Kwaku Ohene Djan, the Deputy Executive Director of National Service Scheme
The National Service scheme will continue to strengthen its relationship with the Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) in the discharge of their common mandate.
Mr Kwaku Ohene Djan, the Deputy Executive Director of National Service Scheme (NSS), said the Scheme and VSO-Ghana have been in long-standing partnership dating back from the 1980s to promote volunteerism in the country.
He said through this partnership, NSS benefitted from the VSO volunteers leading of the National Volunteer Programme among several other interventions.
Mr Ohene Djan was speaking at the at a national stakeholder’s forum organized by Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) in commemoration of its 60th anniversary.
The event was held under the theme: “the value of volunteering in a resource-scarce environment”.
Launched in the UK in 1958, Alec and Mora Dickson brought their vision to life with the first group of young adults embarking on overseas voluntary work placements in Sarawak (present-day Borneo), Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and Cameroon. The first volunteer landed in Ghana in 1958, a year after Ghana’s Independence.
Mr Ohene Djan said Ghana, as a country, was so privileged and proud to be among one of the countries to benefit from the benevolence VSO.
“There cannot be an overestimation of the generous impact of the work of VSO on the lives of our countrymen and women particularly the less privileged over the years,” he said.
He said the organization’s approach of working with local partners and corporate organizations in the country and elsewhere has been exceedingly meaningful.
He said NSS, as an agency under the Ministry of Education, remains unwavering and committed to strengthening the partnership with not only VSO, but all other organizations involved in the promotion of volunteerism in the country.
He said citizens must realize that no amount of constraint especially with the scarcity of resources should defeat or undermine volunteerism.
The Deputy Executive Director said after all, at the heart of volunteerism was a sacrifice; meaning, volunteers have to avail their limited resources and time for the good of the collective and also in serving individual members of the society.
“As volunteers, we should not be discouraged at all by the inadequacy of resources to help in our volunteering pursuit because our service remains extremely valuable,” he added.
Ms Avril Kudzi, VSO Country Director, said VSO has now supported over 76, 000 volunteers, tackling poverty in more than 120 countries.
She said they have gone from being a tiny UK-based charity to the world’s leading international development organisation working through volunteers.
“In 2016/2017 alone, we supported over 2.4 million people through our health, education and livelihood programme,” Ms Kudzi said.
She said their volunteering models include national, international, long-term specialists, community and youth volunteers working in a broad range of programmes.
Ms Kudzi said central to the work in these programmes has been using approaches and interventions that integrate social accountability, social inclusion and gender resilience to clearly identify the most marginalised population, the factors for exclusion and how VSO could help communities identify shocks and work to make them less prone to unexpected disasters.
The Country Director said, “we are here to celebrate the legacy and the impact of volunteering over the last six decades and we will use the opportunity to re-engage with a significant number of our returned volunteers”.
She said the event would also present the avenue for partners and listen to volunteers’ experiences covering VSO’s work and its impact over the past 60 years.
She said the value of volunteering was not just the skills and knowledge, a volunteer brings but it also how they work from within organisations and communities to support change.
“Our volunteers have contributed immensely to fighting poverty over the last 60 years,” she added.
Dan Soko is a short story author and web content editor. He has work appearing or forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including GhanaScoop, Nigeria Daily News and CapitalBay. When he’s not frightening strangers with his post and writing, he’s most likely frightening his wife Mimi and their two mischievous cats: Buttons and Snaps. You can visit him at www.ghananation.com/author/webby.