Tag Archives: unemployment

NUMBER OF DOCTORS IN LIBERIA


It is usually said that the more than fourteen years of civil war that was fought in Liberia destroyed all fabric of the Liberian society. I undoubtedly agree with this statement. The crisis affected all sectors including the health sector. But the question remains ” how many years have we enjoyed peace after the more than fourteen years of civil war?” The last time I checked, we were celebrating ten years of of peace. Presently, we have enjoyed a little over ten years of peace. This achievement would not have been possible without the needed intervention of the international community beginning with the good people of Nigeria. Nigeria has always aided us whenever we needed help. They have always been the first country of response, sending peacekeepers to Liberia to curb whatever crisis.

This should be underscored ” Ten Years of Peace”. Even though fragile as many experts have asserted due to the shady economy, and other social vices, but the guns have been silent for over ten years. This has triggered the conduct of two successive and peaceful elections. The 2005 presidential election brought to the presidency, the first female President in Africa, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She has gone further to winning her second term(2011). Additionally, her government enjoys the “sweet” of the international community which has led to the acceptance of Liberia in the comity of nations. Unlike in the dark days, Liberians have some level of acceptance from other countries. With the international acceptance and investment from some of the world’s top companies, some pundits have revealed that the “sweet” has not triggered down to the common citizens. They averred that the high rate of weakness of the economy, corruption and other vices proved that the international acceptance and investment do not impart the lives of Liberians. With the existence of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, experts are analyzing the effects of the disease on the already weak economy with unemployment rate very high, the weak health system and holistically, the lives of Liberians.

With all of these problems, my attention is focused on the health sector. The sector has been negatively overwhelmed with the Ebola epidemic. Health workers are at the full front in combating this illness. In the midst of limited numbers of health workers especially doctors, they are falling prey to the disease. The deaths of these health workers have been highly attributed to the lack of equipment especially protective gears. I watched a report from Dr. Richard Blesser of abc News through which I saw health workers at one of the Ebola treatment centers in Liberia used makeshift contamination suit to protect themselves in order to treat patients. They improvised to make some pieces of the protective gear out of contamination suit due to the insufficient protective clothing. Liberia Health Minister, Dr. Walter Gwenigale in an interview with Jonathan Paye-Layleh of BBC News in 2007, informed that Liberia had 120 trained doctors and 70 of those doctors was foreign doctors. He further averred that Liberia needed at least 1200 doctors to grapple with the huge demand in the health sector. In a recent statement which was published by the International Business Times, Dr. Frank Glover, who worked with the Christian charity, SIM in Liberia for more than three years, testified before a subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the US. He said “This Ebola outbreak in Liberia has exposed the country’s inherently weak health system,”. He informed further “Less than 200 doctors existed in this country of 4 million people prior to this epidemic. After the outbreak in March of this year, that number plummeted to only 50 doctors.” Unfortunately, there is no straight data on the number of doctors in Liberia. But if Dr. Glover and Health Minister’s statements are anything to go by, it indicates that Liberia still has a lot to do in training doctors to cope with the enormous problems that exist in the health sector. Liberia has two medical institutions that train Medical Doctors ( A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine and Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons, a post graduate program established to train medical specialists in surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology to independently manage surgical and medical problems ( allAfrica.com)). The latter is not even in full swing. Health authorities have revealed the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine produces between 6 to 12 graduates each year which is insufficient for the population. I am being informed by some students of A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine that they have not been paid their stipends for some months now. Now, the questions being asked are ” Are there not many students interested in becoming doctors? Is the government not paying enough attention to the health sector(improving schools, provision or medical equipment, increasing incentives for health workers and others)? Are other institutions not investing into the health sector? Does the Ministry of Health have control on health issues in the country?”

In my previous posts, I emphasized that the Ebola Epidemic has hugely and glaringly uncovered the weakness of the health system. It has further scattered apart the sector. We are now enjoying over 10 years of peace with enormous international support. One would had thought that the extreme deficiency in the health sector could have been improved to an appreciable level to cater to the needs of the growing population. Education, employment, politics and every other thing cannot be possible when people are ill. After all of this, the government, international community, other institutions, Liberians will all need to help in improving the health system.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VOLUNTEERISM AND EMPLOYMENT


People all around the world have challenges with unemployment. Situations in developing or undeveloped countries as regards unemployment are in some ways different from those in developed countries. In underdeveloped or developing countries, the issue of high illiteracy, weak economy, bad governance and other vices extremely hinder the employment of people especially the youth. The bottom line is that unemployment exists in every society. Individuals search for means to secure employment and governments holistically search for other means to reduce their countries unemployment rate. Some of the efforts to reduce unemployment is manifested in the promotion of volunteerism.For this paper, I like to look at the relationship between volunteering and employment. Does volunteering automatically secure employment for volunteers? Are there benefits in volunteering? It will also give tips on volunteerism.

There are various definitions for volunteering and employment. Volunteering is defined in the UK as ‘… an activity that involves spending unpaid time doing something that aims to benefit the environment or individuals or groups other than (or in addition to) close relatives’ (Ellis Paine, A., McKay S. and Moroet D. 2013). Wikipedia defines volunteering as an altruistic activity and is intended to promote goodness or improve human quality of life. In return this Activity can produce a feeling of self-worth and respect. There is no financial gain involved for the individual.With these definitions, the grasp of key words or phrases like “unpaid time”, “benefits to environment or individuals or groups” , “altruistic activity” and “no financial gain” are all important in knowing the detail meaning of volunteering. I like to view volunteering as positively contributing to society through the use of one’s knowledge without the intent of receiving pay. This involves working at institutions or other places where society or environment benefits from the work of the volunteer. In a simpler way, I look at employment as acquiring pay for work done but not necessarily contributing to the society or environment.

