#IVD2013 Campaign

The International Volunteer Day for Social and Economic Development(IVD), established by the UN General Assembly to be commemorated on 5th December every year, is about telling the world what volunteers and volunteer-involving organizations achieve for rounded development.

Volunteering that works cannot be taken for granted. It needs to be recognized, facilitated, networked and promoted. Organisations that understand the value of volunteering celebrate IVD by establishing volunteering programmes for social impact.

Working with extra hands can help organisations:

-grow effectively thereby contributing to national development

-plan projects and events without disrupting course of work at the office

-make cheaper and wiser recruitment decisions by getting to know the working habits of the volunteers who they can hire

Moreover, volunteering can help the volunteer make important networking contacts, learn or develop skills, impart skills, enhance résumé, gain work experience, build self-esteem and self-confidence, improve health, meet new people, feel needed and valued, express gratitude for help received in the past from an organization, communicate to others that you are ambitious, enthusiastic and care about the community, make a difference in someone’s life. Volunteering improves the likelihood that children will volunteer as adults and helps groom responsible generations for our nation.


Sure enough, our great team went out and about in a number of states to ensure our radio outreach to spread the message of youth volunteerism and engaging volunteers was a huge success. In some states, the plan fell through but we made the effort-sowed seeds for next time. Big big appreciation to Adebayo and Osato! It was amazing to see virtually all the fruitful contacting and scheduling happen within a space of 3 days. And Moyo is a super woman! Many thanks to our trainer and coordinator-at-large, Chioma Okereke!!!


Ebuka and Abdul discussed with Sophie at Cool FM Kano state and even received some phone calls of commendation.

IVD 2013 Cool FM Kano 2

Do Daniels always take the city? Indeed! Daniel was on MITV Ibadan, Oyo state. He was also on radio- Star FM and possibly some other platforms I do not yet know.

IVD 2013 MITV Ibadan Oyo state

Daniel again...

IVD 2013 Star FM Ibadan Oyo

Uju and Moyo took the reins in the Centre of Excellence on Top radio 90.9FM Lagos. They had an engaging discussion with Wyse. Thank you Wyse!

 IVD 2013 Top Radio Lagos

Oh my! Joel was too helpful. Orange FM Akure, Ondo state got a piece of the action.

IVD Orange FM Akure

Do not let this picture deceive you. Innocent received

at least 7 calls of enquiry after leaving the Rhythm FM Port

Harcourt studio at Rivers state! He even robed in

Zubby, the very helpful On-Air Personality, who

said he would be interested in volunteering.

IVD2013 Rhythm 93.7 PH 

Special thanks to Bankole the Bvibes blogger and EDK.

We were live on Vibes FM Benin, Edo state.

 IVD2013 Vibes FM Benin 

Finally, Margaret was on OGBC radio, Ogun state.

THANK YOU Margaret!

IVD 2013 OGBC 

So went the great day! By the way, the pictures were not taken with professional cameras. Remember there is always something you can do to make our country and the world a far better place.


Giving and gifts

Happy happy Boxing day fam!

As the year ends, what is most fulfilling and satisfying is knowing-not that you have houses and other assets but-that you have reliable people. I have to say that THIS PROJECT HAS BROUGHT TOGETHER THE MOST AMAZING PEOPLE! Oh my! Talk about Samuel, Uju, Bimbo, Ebukaaaa, Tola, Moyo, Jire, Gbemisola, Janet, Nancy, Franca, Chibuike, Innocent, Osato, Adebayo, Ademola, Dami Rotiwa hahaa etc. Whew! I know I have got you thinking I know them all and the other hundreds unmentioned who prefer to stay behind the scenes-but let me announce to you that I do not. For many, their ‘names’ have gone before them. Like the French would say, “votre réputation vous précède.”

So on 24th December, tens of us went giving, courtesy Love project at Bariga, Lagos state. It was our first project with a non-registered organisation.

Love projecttt

Somebody selflessly baked and donated a cake. Oh, someone else gave up his salary.

Love projecttttttttt

Over 600 people were touched, going home with food and clothing items.

Love projecttttt

Love projectttttttttt

Love projectttttttttttt

And there was free medical testing and counseling.

Love projectttttttt

All the high chiefs (Baales) in Bariga came around. The young man there is Odunayo, the visioneer.

Love projectttttt

The most priceless gift we enjoyed this year was definitely NOT




Finally, as you box those gifts open today, take a moment  to read about Bishop Kodji Island as told by Tina at http://teenanews.blogspot.com/2013/12/abandoned-without-development-story-of.html

Tina has initiated #toilet4kodji and #water4kodji awareness for Bishop Kodji island and we are glad to help push that. We also got thinking about what we can do for the community this season. Sharing food? What are your thoughts? Would you like to help? How? Leave us comments!


