Written by: Kimalee Phillip, YCI Volunteer in Accra, Ghana
Akwaaba! Having arrived in Ghana on January 13th after an almost 24-hour journey, I was ecstatic to have once again, set my feet on African soil – Ghanaian soil to be exact.
My name is Kimalee Phillip and I was selected to be a Program Development Innovator with Youth Challenge International – a Toronto-based nonprofit organization that focuses on sending youth volunteers to various parts of the world to undertake and support educational, organizational development, health and wellness initiatives. During my stay in Ghana, I am tasked with creating a fundraising strategy for an organization called Enactus, Ghana and a programming/skills development training for the YMCA (the Y) in Accra. I only have 5 weeks to complete these important and detailed tasks therefore the pressure is definitely on but the challenge is exciting!
There’s a level of familiarity that I feel here in Ghana. Perhaps it’s because the chances of this land being that of my ancestors since I am an African, born and raised in Grenada is quite high. In fact, I’m pretty sure that that this is the reason; however whatever it is, being here feels right and I am truly humbled to have been granted the opportunity to return.
The YCI staff, Naana, Fred and Nii warmly greeted me in Accra and their continued support throughout my journey is welcomed and appreciated. Completing my assigned tasks, more or less on an independent basis, presents its own challenges so I was encouraged when after having met Kwabena and his team at the Y and Baba and Beatrice at Enactus, and realizing how warm and excited they were about working together; I am convinved that the actual process of completing these strategies will be more informative and enjoyable than the final product which is great!
Kwabena Nketia Addae – Executive Director of the YMCA
Kwabena has been at the Y since 2002 and remains motivated by the work done at the Y because he has witnessed the changes and impacts that some of the Y’s programs have had on the lives of young people. At the end of his tenure, he would like to see more young people empowered and motivated to take on additional leadership positions, both at the Y and beyond.
Kwarteng Frimpong – Programs Coordinator
Kwarteng has been with the Y Ghana for a little over a year and is motivated by his desire to make changes in the lives of the youth members of the Ghana YMCA. He is hoping to witness a transformed and more vibrant Ghana YMCA.
When asked why he works with Enactus, Baba said that as a businessperson, he has always been interested in connecting business to the broader community and thus for him, Enactus’ three-pronged approach of linking business to academia and to the community (and environment) was an immediate draw. He also sees his work as an extension of his own spiritual beliefs and responsibilities to humankind and the environment.
Beatrice was first introduced to Enactus while still at school. She appreciates Enactus as it has allowed her the opportunity to actualize the theoretical and pedagogical learning in tangible and practical ways. Currently, Beatrice is exploring her options to pursue further schooling here in Ghana.
I’ve only highlighted a few of the people that I’ll be closely working with however, many lovely people who greet me everyday and who help to make my everyday experiences comfortable must be named. Veronica, Linda, Ben, Reginald and Mr. Adams at the Y, thank you. Of course, there’s still Mama Mina, Francis, Ama, Mina and the lovely people at my homestay but that’s a topic for another post.
To this journey continuing. Medasi pa.