My time volunteering

I volunteered with VSO ICS for three months in Itahwa Village, near Bukoba town. This was the second cycle of the ECLP project. The Project Officer was Elia Mashaka. The Team Leaders on the project were Shariffa Ndiwatta (Tanzania) and Maxine Clarke (UK). 

I volunteered with my counterpart (Bernard Mghama) in the local primary school, organising and leading school club sessions (Sport, Child Rights, Girls Rights, and Environment) and designing teaching aids to enhance visual learning. Along with the wider team, we also organised Community Action Days (CADs) and an inter-school competition.

The impact of my placement

The time we spent in Itahwa school was clearly beneficial for the pupils. They regularly attended our club sessions in large numbers, which utilised teaching methods (such as visual and practical learning) they may not otherwise have experienced. Using different teaching methods enhanced the quality of the pupils education. 

The other events such as CADs and the inter-school competition helped foster community spirit and stronger relations between the schools on the project. When it came to teaching aids, the effectiveness was more questionable. Whilst Bernard and I utilised them in the club sessions, the ones we designed for the teachers were not always used. 

My unforgettable moments

The experience of living in a host home was one of my favourite aspects of the experience. It was my host parents' first time hosting a volunteer, and yet they made the whole exercise seem easy and entirely positive. They seemed very interested by our work, and I particularly enjoyed the cultural exchanges which took place. 

The time spent in the school was also very rewarding. Bernard and I struck up a good working relationship with the pupils, and they threw themselves into our activities with complete enthusiasm. The Itahwa pupils always showed up to our CADs and other events, no matter how far they had to walk to get there. 

Finally, I was incredibly fortunate with all the volunteers I worked with. My counterpart Bernard and I struck up a particularly close relationship, and we remain in contact now we've returned from the placement. The UK volunteers have also met up on several occasions since our return to catch up and reflect on the experience. 

The impact my placement has had on me

My time volunteering with VSO ICS has developed my communication, leadership and other inter-personal skills. I'm also extremely motivated to volunteer again and contribute more towards global addressing development issues. My experience has been overwhelmingly positive and my time on the project has benefited me greatly. 

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