Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Building for the Future - Peter's Perspective

As a young guy growing up and with the aim of becoming a future leader, I took it upon myself to better serve my beloved country Ghana. How would I have been able to do that without the effort and  hard work of the  scheme I am currently on called ICS (International Citizen Service)? ICS is a programme devoted to tackling global issues by involving young people across the world who have the passion or interest in helping people. I am Akanlik Peter, a native of Sandema in the Upper East Region of Ghana, and I had the opportunity to give this a try and by his grace I’m spending three months volunteering in Bolgatanga with an NGO called TradeAID. Our team is made up of volunteers from the UK and Ghana. So far during my ICS placement in Bolgatanga I have not regretted even one moment and it has really helped me a lot in my career and my ability to learn a lot from many different people.
Getting to know one another... Credit: Mireille Kouyo

Volunteering is the best thing one can do in order to build experience for one’s future because you have the opportunity to learn about many different aspects of life. Thus your communication skills, improved socialisation and your confidence level will be built upon, opening up a whole lot of opportunities in life. Before I completed senior high school, I had no idea about volunteering, but there are a whole a lot of young people roaming about with great skills and knowledge to share with people. I can boldly say there are people who have a great vision towards volunteering but the thing that sticks in their mind is that volunteering is free labour, and they forget about the benefits to their personal development that can help them achieve their goals.

Having seen the benefits and the knowledge acquired through volunteering I wish to spend my life doing similar work to help the less privileged in society to achieve a better living. I would rather do this than spend my entire life searching for government work. Writing what I have achieved in volunteering does not mean that opportunities are limited to what I have described; in volunteering there are a whole lot of benefits one can find. Before the programme I looked at what I wanted to change about myself, and by volunteering I have made those changes.

I am volunteering in a livelihood project located in Bolgatanga which deals with creating job opportunities for local people, helping to advertise their products, conducting training and organising an annual craft fair. We are also trying to help them access the global market and educating them to sell their products in line with Fair Trade goals. International Service started working in partnership with TradeAID Integrated, a non-governmental organisation focusing on how the craft skills of the Upper East can be utilised to eliminate poverty, and how the craft people can make a living. ICS has helped increase TradeAID’s capacity to make positive change in the community, and in return we have learnt valuable lessons for later life.

Playing Ohari at a Host Home. Credit: Mireille Kouyo

One of these lessons was around Fair Trade – a term I had never heard before – and I was worried that my whole placement would be like that, full of things I didn’t know, but I have challenged myself and I can now imagine myself being a business man in future. Reading this blog has nothing to do with how much you have achieve in life, but much you still have to learn in life.  Making the decision to volunteer with ICS really has been one of the best journeys I have had, having learnt so much and made so many friends, and there is never any need to worry about our safety because International Service is always concerned for our well-being.

What I like to ask the public across the world is that if these organisations are ready to dedicate themselves to the lives of people in need, what’s stopping you from contributing as well?

I would like to thank the entire International Service staff for the difference they are making to these people’s lives.  My encouragement is that we all have something to contribute, and if we all chipped in it would make a huge difference to lives around the world. Thank you for taking your time to read  my first ever blog.

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