Tag Archives: zubah k. yennego

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.

WANEP WOMEN


My youngest brother and I were in a taxi returning home from our grandmother’s residence. When we reached the back of the James Springgs Payne Airport which is opposite the resident of the President (Fish Market Community), something caught his attention. I questioned him, ” why are you stretching yourself?”. He replied asking me and trying to peep through the windshield of the taxi “why are the women lying on the ground and in the rain?”. I smiled knowing that he is very young to understand the positive contributions of those women towards Liberia.

He is a curious little kid and he pushed me to give him some information as to why the women were lying on the ground, and in the rain praying. It was strange to him. I informed him that the women ,that I consider our mothers, are part of an organization named the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP). The organization introduced the program in 2002. In addition to mobilizing women for the promotion of peace, the program builds the capacity of women in peace-building and to become self sufficient. In 2003, the women mobilized a mass and non-violent demonstration in order to ensure a peaceful negotiation between the then Charles Taylor led government, and the rebel groups (the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL))and others political parties to cease fire, begin negotiation and restore peace in Liberia. The efforts of their positive work were inherent in the signing of the Accra Ceasefire Agreement and subsequently, the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The work of these women were backed by prayers. They spent many days and nights in the open field lying in the sand and praying to God for Peace in Liberia.

My brother’s continuous questions had a flashback effect on me. As young as I was during the crisis, I remembered seeing the women in their white t-shirts fasting and praying for Liberia. Those were the days that no peaceful Liberian will wish to see. I am being informed that they have begun fourteen days of fast and prayer to save Liberia from the Lethal Ebola disease. With the Ebola virus raging, I knew the women would resume their prayers. So, it was no surprise that I saw our mothers praying to God again for Liberia.

These women are one of the foundations for the restoration of peace in Liberia. Their cries, prayers are always heard by God. What amazes me is the mode of their prayer. They lie flat in the sand in the open, and fast and pray to God. They do this whether it is rainy or sunny. Anyone that does not know the intent of these women will think somehow. But these are market women, housewives, and professionals who put aside their important activities to gather and pray for the country. Liberia is under attack. In this case, the Ebola disease is our enemy. In addition to other efforts, we need the intervention of the Women of WANEP. Their fourteen days fast and prayers (in the rain) calling for God’s intervention to eradicate this disease is welcomed and commendable. I know that God will answer their prayers and heal our land.

I am of the opinion that these are the heroines of Liberia. They should be shown all manner of respect. We should hail them not only in the times of crisis, but also in good times. Women of WAPNET, thank you. My brother got to understand the reason why you are in the sand and praying.

Ebola is Real and Fatal


I was in a gathering that was supposed to be intellectually charged but heard a contrary statement from a so-called  educated individual and  also very prominent. He asserted “That disease does not exist”. His claim was in doubt or denial that the lethal Ebola Disease does not exist. Upon hearing this statement, I immediately shook my head in opposite directions (from left to right) in total disbelief to his assertion.  I quietly said to myself “is he serous?”. Why will he say such thing?

The first step to preventing or curing any disease is the acceptance that it exists. This is same with this deadly Ebola Disease that has full our hands. When you read the newspaper (local and international), browse the websites of Samaritan Purse, Medicin San Frontier, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), tune on the radio and television (local and international), you get information appraising that the disease truly exists especially in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and now Nigeria. So what is triggering the doubt especially among educated people? I would understand if an uneducated person will live in disbelief but not an educated one. This is not about opinions anymore but facts that the disease is here.

In Liberia,  many cherish the politicization of almost everything. This has extended to the point that once you are capable of expressing yourself to a smaller or larger public, you automatically consider yourself a politician which in most instances triggers the politicization. The issue of this disease is being politicized with claims that it is just a makeup by the government to acquire some money. Why should we advance such ugly thought that will do us nothing in uprooting a disease that is killing people by the day? With the announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) to generate funds for the affected countries, there will be a lot of hubbub here as regards the proper use of the funds. As the educated ones, you are to inform others who do not comprehend issues surrounding the disease. You are a torch-bearer and a leader and as such, the definition of your role should be actualized.

Furthermore, let me emphasize that the Ebola Disease is real and it is killing people by the day. It has a 60 to 90% mortality rate with no cure but can be prevented. Some of the symptoms are red eyes, rash, sore throat, stomach pain, high fever, diarrhea and vomiting, headache, and bleeding from every opening on the body. The disease can be prevented by staying away from people who show the above listed symptoms or use protective clothing when caring for ill persons, stay away from dead bodies, wash your hands with soap and chlorinated water very often, avoid eating bush meat, bats and fruits bitten by bats. These were the pieces of information my colleague, Abigail Hanky, and I shared during our awareness campaign in the Lakpazee Community. It was voluntarily done with the backing of the Lakpazee Community Church.

Additionally, this disease has glaringly exposed further the weak health system we have.  All health centers around Liberia need the specially made protective clothing and disinfectants to prevent themselves and aid them in eradicating this disease. Care givers, especially the health workers are likely to contracting the disease because they are usually the first point of contact with ill people. Consequently, they should be given all the necessary tools to protect themselves. Kudos to the health practitioners, especially the nurse aids, nurses, physician assistants, laboratory technicians and doctors who are doing all they can within their means to ensure that this disease is kicked out. You are our heroes and heroines. You have shown the true meaning of your callings.

A State of Emergency has been declared by the President of Liberia. An initial amount of 5 Million United States Dollars has been allocated to the fight against the disease. Additional measures including the quarantining of infected communities and borders, training of health workers, and the establishment of a call center have been instituted. Even though we expected these stringent measures when the existence of the virus was first announced in Guinea, but these are good measures to curbing this virus. An earlier attack on the virus could not have resulted to the negative situation we now have on our hands. Additionally, we should take further steps to enquiring from the United States Government as to the use of the experimental drug that was used on the two Americans that were flown from Liberia to the US. Nigeria has asked the US Government to use the drug.

All religious, social, traditional and political institutions should rise up and sensitize members on the prevention and effects of this fatal disease. Members of these institutions believe in their leaders. If these leaders should inform their members about the existence of the disease and means of preventing it, I am of the conviction that we will be riding on the right path to exterminating the illness. Least we forget that the government has the major responsibility to finding sufficient funds, expertise, equipment or tools to fighting this sickness and it must do just that.

I extend my deepest condolences to the families of all those that have lost their lives to this disease.  To stop the next Ebola related death, we must accept that Ebola is real and disseminate the information in our communities and various places of worship and work.