Iddrisu Mohammed Awal is the founder of Voluntary Aid’s international volunteer and internship programme. He was born in Tamale, Northern Ghana in 1986, and currently holds a high national diploma in accounting from the Tamale Polytechnic. Awal has a 9 years of experience from working with international volunteers and interns. He first join the team of Cooperation for Integrated Development (CID Ghana) and after several valuable years of experience, he decided to also start up Voluntary Aid Africa (VAA) because he believes in volunteerism for development.
According to UNESCO, 58 million children in the world are out of school, and 43% of them will probably never enter a classroom. The goal is to have all children in school by 2015, but the challenges are many. The situation is especially challenging in Sub-Saharan Africa. Going to school can be expensive, classrooms are generally overcrowded, there are not enough qualified teachers, and many schools lack access to electricity as well as adequate teaching materials.
This means the situation is tuff, but it also means that there are a lot of things we can do to make the situation better! For example UNESCO estimates that in the coming decades, 27 million teachers will be needed to meet the growing demand for education world wide.
Would you like to volunteer as a teacher, or support a Ghanian student?
Ghana has a great selection of beautiful handmade beads, some of them dating back a long time. Whether or not you will manage to come across a real antique or treasure, Ghana’s many markets are well worth a visit to get some fantastic gems to take home to loved ones! Scientific or not – but Wikipeda has an excellent description about different Ghanian glass pearls >>
Check out the programme overview at our webpage for more information about volunteer work and internship opportunities in Northern Ghana!
HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON!
To get the full potential out of your internship or volunteer work in Ghana it’s helpful to read up on some history and general knowledge regarding the local culture and traditions.
As far as general travel and country information goes, there are several publications in English that offers insightful tips about where to go, what to see, when and how. The Bradt Travel Guide by Philip Briggs is one example that we can recommend.
Dagombas are the largest “tribal group” in the Northern region, and when it comes to local culture and traditions several books have been written on the theme. One of the more sited works is The Lions of Dagbon: Political Change in Northern Ghana, which was written by Martin Staniland as early as 1975. Also Christine Oppong’s pice Growing up in Dagbon is a well renowned publication about Dagomba cultural and traditions.
For more information and suggestions about Ghana literature, see the Goodreads section on the right, or visit our Goodreads profile online >>
The history of Dagomba’s are to a large part narrated through the practice of drumming and dancing. Apart from that – taking part in or witnessing a Dagbamba dancing and drumming performance is really an entraining and uplifting experience. At Voluntary Aid Africa we have good established contacts with professional Drummers, and can offer good opportunities for anyone interested to learn and participate in this cultural practice. There are also several online resources to learn more about the tradition. For example:
Shea nut processing is an important and relatively large sector within the northern regions of Ghana. Last week the minister of Trade an Industry announced that the Government is to spend about 5 million Ghana Cedis to boost the industry further. An initiative that is expected to support and develop the industry by constructing new processing plants and train more women.
The UNDP (United Nations Development Program) has published a report about the happiest countries in the world (World Happiness Report, 2013). Ghana ranked number 86 out of 156. If the evaluation would have been in terms of smiles – Ghana probably would have made number one, but parameters such as healthy life expectancy and perception of corruption were also taken into account.
African adobe architecture, and especially in the area around northern Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali, is well known for its remarkable shapes, forms and ornaments. There are all kinds, ranging from The Great Mud Mosque in Djenné, to the stunning paintwork aplied on family-houses in Sirigu. Every tribal group have their own particular way of constructing houses, and in Tamale you will find the typical Dagomba houses both in the central parts of town as well as outside in the local communites. The houses are traditionally build in mud, with a rounded grass roof, and detailed decorations around the entrance.
The winner of episode 4 in the BBS interior-design show The Great Interior Design Challenge used colourful textiles from Ghana in his decor. The Ghanian textile industry is well know all over the world for its remarkable patterns and color compositions.
One of the formost representatives and ambassadors for Ghanian textiles, the renowned designer Kofi Ansah, has created multiple pieces using local fabrics. His work has amazed thousands and some of his lines have been showed at Tigo Glitz African Fashion Week, and sold abroad in London and the US. Today the sad news was released that Mr Kofi Ansah has passed away at the age of 62.
The reputation and interest for Ghana textiles will most likely continue to blossom world wide, but the local industry is meeting tuff competition from cheap imports, and is currently employing fewer workers than before.