In 2013, the GhanaThink Foundation (GTF) institute National Volunteer Day – NVDay in Ghana. This was to encourage more Ghanaians to volunteer, make impact in communities, solve problems in helpful ways and help generally people.
For GTF this initiative wasn’t just to help people, but help those volunteering as well to: build skills – especially soft skills; gaining experience, and enhancing networks among other benefits. Info about past events is available on Wikipedia.
GhanaThink Foundation chose Founders’ Day – September 21 for its day of volunteering as a way of also doing something for Ghana. It is on this premise that on December 5, 2013, the Ghana Volunteer Program (GVP) was created by GhanaThink to run National Volunteer Day and match volunteers to volunteering opportunities. Even though September 21 along the line became Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day in Ghana, it still remains National Volunteer Day too.
In 2020, NVDay is encouraging the celebration of volunteers and for people to volunteer safely and creatively due to the corona virus pandemic. GVP team member Adelina Martey stated: “Volunteering during this trying period, whether it’s your time, resources, strength or support, can still make an impact even if from a distance. Whenever and however we choose to #volunteeringh this year, remember everyone still wins.” GhanaThink’s online lead, Seyram Ahiabor also added: “There is no perfect time to volunteer. There is always something to do to help one another. We are not in normal times so volunteer safely by observing all safety protocols. So go #VolunteerInGH and make that difference!”
Below is a snapshot of what has happened in the past with the Ghana Volunteer Program program
- 2013: 34 activities, 233+ volunteers, 11 towns, 7 regions, 1000s of beneficiaries
- 2014: 80 activities, 300+ volunteers, 17 towns, 10 regions, 1000s of beneficiaries
- 2015: 80+ activities, 1000+ volunteers, 20 towns, 10 regions, 1000s of beneficiaries
- 2016: 70+ activities, 1000+ volunteers, 24 towns, 9 regions, 1000s of beneficiaries
- 2017: 70+ activities, 1000+ volunteers, 27 towns, 10 regions, 1000s of beneficiaries
- 2018-2019: similar number of activities and volunteers, with 1000s of beneficiaries
Volunteering through NVDay has enabled several people gain leadership, teamwork, and confidence-building skills among others because participants 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 member of the Ghana Volunteer Program team which runs NVDay) 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 Ghana’s capital of Accra. Sampson Deklu (the Partnerships lead for Barcamp Ghana) started volunteering and is now running #ThousandFor1000.
GhanaThink is run by more than 100 volunteer members. The Ghana Volunteer Program is run by a team made up of – Adelina Martey, William Osilaja-Boampong, Enock Nyamador, Gerald Sowah and Eleanor Asare. 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 localized activities. GhanaThink members are also some of the most influential young Ghanaians who have excelled in various fields of respective endeavours.
Through GVP, a volunteerism program has been launched and started for accounting students at the University of Ghana Business School. 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 have continued to do so. Many have found internships and jobs from networking at volunteeringh activities, bearing testimony to the networking power and numerous benefits of this initiative.
Some of the activities that happen during NVDay include: Tutoring respective subjects, Teaching a particular skill or talent, Blood donation drives, Clean-up exercises, Orphanage visits & donation, Improving infrastructure, health screenings & talks, ICT training for youths, painting of schools and mentoring sessions. See organizing tips and others on the volunteering.org website.
Are you unable to volunteer? Well do Support financially by donating at https://expresspaygh.com/nvday or via mobile money. Register, join activities, or find more info by visiting https://volunteeringh.org. Think of how you can help someone during this period. The hashtag #NVDay2020 is being used across social media to amplify the initiative online globally. Another GVP team member, William Boampong Osilaja, sums it up nicely in the Ghanaian pidgin English when he rhetorically asks, “If you no volunteer, wetin u gain!”
Source: National Volunteer Day