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How did you get to where you are now?

I graduated from University College London, where I got my MSc in Environment Science and Society. Before that, I went to King’s College London where I studied a BSc in Geography. Geography has played an immense role in my career journey as I constantly assess the relationship between people and the environment. Before starting my current role as Operations Manger at Green Shoots Foundation, I worked in Corporate Social Responsibility, where I conducted social audits. After that, I pursued roles which involved impact assessments, which are vital for the charity sector to ensure accountability. These skills have helped me at my current role at Green Shoots Foundation, which focuses on various factors of poverty and utilises local partners for inclusive programmes in Asia and Africa.

What are you responsible for in your role and what might you do in a typical week?

Green Shoots Foundation is a UK registered charity. Greenshoots projects are based in Asia and Africa. We intend to implement holistic projects to encourage knowledge sharing and building the capacity of local partners and beneficiaries. Our mission is to relieve poverty through the implementation of sustainable development programmes, which combine economic empowerment with education. You can read about the GreenShoots Foundation here.

What skills and characteristics do you need for this role, apart from geographical knowledge?

For me, I found volunteering at charities and start-up organisations helpful to understand how the charity sector works. I learned how to build successful partnerships and how to design impactful projects, which I now use in my work daily.

How does geography feature in your work/what difference does it make?

Geography features in my work daily. Whether it’s when I design projects or try to unpack relationships between society and the environment, geography influences it all. My background in geography has also influenced my fundraising and communication skills as I’ve developed a deep understanding of the geographies of certain locations.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The most rewarding aspect of my work is making a measurable difference. Within the last four years, GreenShoots Foundation have given attention to regenerative work, and it is rewarding to see improvements in soil fertility, biodiversity, and yield. My role allows me to continuously learn. For example, since 2015 I have been running healthcare programmes, which has given me a deeper understanding of public health and barriers to healthcare.

What are the opportunities for career progression? What might you be doing in five years’ time?

My career progression is heavily linked to the progression of the organisation. In the last decade I have been given the opportunity to expand the scope of my work, where I have been continually challenged. Our next journey is to embark on an anthropological study of wild foods and foraging in Cambodia. In five years’ time, my hopes are that the geographical scope of the charity extends further.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to go in to this career?

For someone pursuing work in the charitable sector, my first piece of advice would be to find what you are truly passionate about and not being shy of criticism. It is important to ensure the impact being made by the charity is specific, measurable, relevant and time-bound. Like we are taught in geography, it’s our critical thinking that leads to change and improvement.

Why did you choose geography? Why should others choose geography?

I chose geography because I am fascinated by how humans and their surrounding environment shape and influence each other. The discipline can help us make sense of the world and we all need a little bit of that!


* This interview was undertaken in 2022 and was correct at the time of publication. Please note that the featured individual may no longer be in role, but the profile has been kept for career pathway and informational purposes.


Muneezay Jaffery

Job title: Operations Manager

Organisation: Greenshoots Foundation

Location: London