On Monday, six volunteers started a five-week project in Ghana. Tanja Zivanovic, YCI’s Country Program Manager and a long-time member of the YCI family, was there to greet them. In addition to being a YCI alumna (Kenya 2007), Tanja also completed an IYIP placement with YCI in Ethiopia in 2008-2009.

Tanja in Ethiopia

What does your job with YCI involve? Currently, I am acting as Country Program Manager for Ghana. My job involves everything from managing all in-country program activities and supervising the staff, to developing programs with partner organizations and looking for any additional partner opportunities.

How did you get involved with YCI? In the fall of 2007 I volunteered with YCI in Kenya with Kwacha Africa. I was mostly involved in facilitating workshops with Kwacha youth and worked on a three-day info session on human rights and citizenship. This volunteer position led me to return to YCI as a Program Coordinator in Ethiopia in 2008-2009.

Most memorable YCI moment: The day I was leaving the small community of Debre Sina in Ethiopia. It was the number of thank yous from the people that YCI has worked with in the past, and seeing a community that was touched in great ways by numerous volunteers that have passed through.

What motivates you? Seeing the growth of those I work with. If there is at least one person that I have inspired to grow and expand their knowledge, then I know they can do the same for others.

Which youth issue most concerns you? Quality of education. I have seen many children having access to primary or secondary education, but the quality of education is what is lacking. There is a lot of outdated information that the children have the access to. Many of those children do not have a chance to further their education due to lack of information.

What gives you optimism? The youth that I come across working in the field. There are many issues that the youth face, but their passion for growth and development is what keeps me motivated.

What’s ahead? I will be in Ghana for some time. I’m hoping to get involved in international development on a higher level and gain as much knowledge about the issues in the field as I possibly can. Development is a growing field and there are many issues that keep changing every day. The more I learn the better I can work on making a positive change.

What else do you do? My other passion is visual arts. Combining the two and using it to inform the people about global issues is a great way of being creative and making a change. I am hope to be able to work on a documentary one day that will involve different communities and the way the youth participates in make a positive change for the future generations.

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