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Youth and Volunteerism Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by MICHAEL, Ghana Apr 14, 2008
Culture , Education , Globalization   Opinions


At the age of twenty, I took a gap-year before attending University to pursue my dream of creating a non-profit organization to inform, educate and empower young people to change the world. With little or no funding, many said it would be impossible but the existence and achievements of Young People We Care (YPWC), through the efforts of the volunteer staff of YPWC, prove otherwise. At YPWC all our leisure time is dedicated to volunteering activities.

YPWC and I have worked towards many important goals that assist in the development of the abilities of young people. I have been involved in soliciting funds to buy school uniforms for Ghanaians, items necessary for enrollment in basic education.

In October of 2006 and of 2007 YPWC hosted the UN Millennium campaign, “Stand Up,” in Ghana and Bangladesh, assisting in the education and development of thousands of youth, and encouraging them to work towards the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals by petitioning leaders and by becoming active at the local level.

An exciting event, forthcoming, is the Global Youth Service Day to be hosted by YPWC-Capacity Development Institute in Ghana, where the focus will be placed upon capacity building workshops in order to increase the confidence and the number of opportunities for youth before they enter the marketplace. Young people will also have the chance at this service-day event to be part of the climate change discussion and implement a local project through a tree planting activity.

Some studies in North America show that young volunteers are more likely to do well in school and to vote (World Youth Report, 2005). Volunteering for solidarity is demonstrated among most youth organizations. Young people are able to meet and share ideas and have fun without considering race and colour. This has created cross-boundary opportunities and the sharing of ideas or best practices for development.

Volunteering is central to human development because not all materials or resources can be gotten from the limited and unequal distribution of financial and natural resources. It is important that the world recognizes the importance of volunteering through the sharing of skills to help in human development and by giving recognition to the volunteer efforts of youth at all levels.

The momentum generated during the 2001 International Year of Volunteers should be sustained as volunteerism has the potential to engage lots of youth in activities that will help in the achievement of the MDGs (Millenium Development Goals). Writing from an African background prompts me to mention that there is a need to bridge the digital divide so that youth in Africa can be part of the new styles of transitional activism where ICT functions as both an enabler and a metaphor.

My experience with Civil Society Organizations like YPWC has led me to believe that a lot can be achieved through volunteerism. However, I must emphasize that volunteering is not necessarily undertaken by people who are poor, but is rather expensive on the part of the volunteer. This fact was echoed by the Director of VSO, Ghana during the 2007 celebration of the efforts of volunteers in Ghana.



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Writer Profile

Michael Baompong is the Founder and Executive Director of Young People We Care (YPWC). He has recently completed a four-year undergraduate degree at the University of Cape Coast, where he read Economics and Geography as his major courses. Michael graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences He is an ardent believer in youth empowerment and believes that if the youth are not empowered now, the world’s future will be nothing to write home about.
He participated in the recently-held Civil Society Day of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in the Philippines where he made a strong case for youth migration.
In September 2008, he successfully managed a joint initiative that was undertaken by YPWC with support from UNICEF Voices of Youth, Global Youth Action Network, Migrants Rights International and TakingITGlobal for the creation and publication of some key youth statements for the Global Forum on Migration and Development in the Philippines.
He was nominated in 2006 by the Task Force Committee of the UN-Non Governmental Liaison service to present a paper on Migration and Development at the UN Headquarters in New York. Michael was also a youth delegate to the 2007 Global Forum on Migration and Development and also the Regional Consultation on Migration, Remittances and Development in Africa.
Aside the numerous contributions that he makes on youth and development issues on networks like TakingITGlobal he also has a research work findings on International Migration and Remittances to his credit.
Michael is currently an Advisory Board member of the Bangladesh Youth Parliament, and was also a contributor and editorial member of the young people version of the UN Human Development Report for 2006 and 2007.
His desire to see to the well being of the youth in the world, which has been given a major boost by the introduction of the Millennium Development Goals, continues to spur him on to greater heights as he renders unconditional services to humanity aimed at making the world a better place for all.
After successfully completing an E-course in Project Management and Grant/Proposal Writing, his organizational abilities have been enhanced. In his own words, ‘I have been able to organize a series of programs on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and the Millennium Development Goals, thanks to the knowledge I acquired from the course’. He has his eyes on being a Migration Expert.

Volunteerism and Youth
Hi, Folks I totally agree with Micheal submission on volunteerism, but unfortunately many youth seem not to understand the concept and it positive impact in our life, I can testify, that its volunteerism that has given me exposure and experience in the Social development sector and it has also open my mindset on so many issues. Keep it real and volunteer

During my National Youth Service in my country, I actually cut my teeth at HIV/AIDS PREVENTION AND ADOLESCENCE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH TRAINING. I volunteered to train community students and enjoyed every bit of it. It was the pinnacle of fulfillment for me. I will like to continue on that track. Please, could you kindly notify me of local and international projects needing volunteers. Hope to hear from you. Kristie onabtoyin@gmail.com

Elizabeth Arceo | Sep 14th, 2008
I totally agree with the importance and power of youth volunteerism. I often be disappointed because young people doesn't seem to care about issues in the world and our country, however keep walking and acting help me to find more young people who care and understand why others don't like or believe in the importance of volunteerism, that's why we always can inspire youth, always with the example. For me, that's TIG a great inspiring tool.

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