In 2013 I travelled to Nicaragua where I lived and worked in a remote village initially accessible only via a two-hour walk up into the mountains. Our ten-week project was the start of a two-year community development programme, bringing the motivation of young people in Nicaragua and the UK together to improve social and environmental conditions of the villages we worked in.Nearly all the community was dependent on shallow local groundwater for drinking and cooking with. These water sources can be easily contaminated by disease causing micro-organisms, or pesticides like DEET, found in many mosquito repellents. It was therefore important that my mosquito repellent and wash products didn’t contaminate the groundwater supplies, which provided drinking water to the whole community. The incognito® product range, which is 100% natural, was the perfect solution.
The duration of my trip meant stocking up on a lot of the products, and so I emailed incognito® to ask if they would be able to offer me a discount. The team helped me put together a package of essential products I would need for my trip. I took the incognito® spray, deodorant, soap, hair and body wash, and an impregnated mosquito net with me. I was grateful for a 25% discount of the product range and in return I wrote a blog about my experiences working in the community. Nicaragua really fuelled my passion to work in an organisation committed to positive environmental and social change.
After returning to the UK in October, I wanted to develop my relationship with incognito® further. In the Christmas holidays I spent a week in their offices, helping largely with basic office duties but really getting a feel for the fun atmosphere in the company and its commitment to maintaining high social and environmental standards
My work experience was short but I had not seen the end of incognito® just yet! I made the most of a scheme run by my university, which offered to subsidise the cost to employers of taking on an intern if they agreed to pay me at least minimum wage. And so, in the summer of 2014 I returned to incognito® for an 8 week internship. My responsibilities grew and alongside daily office duties, I was given the task of entering the company into the prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainability. The pressure was on and I was soon struggling to stay afloat amongst a workload very different in nature to that which I was used to! Nevertheless, negativity wasn’t an option and, guided by the team I learnt how to respond to challenges with fervour! I left with valuable business experiences and a first glimpse into how a CSR company works.
In April 2015 it was announced that incognito® was the only London based company to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainability. The achievement reflected the company’s efforts to remain loyal to its values of sustainability, and to invest in progressing these commitments further. I graduated from university in 2015 and once again approached incognito® for work.
So now I am working on another exciting set of projects including overseeing their charitable spending- they give 10% of all profits to charities. My main focus is working with the UN and the WHO to get accreditation for incognito®. Towards this end I attended the House of Commons to hear the announcement from the Director General of WHO, Dr Chan that malaria deaths have decreased by 60% since 2000.
The can-do attitude of incognito® staff continue to give me responsibilities and opportunities that I don’t believe I would have elsewhere. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this company!