We followed a group of ICS volunteers on their placement in Ashanti, Ghana. Here is some of the things they they got up to...
Supporting the community
All volunteers on placement work to support a local community. Projects can be as diverse as improving sanitation to supporting livelihoods and from increasing awareness of sexual health to education.
VSO ICS volunteer Seb Howarth took this photo of a local farmer working in Nyinahin. Seb was assisting a small cocoa farming community of 500 people by helping to diversify their livelihoods from this one sole seasonal income source.
Becoming a part of the family
For many volunteers, their host family are a real highlight of their placement. Volunteers spend a lot of time with their host family, mucking in with the daily chores and enjoying family life.
In this picture, Sharon Esse, Team Leader, VSO ICS, and Charlotte Donnelly-Dobson, volunteer VSO ICS, lend a helping hand to their host mother in the kitchen, at their host home in Betinko.
Enjoying downtime together
Volunteers spend a lot of time together, not just working, but also on their time off. In this picture, volunteers Mohammed Hassan Mahroof, and Sulemana Yussif, play a game at their host home in Betinko.
Experiencing a different culture
Whether it’s an entirely different country, or a new part of the country you’ve never been before, ICS volunteers learn things about how different people live, work, and celebrate, bringing new perspectives and diversity into everything they do.
In this photograph, volunteer Mohammad Hassan Mahroof shares a laugh with his host father and family as they dress him in traditional Kente clothing.
Trying new things
The first rule of ICS is being willing to try new things, whether that’s food, clothes, or trying your hand at something you haven’t done before.
Here, ICS volunteers try their hand at making soap from scratch with their host families.
Going to the market
Whether it’s getting last minute ingredients for a meal or helping to cook for a celebration, going to the market is a little different from a supermarket in the UK.
Volunteers support each other and their families by taking turns to shop for fresh fruit, vegetables and grains.
Trying out new recipes
Volunteers spend time cooking meals for themselves and others, and learning a thing or two about cooking from others in the community.
Here, local children help to prepare the food before sunset, and volunteers cook with their host family.
Helping with chores
And once the meals are cooked and everyone has been fed, volunteers make sure to help clean up afterwards.
Here, Habib Jodriso cleans the area outside his host home.
Building friendships that last
After three months working together, it’s impossible to come away without having made friends for life. Many volunteers come home and stay in close contact with their teammates, both in-country and overseas.
This is a group picture of the team volunteering with VSO in the Ashanti region of Ghana.
Making unexpected friends
And while you’ll make a host of friends on ICS, both within your team and outside, there will definitely be some unexpected additions.
Many of these pictures were taken by ICS volunteer Seb Howarth, who says, "I chose to pursue photography for the same reason many others do - I use it as a creative outlet. I channel all my creativity through the lens. I love nothing more than immersing myself within the elements of wherever I am and letting the camera do the job."
In big ways and small, volunteers help shape a community, and learn from the people around them, and they leave behind new perspectives with the people they met and worked with.
Still not convinced? Check out this video: