Waking up in a camping tent or a hut in rain forest could be unusual but to the IGI volunteers, the experience was so beautiful to keep. Walking in a dark community in the night and still see infectious smiles from community folks could not be better than.
These were exactly how it happened at Kwesikum, a farming rain forest community in the Agona East District of the Central Region of Ghana. A youth work camp which was organised by IGI management offered both local and foreign volunteers numbering twenty (20) to stay in a rural community.
For a whole week, the volunteers were in community developments, taught in basic schools, worked in cocoa plantings, did health sensitization programmes and gave some health materials to the community folks.
The work camp was sited at Kwesikum but volunteers taught in Duotu, Kwesi Pantsil and Duabone basic schools which were at least ten (10) minutes drive each from the camping site at Kwesikum.
The schools especially the pupils and the teachers were extremely happy to have hosted the volunteers in their schools for the whole week. The pupils were excited to have listened, played and ate with the volunteers. To the pupils, though the experience was short, the memory will still stay with them for a long time.
To the volunteers, teaching in these rural schools was such a big experience. As they later expressed, the rural pupils to their surprise were more attentive in class than the urban school pupils where they currently teach. The volunteers were also thrilled that despite the long distances these pupils have to walk to their schools, they still walk to their respective schools.
The volunteers appreciated also the schools for offering them the opportunity to learn from the pupils even as teachers.
In the evenings, when most parts of the communities were virtually dark, the volunteers organised sensitization programmes on health issues, family life education and other pertinent issues for the community folks who attended the programmes in their numbers.
Specifically, the sensitizations were done by individual presenters who were able to reach the audiences through an interpreter where necessary. The health topics were on; malaria prevention, teenage pregnancy, sexual reproductive education, and social welfare issues among others. The communities were really participatory as they were engaged by presenters by the aid of a projector.
Through the sensitization programmes, the volunteers distributed mosquito nets to pregnant women, lactating mothers, children and the aged. The volunteers also worked in some cocoa farms on the Saturday, took part in a football competition between the basic schools teachers in the enclave and engaged in some cultural exchange activities with the children especially, for example, the volunteers were treated with some traditional dance and songs by some youths.
Certainly by the time, the camp officially ended on the Saturday, both volunteers and the kwesikum folks had enjoyed each others’ company and wished for another opportunity.
IGI - Building Communities Assets