Feeding the volunteer spirit - Koidu
Koidu, Sierra Leone: It's every UNV volunteer's task to support voluntary action in the communities they support. So those of them assigned to the World Food Programme (WFP), for example, provide more than just sustenance but also help sustain the work of voluntary groups and civil society.
Every WFP Sub Office in post-conflict Sierra Leone relies on the services of a UNV volunteer. "These people have emerged from a protracted civil conflict, a lot of destruction and civil dislocation," confirms UNV volunteer Dodou Darboe from The Gambia, who covers five districts in the north and east. "Our job is to move them from an emergency into development – and getting them to realize they have an opportunity to take care of their own lives."
Nicknamed 'Igwe Bangubura' (the Chief), Dodou is a big believer in empowering Sierra Leone's people to take ownership of development. He and his colleagues do this by providing both food and advice to various community groups and NGOs in the area, for example through 'food-for-training'.
"Food-for-training gives opportunities to youths to acquire skills, especially girls," he explains. "A lot of girls tend to drop out of school very early, because of all the other activities they have to do in their families. So we support training centres giving them livelihood skills such as tailoring, hairdressing, catering, weaving, soap making and, carpentry."
The courses run from 6 to 18 months, and the food on offer from Dodou and WFP makes it possible for students to derive the full benefits. "Before, after about 12 o'clock each day, people would go off to look for food and many wouldn't come back," says Dodou."Now, with the food WFP provides, they can participate more in the training."
"We thank Dodou and WFP," adds Aiah Kpakama, a teacher at the African Costume Development Training Centre which Dodou and his team support. "When your stomach is full, you can work better!"
Dodou's days are full too: his Sub Office also supports food-for-work schemes, which give people a chance to rebuild war-torn farms and inland valley swamps so as to grow enough to feed themselves; and the team helped establish school management committees, which consist of volunteers who assist in the management, storage and utilization of school food aid.
"It's local communities who do this, on a voluntary basis," says Dodou, "since it's the communities who have the primary responsibility in ensuring their children have the most conducive environment to learn. We provide the food, dry rations, and they work in school gardens to grow extra condiments... We also encourage them to grow vegetables and fruit trees; assist them in building kitchens so that the food can be prepared hygienically; and help improve sanitation too."
|Home | Contact us | FAQs | Search | Sitemap | UNDP Information Disclosure Policy|
|UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)|