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29.10.2003 General News

National Volunteer Programme launched

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Accra, Oct. 29, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday called on Ghanaians to imbibe the spirit of volunteerism to assist in the country's development.

He said in many parts of the world, citizens acquired skills for jobs from voluntary services.

President Kufuor made the call in a speech read on his behalf by Ms Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education, at the launching of the first National Volunteer Programme in Accra. The nationwide programme that took effect from October 1, this year, is being organised by the National Service Secretariat (NSS) with sponsorship from the Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO).

It would provide opportunities for volunteerism through education, skills sharing and training to meet the needs of the communities.

The first batch of 52 volunteers from tertiary institutions are currently teaching in senior secondary schools in the Upper East Region to complement the shortage of teachers in the Region.

President Kufuor pledged Government's commitment to provide job opportunities for every Ghanaian.

"For many years, young people from the United Kingdom came to serve as teachers in Ghana and in many different sectors on voluntary basis. It is time Ghanaians asked themselves why Britons left their country to serve in the rural areas in Ghana whilst young Ghanaians refuse to do so", he said.

President Kufuor called on Ghanaians to take inspiration not only from the British volunteers but also from other volunteers such as the Japanese, Americans and Canadians, who come from their countries to serve in Ghana.

Ms Adeilade Addo-Fening, Country Director of VSO, said VSO had been in Ghana for the past 45 years, therefore, it was time the organization passed on its experience to Ghana.

She said the VSO had provided opportunities for study tours to its offices in the UK and ran training in assessment as part of the measures to support the NSS to develop and implement the programme.

Mr Boniface A. Gambila, Director of NSS, said over 1,000 applications had been received from applicants wishing to participate in the programme and some of them would be deployed to serve in different fields.

Mr Gambila appealed to the Government to review the NSS scheme Act 329 to allow quick operations and eliminate conflicts in their operations.

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