There are some thoughts as to the relationship between volunteerism and employment. Some media have supported the notion that volunteering increases the prospects of securing job (ABC video, 2009; CBS News, 2011; US News, 2012; or Smart Money, 2011). Governments including the United States Federal Government via its Department of Labor also furthers similar idea. The Corporation for National and Community Service in its publication (Spera, C.; Ghertner, R., Nerino, A., DiTommaso, A. 2013), mentioned this statement from the former Secretary of Labor of the United States Government (“volunteerism can be a way to help unemployed workers expand their network of contacts, improve their résumés, and make a positive impression in a competitive job market.” Hilda S. Solis). The Nigerian and Liberian Governments through their National Youth Service and President Young Professional Programs respectively, are volunteer programs that back such idea. Additionally, the UK government through the Work Together, which is a pilot voluntary work scheme for unemployed youth in London and the Olympics Employment and Skill Strategy encourage or require the unemployed to do voluntary job. I also nurtured the same idea. Many young people, labor and human resource professionals have also pushed the idea that volunteering guarantees a job. I was shocked with the result I found after a research was done on the “relationship between the volunteerism and Employment.

The research found that there is no empirical or statistical data or research that has proven that volunteerism increases the prospects of securing job contrary to the thoughts of many.The relationship between employment and volunteering cannot be determined (Jorgensen H., 2013) . In her research paper ( Kamerāde D. 2013), she apprised that the majority of the unemployed voluntary volunteering does not significantly raise the chances of getting a job. Her research also stressed that volunteering has a weak or negative effect on the prospects of the majority of unemployed people in finding a new job. This research was prepared to question the extent to which empirical evidence supports this assumption that volunteering during unemployment is a stepping stone to paid work. There are many other researches that have proven against the global assumptions that volunteering is a conduit or stepping stone to getting job.

This article is not meant to discourage you from volunteering. In as much that there is no statistical finding that points to the high chances of securing paid job through volunteering, there are some isolated situations where volunteering at institutions brought about some entry jobs for the unemployed. More besides, there are other benefits volunteering accrues for volunteers.

Benefits for the Volunteer

Volunteering benefits the volunteer. The volunteer acquires new employability skills , build networks and CVs, and try new vocations ( Ellis Paine, A., et al. 2013; Kamerāde D. 2013; and Jorgensen H., 2013).

Employability Skills

Work environment varies from institution to institution. Volunteering usually gives the volunteer diverse ideas in getting work done. When this is done continuously, the volunteer becomes adapted to the modus operandi of that task and work environment thus learning new skills. These new skills prepare the volunteer for the world of employment. If given a paid job, the acquired skills from volunteering can be used to get the paid job done.

Build Network

Obviously, when you enter a new place, you get to meet other people you have not met before. This is the same with volunteering. When you volunteer at a new place, you get to meet people for the first time. Your new acquaintances can range from professionals within your career circle or other careers, new career chasers and those that have not yet began their career.Usually, these are people that supervise you, you supervise, you volunteer with, or volunteer for ( bosses) . They become your workmates. Your interactions via work or other professional means allows you to get to know them better and they also get to know you more. This builds your contacts not only with professionals but other individuals in the middle or down the career ladder. You never know. These are contacts that become important in securing a pay job or recommending you for a job. There are several instances of people using contacts from their volunteering job to secure employment not only at their volunteering institution but also at other institutions. It is always positive to keep good relationship with all contacts where you volunteer. It often pays off.

Building of CVs or Resumes

In recruitment, many employers will prefer an employee that has had prior experience in the field or area for which that employee is to be employed. The employer might not necessary require experience from a previous paid job. Volunteering helps to achieve this. This is important for people that have no prior job experience. Most inexperience people indicate volunteer jobs on their CVs or resumes. This indicates to would-be employers that you have had prior job experience. If the job requires prior experience, the experience from the volunteered job could aid in securing the paid job. I usually recommend that whether experienced or inexperienced, it is important to mentioned on your CV or resume, those important volunteer jobs you have done. It does not only show that you have some experience but indicates that you care for society and acquiring compensation from job is not a very high priority. The volunteer might have other internal reasons but many employers reason from that perspective. Caring about the society will depend on the institution you volunteer for. Usually, volunteering for charitable institutions shows that you care about society or environment. Many institutions or governments relate volunteerism to charitable or not- for- profit institutions. Most sponsored training applications and scholarships highly welcome applicants that volunteers for the society or environment. So, sharing with people and institutions verbally and via your CV or profile about your volunteer jobs and experiences, are very paramount in climbing the career ladder.

New Vocation or Occupation

Volunteering helps volunteers to choose their career pathway. When you volunteer, you try different types of task, meet with people and also grow work confidence. These compounded experiences help you to sometimes discover your inner passion from the various task performed, and also talking to peers and professionals in the same field. A youth camp volunteer wrote “I did not know I could speak in public and lead people until now. Thank you for allowing me to volunteer”. This volunteer was unaware that he was good at leading people until he volunteered as a camp worker. He has since gone to pursue a career in Human Resource Management to strengthen his abilities in motivating and leading people.

From a research standpoint, there is no statistical finding that points to the increase chances of acquiring employment through volunteering. Government, media, individuals that sponsor such idea that volunteering secures the volunteer a paid job are actually based on assumptions and are meant to encourage people to volunteer. Volunteering is a great tool to contributing to society. From the above reading, you have understood that there are benefits that volunteers accrued from volunteering. The building of networks, resumes and finding new occupations are some benefits volunteers acquire from volunteering. These benefits competitively prepare volunteers for employment. I do support the act of volunteering. People that are beginning to build their career and are unemployed should consider volunteering. Volunteer is an easy means of building your career until employment comes.