In August 2015 Anna Vindics went on a learning trip with KickStart Ghana to see what work we undertake and what role a small NGO can play in international development. Both before and since her trip she has been volunteering for KickStart Ghana on future business plans and research. Anna, an LSE MSc graduate, now works for the OECD in Paris.
Going on a learning trip with KickStart Ghana was a life-changing experience for me as it helped me to discover what I am truly passionate about: international development and improving the well-being and opportunities of people living in developing countries. Currently I am working at the Development Cooperate Directorate of OECD which would not have been possible without the knowledge and fieldwork experience I gained while I was working with KickStart Ghana.
During my time in Ghana I learnt more about development than I did from books behind my desk as I came to understand what it really means and how it works on the micro level. Now I understand more about the lives and issues of people living in developing countries, plus I developed further knowledge about NGOs that work in that field. I feel particularly privileged that I had this experience with KickStart Ghana as I got an insight into the work of an organisation that focuses on responsible volunteering and development with the interest of the Ghanaian children placed above all else.
What I found especially interesting is talking to the founders about how they established and constantly improve the organisation, exploring completed projects financed by KickStart Ghana and attending the summer school and shadowing the amazing work of local teachers, volunteers and the children. It was a unique opportunity to engage with all the stakeholders: the founders, international volunteers, Ghanaian volunteers, local teachers, citizens and the children, therefore to develop a comprehensive understanding of the issues the charity is working on.
During my stay I gained an insight into the life and issues of a developing country and the contribution of NGOs to development through the example of KickStart Ghana. Moreover I met a lot of exceptional people, both Ghanaian and English. I am not exaggerating, when I say, that from the moment I arrived I felt like a member of a big family. We had an amazing time while travelling to the beach during the weekends (and participating in an all-night reggae party), eating fufu (a spicy local speciality), watching the football matches of Dynamo (a local team supported by KickStart Ghana), playing pool in spot bars or cricket at the KickStart Ghana house. The unmatched kindness and openness of Ghanaian people is another thing that made the whole experience unforgettable. Even without the professional advantages I would consider this the most amazing experience of my life therefore I truly hope I will be soon be back in Ho.
I can only recommend becoming a part of the KickStart Ghana family from a professional and personal perspective as well.