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

Monday, December 4, 2017

Learning and Developing Knowledge Through Volunteering

The International Citizen Service (ICS) project in Tamale has challenged, changed and transformed me since placement on the Safe Choices project at the RAINS office. ICS has help me to think and reflect on what I am experiencing through my placement, which has impacted me a lot and helped me to take action on issues I feel passionate about. From day one of my placement to date, each section aimed to help me to use my experiences as a reference point for developing my knowledge and skills. ICS experience is like no other. I am in a very unique position of being part of a diverse group. I am always learning new things everyday because it is not only school we learn or study, we learn everyday through the information and experiences we are exposed to in our lives, I understood learning is an ongoing cycle of life experiences, reflection and action. I would like to say a very big thanks to International Citizen Service for giving me this opportunity.
Team Smile!
Photo Credit: Amshawu Amasu

         Here at RAINS, we are working on a project called  “Safe Choices” which focuses on facilitating sustainable, localized and sexual health education and increased awareness of issues like kayayei in order to ensure girls stay in education. We hope to achieve a reduction in STI’s and teenage pregnancy, as well as to help remove the barriers to socioeconomic progression for empowering young people and also encourage young people to go to school. We work as a team in our office, which help us to finish everything we are to do for the day. As a team with a lot of smiles, we show respect for different views and opinions there is often no wrong answer and there is value in diversity of opinions. We start our day with energizers, which trigger us to do a lot as a team and continue with to do list. Everyone participates actively in what we are to do, because the first rule of our team says “active participation where everyone speaks”. This makes sure our work is done smoothly. Initially, this rule was a challenge because I did not like talking, but as a team working together and with loving team leaders who encourage me and make me to know that my voice is needed in the team, I have been able to gain confidence and adapt the habit of public speaking and participation and I will use this opportunity to say thank you team leaders.

Myself Taking a Leading Role During a Sensitisation
Photo Credit: Charlotte Bartholomew
         A lot has been said about our sensitizations in the community and the radio sensitizations which I feel very exited to be part especially the radio sensitization was my best moment. Working with the communities, especially the children’s community club, which I feel passionate to work with, has been a great opportunity to learn. Through our sensitizations I have learnt that community development is about enabling people to make the community they are part of a better place to live and be involved with. It also involves people taking ownership of their own activities and being able to play an active role in change rather than as passive recipient of support. During our last visit to Zokuga, I asked the women’s community club how helpful our sensitization was when we came to their community. Some said they were planning to leave their village for kayayei, but through our sensitization in their community, it has made them to change their mind to stay at home and to think of what to do to make themselves comfortable in the community. This tells us that our sensitizations are really helpful and I’m sure a lot of success stories will continue.

                  Through our human right sessions, I have also learnt that good governance is an important area of work for many charities and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO’s) as it enable countries to be run effectively and deliver services and so support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Good governance is also achieve when access to justice, laws and strong legal system are in place.

           My counterpart Nathaniel Dilling has been my friend and always caring, if I sit with him without talking he will ask “Joshua are you okay?”. He always entertains me, keeps me talking at all times, and also teaches me some tricky card games. He also gives out his laptop for me to develop my typing skills, its fun to stay with him. Our home is a loving place because we have a lot of children always around to make us happy at all time.

Myself and my Nat (left of me) at my Brother's Wedding With my Father and Fellow Volunteers

By Joshua Bartholomew Salifu