Volunteer placements in Africa are aligned, where possible, with Australia’s areas of sectoral priority in Africa—including water and sanitation, maternal and child health, and food security.
Continued expansion during 2012–13 will see up to 232 volunteers working in 11 countries in southern, western and eastern Africa. Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYADs) have been placed only in Ghana and Kenya and a small number will be placed in Ethiopia from 2012.
Alanna Maguire and Steve Purbrick
At Ghana Upper West Region’s field site, Alanna and her colleagues inspect a dry season vegetable garden that will be productive all year round thanks to a community dam rehabilitation project from WFP Ghana. Photo: Alanna Maguire
Location: Accra, Ghana
Host organisation: World Food Programme (WFP)
Battling chronic and seasonal food shortages is an ongoing issue in northern Ghana. As part of its activities to distribute basic foodstuffs to vulnerable households and strengthen the resilience of at-risk communities, the World Food Programme (WFP) is undertaking a comprehensive food security and vulnerability analysis across the region to guide its activities, as well as those of other development organisations.
Australian Youth Ambassadors, Alanna Maguire and Steve Purbrick, have been closely involved with the study from the outset, working as part of the small survey team that developed, planned and implemented the project. Steve is based in Tamale, a rural area, as a food security officer, and Alanna is based in Accra as a climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction officer. Their work is helping to link the WFP with international donors, national government partners and local field agents who are all integral to the success of the study.
Australia provided funding to train Ministry of Food and Agriculture staff in field survey techniques, as well as in large-scale survey supervision. This has allowed government agricultural extension agents to strengthen their skills in accurate data collection and provide a capable resource for future food security and household vulnerability assessments in the region.
The study has collected data from 8400 households in northern Ghana to enable district-level analysis, and to provide greater detail about the distribution of food insecurity that has not previously been available. This information will be used by WFP, as well as other United Nations agencies, the Government of Ghana, non-government organisations and donors to develop and target their programs where they’re needed most.
Richard Peterson working with vocational students in the NTA workshop. Photo: Richard Petersen
Host organisation: Namibia Training Authority
For AVID volunteer and tradesperson, Richard Peterson, a gap in practical and technical trade skills in Namibia provided him with a very good reason to volunteer as Vocational Education Trainer.
Richard is hosted by the Namibia Training Authority (NTA), an organisation leading and managing the system of technical and vocational education in Namibia. Since September 2011, Richard has been working with local vocational instructors using a competency-based training model. He trains trainers in how to teach technical and practical skills in general construction and plumbing using practical sessions.
'Using this practical teaching method benefits the students as they can see how to deliver the new training material, and can ask questions. The trainers can also observe my classroom techniques, delivery strategies and learn how to overcome problems they may have in these situations themselves. This training is important in meeting their identified needs for development.'
Richard’s overseas volunteering position has been of benefit to both the local community and himself personally. 'In Namibia the need is so great, but the appreciation so honestly expressed. This volunteering position in Namibia has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my life.'