Volunteer Stories: ‘Volunteering is a Great Opportunity to Understand Yourself and Your Interests’

One quote that has stayed with Emmanuel is this quote by Kofi Anan. “If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.”

Many years ago, while studying for his degree in Sociology and Social Work at KNUST, Emmanuel looked for various professionals in his field. He wanted to find out the reason behind their successes. He found out that what they all had in common was volunteering. Emmanuel says, “This inspired me to purposefully volunteer as much as I can.” 

To start with, Emmanuel volunteered with the Cheerful Hearts Foundation. That experience made him realise that beside the acquisition of new skills and competencies, he felt very fulfilled.

So, over time he volunteered with organisations like Young At Heart GH, Dean of students peer counselling group, DCI, United Nations Online Volunteers and so many others. In his final year, he founded the Patriots Ghana KNUST chapter as well as the Africa Online Volunteering Service. These two organisations have impacted the lives of so many young Ghanaians. 

Emmanuel speaks about the benefits of volunteering, “ I have met and engaged with different people from varying backgrounds. There have been so many experiential learning engagements both home and abroad that have formed the basis of my career and personal development. Volunteering has also given me a role in contributing towards development in various communities. The competencies I have acquired through volunteering are unique and there is no way my education or even my current job can compare to those experiences.I am always grateful for that.”

Additionally Emmanuel’s skill in Public speaking, communication, project management and reporting, organising and facilitation have all been enhanced.

Although Emmanuel acknowledges that limited financial resources retards volunteer work, he continues to give back to society in every capacity. He adds, “No matter where I find myself, I know that there is always something I can do to make the world a better place. We all have a responsibility to be each other’s keeper and to protect this world.  An act of kindness always has ripple effects and becomes a blessing to many people.” 

Emmanuel believes that every country needs volunteers for its development. “Volunteering has the power to build patriotic citizens that will contribute to national development and prevent others from destroying the country.” 

Here is some advice from Emmanuel, “There’s a misconception that if you are not given monetary rewards for your efforts then you have no value. That is false. Even though you may not be paid or receive recognition for volunteering, give your best.  Volunteering is a great opportunity to learn more about your interests and yourself. So that you can actively shape your life. Nothing in this world provides the kind of fulfilment you will get from giving your time and resources freely to support others.”

Emmanuel Ato Yamoah is the National Projects Manager of Patriots Ghana and the founder of Africa Online Volunteering Service. With over 7 years of leadership experience, Emmanuel has spearheaded various youth empowerment, educational campaigns and volunteering services where countless individuals across Ghana have benefitted. His successful projects led to an invitation to a roundtable discussion with U.S Assistant Secretary, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador, Robert P. Jackson, and other high-level diplomats.

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