Lattitude Blog

Cycle One: Sixth Week in Adaklu District – 17th – 23rd August

Monday started off with a much needed breakfast buffet before getting stuck into our mid placement review (MPR) sessions which took place at a hotel in Ho. This included each group – Media, Planning and Logistics, Safety and Security, and Monitoring and Evaluation – presenting on what work they’ve been doing for the past five weeks. It included their achievements, challenges (and how they were overcome) as well as plans for the rest of the project.  This involved a grand reveal of media’s MPR video which highlighted the group’s accomplishments to date. We were also given time for self-reflection when we were each asked to discuss what we’ve learnt so far and how we’re getting on with our personal development goals. From confidence building to new skills in video editing it quickly became clear that most people were jumping leaps and bounds towards achieving their goals. When formal sessions ended in the afternoon there was time for some much needed rest and relaxation.

Tuesday we continued with our MPR sessions which included a slightly soppy but much enjoyed ‘love hearts sessions’ whereby everyone wrote their name on a piece of paper which was then passed around the group and everybody anonymously wrote a positive comment about the person. We all then enjoyed reading our own – some got more emotional than others! After finishing up the sessions and accidently enjoying slightly more time in the hotel due to minor technical difficulty with our beloved bus, we headed home to Anfoe.


Wednesday morning started with a team meeting where we established an organised timetable for the remaining weeks, including dates for our sexual heath youth seminar and our next awareness event on the importance of savings. We then had our Active Citizen Day presentation on sanitation which included an Oscar-worthy drama from three of our volunteers. In the evening, we were treated to a social which included volunteer ‘speed-dating’! One of the questions was ‘what would you do for the day if there were no laws or consequences’ and some interesting responses surfaced, including becoming Michelle Obama for the day! The intense game of musical chairs (or rather musical chair breaking as people got competitive) was a personal highlight. The night then ended with cups of milo (Ghana’s version of hot chocolate) all round.

On Thursday we had a meeting about an exciting new summer school project we will run alongside our main project. The summer school will run on Mondays teaching English and IT/Science and Thursday’s teaching Maths and Creative Art for two hours at a time for both lower and upper primary. We also had our ‘My Culture Day’ on the south of England, where we learnt rather surprisingly that the name ‘Big Ben’ actually refers to the bell within the tower not the clock. Our Monitoring and Evaluation team had a meeting with our project partners, the District Assembly in Waya to ask them the details about what will happen with our agricultural groups after registration. Friday was a big day for our agricultural groups because they registered with the District Assembly; this is a big achievement and fulfils one of the project aims.


In the afternoon we had our ‘know what I know’, also called ‘Nyanukemenya’, session on horoscopes where we split the group into their star signs and read out their personal horoscopes for the week (refer to next week’s blog to see if it worked!). We later had a meeting about a painting project one of the volunteers has set up. We worked out some ideas and assigned people to different parts, like the solar system, the alphabet and numbers. We’re hoping to begin painting soon once we’ve got some more supplies. In the early evening some of the girls began training for our rematch against the Waya women’s football group, no doubt we’ll beat them again!

Over the weekend the groundnut group had a meeting in which we set up the date to have our first training session. The session will be on record keeping: Kente group have already completed their record training and maize group are also ready with their schedule. On the whole it was busy but very enjoyable week!

ACW2015: What a week!



What a week it’s been! Today marks the end of Active Citizens Week 2015 and while we all take a breather here in the UK office, we would love to show you what our volunteers around the world have been getting up to.


In Ghana, our alumni have formed a fantastic youth network called LIGA (Lattitude ICS Ghana Alumni) in order to continue empowering the youth of Ghana, maintaining links with the projects and continuing to be a voice for the youth in Ghana. As part of ACW2015, LIGA organised a number of events in the communities their members are based including street cleaning and litter picking as well as awareness raising sessions at schools.


Ghana Clean Up 2 Ghana Clean Up 1

Lattitude ICS Ghana teachingGhana ACW day


Our alumni in Malawi were also very active, running awareness raising sessions for schools and youth groups focusing on women’s empowerment and gender equality, as well as having a bit of fun hiding photos around the community of previous volunteers to get people talking.



Lattitude ICS Sangilo PhotowallLattitude Malawi Womens Empowerment sessionSangilo Malawi ACW day


Not to be outdone, our volunteers in the UK went all out with the arts and crafts in getting involved with the Craftivist Collective, an organisation that uses craft to explore and reflect on global issues, aiming to create something beautiful, positive and poignant. As part of the Lattitude Empower Workshop for our returned ICS volunteers we introduce them to alternative methods of campaigning, and for Active Citizens Week 2015 they certainly got involved!

