experience really kicked off my passion for social justice and highlighted to me just how underrepresented some people’s interests are, and how widespread poverty issues can impact all areas of life.

I was led to volunteering in general because I realised how privileged I am to have been given the opportunity to have an education, and felt as though I should put my spare time and (somewhat limited) knowledge base to use helping others!

I was extremely lucky to be given the opportunity to volunteer with legal counsel at Oxfam, and it was the very positive feedback I had heard from General Counsel herself that sparked my interest in becoming involved!

Did volunteering with legal offer up any surprises?

I think there are always surprises when you enter a new work environment, especially in an in-house legal setting. I was surprised by just how much the rest of the organisation relied upon the legal team to go about their day-to-day business! Working within a particular team in an organisation makes you realise just how integral each ‘cog’ in the organisational machine is!

What did your volunteering role involve?

As a legal intern, I was involved in a range of different tasks. I often helped to conduct due diligence tasks by reading over contracts and agreements. I also undertook many legal research tasks to aid legal counsel in answering queries and in assessing possible legal issues. I was also able to accompany legal counsel to meetings and became involved in particular projects.

What do you gain out of volunteering/what would you tell anyone interested in volunteering at Oxfam?

You gain so many things out of volunteering! You get to become involved in and contribute to a social or legal issue that you are passionate about. You gain so much experience along the way as well- having been exposed to an office environment, many different areas of law, and the inner-workings of the organisation, has taught me so much! And perhaps most importantly, you meet so many great, like-minded people who share a common interest and make lifelong friendships in the process.

I would tell anyone considering volunteering for Oxfam to go for it – dedicating your time to working towards a world without poverty is a pretty amazing feeling.

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