GLEN Lagos Nigérie 2010

* * * * * * * * * * * * povídání a fotky z tříměsíční GLEN stáže v Lagosu * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * stories and pictures from a three-month internship in Lagos * * * * * * * *

Dobrovolníci / Volunteers

Volunteering in Nigeria - road to development

For six years now has been Abiodun Adebola Isaac Adekoza (36) working with both local and foreign volunteers on youth development and empowerment projects in Lagos, Nigerian metropolis where luxurious areas mix with those of incredible poverty. 

“I wanted to give something back to the society,” he explains his motivation for becoming a volunteer for Search and Groom, local NGO that uses sport as a tool for development. “I love working with children and I also learned a lot during my volunteer work - patience and team work especially,” Abiodun says.

He believes that volunteering can help solve problems in developing countries. “It occupies the mind of young people, who have the strength and time to do things, yet have no daily job. Volunteering gives them something to do and allows them to touch the society in a meaningful way.”

His colleague Ositia Charles Agbim (31) also helps with running the programs for children and youth. “Volunteering has changed who I am, it made me a better person,” Ositia explains the impact that becoming a volunteer had on his life. “And the great thing about volunteering is that it is free,” he laughs, “you just have to put yourself into it. Any benefit that comes from it, you can have it!” In Ositia’s opinion, volunteering helped him to become a better person - humble and responsible.

Both Abiodun and Ositia agree that foreign volunteers that come to Nigeria have something to offer. “They have experiences from wherever they are coming from and we can learn from each other,” Abiodum explains. “But I would like if also volunteers from Nigeria could travel to other countries. People keep coming here, but we can not go there,” Ositia adds sadly.

And he is right. Although it is common for young people from Europe to go to Africa to volunteer there, it usually doesn’t work the other way around. The costs are simply too high and there are few to none opportunities.

Oluwakemi Kuku (34), young woman from Lagos and a mother of two children, did however have the opportunity to volunteer abroad. “In 2008 at the Homeless World Cup in Melbourne in Australia I saw the way that volunteers worked together during the big international event and I wanted to be just like them, so helpful and lively,” Oluwakemi explains what inspired her to become a volunteer herself. In 2010 she volunteered at the Football for Hope Tournament during the World Cup in South Africa.

She found the experience very enriching. “Volunteering makes me exposed to new people, experiences, languages and cultures. This is what motivates me to do volunteer work,” Oluwakemi explains and adds that she would gladly work as volunteer abroad again, given the opportunity.