Suzi McDowell ACW2015 craftivistICS Empower Workshop Craftivists


We quite like the fact that random knitted articles appeared around the UK courtesy of our alumni. Did you see knitted items in unusual places over the week?


We hope that you got involved in your own small way wherever you are in the world. If not, maybe you were inspired to start something in your community or maybe you will get involved for next year? After a successful first year we are most certainly forward to seeing what next year brings.





LGV ICS Ghana alumni embrace IYD2015 and #ACW2015

Today we look at Abigail Marku Agbosa, Ghana ICS alumni who looks at what they did on International Youth Day and how that has impacted their role in Active Citizens Week.

International Youth Day (IYD) is a global platform where the youth can and should be heard. International Youth Day in Ghana, is widely unknown by a majority of citizens. We ( LIGA ) considered this an opportunity to make a change among the youth.

On 12th August, we set out to do the usual-youth empowerment and awareness raising at the Football For Hope Centre in Cape Coast. The main aims of the event were to raise awareness on the day, share knowledge on the day and its significance, Lattitude Global Volunteering ICS and LIGA under the theme, “Promoting civic involvement among the youth”. We believe that the world would be a better place if people were more active and committed to fulfilling their civic responsibilities. Events to mark the day included a community float to announce our presence in the community and also to interact with the community members to challenge them to take up active roles. Back at the center, LIGA members shared knowledge about global issues and how the youth can help solve them. Some members were panelists on a radio interview at a radio station in Cape Coast that aimed at spreading the news about International Youth Day and civic participation.


My experience, which is common with all our projects is impact. Having to learn about International Youth Day and what other groups of young people worldwide do to mark the day. I also learnt about civic participation and our role as youth. Another fun item was the interview at the radio station, it was a learning experience. To top it all off, I got the opportunity to meet new people, catch up with old friends from the Football for Hope Centre and also hang out with the newbies on the team, cycle 6. A football match between LIGA members and some street league participants as well as youth from the community topped the day. It felt great watching them play as I strongly routed for team LIGA.



It was another fantastic moment with the family; learning from each other , sharing knowledge and most of all impacting youth in the most positive way.

Active Citizen Week: Day 3

Can you believe we are half way through Active Citizen Week 2015?!

Today’s small action was an encouragement to use sustainable transport for #WalktoWorkWednesday. Today’s focus is on Marketing Coordinator Chris Beynon.

“As I don’t live in Reading (where Lattitude Global Volunteering is based), I need to commute into work. Now it’s a little far to walk the entire distance of approximately 30km and so as a keen cyclist I will often cycle all or part of the way in order both avoid Reading traffic and to get a little bit of daily exercise. As the weather had taken a turn for the worse today I decided to cycle to the station and take the train in instead.

photo (2)


I am fortunate in that I have this choice, but many people around the world, especially in some of the countries that Lattitude Global Volunteering work in, are not so lucky. A bicycle for some could be the difference between going to school and not. Access to a farmers market to sell produce to support the family or not.

Having spent a few years living in such countries and as a keen cyclist, seeing the massive success of Team MTN Qhubeka in the last few years has been incredible. Much more than just a sports team, the Qhubeka foundation provides bikes to people in Southern Africa in order to address some of these transport issues, really showing that ‪#‎bicycleschangelives.

It’s not just in far flung corners of the world that a bike can make a difference. Apart from my work, I am involved in a local community interest company called Reading Bicycle Kitchen. The aim here is to promote cycling within Reading, while also being a focal point for active citizens in the community to campaign for increased sustainable transport links throughout the Reading area.

photo 1 (2) photo 2 (2)

So on this #WalktoWorkWednesday, why don’t you commit to one day a week where you don’t use your car for a day, see how much you can do without a car and maybe embrace a car free lifestyle!


Active citizen lessons learnt at Alumni event in Malawi

The day started with an amazing talk from the DFID deputy director Mr. Philip Smith. Philip’s talk enlightened us on issues and challenges that Malawi is going through and how we, as youth, can manage to be active citizens and actually overcome same of the challenges that Malawi is facing. He spoke on how the youth could use the media as a platform to voice our views and emphasised how it is vital that our government officials in Malawi use social media in order to speak to and hear from the people.

All of the alumni in the room consumed this information with interest, as we all began to realise that we can use social media more effectively as active citizens and can utilise social media in order to achieve change.

