VOICE Volunteering: Meaningful Connections

VOICE Volunteer Impact Story

The language barrier, speed of communication, and tone were the few things I noticed at my first presentation in Ghana – The participants were finding it hard to understand. Looking at their expressions, I quickly slowed my pace of talking and adjusted my vocabulary and tone. I was amazed how this simple change helped me to engage with the partners and explain something new was a rewarding experience.

This is my first volunteer experience for six weeks, and I am working with the VOICE project, and partner SEND Ghana.

My experience working with CDF was challenging at first because I did not have experience volunteering abroad. However, the Ghana and CDF Canada team was more than happy to work with me and guided me through the process. I was able to learn and acquire the skills to support the partners.

Over six weeks in Ghana, I have learned a lot from all my colleagues, and I believe the skills I learned will stay with me for life and help me in my future engagements. I just believe: –

I chose to work with CDF Canada because the project was to empower women in communities in Ghana. It was encouraging to receive a call back to be part of the volunteer team because I did not have experience with volunteering.

The six-week volunteering with the VOICE project supported co-op managers in the communities. As a volunteer, my role was to develop material and deliver training on volunteer management to the co-ops and to ensure that groups would apply the knowledge and skills from the activity in their communities.

VOICE has developed a volunteer management strategy to support all the major stakeholders to know what is expected of them to ensure a smooth and well-organized volunteer program. We decided that a presentation would be much more informational and impactful than sending them a document to read on their own time.

In Ghana, I worked with SEND Ghana and four credit co-ops in 5 districts with 12 sub-management or branches. We customized the presentation keeping in mind that some co-op members have never worked with international volunteers, so having this guide and session would help them better prepare for their arrival and all incoming volunteers.

The training was delivered over two days (one for the partner and the other for the co-op managers). Topics discussed include volunteer accommodation, volunteer safety and security, project management, cross-culture awareness and techniques, communication and feedback, and harassment.

The exposure of the partner and the co-op managers broadened the understanding of the VOICE VCP, and this created interest for partners and managers to host volunteers at the district level.

The engagement of the participants after delivering the presentation was positive. The participants were eager and excited to share their thoughts with us, thus making the presentation more enjoyable and engaging.

After delivering the project, I noted comments and suggestions from the participants that would help me improve the presentation’s content. Even though I was the presenter, I learned a lot.


About Winnie Lau:
Winnie Lau is a 25 years old graduate of the University of British Colombia with a major in sociology two years ago. Currently, she is at the British Columbia Institute of Technology BCIT, finishing up a certificate in Human Resources. She is passionate about travelling, experiencing different cultures, meeting new people, and enjoying different cuisines.

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