Lending a moment of your time can make a difference to a fellow Ghanaian, according to the National Volunteering Coalition of Ghana (NVC).
Launching the International Volunteers Day (IVD) 2007 on Wednesday in Accra, the NVC, formed last year between the United Nations Volunteers Association and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is calling on citizens to lend a helping hand to further develop the country.
“Those who come out a month, two months or three months are just as important as those who come out for a year,” said Mr. George Gado of the National Volunteer Programme which began in 2003.
“Little drops of water make a mighty ocean. The word volunteer means self-sacrifice,” said Emmanuel Negro Mensah, who has dedicated more than 40 years to the Voluntary Work Camps Association of Ghana.
“The means to do it is there. Some of us just need a little encouragement and to think beyond our scope.”
The NVC, which works with several organizations including the Blood Bank and the Ghana Scout Association, recruited more than 8,500 participants in 2006 and has conducted about 15,000 candidate interviews so far this year.
“We are a very young but ambitious group of organizations that want to act, not just talk,” said VSO Programme Manager Nii Doodo Dodoo.
“We are in the business of making a difference in the lives of our citizens. We will not allow anything to hinder us until that is achieved.”
The NVC emphasized that governments across the globe would not meet the targeted Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) without help from a strong and vibrant volunteer sector.
“It is seen as a force that supports the government and private sector. They cannot do it alone,” said YMCA Ghana's National General Secretary, Mr. Samuel Anim.
“We need to create a much stronger platform, to share notes and to learn from each other's best practices,” he added.
The coalition is currently working on an official policy, which would enable government monitor charity activity across the country.
“It would give a framework that can direct the actions of volunteers in Ghana. A policy that can monitor, evaluate and know the impact,” said Mr. Gado.
IVD 2007 will host events in Accra including a Volunteer Organization Fair and seminar on December 1 and a Volunteer Awards Ceremony on December 5.
“It's a chance to interact with the public, especially the young people,” said Mr. Dodoo, adding “we all have a role to play.”
By Sophie Nicholls