HOME       VOLUNTEER OVERSEAS       BLOGS
Developing a just society based on equity and equal opportunities for all with respect for diversity.

Friday, February 26, 2016

What "development" means to me?


Jenny (21) Exeter, UK

This week, Sandra and I have decided to focus our blog post on the topic of "development". This is an issue I have been interested in long before starting my degree in International Development in 2013.  For me, “development” needs to be sustainable and cooperative. I think we have achieved both of these objectives at our NTCD training last Friday. 

The ‘Non-Traditional Condom Distribution’ (NTCD) team comprising volunteers Huzeima, Alice, Maria and myself had our first NTCD refresher training last Friday. This was attended by the NTCDs from Zokuga and Gupka-Tua that the previous cohort had trained. We spent two weeks planning the training day by getting the script and power point ready, putting together resource packs including condoms and demonstration cards and making sure all the food had been ordered for our trainees.  We started the day with a quick ice-breaker by going around the room and sharing with everyone our name, why we were an ICV/UKV/NTCD and what we want to be doing in 10 years’ time.  The responses from our NTCDs were good: to learn new farming methods in order to solve Ghana’s current food shortage; to go into politics; and to become the richest man in Ghana.

Whilst we went through our presentation, Huzeima provided a summary of the content in Dagbani for those who could not understand English. I was so happy to see the enthusiasm on the NTCDs faces. They were very eager to learn more about the ways they could help protect their families and communities from STIs and unwanted pregnancy and to encourage them to use condoms and practise safe sex.  The training left us feeling that we had really got stuck into doing some sustainable development work. Our feedback questionnaires reveal that we were successful in providing refresher training that would enable them to go back out into their communities feeling prepared to answer questions on sexual health and advise their community to practise safe sex and show them how to use a condom. This experience tells me that I am certain to leave Ghana better prepared for the realities of a career in “development”, wherever in the world that may take me.

NTCD Refresher Training

Sandra (21) Sandema, Ghana

My understanding of “development” is the application of new ideas to practical work. It is often misunderstood and counted as time wasted but has drawn many people to devote their time and knowledge to change the lives of someone out there. This is what has brought our team of UKVs and ICVs together. Meeting volunteers from different backgrounds with different ideas but all heading in one direction has made me not want to give up on “development”. It has always been what I have studied and will proceed as a profession.

When the team started planning and preparing for the weeks ahead there were challenges such as cultural differences and language barriers. However, we didn't take this as an obstacle but in fact an opportunity to collaborate and recognise the process of development. The experience of broadening your understanding of the world and the people in it are all the works of "development".

“Development” is what once led people to sponsor my education at ‘Create Change’ and it gives me the passion to give back to society what was once given to me. It has also made me see what life is about, we are each other’s keeper, which is the reason why am here in the first place. Hearing my UK counterpart, Terry’s,  perspective on how he sees development inspires me a lot, knowing he is also here to give back to society.

Oh my team! My team is awesome I simply love them! There are flaws but the forces which go to the making of a powerful team can only be blended by both the good and the bad. We all have certain things in common. The most important is that we are all focused on the same sustainable goals with a strong team spirit.

The RAINS team work together to entertain the children at a community sensitisation in Langa