Thursday, 15 June 2017

What do ICS volunteers do all day?

"This is mine, what is everyone else having?"
I’m sure you’ve been wondering what it is like to be an ICS volunteer. They’re experiencing things so different and in such a different setting to their daily lives, so it’s pretty difficult to imagine their how they fill their time. Maybe this will shed some light on what to expect in Burkina Faso.

Of course, the week starts with the weekend! The sun rises at 5:30 at this time of year, and the light sets off the nearby cockerels with their cries of cock-a-doodle-doo, beginning a domino effect with all nearby birds, goats, donkeys, dogs, cats, pigs and anything else into a deafening chorus: basically, a Saturday morning lie in is off the cards. Early morning is also one of the few times to be treated with temperatures in the mid-20s. Fetching a bucket of water from outside for a shower is the best way to start the day, before greeting the host family and tucking into breakfast.

Pabré is a small town so in the way of entertainment, the volunteers tend to meet up as a team at the office in the late morning under the shelter. A traditional ginger tea can be prepared to share and local people join in to relax, discuss things in a mixture of French, English and franglais.

Trying on a locally made hat
In the afternoon on Saturday 13th May, some ex-volunteers visited for a barbeque. As the first time anyone had seen chicken in a few weeks, it was relatively quickly demolished with spices and a garlic oil rubbed into the meat. The CEO of HSB, Mr. Freddie, even joined the party. The group-favourite game of UNO also made an appearance with fiercely competitive play. After returning home for 9pm to spend time with host families and after an early start, volunteers tend to have relatively early nights.

The following Sunday was a big market day for Pabré; the market sets up every 3 days and when it falls on a Sunday, it attracts everyone from all surrounding villages and ends up in a big party. Firstly, some chose to go to church where Marc, the burkinabé team leader, is choir master. The array of beautiful bright outfits inspired a few volunteers to visit the market on the hunt for fabric with which to have clothes made. The energy overflowing throughout the normally quiet backstreets filled the air with a sense of life and vitality.

During the week, the day begins at 8 am at the office after a companionable 5-minute cycle in counterpart pairs from the host home, saying good morning to everyone that passes. It’s tradition to individually greet everybody before work begins and see how they slept, along with a click-y handshake thing that is impossible to sum up in words. The team is split into pairs with specific roles to share the work out and take advantage of everybody’s skills.

Goalball, an inclusive sport played by blindfolded participants at Guide de nos Enfants

At around 8:10 after the daily briefing from team leaders and consulting the team calendar, work commences. Sat at a desk or outside in the shelter, the team begins to set about whatever task is most applicable for that day. It may involve planning or working at a computer or even writing a report, as there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into all the big events you will see posted on our Facebook page. Perhaps it would be easier to show you through examples:

Monday morning in the last week (8th May) was preceded by a text to remind volunteers to come prepared for an awareness raising session at 10 am. In preparation, the whole team evaluated the previous awareness raising session in order to improve it further and meet the ICS dimension of continuous development. It was also decided to have English days and French days, where everyone would talk entirely in one language to improve everybody’s skills and confidence. The team leader of the day was announced to be Frankie, British volunteer, who found that being charged with ensuring the productivity of the team no mean feat. After a quick rehearsal of the script and collecting all required materials, everybody cycled to Guide de Nos Enfants through the picturesque gardens at a pace suited to the ever-increasing temperature.

Helping one another when in the situation of disability; another inclusive sport game.

For the next two hours, the dectet stood up in front of a class of students aged around 16 and delivering information regarding disability rights (let’s be honest, the burkinabés were indispensable in their awesome support of the decidedly more anxious Brits). Following passing on information, the 50 young people partook in 3 inclusive sport activities to demonstrate how much fun they can have whilst being able to include people with various disabilities in their activities.

The work didn’t stop in the afternoon after the morning’s success. A plan had to be made for the weekend. This involved an in-depth discussion in both English and French to ensure cultural needs were met but fresh ideas could be brought to the table. Continuing into the next day, these discussions had to form into a detailed project proposal and budget to be later pitched to the head teacher of the school where the event would be held. A banner was also designed to announce HSB’s presence and ensure the brands of HSB, ICS and International Service were clearly on show (something really important as prior to placement, all volunteers had communications training and know how to focus on good marketing).