This was followed by several questions from both Progressio and Lattitude alumni. These questions were also followed by a great debate of discussions, where everyone was asking how we could be agents of change in terms of population growth, education, environment and health. Later in the day, there was a presentation on action 2015 and how we can be involved in it. This was then followed by a presentation by Progressio alumni.

The presentation was interesting as it demonstrated their achievements as active citizens and highlighted the fact that the sky is the limit when it comes to being active citizens and achieving change.

A long discussion then followed, on the sustainable development goals, which was the main subject matter of our event. Issues such as why youth fail to achieve meeting their goals, challenges as to why Malawi is failing to achieve particular goals and what youth could do to overcome the challenges to achieve these goals. In the end, three goals were chosen on which the youth/alumni body are to focus on in Malawi. The first is to utilise social media to voice our ideas to our leaders and the community and organise a monthly meeting in different places that alumni live.

This event has led to the unity and sharing of ideas between the two partner agents of ICS and it is believed that together we can bring change and contribute to the development of our country.

Guest post by: Thandie Ngwira, Malawi alumni


It is day 1 of Active Citizens Week and the team at Lattitude Global Volunteering are doing really well with their ‘Live Below the Line’ efforts.

First we are focusing on Helen, UK Programme Manager who is quite enjoying the experience so far! Helen started her day today with porridge oats made with water and added marmalade and a banana to add some flavour. Although belly rumblings could be heard throughout the office, Helen battled on to lunchtime without caving and tucked into a jacket potato (home grown from her garden) and baked beans. She then treated herself to two squares of dark chocolate, which has hit any sweet cravings she was experiencing! On the menu for this evening is frozen veg, kidney beans and tomato sauce with rice (which is likely to be on the menu for most of this week…!)


We are all trying to be as supportive as possible in the office apart from Rob, who insisted on buying a huge wrap and eating it in front of everyone who is taking part in the initiative! The two coffee fiends, Aaron and Paulina who are taking part in the challenge are finding the lack of caffeine a real struggle. Water just hasn’t been cutting it on a rainy, cold summer Monday morning, but both of the addicts have been battling through!


Aaron didn’t manage to get quite as much for his money, mainly due to shopping in pricey Sainsbury’s. For £5, he managed to buy a bag of pasta, couscous, a loaf of bread, bag of frozen veg, 6 eggs and a pasta sauce. Check back in to see how he is getting on later in the week….

Cycle One: Fifth week in Adaklu District – 10th-17th August

After our first awareness raising event on Sunday 9th August the Project Coordinator gave the team the morning off as many of the team members were exhausted after the day’s event. In the afternoon, however, work on the project had to continue, so the volunteers met with their local farming groups for business as usual! Also, the Maize group went to meet a newly formed group of Maize farmers who had shown interest in working together at our awareness event on the importance of group formation. In the evening we had an Active Citizen Day presentation which three of our fellow volunteers hosted for the group; they focused on humanitarian aid, and in their presentation they had the team partake in a case study where we were split into three groups. One group took the role of the UN, and the other two groups had to devise a plea on behalf of Haiti and Syria, for the necessary resources.

Throughout the week the entire team was busy preparing for the project’s Mid-Placement Review at the beginning of the following week. Photos, videos, and music were put together to summarize the past four weeks of fun but also hard work. We didn’t waste more time on resting, however, and it was on Tuesday – just a day after our first awareness event – that we started planning and preparing for our upcoming sexual health seminar for the youth and women of Waya, in order to prevent the spread of STD’s and to help raise awareness of the facilities the local clinic has, and also to help reduce teenage pregnancies. We plan to run this session in our spare time, as an extra project outside of our main aims (improving the livelihood conditions of the people of Waya). During the afternoon, we experienced a huge rain storm where the UK volunteers had a lot of fun running around in the rain, whilst the ICV’s looked on confused… Later in the evening we had our weekly social – this time it was a picnic where everyone got to try each other’s host parents cooking. There were also counterpart related games, to help improve the relationship between counterparts, and also have a bit of fun at the same time.


Later in the week, getting ready for the Mid-Placement Review was progressing at full speed with all of us working on both our team and individual presentations.  As research for the sexual health seminar, one group had to go to Waya in the morning to find out what sort of facilities the clinic has in terms of family planning – unfortunately, our main means of transportation was broken, so the volunteers walked the distance. The possible highlight of the week was a bite of Bulgarian feta cheese for every volunteer during this week’s My Culture Day presentation, greeted with a mixed response from UK and ICVs!

