The Goal of True Education: Jacob's Story
Inspired by his International Service ICS experience, a volunteer from Ghana has set course for a life-changing career.
At just 18 years old, Jacob Achumboro Ayang has set his sights on becoming a teacher after recently returning home from his ICS placement with International Service. Jacob was inspired after working with the Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS) organisation based in Nayorku, West Mamprusi.
In his first week, Jacob was given advice from his host-sister, Teresa who said, “You will only love this place when you open your heart to learn its ways and adapt”. Along with the support of a host family, volunteers are given the chance to settle into a community, and in his own words, it made them “rarely realise we are not at our actual homes”. After being taught some basic Dagbani greetings, such as ‘dasiba’ and ‘aninwula’, Jacob understood he was “being educated on how to live in Tamale comfortably almost as a natural member.”
The RAINS project’s focus is education, but Jacob didn’t expect to learn so much himself. Based on the previous cohort’s baseline research in the communities, emphasis has been put on sexual health education which has benefitted from the UK and Ghanaian volunteers working side by side. Jacob says, “We are now able to cultivate a common knowledge on sexual and reproductive health, and more feasible ways to share this knowledge with the local communities”
The shared learning that the teams developed also took cultural sensitivity into account, “We learnt the true cultural values and norms of these communities which gave us a better standpoint in the delivery of our sensitisations”. This understanding has lead Jacob to realise that volunteering in another environment involves a change of perspective and a real learning curve, such as learning how to dance the Nayorku way! He adds, “Without a doubt, my fellow volunteers and I feel better equipped to share our knowledge in future thanks to our experience in these sensitisations”, meaning that the work had relevance to the people of those communities.
“When we educate a community, we educate ourselves even more”
Upon reflection of his time with his host family in Tamale and his work in Nayorku, Jacob reveals that, “All these experiences on placement have given me a better grasp of education.” What’s most inspiring is that Jacob now wants to utilise the skills he has gained and says he, “finally had the opportunity to know I wanted to become in the future. A teacher.”
This aspiration of Jacob’s is exactly what Global Goal number 4 on Quality Education is trying to achieve. One of the goal’s targets is to produce more qualified teachers in developing countries. However, that relies on an experience like Jacob’s to spark that interest.