In December, International Service alumni joined representatives from agencies working all over Burkina Faso to celebrate International Volunteer Day. The day recognised the contribution of volunteers to making their communities more resilient against natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks.

Hosted by the National Volunteering Programme of Burkina Faso within the Ministry of Youth, the event was designed to foster a network of volunteer structures that will work to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of volunteering efforts across Burkina Faso, identifying areas for collaboration and creating opportunities for more participation for young people.

Delegates listen to a talk about celebrating and promoting volunteering

Alongside representatives from France Volontaires, UN Volunteering, ECOWAS and the Burkina Faso Red Cross, our alumni took part in breakout discussions and activities to promote volunteering and shine a spotlight on its importance for young people. Our Burkinabé Alumni Board were invited to present their experiences of youth volunteering with International Service and spoke about the benefits of cross-cultural working and the positive impacts of their projects.

Through an interactive second day of music and sports at the Centre Aéré BCEAO, the alumni were able to meet other young people acting to tackle youth problems and promote leadership, encouraging other young people to take part in volunteering in their own communities.

Our former ICS Volunteer and Team Leader, Beatrice PALO, said,

“The event was very interesting because we spent the time reflecting on how all volunteers from every organisation can work together in synergy for more impact.

Youth volunteering is important in Burkina Faso because it allows youth to be aware of their country's challenges and suggest appropriate solutions to overcome problems.

"It allows youth to discover and learn new skills, to share their knowledge and most importantly, to reach their full potential. It allows also to youth to understand that they can work for their community.

When asked what she hoped the alumni could achieve in 2019, Beatrice told us,

In 2019, I hope that the alumni can organise an activity with current volunteers and continue working with current volunteers for training or experience sharing.

They can initiate sessions of awareness raising for the youth to promote volunteering at schools or universities, everywhere where young people can be interested.

Our thanks go to Alioune Boro, our Business Development volunteer in Burkina Faso, for the content of this blog.