28 May Jessica shares her experience volunteering as a Marketing Advisor at EQWIP HUBs Tamale, Ghana

EQWIP HUBs Tamale, Ghana, is an open-concept space, easily accessible from town. It’s vibrant and generally busy, as many participants make use of the services outside of training hours, like internet and laptop access, one-on-one consultations, and more.

Jessica, a Canadian Volunteer Marketing Advisor in Ghana, gave us the rundown on what it’s like living and volunteering at our EQWIP HUBs in Tamale.

What does your volunteer role as a Marketing Advisor consist of?

As a marketing professional, I’ve been able to help the youth optimize their general business strategies through crafting impactful vision and mission statements, establishing business values, characterizing their target markets (customer segments), and developing solid value propositions. I have also consulted for six aspiring and three established start-up entrepreneurs. I did not anticipate one-on-one consulting to be such a large component of my volunteer role, but I couldn’t be happier. With each participant, I started with an introductory session to better understand their business and their unique challenges. Then we scheduled recurring one-hour sessions, after which they were given assignments to work on before our next meeting. Everyone has shown so much improvement in just a couple of months. To see their business plans, take shape and to see the passion in their work have been the highlights of my experience with EQWIP HUBs.

What is it like being a volunteer at EQWIP HUBs Tamale?

All our EQWIP HUBs volunteers contribute to the project in Tamale in meaningful ways. If you are inspired by an idea or an initiative, you will be empowered to take the lead and carry it out. All volunteers work directly with participants in some form or other. This could be manifested through facilitating a workshop on a specific topic, providing computer-skills training or one-on-one consulting, etc. Volunteers are all accountable to engage with each other and with participants. Every week, the HUB staff and volunteers meet to discuss that week’s initiatives so that everyone is abreast of upcoming activities. This allows the team to address any gaps and to offer support to each other where needed. There are endless opportunities to get involved with HUB activities. If you bring passion and energy to your position, there will always be work!

As an EQWIP HUBs volunteer, you will not only learn about a completely different culture, but you will also learn about yourself – your strengths, your weaknesses, your resilience. You will learn what it’s like to live in a developing community, far from some of the comforts you’re used to at home in Canada. You will take the lead at times, and at other times you will take a step back and play a supportive role – both roles being equally as important.

What has your lifestyle been like?

I lived in a very comfortable two-bedroom apartment with another EQWIP HUBs volunteer. Our apartment was quite spacious, with a well-furnished kitchen (fridge, stove/oven, sink), a large common area, a toilet room, and a shower room, and ceiling fans throughout.
To get to work, we caught a shared taxi or a yellow-yellow at a well-known pick-up stop that was a short 3-minute walk from home. The ride usually took about 20 minutes to get to the HUB, depending on how many stops were made for other passengers.

I did groceries every few days to avoid food going to waste. I had a few favourite shops that carried imported goods and one go-to meat store (close to home) that sold a variety of reliable and well-packaged frozen meats. I got my produce in town, either in the central market, at one of the countless stalls lining the main road, or from a passing lady with a massive tray balanced on her head. My fridge was usually full of vegetables and fruits, an odd chocolate bar, ground-nut paste (all-natural peanut butter), and water sachets. I loved to cook at home after work. My go-to meals were chilli con carne, chicken ginger stir-fry, and spaghetti Bolognese.

Volunteering overseas is a truly unique and transformative experience. That’s why EQWIP HUBs offers Canadians life changing international volunteer opportunities in Bolivia, Ghana, Indonesia, Peru, Senegal and Tanzania. Working in partnership with a global network, you will collaborate with local youth seeking new, job-ready skills and acquire some of your own in the process. With departures throughout the year in January, March, May, July, September and November, we can find the right position for you based on your skills and availability.

A world of experience is available. Are you?

EQWIP HUBs powered by Canada World Youth and Youth Challenge International and is funded, in part, by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.