Staff Spotlight: Libby Down

Volunteer Coordinator


Libby has been working with Atlas for the past 3 years, she recently moved back to Ghana from the UK and now lives near to the volunteer's house. She has a passion for food and travel and is always happy to share a story or two or help the volunteers get the most out of their experience in Ghana.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favourite travel memory was the first time I saw a giraffe in the wild. I was working in Tanzania and me and my counterparts were driving from Morogoro to our village near Iringa and I didn't know we would be driving through MIkumi National Park. I remember just looking up from my book and seeing a herd of giraffes not far from the road. The really are magical animals.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I've changed so much it's hard to put it into words if I am honest. I have always thought of myself as an open minded person but having met so many people from different countries and backgrounds has opened my mind to so much more. I am from a small village in England and I loved my childhood but it was definitely sheltered. Being able to sit with a group of people from 10 different countries and all share our stories and learn from each other is one of my favourite things about my job.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I have been lucky enough to witness so many amazing stories unfold from our volunteers but for me a big one has to be one of our volunteers who returned home and set up her own brand selling Ghana style items of clothing. She has linked up with a local seamstress in our area of Ghana who creates the items and sends them to France where our volunteer sells the items at boutique stores in Paris and online. Some of her profits even come back to Atlas to help us with future projects. She did it all off her own back and its so amazing seeing her brand grow.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I think I would choose the Plastic Recycling & Community Clean-up programme of the reforestation programme. They are both brand new and I am so excited to see what a difference we can make to the local area. We are so lucky with where we live that the forests and mountains are absolutely stunning but with the only drinking water available locally all coming in plastic sachets and with a fond use of plastic bags locally it does mean that there is an issue with waste around.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We are not a business at all. The team that runs our group are all volunteers and we all do our work because we love this area, this country and the projects we do. Our core team is made up of 3 previous volunteers, 2 who have now made a permanent move to live in Ghana, and our main day to day team member who is Ghanaian and was born and bought up in the area we work.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Our love for our work is something we are excited to show others and we love seeing new team members join us and see what we see. We also have a strong emphasis in sustainable development of not just the local area but also the volunteers themselves and we pride ourselves on being available to the volunteers if they ever need help or want a chat and we have a passion in seeing their development too. Our genuine passion I think makes us a great company.