When is the last time you volunteered or thought about volunteerism? Or may be volunteerism hasn’t entered your mind in years. So I guess you wondering what it means to volunteer and what at all volunteerism is all about. Well according to the Collins English dictionary, volunteerism is the principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of other people in the community as a social responsibility rather than for any financial reward, just like that of the popular African saying, a person is a person through other persons.
In view of that, a student led organization called keteke on GIJ campus couldn’t have thought of a better way of serving children and young people in deprived communities with the spirit of volunteerism.
In a discussion with one of its forerunners, Gabriel Obodai Torgbor-Ashong, he tells us how the group originated as well as how the spirit of volunteerism have helped the organization to reach out to less privileged in society.
He said, Keteke as an organization started in April 2011, in the Ghana institute of journalism (GIJ), with two level 100 members at the time, the then Editor in chief, Samuel creppy and chairperson Gabriel Obodai Torgbor-Ashong. Later, the wind of change blew around and affected other members, (all level100&diploma one students at the time). The idea came through constant brain storming on how a problem could be solved on campus (GIJ). This problem was a serious communication lacuna between students, students` leadership and the institute administration. Students were always left in the dark and as such, had little information on what was happening around them. It was also difficult for them to express their thoughts and challenges through proper channels. Research conducted by the keteke initiators also identified that radio GIJ, the audio visual department, and the other publications on campus, i.e., the communicator and the P.R today, were dysfunctional as a result, there wasn’t a proper means for students to practice lessons taught in class. The quest to bridge this gap prompted the creation of keteke news and effectively, keteke Ghana as a student led organization. Today keteke Ghana work focuses on three thematic areas: publication of Newsletters (keteke news), free capacity building workshops (keteke club) and humanitarian community outreaches.
FREE CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOPS (KETEKE CLUB) keteke club creates a platform where members are trained, on weekly basis on effective journalism practice. Renowned journalists are also invited to share their experiences with club members so as to inspire them. First club president was Miss Ama Asobonteng (2011-2012), then master Eugene Adu Ayeh (2012-14) and now master David Kwake Eshun, (2014) till date.
2. NEWS LETTER PUBLICATION (keteke news): A fortnight newsletter which deals with stories and articles on youth leadership support for vulnerable in society, fashion, students ‘welfare, entrepreneur among others. Currently much of the news production by the news team is done online.
3. COMMUNITY HUMANITARIAN OUTREACHES.
Believing in rural development journalism and the need to use the media as a tool to cause change in society, keteke Ghana, in 2012, instituted its humanitarian outreach program. Members of the club, all students mobilize resources form their fellow students and their contribution to support deprived communities. The maiden trip was in a small village called otibilkrom in the central region. The village at the time of the visit lacked access to potable water, tarred road, health facility and electricity. The only school in the village was up to class three with volunteers from the communities as teachers. Thanks to a video documentary the students made about the plight of the village, a bore hole was drilled for the people and trained teachers posted to the school. The following year, 2013, was a follow up trip to Otibilkrom, then in 2014 Ada kewunor in Greater Accra and 2015, the volunteers spent their long vacation in Funkoe, Ampataanor, and Kanfokrom. Clothes that the team donated to the people were so much needed to the extend they began fighting over the materials. It is worth noting that, some lectures of GIJ, realizing how laudable the keteke initiative was, generously supported the initiative with their cash and resources. These lectures are Mr. Kwadwo Jonas Boateng, Mr. Yaw odamegyau,Mr. Abel Gayvolor and Mr. James Asante. Mr. Asong Boateng and Yaw Odame Gyau for instance on two different occasion, joined the students in the villages to directly participate in the outreach. Notable members whose contribution to the organization has been invaluable include Grace Asare,julius Boade, Zarina Amandi, Joana Addey, Luther king owusu Amoah, Rita Mpare, bervely Lamptey, tsotsoo korley,Eugene aryeh, ruth okan adjetey, Derrick Tagoe, Beatrice owusu, Rachael Arhin, Ama Bampoe, Bridgette Aswell Appiah, David Edwin Amateifio, Jonah Elendi, kuasara, Kwesi Gyamfi, Madinatu among others.