A Partner West Africa Testimonial
Testimonial 86 of 102
PWA Volunteer Alica working with children in Ghana, West Africa
PWA Volunteer Alica working with children in Ghana, West Africa
PWA Volunteer Alice relaxing in Ghana, West Africa
PWA Volunteer Alice working in the schools partnership programme in Ghana, West Africa
PWA Volunteer Alice working with vulnerable children in Ghana, West Africa

Alice - UK

Programme Completed: Multidisciplinary Volunteering Programmes

Date Posted: 04/10/2014

Though my aim is to become a chartered engineer in the developed world, I know that I don't just want to use my skills to help build another sky scraper in Dubai when there are people in the world who do not have access to basic human rights like clean water, sanitation or education. And now after returning from Ghana this feeling is ever more prominent. 

I would certainly recommend working with PWA to complete a project, you can see the benefits to so many children throughout your stay!

"When I signed up to volunteer for Partner West Africa (PWA) through their internal volunteering department Volunteer West Africa I knew I wanted to use my engineering skills for the better. To use all my privileged academic teaching that we are subject to in the UK to help people less fortunate than myself.

I work for Morgan Sindall, which is a civil engineering contracting firm and they have a major role in new infrastructure for the UK; by constructing new bridges and new roads. I worked on a project in the summer on the A14 Kettering bypass expansion where I saw a new road constructed, people worrying about how many passes with a roller some type 1 has had and if some steel reinforcement wasn't completed covered in plastic to protect it from the rain. I had seen enough comic relief and international development videos to know my prior construction knowledge would be put into perspective but I had no idea by how much.

Though my aim is to become a chartered engineer in the developed world, I know that I don't just want to use my skills to help build another sky scraper in Dubai when there are people in the world who do not have access to basic human rights like clean water, sanitation or education. And now after returning from Ghana this feeling is ever more prominent.

I was lucky enough to volunteer with my partner Shallum, which I think made a huge difference in helping my understanding of the needs of the local community and my own processing in the gap between the developed and the developing world. Volunteering with a friend who has had experience with poverty in developing countries definitely helped with my emotional experience, before arrival, during my volunteering placement and having someone to discuss the after effects with once home.

We are both engineers, myself a civil engineer and Shallum a rehabilitation engineer. Prior to arrival we worked with Matt, the PWA Director, to decide that we were going to work on conducting a needs assessment for PWA to build a new, more permanent nursery and childcare facility in the local community, we then hoped to form a basic design and prepare a fundraising strategy. We were pre-warned by Matt that Ghanaian time is very different to English time though, so we may not be able to achieve as many of our goals.

Before we arrived Matt was brilliant in responding to emails providing information and answering all of my questions no matter how silly or small they were! I felt truly prepared to arrive in Ghana embark on my volunteering experience with PWA. 

Once we arrived I was relieved that the PWA house was up to British standards, although it only has cold water for a shower it has proper toilets and showers, which was plentiful for our needs and put me at ease. Chris, the Safety & Security Officer, then whisked us away for a tour of the area and it was amazing to see so much it one day! It really gave a feel for what Ghana was like in terms of culture and development. We then had our project meeting with Inusah, the Project Manager, to clarify our aims and ambitions. Then we got started!

Throughout our placement we realised how much there was a to do but also how much our skills would enable us to achieve. We managed to assess and enrol 70 of the most vulnerable children in the area into the PWA Daycare and Nursery Centre, this included speaking to their parents and visiting their homes which gave us a grounding in community life. This was followed by an assessment beyond the extent of the nursery to understand families who had young children that did not currently attend any form of education; this helped us understand their educational needs and prove the need for a more permanent structure to be built locally. We found the community very helpful and supportive towards the project and research and they were a pleasure to work with. 

We also carried out key stakeholder meetings with the local government and Ghana education service. This further allowed us to understand the development planned for the area and get some examples of school buildings from the government engineers. Again, everyone was very helpful and their English was very good, they were all willing to take time out of their day to help us and answer or questions and were very supportive of the project. 

Unfortunately we did not get to complete the basic design due to time constraints but hopefully now we have all the information to work on it from the UK before passing the project on. 

Inusah was brilliant throughout our stay, accompanying us to meetings, showing us the local community and answering any questions we had on the local culture. I would certainly recommend working with PWA to complete a project, you can see the benefits to so many children throughout your stay!"

 

 

How can you help?
  • If you would like to also volunteer on the Multidisciplinary volunteer programme, please click here.
  • If you would like to volunteer or partner with PWA on any of our other projects or programmes, please click here.
  • If you would like to make a donation, of any amount, on a one-off or monthly basis, to the PWA Daycare and Nursery Centre, please click here.
  • If you would like to make a general donation, either on a one-off or monthly basis to our charity, please click on one of the three 'Donation Payment Methods' boxes below. 
  • If you would like to support our charity in any other way - for example by donating goods like children's clothes or materials like mosquito nets, or helping us promote our charity through social media or identifying like-minded potential partners - please download the 'How you can support  us' Brief which is located in the introduction text of our Donate Page here.
  • Or, finally, if you would like to talk to our team about any other issue regarding our charity, our projects, or our volunteering & partnership opportunities, please click here.

Thank you

Donation Payment Methods

CharityCheckout

Charity Checkout accepts all major debit and credit cards and allows you to make one-off or monthly donations that will be used to support our charity in general, so if you would like to donate to a specific appeal, or become a sponsor of our Daycare & Nursery Centre, please follow the donation information provided within those specific appeals. All donations to PWA are regulated by the UK Charities Commission and in line with our Terms & Conditions. Thank you.

JustGiving

JustGiving is a great fundraising site for friends of our charity who would like to set up their own fundraising pages, alllowing your friends and family to donate towards your specific project, aims or objectives with PWA. If you set up a JustGiving fundraising page, you describe your story and reasons for supporting PWA & your donors can link through to PWA's JustGiving page to learn about our charity & its work. All donations are regulated by the UK Charities Commission and made in line with our Terms & Conditions. Thank you.

Direct Bank-to-Bank Transfers

PWA banks with the Co-operative Bank, UK, the leading bank for charitable organisations. If you are a UK or international bank account holder, donations can be made quickly & simply online. You can also use this method to make one-off donations or to set up monthly donations to our charity. Please contact us to request our bank account details to set up a bank transfer. All donations made to PWA are regulated by the UK Charities Commission & made in-line with our Terms & Conditions. Thank you.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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