Apply to the VSO-ICS volunteering programme

Charlotte & I on our way from school

Charlotte & I on our way from school

Of the 365 days allocated to me this year, I spent 85 in Oke-Ero Local Government in Kwara State as a volunteer with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) on the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme.

I spent the night of Christmas Eve discussing the evils of the society with my grandmother. In particular, we discussed a friend of my dad who had recently been murdered on account of money (the story is definitely more complicated). Money and the desire for it pushes people to carry out such despicable acts. However, in the face of all these, we have people who while they desire to make money and be prosperous, have not allowed themselves become slaves to it. They are people who volunteer for little or no money at all.

This post is supposed to be about my experience as a VSO volunteer but please before I continue allow me to celebrate my ICS colleagues and more importantly every other volunteer out there. The world is a better place because of your efforts. Twale!

I’ve always known about VSO but if not for the Volunteer in Nigeria post about the ICS programme, I may have missed this opportunity. VSO-ICS Youth Volunteering Programme is a youth-centred community development programme, conducted in partnership between International Citizen Service (ICS), Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and their implementing partners. The three-month programme brings together young people (aged 18-25) from the UK and Nigeria. Each team will typically consist of 20 young people, with equal numbers coming from the UK and the host country. In carefully selected communities, volunteers work in placements fully supported by their implementing partner organisations and two full time VSO/ICS programme supervisors. Together, in cross-cultural counterpart pairs, volunteers live with host families and work in the host communities. The type of work varies depending upon the needs of the community, but can include service delivery, advocacy work, and peer-to-peer education programmes.

I sent my application, was invited for an interview and subsequently selected to be on that cycle of the ICS programme. We went through intensive training. In fact, at some point it became quite ‘belabourous’ for me- but it was needed to get everyone to understand and be able to function properly. The training involved understanding the organisations we would be working with, the work we would be doing and more.

There were 2 teams, one was assigned to Lafia in Nassarrawa State and the other (mine) to Oke-Ero in Kwara State. My team was to work on improving the standard of education in schools that had been identified by the partner organisation (Olive Community Development Initiative) as places that really needed help. A pair of volunteers were assigned to each school.

There was no one-size-fits-all formula we had been given to use for the schools. We had to visit the schools and work out a custom made solution for the problems of the school. My school was a Nomadic School. My partner and I worked out a plan that would help the school, students, teachers, parents and the community.

A typical week would consist of training illiterate parents on ways by which they could help improve their child’s level of education, training teachers on ICT and different teaching methods, speaking with some parents in the Fulani settlement to send their kids to school, one-on-one sessions with the kids who were doing poorly in schoolwork and extra-curricular activities for the kids such as games, experiments, clubs etc.

At some point I began to feel I was not doing enough to help improve the standard of education in that school but at the end of the programme I saw a marked difference and improvement in ALL of the kids and that was such a high for me. Kids who didn’t even know all the letters of the alphabet had as a result of our work moved to the stage where they knew 2/3 letter words, their confidence had greatly improved, the teachers had adopted one of the methods of teaching we showed them and generally the kids became happier kids.

Asides work in my school, the whole team carried out joint projects like renovating a school, building a makeshift bridge, sports day, HIV/AIDS awareness campaign& testing, and breast & cervical cancer awareness talks. Other pairs assigned to other placements (10 in all) recorded success stories in many areas too.

I faced some challenges which were downright frustrating then but with all I was able to achieve, they are all negligible now. The main challenge was that of being a victim of ‘racism’ in my own country. My team was made up of 10 Nigerian and 10 UK volunteers. Being treated by my own people as a lesser human being than the white person was infuriating and a big turn off.

After it’s all been said and done, if I had a chance do this again I would do it maybe with a few modifications though. I did not just add to some people’s lives, I have become a better person as well. 85 days living in a village was definitely one of the highlights and high points of my year.

To apply for the next cycle of the ICS programme, download the form here. Completed forms should be submitted to the VSO-ICS Team at No 14B Banjul street, off Monrovia street, Wuse 2, Abuja OR by email to kingsley.udo@vsoint.org. Deadline is January 2, 2014 (4:30pm).

Simi Olusola


Admin’s note___

Have you experienced racism in your own country from your own people? What was it really like? The #JusticeForAlice  story has prompted us to ask these questions. Please leave comments.



A thrill of hope

The weary heart rejoices

For yonder brings

A new and cloudless morn

Fall on your knees

Oh ye with angel’s voices

Oh night divine

When Christ was born

And as many as received Him to them He gave power to become the sons of God. John 1:12

Merry Christmas!!!

Our Twitter discussion series kicks off tomorrow



Our Twitter discussion series (#ShareYourVolunteeringMiracle) kicks off tomorrow by 6pm. Our first guest is Damilola Oyedele, a management consultant and contributing editor with Y! Magazine.


#ShareYourVolunteeringMiracle was initiated to encourage mentors to share volunteering experiences that have been pivotal to their career advancement. It is an effort to employ story telling in the movement to encourage volunteering amongst our young people.