Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Volunteering is an activity that requires time, talent or skills without any financial reward. Volunteers are renowned for skill development and easily get contacts or recommendations for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work.
By Volunteering traditionally I have gotten many exposures, gained economic and social impacts, strengthened my social and economic connections, enhanced my career, built my profile, developed self-esteem and so many other benefits. You too can have all these benefits and more when you don’t put money first and volunteer where your passion lies.
In some communities, calling youth to volunteer their time in order to gain some skill is hardly acceptable. If no money is attached, majority won’t respond to such calls.
Traditional volunteering helps position one better for global opportunities. I’m a firsthand experience - In 2009, I was invited for a paper presentation at AIDS Conference in Cape Town, SA. I applied to volunteer help with work during the conference which it was stated categorically, there is no stipend or any form of financial payment for volunteering. Surprisingly at the end of the conference, they appreciated all the volunteers with a token of $200 and a certificate. Most important to me, I got the skill and exposure I needed.
I met Paul Roland Bene as a volunteer with #Akandewa in Abidjan three years ago, today; Paul is a young guy who is turning the tech industry around. Ask him, he will tell u how volunteering took him to where he is today. He is a hot cake in his country. #EmdeeTiamiyu of the famous #YouHaveARightToBeMotivated daily inspirational series is a master today in the ICT world. Guess what, knowing he won’t be paid as an industrial training (IT) student, he still volunteered in a tech firm. While he learnt time management and other management systems from them, the firm discovered Emdee has some skills which the firm needed, so he trained the staff and got paid for that. Ask Emdee, he will tell you that Volunteering opens doors of opportunities and helps you leverage on opportunities you won’t be able to get if you don’t volunteer.
Last week I encountered two students of different personalities seeking to do a 4-month IT. Eunice is studying Food, Science and Technology and has refused all the eatery outlets recommended for her saying she needs a big and famous place where she could be paid well. Ify is studying Office Tech and Management, she walked into our center and pleaded if she could be allowed do her IT at our center. Asked why, she said she is inspired with the resources we have and would want to learn more on the usage of technology so that on return to school, she would have gained skills in tech that would help in her course and career. Imagine within you, the two! Both are learners and focus ought to be on avenues that would help expose or help them acquire needed skills rather than on how much to make. If money is paid, fine but shouldn’t be the condition for the IT. Money paid may finish before she returns to school but the skills acquired will remain and multiply in her for life just like in Emdee and Paul. (…to be continued).