In 2013, the GhanaThink Foundation decided to institute National Volunteer Day - NVDay. This was to encourage many people in Ghana to volunteer, make an impact in our communities, help solve problems in ways we could, and help people. It wasn't just to help people, but help ourselves as volunteers: in building skills - especially soft skills, gaining experience, networks, etc. Info about the first couple of years are on Wikipedia. GhanaThink chose Founders' Day - September 21.
By volunteering around September 21, we would also be doing something for Ghana. On December 5, 2013, the Ghana Volunteer Program program (GVP) was created by GhanaThink to run National Volunteer Day and match volunteers to volunteer opportunities. Even though September 21 became Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day, it is still National Volunteer Day.
In 2020, NVDay is encouraging the celebration of volunteers and for people to volunteer safely and creatively due to the corona virus pandemic. GVP team member Adelina Martey stated: “Volunteering something during this trying period, whether it's your time, resources, strength or support, can still make an impact even if from a distance. Whenever and however we choose to #volunteeringh this year, remember everyone still wins.” GhanaThink's online lead, Seyram Ahiabor, added: “There is no perfect time to volunteer. There is always something to do to help another. We are not in normal times so volunteer safely by observing all safety protocols. So go #VolunteerInGH and make that difference!”
Here is a snapshot of what has happened in the past with the Ghana Volunteer Program program
● 2013: 34 activities, 233+ volunteers, 11 towns, 7 regions, 1000s of beneficiaries
● 2014: 80 activities, 300+ volunteers, 17 towns, 10 regions, 1000s of beneficiaries
● 2015: 80+ activities, 1000+ volunteers, 20 towns, 10 regions, 1000s of beneficiaries
● 2016: 70+ activities, 1000+ volunteers, 24 towns, 9 regions, 1000s of beneficiaries
● 2017: 70+ activities, 1000+ volunteers, 27 towns, 10 regions, 1000s of beneficiaries
● 2018-2019: similar number of activities and volunteers, with 1000s of beneficiaries
Volunteering through NVDay has enabled several people to gain leadership, teamwork, and other skills because they are given opportunities to learn on the job. This is similar for many Volunteering opportunities all year round for people in Ghana. There are so many examples of #volunteeringh activities one can do. Eleanor Asare (a member of the Ghana Volunteer Program team which runs NVDay) has leveraged it to build the CSR Hub. Kuukuwa Manful started SociArchi after leading about 40 people to build a playground for a school in Accra. Sampson Deklu (the Partnerships lead for Barcamp Ghana) started volunteering and is now running #ThousandFor1000.
GhanaThink is run by more than 100 volunteer members. The Ghana Volunteer Program is run by a team made up of - Adelina Martey, William Osilaja-Boampong, Enock Nyamador, Gerald Sowah and Eleanor Asare. They are ably supported by GhanaThink's executive team, especially Ato Ulzen-Appiah & Seyram Ahiabor. Various teams of GhanaThink members in different towns support this team in localized activities, etc. Our GhanaThink members are some of the most influential young Ghanaians who have excelled in their various fields of endeavours.
Through GVP, a volunteerism program has been launched and started for accounting students at University of Ghana Business School. Several Rotaract and Leo Clubs in Ghana have gained new members through people volunteering with them during NVDay. Several people volunteered for the first time during National Volunteer Day and continue to volunteer. Many people have found internships and jobs from networking at volunteeringh activities.
These are some of the activities that happen during NVDay: Tutoring in a subject, Teaching a particular skill or talent Blood donation drives, Clean-up exercises, Orphanage visits + donation, Improving infrastructure, health screenings & talks, ICT training for youth, Painting schools, Mentoring events, etc. See organizing tips, etc on the volunteering.org website.
Can't volunteer? Support financially by donating via https://expresspaygh.com/nvday or via mobile money. Register, join activities or find more info via https://volunteeringh.org. Think of how you can help someone during this period. We are using the hashtag #NVDay2020. Another GVP team member, William Boampong Osilaja, sums it up nicely, “If you no volunteer, wetin u gain”