December 11, 2009

What Makes a Good Volunteer?

We have a new site where you can read all articles from This is Ghana in a much more organised fashion. Read What Makes a Good Volunteer? there.

Age, gender, work experience and nationality have nothing to do with how much people contribute and how well they cope when they come to volunteer in Ghana—or anywhere. I never could tell who would adapt and who would have trouble. Many times my assumptions, based on impressions I formed after the first few days together when I was a volunteer (and later managing volunteers), were proven wrong as time passed—and I was glad of this. I saw that some people take a few weeks to warm up and find their stride and I shouldn’t be too quick to judge—I was one of them. Those who you think may be difficult to work with, based on emails before they arrive, may turn out to be the most helpful, effective and fun to work with. Some begin all optimistic, but become frustrated after a week or two with the pace of things.

You never could tell and it was a valuable lesson in human nature.

What I did learn, however, was that the ones who excelled shared certain key personality or character attributes irrespective of age, gender, background and nationality.

This is a sample what we’ll share in the Insider’s Guide to Volunteering. Sign up by email if you’d like to be kept in the loop about this PDF release.

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