A student giving a speech in the hope of being voted into the office of the club

Another preparation for this event was to have a general assembly of the 50 members of the new initiative of a student club. Mr Jean-Claude Ouédraogo, head teacher of the school, gave a speech then each role was explained before students proposed their willingness to take on each role. The club members voted in an office of 10 students through a democratic process after some impassioned speeches from the engaged and eager candidates.

New Facebook campaign poster for the office pinboard

Simultaneously, general daily activities such as adding to the blog and posting on social media had to continue. Our social media officers, Rabi and Rebecca, came up with a brand-new Facebook campaign and worked tirelessly to get it ready for launch the following Monday morning. This included intensive research and diligent contemplation (as well as a little dancing around the office to energise and gain inspiration!). The IT officers generally work on posting on social media and increasing the online presence of HSB to further their reach.

Wednesday and Friday saw the start of English lessons for 2 classes at the local Lycée Municipal de Pabré. The students were encouraged to have a debate on the subject “women will never be equal to men in the workplace” by English Officers, Vicki and Hamadou. Perceptions were challenged when the arguments of “women are not as strong as men” were met with an explanation of the UK law meaning that it is illegal to discriminate against anyone in the workplace.

Preparing for a debate

On Friday, the English officers and IT officers also taught English and IT to HSB staff in the spirit of capacity building for to improve the scope of the future of the organisation. 4 HSB staff members and 1 community member engaged in a run-through of the keyboard and basic functions of a laptop before moving onto rudimentary English conversational skills with enthusiastic smiles and were eager to practice as much as possible. The volunteers had researched, planned then delivered all these lessons, and had the responsibility of ensuring cultural elements of English were taught too.

Peer education empowering disabled people to exercise their basic rights and understand the laws applicable to their lives

CEO of HSB, Mr Alfred, nicknamed Freddie, (who is not what you would typically consider a CEO in UK terms; he’s very down to earth and sociable with the volunteers, another sign of the laid-back culture) also ran a peer education session. As a disabled person, his action in educating other disabled people on their rights had a huge and lasting impact upon the participants. Of course, as volunteers, our key role is to support our team leaders, but above all support the partner organisation. Volunteers took a back-seat in this activity, taking notes and generally observing to ensure the event ran as smoothly as possible, then a perspective from the UK was translated into Mooray (the local language) to demonstrate that these people were not isolated in the world and that disabled people are being empowered elsewhere.

Leading the group reflection

Every Friday, the group takes part in a ‘group reflection’ where issues relating to international development are debated, using the ‘Active Citizenship Pack’ which is given to each volunteer. This useful resource is a great stimulus for discussion and greatly used by all members of the team, particularly by the non-native English speakers as an opportunity to progress their language skills.
So, there you have it: do you have a better idea of how ICS volunteers fill their time now? It is incredible how these pastimes become such a normal way of life, so far away from what you could ever imagine before, and near-impossible to articulate.

 le barbecue avec le poulet!

Bienvenue dans cette nouvelle semaine qui marque le commencement de nos activités.

             Afin de débuter la semaine avec le plein d’énergie, le samedi 06 mai  nous avons décidé de passer du temps ensemble autour d’un barbecue et de la boisson bien fraiche bien sûr. Ce même jour nous avons reçu la visite des anciens volontaires, histoire pour nous de nouer les contacts et profiter de leur expérience du terrain pour mieux faire et partager avec eux notre barbecue. Il faut dire que la soirée s’est terminé en beauté et chacun est rentre tout joyeux et revigorer, prêt à relever le challenge.
Toujours dans  la même dynamique de parfaire nos activités, le lundi 08 mai nous avons  tout d’abord tenu à faire une évaluation de notre première session de sensibilisation et du jeu inclusif qui ont été mené la semaine. C’est-à-dire les points bien faits et les points à parfaire. Juste après avoir fini l’évaluation, nous nous sommes dirigés vers le collège « Guide de nos enfants » pour une seconde session de sensibilisation et de jeu inclusif. Les élèves de cette école était ravi de nous recevoir, il faut dire le plaisir était partage. A l’issue de la sensibilisation et du jeu inclusif, nous avons constaté qu’ils sont imprégnés des notions sur le handicap. Ils ont également compris qu’ils ont le devoir d’inclure les personnes vivant un handicap au sein de leur communauté.

