A Partner West Africa Testimonial
Testimonial 59 of 102
PWA Volunteer Elaine gined work experience in International Development and NGO work in Ghana, West Africa

Elaine - UK

Programme Completed: Multidisciplinary Volunteering Programmes

Date Posted: 24/09/2015

Confining 2 months into a small testimony is very difficult! One of the reasons that I joined Engineers without Borders was to gain experience in International Development, as I have been considering working in that field as an engineer in the future. My time at PWA has given me a real insight into both the positive and difficult aspects of working as part of an NGO and has been such valuable work experience. I would thoroughly recommend Partner West Africa to anyone interested in working in International Development in the future.

"Hey, I'm Elaine and have just finished 8 weeks working with Partner West Africa (PWA) [through their internal volunteer department: Volunteer West Africa] as part of a team from Engineers without Borders (EWB) from the University of Bath in the UK. I had been in contact with Matt - PWA Director - for about 9 months before we travelled out to Ghana, with the aim of setting up a long-term partnership between PWA and EWB Bath. One of the priorities for us when looking for an NGO to partner with was that we were working with an organisation that put the local people at the centre of all they do - not to create an experience for the volunteers ("voluntourism"). It was clear quite early on that PWA shared these views, and we were inspired to hear about all the work that PWA was doing. We spent the months leading up to our visit emailing, Skyping and even meeting Matt in Bath, to discuss how we could best help PWA during our time in Ghana. 
 
We all agreed that for our first visit this summer, the best project to work on was looking at the feasibility of improving the rainwater harvesting system at the PWA compound to reduce the large amount of money PWA spend on buying water from tankers so as that money could be used to support the local vulnerable children PWA supports.
 
When we arrived in Ghana, I didn't know what to expect! We had a long journey from the UK and arrived at 6am in a bit of a daze! We were welcomed by Matt and Inusah (PWA Project Manager) at the airport and driven back to the compound, where all the house staff and teachers were waiting for us and gave us an amazing welcome! We spent the rest of the day having our induction and orientation and felt prepared for anything by the end, although extremely tired too! We settled in at the compound quite quickly and loved spending time with the house staff, learning to cook local foods, learning some Twi/Fanti phrases and learning how to play Oware. Kokrobite, the village PWA is based in, also became more and more familiar, and it amazes me now that at first we were reluctant to go out on our own, when now we walk down the street almost daily and regularly stop to say hi to our friends at the tailors, supermarket and hairdressers! 
 
I've really enjoyed our project work here. We spent the first two weeks doing research, which involved meeting people in the villages to see their water systems, as well as visiting the government water company and the Water Research Institute in Accra. This gave us a clear understanding of what was available locally and what systems would work well for the PWA compound. We then spent a few weeks visiting contractors to gather costs and information about different components of rainwater harvesting systems, as well as doing some calculations and designs at the compound. We proposed three designs to Matt, who chose two to pursue further, and we have spent the last few weeks developing these designs and writing up a report.
 
The PWA Daycare and Nursery Centre for vulnerable children at the PWA compound has given us plenty of breaks from engineering! When we've been stuck on a calculation or just needed a break, we will often go and help hand out lunch or play games with the children in their break times. We've also taken days off to help with Fun Days for the children, taking them to the beach and making Christmas cards. One of my highlights of my time here has been our weekend in Opeikuma, a traditional village. I loved spending time with the children at a there, which is supported by PWA in the International Schools Partnership Programme, learning clapping games and chatting to the girls. This was topped off with a cultural night arranged for us by Nana, the village chief and a really lovely guy, where I ended up dancing in front of a large group of local people and children, who found it hilarious!
 
One of the things I didn't consider before our visit was that there might be other volunteers staying, which made it such a lovely surprise to meet the other 7 volunteers who have arrived (and left!) during our time here. During our weekends and time off, we had some great adventures, including a weekend at Cape Coast; doing the canopy walk, visiting castles and getting far too close to some crocodiles! Even during our time at the compound, playing numerous games of Uno and the Flag Game, we've had a lot of laughs and having such a lovely group has made our time here so special!
 
Confining 2 months into a small testimony is very difficult! One of the reasons that I joined Engineers without Borders was to gain experience in International Development, as I have been considering working in that field as an engineer in the future. My time at PWA has given me a real insight into both the positive and difficult aspects of working as part of an NGO and has been such valuable work experience. I would thoroughly recommend Partner West Africa to anyone interested in working in International Development in the future."
 
 
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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