Keanna Williams volunteered with the International Citizen Service for four months in Accra, Ghana, to work with small to medium enterprises to help them develop their businesses. The trip was partly funded by a £300 Individual Grant for Volunteering by the Jack Petchey Foundation.
After receiving training from a local partner charity called Challenges Worldwide, Keanna was allocated to work with a small pastry business called SamVee; she was assigned to offer them advice and support in developing their business. Keanna helped them create a marketing campaign in Ghana and taught them about the importance of advertising and brand development. She also offered the business strategic consulting on a range of components including a business plan, financial systems and sales strategy to help the business grow and develop. As well as gaining a deeper understanding about the vast amounts of opportunities for business in Africa, Keanna also experienced first-hand the obstacles that small businesses can face.
Keanna also experienced Ghanaian culture first-hand; she said “I have gained so much from this experience. Personally I have learnt about a new culture, met some amazing people and I was able to live life like a Ghanaian in Ghana; cooking, travelling, speaking, which I would not have been able to access had I just travelled to Ghana on holiday.”
However it was the people involved in the project that made the experience so unforgettable “The thing I enjoyed most about my volunteering project were the amazing Ghanaians I was able to live and work with, I met some amazing people who really showed me the heart of Ghana and took me in, which is something I’ll never forget.”
Keanna believes that her experience has not only benefitted the people of Accra, but also young people in her own community in Croydon. She explained “not many young people in my community travel nor would they ever dream of volunteering abroad. Therefore, as part of my action at home it is crucial that I go into my local schools and youth clubs to let them know that this opportunity is there for them too. By simply spreading the word, young people in my community can find out how to take part in amazing opportunities such as this.”
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