les jeux inclusifs pour démontrer les difficultés quand on est en situation de handicap

Il faut aussi ajouter le « team leader du jour », « jour de français », « jour d’anglais » que nous avons mis en place. Le « team leader du jour » consiste à choisir un volontaire de façon improviste qui  dirigera l’équipe pour la journée. C’est une manière pour nous de développer le leadership de tout chacun et  de comprendre nos team leaders. Ce jour c’est Frankie, volontaire britannique qui a été choisi pour accomplir cette tâche. Le jour « d’anglais » et « de français » consiste à choisir ou nous ne parlerons rien que le français ou l’anglais. Une façon d’amener tous les volontaires, nationaux et britanniques à parler la langue des autres. Nous avons choisi le mercredi pour le français et le vendredi pour l’anglais.

 le <<group reflextion>>

       Le mardi 09 mai, journée un peu relaxe, nous avons travaillé sur le programme à mettre  en place pour l’ouverture officielle du Club HSB/Pabre du Lycée Municipal de Pabre. Le programme doit porter sur le déroulement de la cérémonie. La date d’ouverture est le samedi 13 mai 2017, pourquoi ce jour ? Parce que c’est le jour de la kermesse du Lycée et la finale de la coupe du Proviseur du Lycée Municipal de Pabre (LMP). Ce programme se déroulera comme suite :
Discours du Proviseur du LMP
Discours du parrain de la cérémonie, M. le Directeur Exécutif de HSB
Discours du team leader et celui des volontaires
Présentation des membres du bureau du Club.
Apres la cérémonie, nous avons voulu mener des jeux inclusifs.

Les volontaires qui étaient en charge du « group refexion » de la semaine précédente ont rédigé le rapport de cette activité.

     Le 10 mai 2017, nous avons débuté les cours d’anglais, comme prévu dans notre programme d’activité, au Lycée Municipal de Pabre. Plus précisément, la 2nd A. Ces cours s’inscrit dans la but d’améliorer le niveau de leur anglais et faire de l’anglais leur second langue. Aussi dans le cadre du partenariat que nous avons, HSB/Pabre avec ce lycée.

Nous avons reçu la visite du Programme Officer et du Program Manager de ICS. Ils ont eu à s’entretenir avec nos team leaders sur certains concernant nos activités.

Dans la soirée nous avons tenu une Assemblée General avec les membres du club, histoire d’élire les membres du bureau de ce club. Le vote s’est fait par « main levée » et a la majorité simple des membres présents. L’élection s’est déroulée dans la transparence et s’est passée. Nous avons eu les 10 membres du bureau tel que prévu.

L’Education par les Pairs s’est tenu le Jeudi 11 mai au bureau de HSB/Pabre. C’est M. le Directeur Exécutif de HSB, M. Alfred OUEDRAOGO qui a transmis ses connaissances et partage son expérience avec les autres personnes vivant avec un handicap sur leurs droits. Une façon d’amener  l’auditoire à se battre pour leur droit et de ne pas s’attendre de la charité des autres.

Nous avons eu à travailler sur le blog à saisir pour la semaine passée et travailler sur la banderole que nous voulons faire pour HSB/Pabre afin de mieux marquer notre présence lorsque nous avons des évènements.

Pour le dernier jour ouvrable de cette semaine, nous avons poursuivi avec nos cours d’anglais, cette fois c’était avec la classe de 1ere A du LMP de 9h à 10h  et avec le staff de HSB/Pabre de 11h à 12h. Il faut noter que les cours d’informatique ont débuté ce jour-ci avec le staff HSB/Pabre. Un staff vraiment engage et motive à apprendre. La banderole que nous avions voulu concevoir n’était pas terminée le jeudi 11 mai. La conception finale de la banderole s’est faite ce vendredi 12 mai.
    Cette semaine était  bien chargée pour tous……………A la prochaine pour de nouveaux challenges…

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