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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Shifting Expectations


Volunteers Charlotte and Latif
As the ICS-RAINS volunteers continue to plan their ‘Safe Choices’ campaign for the weeks to come, UK volunteer Charlotte Love and Ghanaian volunteer Abdul Latif share their expectations for the future of their project, their team and how their ideas about the project have changed so far.




Charlotte Love, 22
It has only been a short matter of weeks and the ICS-RAINS team have already achieved a lot. We have had successful days planning and delivering sensitizations, organising research and putting together sexual health training for Peer Educators and Non-Traditional Condom Distributors. We have come a long way from the first time we entered this office with only a little in front of us: a few laptops and a disjointed idea of what development looked like. Now we are working and enjoying our time together, dashing for the daily fruit run and building a project that will have a positive and sustainable impact after our time here is done. 

This is not to say that is has all been easy. During the first few weeks we had challenges around understanding each other, finding cohesion in research conducted by previous cohorts and gaining common ground in our understanding of sexual health issues. This is natural of any group, thrown together without ever having met and with a project we must get off the ground. What is impressive, therefore, is what we have achieved so far. We have successfully delivered our first community sensitization in Langa and facilitated trainings for both Peer Educators and Non-Traditional Condom Distributers. Better still is how we now help each other and collectively contribute to the aims of our project and our common goals. It has reminded me how great working with people from different places in this world can be and how much you can learn from the different experiences we share together. I have learnt things about Ghanaian culture from my team and hope continue to do so in the coming weeks.

All of this forms my expectations for the rest of the project. I see how far we’ve come, how much we have achieved and the great friendships we have made. I know that this is a solid foundation for our work in the coming weeks. I have high expectations for what we will do, the communities we will reach and the people we will educate in safe sexual choices.


Some of the group at our first community sensitisation in Langa

Abdul Latif, 24
Being a volunteer on the ICS programme has offered me a great opportunity to see how team work can develop and strengthen my skills. In the beginning, I was concerned that working with people from a different cultural background would be a difficult thing for me. I wondered “How it will be working with total strangers?” “Will they be tolerant and how will they feel about me? Despite some initial communication issues over the last three weeks of placement, we have worked together amazingly well and it feels like we have been together for a long time. I find my team interesting and motivating and in the following weeks I hope to develop my capacity for public speaking, team working, and peoples skills from the project and people around me.

I hope that we have more successful sensitizations like the one in Langa, which was our first sensitization. I loved the way it went: our organisation was good and the community members cooperated with us. We started with a dance competition between the community members which was interesting and a good icebreaker. I felt we learnt a lot about their culture. I wish that upcoming sensitisations will at least be as successful as this one. I expect that we will build a sustainable project which will mark our names on rocks. I’m also wishing my team active and successful participation in the upcoming weeks.

Truly, the ICS programme is a life changing one. It helps me understand how working with people from different places can influence our behaviours and attitudes. My expectations are to see our team happy and successful. Through ICS, I have made new friends and am learning new things about myself. I would like thank all of my team especially our Team Leaders Charlotte Sturley and Richard Edem Agbemabiese.  They are amazing and have created an environment in which everyone is working hard. I would like to say thank you, also, to all members of the RAINS staff for their support. 


Addressing the community at Langa Sensitisation