Even the smallest action can make a difference

Jonathan Quioco on-location in Tsavo

The Robert Walters Group is committed to doing our part to build a more sustainable future – not just in our own communities, but in those further afield, as well. That’s why, since 2017, we’ve worked with the Global Angels Foundation to help transform the lives of people living in the Tsavo region of southern Kenya.

In addition to financial investments in the community’s schools and transportation infrastructure, we also send eight staff volunteers each year to Tsavo to work with local residents in addressing some of the most pressing issues they face — in particular, providing safe drinking water and growing sustainable crops in this drought-prone region.

We spoke to Jonathan Quioco, a Tokyo-based senior manager at Robert Walters, to learn more about his experience and discover why he thinks our work with Global Angels is a game-changer in the recruitment industry.

Why did you volunteer with Global Angels?

"I’d been to Kenya when I was in college, and had always been interested in going back, so after I read some stories from previous years’ volunteers and having researched what Global Angels was doing in Tsavo, I thought it sounded like a great opportunity. I was also impressed that the company thought it was important enough to take people — fee-earners, especially — out of the business to be involved in something like this."

What kind of work did you do in Tsavo?

"There was a lot of digging – and with some areas of Tsavo at an elevation of almost a thousand metres, needless to say, it was hard work. The main project I worked on was laying the foundations for a road that would provide access to the community farm centre, but we also worked on the farm, digging rows where we would seed the crops."

Jonathan painting the farmhouse
Jonathan on-location in Tsavo
Jonathan under the shade netting
Jonathan and Myriam with primary school students

What was the most stand-out moment from your trip?

"I grew up visiting family in the Philippines, so I’d seen poverty before, but I’d never seen anything like what I saw in Tsavo. This is a community that has so little — it’s a place where kids travel to school on foot, covering distances that would take 30 minutes by car. Some of those kids don’t even have proper shoes. And yet, I’ve never seen so many happy people in one place.

"When we visited the local primary school, we gave out some small gifts — pens and balloons — and the kids were so excited that they were lining up to receive them. It showed me how much even the smallest action can mean to people in need, and that in itself was so inspiring."

How do you think our partnership with Global Angels makes Robert Walters different?

"Volunteering with Global Angels is just one of the ways that working at Robert Walters makes you not just a better professional, but a better person. Working in a sales-driven industry like recruitment, I’m proud to work for a company that puts an emphasis on giving back, even going so far as to let people take time out of the business to go volunteer."

"Clients notice that commitment, too. One of my clients, a major sports media company in Asia, had been working with several agencies on a contingency basis, but I was trying to develop a closer relationship with them. Before I flew out to Tsavo, I got in touch to let them know I’d be ‘off the grid’, volunteering in Kenya for ten days. This piqued the interest of their HR Director, and I learned that their CSR activities were very much aligned to the work we do with Global Angels. Then, while I was in Tsavo, I received the exciting news that my client had decided to offer us a retainer for the first time — they knew we could support their business needs, but our partnership with Global Angels was proof that our values were aligned, as well."

If you could sum up your experience in one word, what would it be?

"Awakening."

 

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