Wednesday, 27 October

Ghanaians volunteer to support fellow citizens, communities, country on National Volunteer Day 2021

Feature Article
National Volunteer Day is an annual event

In 2013, the GhanaThink Foundation instituted National Volunteer Day - NVDay

This was to encourage many people in Ghana to volunteer, make an impact in our communities, help solve problems in ways we could, and help people. 

It wasn't just to help people, but to help ourselves as volunteers: in building skills – especially soft skills, gaining experience, networks, etc. GhanaThink chose Founders' Day – September 21 in 2013. 

Ato Ulzen-Appiah (GhanaThink’s Director) shared: “NVDay was inspired by the need for better leadership in Ghana. Our founders did something great for Ghana and we also mark September 21 by doing things for our citizens, communities and country”. 

On December 5, 2013, the Ghana Volunteer Program programme (GVP) was created by GhanaThink to run National Volunteer Day and match volunteers to volunteer opportunities. 

Even though September 21 became Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day, it is still National Volunteer Day. 

Since 2013, an average of 80 activities have happened annually around Ghana, across the 10+ regions with 1000s of volunteers and bigger numbers of beneficiaries.

 These are planned by NGOs, groups like Rotary, Rotaract, Lions and Leo clubs, groups of friends, different associations and individuals.   

The impact on the volunteers and beneficiaries was massive and was captured on social media. 

The DRRD (National Coordinator) for Rotaract Ghana, Huda Ibrahim mentioned: “For me, volunteerism is about making use of my skills and resources for positive community outcomes, whiles developing myself in the process. I give a part of myself to others and I gain something more in return - friendships, professional development and lots of fun”

In 2020, due to the covid pandemic, many did not volunteer physically due to various restrictions, health and safety concerns. However, we saw that many institutions and individuals donated to the needy or less privileged. We celebrated volunteers and encouraged activities that do not involve a lot of people gathering, especially blood donations.

Volunteering through #NVDay has enabled several people to gain leadership, teamwork, and other skills because they are given opportunities to learn on the job. This is similar for many Volunteeringh opportunities all year round for people in Ghana. 

There are so many examples of #volunteeringh activities one can do. 

Eleanor Asare (a GhanaThink and part of the first Ghana Volunteer Program team) has leveraged it to build the CSR Hub. Kuukuwa Manful started SociArchi after leading about 40 people to build a playground for a school in Accra. Sampson Deklu (the Partnerships lead for Barcamp Ghana) started volunteering and is now running #ThousandFor1000.

For 2021, we are encouraging more people to raise funds to support the needy. We are driving for more blood donations. 

Head of Donor recruitment, Southern Zonal Blood Centre, David Dodzi Ahiadzro stated: “Your selfless gift of blood on this National Volunteer Day will put a smile on that person you never get to know in your life but who will be eternally grateful to you”. 

Since the general public is more used to the covid pandemic and can volunteer more safely, they will organise or join activities planned for the month of September. #NVDay21 is the hashtag to share what people are doing, engage, connect, etc.

Several volunteer activities are being led by the National Blood Service, Ghana, as this NVDay initiative seeks to drive more blood donations in 2021. 

Several Rotaract Clubs in Ghana are also organising activities in multiple locations around Ghana. 

Leo & Lions Clubs in Ghana are pushing childhood cancer awareness while participating in multiple volunteer and charity events. 

Several Rotaract and Leo Clubs in Ghana have gained new members through people volunteering with them during NVDay. 

Several people volunteered for the first time during National Volunteer Day and continue to volunteer. 

Many people have found internships and jobs from networking at volunteeringh activities.

GhanaThink is run by more than 100 volunteer members. 

The Ghana Volunteer Program is run by a team made up of William Osilaja-Boampong, Enock Nyamador, and Gerald Sowah

They are ably supported by GhanaThink’s executive team, especially Ato Ulzen-Appiah & Seyram Ahiabor. Various teams of GhanaThink members in different towns support this team in localised activities, etc. 

Our GhanaThink members are some of the most influential young Ghanaians who have excelled in their various fields of endeavours. 

See activities in 2021 via http://volunteeringh.org (this also has organizing tips & https://bit.ly/NVDay21Facebook. Can't volunteer? There are various donation drives you can support, you can also support the organisers of these activities financially by engaging them. You can support financially through GVP by donating via ExpressPay expressPay (NVDay) or via mobile money. 

The Charter President of Accra Ubuntu Lions Club, who doubles as the Online Lead, GhanaThink Foundation, is Seyram Ahiabor. 

Seyram stated: “Volunteering is a life-transforming engagement. Not only do you put smiles on the faces of beneficiaries, but you impact generations and communities with your little contribution of your time, talent and treasure.”

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Ato Ulzen-Appiah