2015 has been a particularly trying year for most Ghanaians. Between dumsor, the economy, and our impeccable prowess at airing our dirty linen in public (read, worldwide) we just can’t seem to get a break. Luckily, there’s one just around the corner – a break, that is – and with it, the opportunity to not just reflect, but also to act, volunteer and maybe help turn things around: National Volunteer Day (NVDay).
Yes, you read right. In case you didn’t get the memo, Founders’ Day is unofficially known as National Volunteer Day.
Started in 2013 by the Ghana Volunteer Program (GVP), an initiative of Ghana Think, NVDay encourages Ghanaians to organize and contribute to community development, and in so doing, imbibe the very qualities we remember our founding fathers for – volunteerism, servant leadership, and patriotism. This year’s event (#NVDay15) begins on Friday Sept. 19, culminating on Monday Sept. 21 with the public holiday celebrating Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday. Last I checked, there were 47 registered volunteer activities on volunteeringh.org.
Considering the hustle and bustle of GHLivin’ these days, you’re probably looking forward to kicking your feet up on the coffee table and sipping on some good ol’ sobolo. Allow me to share five excellent reasons why you should volunteer and participate in NVDay15 – before you plan your waakye or fufu party.
Build your team player skills and resume
The current economy has made the job market more cut throat than ever. Tough times call for creative measures and many recruiters look for more than just a degree, previous work experience, or relevant skills to do the job. They look for personality, team player traits, interest in one’s community. Everything you need to distinguish yourself from the rest. Lucky for you, volunteering offers the opportunity to get all of that and then some. Clearly, it’s a win-win.
Meet like-minded people, make friends, network
Into urban and community planning? Join other budding architects. Believe in education? Connect with this group of avid readers. Tired of all the filth? Well what would you know, there are environmentally conscious folks like you. Care about health? Raise awareness on breast cancer with these young health professionals. Not currently in Ghana? Consider donating to a cause.
In case you hadn’t already figured it out, volunteering is a great way of meeting folks with similar interests as yourself – professionally and otherwise. Volunteer periodically with a specific organization and you might just end up getting a full-time gig! All you have to do is take the first step: register or join an NVDay activity and be actively involved.
Create (interesting) content on Ghana and Ghanaians
Needless to say, NVDay15 is a social media event that shouldn’t be missed. Just click on the official hashtag and you’ll see what I mean. Undecided about how you can participate? Consider volunteering your writing, blogging, photography, and/or videography services to help capture and document the good work everyone will be doing.
Volunteering comes highly recommended
“Countrymen, the task ahead is great indeed, and heavy is the responsibility; and yet it is a noble and glorious challenge – a challenge which calls for the courage to dream, the courage to believe, the courage to dare, the courage to do, the courage to envision, the courage to fight, the courage to work, the courage to achieve – to achieve the highest excellencies and the fullest greatness of man. Dare we ask for more in life?”
Who could have said it better than Dr. Nkrumah himself? And that’s all I will say about contributing to something larger than oneself.
Over 99 other reasons about how enriching volunteering is
From personal experience, volunteering is probably one of the most fulfilling and enriching things you will ever do. But don’t take it from me; see what @kafuiday said, read @dagbui’s apt observation, and oh, if you really want to get into it, go through this recap and photos from previous NVDays.
So there you are. Five reasons (and 99+ extra) to volunteer during NVDay15 and beyond. Visit the GVP website for a full list of activities or register yours. Oh, and one other thing – have fun!
Connect with GVP: Twitter | Facebook | Google+
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.