With funding from LSE Careers, as part of the Santander Universities scheme, KickStart Ghana has appointed Richard Yeboah, BSc in Economic History 2017, on a four week contract as our first Action at Home Coordinator. Richard will be blogging about his experiences during his time with KickStart Ghana.
I came to first hear about KickStart Ghana through a conversation with Dave (co-founder), during an LSE networking event. He gave me a brief insight into the amazing work they do in the Volta Region and immediately I became fascinated by their vision to equip Ghanaians with the resources to fulfil their potential and have every opportunity to succeed.
Although being a UK registered charity, the organisation operates mostly in Ghana and has already engaged in incredible projects to improve infrastructure of local schools and invest in local sporting facilities. What differentiates KickStart Ghana in my opinion, is its commitment to invest in people. For example, as part of their work they provide support to individuals pursuing further and vocational education. I believe that such people will nurture the passion and ability to contribute to their communities in many different ways.
The charity also recruits qualified teachers, sports coaches and other volunteers from various parts of the world to volunteer in the Volta region and share their experience with Ghanaian teachers and coaches.
This summer I will be working as an Action at Home Coordinator to find ways to improve the impact of returned volunteers. It will consist of an exciting opportunity to engage with former volunteers, gain insight into their experiences and create a post-volunteering support pack to motivate them stay involved with the charity and the issues it works with.
As well as interacting and interviewing returned volunteers, I will gain the exciting opportunity to reach out to the directors of KickStart Ghana in Ghana to attempt to understand how both volunteers and local Ghanaians could benefit more from the programme.
So what really attracted me to KickStart Ghana and why am I so excited about the role??
Well, being a Ghanaian myself and having spent considerable time in the region, I have become much aware of the opportunity gap and the limited resources for both students and teachers. Spending most of my teenage years in Hackney, East London I’ve also become aware of some of the ways in which socio-economic factors can hinder academic performance, the dangers of falling into peer pressure is great for even the most talented of students. Personally, I think some of the ways to empower young people is by encouraging them to pursue their passion.
Last year, working with an organisation called vInspired, I launched a motivational project to inspire young people in my local community to achieve their goals, through a 3-week motivational seminar. The project’s philosophy was around the idea that “greatness” exists in everyone. The multiple seminars on education, employment and personal development were simply to encourage the young people to discover and pursue the “greatness” within them; be it acting, singing or entrepreneurship for example.
Related to this, I believe that providing young people with the opportunity to pursue extra-curricular activities can be immensely beneficial for their social and personal development. As well as keeping me out of trouble, taking part in a local football team and being active in my local youth centre whiles growing up, provided me with leadership and communication skills for university.
Through my years at university I have become even more interested about international development and social empowerment.
In short, it is this which has attracted me to work for this amazing organisation.
KickStart Ghana’s goal of supporting Ghanaians to pursuit extra-curricular education is something which I greatly admire. Aside from the classroom, volunteers encourage students to practice their team-work and cooperative skills through sporting activities. Language skills and communication is also re-enforced through activities such as singing and story-telling.
Already, the organisation’s grants and volunteer activities have led to classrooms and toilet facilities being refurbished, as well as facilitating summer schools between 2013 and 2016.
Also it has successfully led to the continuation of Dynamo Football Club, the local football team with under 14s, under 17s and a men’s team entering local leagues and tournaments and even establishing a woman’s football team.
As well as providing volunteers an opportunity to contribute their teaching skills, the summer schools provide them with a realistic first-hand view of life in the region. It often spurs volunteers to become even more passionate about international development issues and more likely to engage in campaigns and petitions to raise further awareness and support for such causes once they return to the UK.
My role this summer is to find ways to channel their fresh enthusiasm into productive community action.
I am really excited about this project, as it will surely expand my understanding on how a small charity operates. More so I am looking forward to learn everything I can about this wonderful organisation and hopefully contribute to the success of future returned-volunteers.
Make sure to stay tuned on my journey!