Sophia Kerridge on being a Trustee at PBI UK:

"I became a Trustee at PBI in the autumn of 2015. I was already familiar with the work of PBI because I had worked in the Colombia field team between 2012 and 2014. When I came back to the UK I was looking for a way to stay involved in this great organisation, and then this opportunity came up.

When I first started I was worried that I wouldn’t have much to contribute aside from my personal experience in the field, but I need not have worried. I became a trustee at the same time as three others and we were quickly welcomed into the heart of the action.

Having seen PBI’s work “on the ground”, it was very interesting to see how things worked from this side. It goes without saying I have learned a lot about how charities are run and have developed lots of new skills. The work of the board is incredibly varied: we help set the strategy for PBI UK; we keep abreast of the great work done by the UK office and the Director Susi Bascon; we review the financial situation to make sure it is healthy; set the internal policies; and help with significant or strategic decisions. The other great perk is that we are invited to PBI’s events which allow us to meet current and former volunteers, human rights defenders, and our support network.

The board meets every couple of months. The mix of people on the board is without a doubt one of its strengths since everyone had very different things to offer. We have had Trustees with corporate and legal backgrounds, some who work for NGOs or the media, as well as students and people who have retired. As a horizontal organisation, PBI takes all its decision in consensus, so debate is encouraged and this variety adds so much to the content and quality of these discussions. It is really nice to see that everyone has come to PBI from different roads, and yet we are all committed to making PBI UK a successful charity in every way possible.

 As a Trustee you realise how many stakeholders there are to work with, from our support network (which is huge!), to our funders, service providers, not to mention the human rights defenders we accompany and the field teams we support. When you see how much goes on brings home what a significant role the Board has, and the importance of doing it well.  While it is a role with responsibility, it is also a role with great reward."