Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why International Citizen Service is school in disguise

I am Maurice Anankani, a National Volunteer from Ghana on the International Citizen Service (ICS) scheme.

International Citizen Service is a UK led global volunteering programme which supports young people from all backgrounds to make a difference to global poverty. Funded by the Department for International Development, the ICS programme is building a generation of active citizens across the UK and in developing countries. For me, this service is one of the best programmes being run as far as globalisation and the idea of making this world a better place are concerned. It brings energetic and hardworking young citizens across the globe to share ideas, skills, and anything necessary to bring about positive change.

Volunteers come along with various experiences that are tapped into. The current team is Andy, our Team Leader, who has worked with ICS in the UK. Louise who has studied Literature and creative writing and has experience in workshop design. Iulian, who studied global business engineering, he is also a martial artist and they all have a lot to offer.

This for me is a form of school in disguise where we learn from each other. Imagine a group with experience in martial arts, sound engineering, theatre, music, business; they have a lot to offer. I personally like sports, and had the opportunity to learn martial art of Karate and I’m still learning. Kind courtesy ICS.

ICS also plays a vital role in changing perceptions on particular issues. This could be poverty, disability, or even preconceptions of Africa or Europe. Most Africans, especially those who have not had a higher education have the preconception that every white person has money and is bringing money for development. ICS works to alter this perception and shows that money is not the only solution. The sharing of skills and ideas are also vital for development. Volunteers come together to look at the real cause of a problem and then develop possible ways of dealing with the issue by working closely with the local community. International volunteers are also able to change their own perceptions about Africa.
The scheme is an opportunity to gain a good work experience to be able to build and develop a better career. You don’t need cash or heaps of qualification; just the ambition to make a positive impact on the world in which you live. By changing lives positively, you can make an impact on these lives and you will always be remembered.  
I am very privileged to be among a wonderful, hardworking, amazing team. Believing in each other and doing the work assigned to. This for me is an invaluable experience. 
I applied to ICS to work because of the quote I saw on their website and on their T-shirts “Challenge yourself to change your world”. That piece attracted me to want to work with ICS. An integrated Development graduate from the University for Development Studies, I think I have some little to offer whilst being mindful that I will gain vast experience.

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