A Partner West Africa Testimonial
Testimonial 97 of 102
PWA Volunteer Annie working with vulnerable children in Ghana, West Africa

Annie - Australia

Programme Completed: New - The PWA Daycare & Nursery Centre

Date Posted: 09/01/2014

In an ocean of need where does one begin? With a range of volunteer opportunities available, how do you assess which groups are going to enable you as a volunteer to truly engage with the local community? You want to know that the work that you are doing has an impact from the short term through to the long term.  You want to ensure that your involvement is a contribution to deep seeded change in this wonderful continent of Africa.

"In an ocean of need where does one begin? With a range of volunteer opportunities available, how do you assess which groups are going to enable you as a volunteer to truly engage with the local community? You want to know that the work that you are doing has an impact from the short term through to the long term.  You want to ensure that your involvement is a contribution to deep seeded change in this wonderful continent of Africa.

I feel compelled to write this testimony to provide any other volunteers who are seeking a path into volunteering in Africa with insight into what I have experienced here in Ghana.  The aim of this testimony is to provide you a moment walking in my shoes here with Partner West Africa (PWA) [through their internal volunteering department: Volunteer West Africa]. I understand it can be hard as you're potentially sat there reading through different websites to know where to begin when looking for where to volunteer.

I have been here with my husband Matt Littlehales and he has explained in his testimony some of the activities we have been involved with so I won't repeat those but I encourage you to also walk in his shoes and read what he has written. What I want to focus on here is the people connection that you get with volunteering here with PWA. 

Firstly, the volunteer guest house has become our home away from home and this is a really important part of the experience here.  In order to be able to give through volunteering you need a space that is safe, peaceful and enables a sense of home.  We have found the guest house to be such a beautiful space to come home to each day and feel recharged by being here. The guest house is very clean, it's set up to ensure maximum comfort on all levels.  I have felt safe here, well looked after and I can tell you that the food here has been delicious.  In addition to this the team that runs the guest house are wonderful!  In a very short time you feel a sense of family and it's great to share laughs in the kitchen and share space with great people.  Chillie is the Volunteer Co-ordinator and he is truly a special soul, considerate, observant and highly knowledgeable.  Big Chris as Security is the gentlest giant you will meet.  His passion for his village and the community just oozes of him and he is a man with great dreams and a great heart.  Inusah is the Project Manager here and he is a brilliant part of the work here.  A quiet soul, hard-working, kind and a wonderful guide through Ghana.  Special mention to the two gorgeous house dogs Koko and Bite (Beet-ey) who welcome you home each day.  

Secondly, the team at PWA are focussed on ensuring that the local community are not only aware of what is being achieved but that they are part of the work.  PWA is very much part of this community in Kokrobite and people recognise the car and volunteer t.shirts. As we travelled through we have received smiles and waves. What I love about this is that is the amazing connections that have been established and continue to be established with the local community mean the PWA team have a genuine understanding of the needs, can make solid assessment of how help can be provided and then work with that community to become part of the solution.  Let me give you an example.  There is a local nursery where a phenomenal woman called Momma Felicia looks after about 30 kids each day from the local village.  PWA is not only focussed on helping the needs of the nursery but they are working with Momma Felicia in the efforts to educate the parents in that village on the importance of getting their kids into the nursery.  This education and involvement of the parents is such a key to breaking cycles of poverty and PWA works passionately on the whole solution.  We saw example after example of this aim and it means that the seeds of help are planted deep where they can grow rather than in a shallow place where the seeds can be blown away.

Thirdly, what I can tell you is that the man who has set up this organisation has done so with a heart that is so true and a passion that is unbelievable.  He has such a love for Ghana and for seeing the lives of children changed here through improved education and health.  We had the opportunity to shadow him with some of the trips and watch him interact with the kids, how they love him and flock to him with hugs and smiles.  We have watched the concern on his face as he has seen the urgent needs for help and identifying with his team the ways they can help.  I don't write this to 'blow wind up his a**' as my husband would say, but having leadership that is so embedded in a desire to make a difference has such a positive impact on the effectiveness of PWA.  He has genuine friendships with all parts of the community, he is driven by a sense of social responsibility I've not seen before and is committed to ensuring a volunteer experience that is effective and life changing both for you and the people you will be helping here.  I know this paragraph will make him feel uncomfortable but I hope he will keep it in here.  I say this so you know that the organisation has been set up and is being led by a good man.

I sit here writing this on our final day with a heart that is heavy with sadness as we leave.  I look around the gardens here as I type, I hear the ocean and think it is impossible to leave this place without an imprint of Ghana on my heart.  What I have seen and experienced here will remain a part of me for a lifetime and I will continue to remain connected here and help from Australia. I know that my husband and I will be back!

Finally, the strange thing I think about on this last day is that although we have come to give, the people of Ghana have given me more that I realised I would receive.  They are a beautiful people and I cannot recommend highly enough to come to volunteer here with the terrific team at Partner West Africa."

 

 

How can you help?
  • If you would like to also volunteer at the PWA Daycare and Nursery Centre, 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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Copyright © Partner West Africa 2018                           Partner West Africa is an officially registered UK-charity - UK Charities Commission Registration No: 1152479