Meet Evans Owusu. He is currently the Operations Lead at Global Lab Network.
Evans’ volunteer journey started when he was studying at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Ghana in 2016. AIMS believes in giving back to the community and encourages its students to do same. As a result, students are encouraged to give back to communities while studying. For this reason, Evans participated in a gamut of activities alongside other students; beach cleaning, teaching engagement in schools to demystify the Mathematics through a range of fun games and activities, interacting with the students to spark their interest in STEM, among others. This increased his passion for volunteering.
So after graduating, Evans sought more avenues to volunteer, specifically in science-based organisations. That is how he discovered the Global Lab Network, an NGO focused on improving STEM literacy in Ghana. He joined the organisation in August 2017 as a member and continued to volunteer in various programs and outreaches. On the account of his commitment, dedication, and selflessness, loyalty and passion, he rose through the leadership ranks and has been entrusted with the role of Lead for Operations: A role he has diligently and excellently discharged since August 2019.
During this period, he obtained a scholarship for a Master’s of Science by Research Degree in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. While he was studying for his MRes degree, Evans volunteered to feed and comfort the homeless with Blessed of the Father, a charity under the Calvary International Christian Centre, Leeds.
At Global Lab Network, Evans helps various personnel in STEM like engineers, scientists, students and researchers to connect with each other to solve challenges that confront communities using science and technology. The Lab runs the Community Action Programme which engages young people in rural areas in Ghana to spark their interest in STEM as well as Science Cafe which connects STEM professionals to the public to bridge the knowledge gap that exists between them.
Additionally, he volunteers as an advisory board member for Female Minds in STEM (EFeMS). EFeMS helps African women thrive in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) by equipping them with the necessary tools and resources needed to succeed in their various fields.
One of the most important benefits of volunteering for Evans is his skills in Design Thinking, and environmental stewardship. Another is that his volunteer work impacts the lives of many students in rural areas to help them become successful people.
Moreover, he has broadened his networks and sharpened his skills in science communication, project management, organising, hosting and delivering talks as well as creativity and problem solving.
Sometimes people including friends and relatives do not understand the need for volunteering. Some have told him to find a ‘real job.’ Evans believes that these people don’t see the value and satisfaction one derives from such activities, moreover, their discouragement doesn’t affect him “I love what I do. I have the passion for it, and I want to give back. As long as I enjoy what I do, it’s the ultimate satisfaction for me. Volunteering is not for financial gains. It is about transforming and impacting lives.”
Development is about changing and transforming lives. Looking at Evans’ work at Global Lab Network, he believes that indeed his volunteer work is affecting development. “Prior to COVID-19, we visited rural communities in the Volta region and we sent various experts in STEM to these places to interact with these young ones. These experts transfer their knowledge to these young ones and mentor them. The students, on the other hand, are inspired to pursue careers and studies in STEM. In ordinary circumstances, they wouldn’t have this opportunity.”
Here is some advice from Evans, “When you decide to commit to volunteering, stay committed to the cause. Put in the time and the resources. Stick to it despite the challenges you are likely to encounter and see to its completion. The benefit of volunteering is endless: it is just the icing on the cake after all your toil and sacrifice. You will be glad you did!”
Evans Owusu is the Operations Lead at Global Lab Network Ghana. He holds a Master of Science by Research degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Leeds, UK. And a Master’s of science degree in Mathematical Sciences from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences.
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