Tuesday, December 5, 2017

GhanaThink Foundation's Ghana Volunteer Program is 4 years old!

We started the National Volunteer Day on September 21, 2013 and it has grown leaps and bounds, fueling the GhanaThink Foundation's Ghana Volunteer Program.

Read our press release on our 4th anniversary below!

International Volunteer Day (IVD) on December 5 is an international observance designated by the United Nations since 1985. It offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make visible their contributions - at local, national and international levels - to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). December 5th, 2017 marks four years since the inception of the Ghana Volunteer Program. This was created by the GhanaThink Foundation after the successful first edition of the first National Volunteer Day (NVDay) 21st September, 2013. The NVDay Initiative was to get as many people as possible in Ghana to volunteer their time or do community service on and around the Founder’s Day Holiday (September 21).

Volunteerism is not very popular and part of our society’s fabric. National Volunteer Day aimed at its inception to increase these numbers and unify efforts in volunteerism in Ghana. The Ghana Volunteer Program has rolled out and partnered several volunteer activities with the aim of ensuring the spirit of volunteerism is cultivated amongst most Ghanaians especially the youth. Gerald Sowah, the GVP Resources lead shared more on the importance of the NVDay initiative in Ghana by adding that “volunteerism encourages active citizenship. Through initiatives, such as our National Volunteer Day, we have seen many millennials debunk the apathetic citizen tag by actively participating in, and contributing towards national development.

The NVDay team with the help of various GhanaThink members approached many organizations who have volunteer events and encourage them to organize something on September 21st every year. Some of partner organizations like Utopia’s Wishlist were very interested and planned activities. On September 21 2013, about 40 activities with about 300 volunteers happened. There was a lot of online and offline engagement and publicity for these activities. Reactions and feedback were captured via Storify.
The focus of the programme at present is to acquire volunteers for volunteer opportunities around Ghana. GVP also helps volunteer activity organizers find volunteers. This program seeks to encourage volunteerism in Ghana, and to market and make attractive volunteer activities. So far GVP has sourced for volunteers for many events held by various organisations including: Dain Agribusiness Workshop, Chale Wote Street Art Festival, Lifebuoy Global Handwashing day, Kofi Gyamfi Memorial Screening (AMEND Ghana), NshoreNa cleanups, Environment360 School Recycle programs, INTED Teacher trainings and many more.
This year’s National Volunteer Day (#NVDay17), which was the fourth of its kind, took place from the 16th - 30th September 2017. Volunteers and organizations alike spent the holiday weekend giving back to their communities with over 60 registered activities in all 10 regions of the country. Some organisations that held activities were PsychAid and Love, PiloloGH, Patriots Ghana, Divine Mother and Child Foundation, The CSR Hub, Life-MAC Network Foundation, Several Rotaract Clubs, Youth African Leaders Network, Dreamz Foundation, Women in Engineering UMAT, Young at Heart Ghana and some GhanaThink Barcamps across the country. There was also a lot of online and offline engagement with the #NVDay17 which was captured via Storify

On the occasion of 2017’s International Volunteer Day, the GVP team engages the media all over Ghana discussing the work done so far under the program and what the future plans are for our nation. Through these engagements, we will encourage more people to do community service within Ghana.

Volunteering demonstrates initiative and hard work, two ideals that many organizations look for while hiring. Adelina Martey, The GVP Team and Administrative lead shared that “Not only does volunteering give you invaluable experience that employers are always eager for but it also shows that you are concerned with the social issues that surround you. Volunteering is thus more than just an activity. It is making social impact both in a community and within yourself by improving your own skills and self development. When you volunteer, you learn. And the more you learn, the greater the impact you make and your attractiveness in the job market”. The GVP team and all of GhanaThink believes that by volunteering, volunteers would be building their CVs, experience and overall life goals and vision.

We envisage that Ghana will be developed through volunteerism, that is why we say at Ghana Volunteer Program that VOLUNTEERISM IS THE HEART OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.

Monday, March 6, 2017

#Ghana60YearsOn: #MightyAfrican stories, thoughts and hopes

We called it the GhanaThink Foundation because we thought (and would continue to think) about Ghana. It's been more than 12 years since GhanaThink was born. It's also been a while since I did a blog post, or even wrote a piece for this #mightyafrican blog. Today is a great day to break that duck. Ghana is 60 years old! We are celebrating, marking, reminiscing, criticizing, strategizing, thinking and doing. 

To be frank, I am not as excited about Ghana, mostly because of our growth pace, development we can fell in around us and in our pockets and the politics and antics I've seen that are hurting Ghana and don't seem to be abating. However, I have always been excited about Ghana. More than 10 years ago, I decided to stop bothering and focusing on the negatives, and championing, celebrating and cultivating the positives. It's what drives me as we work on the +GhanaThink Foundation and its programs like +Barcamp Ghana +Junior Camp Ghana +Ghana Volunteer Program, etc. Read more via Barcamp Ghana | Junior Camp Ghana | Ghana Volunteer Program (GVP).

I contributed to a Ghana @ 60 book that is culled by +Gamel Sankarl, an author amongst his many occupations. He once mentored at +Barcamp Kumasi as well. I would share a link to buy, download or get the book in soft and hard copies later, when I have it :-) For now, I want to share some of what I published in the book. Enjoy the read and leave some comments or get in touch with through social media and social communication. 

Ever since I left high school, I have been very passionate about meeting people, making friends and networking. When I was in university in the US, I used to travel far and wide to connect with like-minded people, especially those of the same cultural neighbourhood as me. I would attend several African themed events in the US (especially involving African students). To this day, networking is a joy and something I cherish. I have also seen its benefits first hand and over time, so I am more motivated to do more of the same.

One of the best things about Ghana’s current state is the closeness we enjoy. Thanks to our high school system and family (cultural) traditions, Ghanaians have close ties amongst each other. Today, our youth are extremely connected. There are small degrees of separation between various Ghanaians. For young entrepreneurs today, the network amongst us is really strong, where it’s easy to get connected to each other. We have a state of a big family, which is accessible, increasingly responsible, albeit a bit entitled. We have available natural resources that we are not turning into value. We have a lot of available human resources that need to become more valuable human capital and competent.

I want to see a Ghana that is clean, driven by consensus and has developed communities and ecosystem able to support its constituents. This is the Ghanaian dream I envision. I want to see a Ghana where Ghanaians feel they don’t need to travel elsewhere to achieve their biggest dreams. I want to see a Ghana that is unique in its culture, marrying timeless tradition and terrific technology. We must remain uniquely Ghanaian, with our positive cultural and communal traits. We must give way to best practices that ensure equity in wealth, resources and opportunities.

Technology is the biggest change in these last 60 Ghanaian years. Though we could have embraced tech more, especially in implementation, it has reinforced our connections. It has become a leveller, allowing people to shine. We are in the fourth industrial revolution that puts so much power in our hands and capabilities. Technology is a great way to level the playing field for everyone. We must embrace the tools, training and technology available to us now and build some to meet our needs and chart the future.

60 years on, Ghana is well into its life. A couple of generations in, we must repeat best practices and repeal bad habits. We must build a Ghana we can be proud of living in, now. More vim to Ghana’s youth as we take on more responsibility professionally, socially and traditionally. We must become changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs. We must lead today!

Disqus for The Vim Views & Versions - Blogs of a MIghTy African