It was on Friday when a group of the volunteers went back to Waya to meet up with a number of local maize farmers who were keen to create and register another group in the community. After a detailed introduction to Lattitude ICS’s project in Adaklu Waya as well as agreeing on working towards the same objectives, both the volunteers and the farmers seemed filled in with a lot of positivity towards all the hard work that was waiting for them. We counted the day as a huge success as it expanded our project with one more group of farmers to add to our family, but also created even more local friends for the current and future volunteers. Taking this into account, it only made sense for us to close the day with a Nyanukemenya (or ‘Know What I Know’) session on choir singing. It was incredibly inspiring and unbelievably touching to see all volunteers on the project – a number of about 28 of us here – pouring their souls out in singing ‘Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers, even if not completely in tune…


The weekend was highlighted by, of course, more preparations for the upcoming week but also by our Open Mic session where everyone was involved singing and dancing. One of the volunteers was also celebrating her birthday, so we tried to make the evening extra special for her, with her counterpart among others performing a dance for her blending into the happy birthday tune sung in two different languages simultaneously – the magic of cross-cultural interaction. We left Anfoe on Sunday and arrived in Ho just around 40 minutes later. The rest of the evening was left for us to enjoy each other’s company in the pool of the hotel we were staying in with Adaklu Mountain and entire Ho city at the background. Everyone made sure to enjoy the view, the pool, the food, and the free time we had, knowing that the real work was just about to begin.


Active Citizens Week


1159.2b-LGV-ACW-Facebook-cover (website resize)

Next week is Active Citizens Week and we are a little bit excited about it!

In case you didn’t know, this is a week dedicated to taking an active role in community life and making a positive contribution to society. It’s our first year of organising this, so we are starting small but we hope that you will all get involved! 

Whether it’s volunteering for a local charity or campaigning for a cause you feel passionate about, we believe everyone can make a difference to their community, no matter how small an action they take. So join us in getting involved in doing small actions in your community and bring a smile to someones face next week.

Follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram using #ACW2015 to find out more about what others are getting up to and join in!

We will be updating this blog over the course of the week to keep you updated with what we are getting up to so stay tuned!

Cycle One: Fourth week in Adaklu District – 3rd-9th August


Family Fun Day


Hello! Calling in from Ghana.

This week, Lattitude ICS held our first awareness raising event in the community focusing on the importance of group formation. This event was a Family Fun Day! We have all been extremely busy throughout the entire week with numerous emergency meetings and last minute decisions. The Planning and Logistics team did an excellent job organising and preparing for this day and it turned out to be a hit. All the groups contributed a lot throughout the weekdays leading up to the event on Sunday to prepare for it. The Media team have had their creative hats on by designing posters to advertise the event and to use at the event. They’ve visited all of the local churches to make an announcement and also made announcements over the loud speakers in the village. The Safety and Security team have been busy running risk assessments for the different activities for the day. As stressful as it sounds, it was also lots of fun, and honestly – it was all worthwhile. Finally, the Monitoring and Evaluation team are now ready to evaluate how the day turned out – although we are all pretty positive it was a definite success!

So basically, the Family Fun Day consisted of a dance competition for the children, the sack race, lime and spoon and an apple bobbing stall (apple bobbing went down a hit with the Ghanaians who had never heard of it before). We also played two football matches, one for the women and one for the men. It was our ICS team against the local town of Waya. We are proud to say that the women won our game with 3-2 in penalties! Everybody played really well, the team support and motivation was amazing – a real team bonding day for us.                                                                                                    DSC00190

The main reason for the event was not for the activities and football games though. There was actually an important purpose for the event and that was to raise awareness of the importance of ‘Group Formation’. Our aim of the project is to develop the different groups of workers within the community to create group businesses rather than individual workers. At our event we had different stalls for the working/farming groups so that the people could meet each other and sign up for a group of their work. We also had stalls for business management, importance of group formation and the benefits of registering their business. GN bank also turned up to create bank accounts for the different business groups. Each of our teams designed flyers to hand out at these stalls. The flyers consisted of lots of information on each area which will hopefully provide knowledge and understanding on the topics in order to become a good business.DSC00229

The day on a whole was very successful and it seemed as though everybody had fun. The turnout was huge, ranging from children to the elders and also the Queen Mother. The activities were fun and we think rematches in the football are in order which would be fun to compete again. The Planning team pulled it out the bag and produced an amazing day – roll on the next event!       g

Cycle One: Third week in Adaklu District – 27th July–2nd August

This week has been a hectic one, as we analyse and conclude the results of our community survey from the weekend and we begin to plan our very first Awareness Day. Monday begins with a trip to Mafi and Ho to see how their markets operate in comparison with the local market in Waya that we visited. Everyone is really excited to see another part of Ghana, and despite an early morning, spirits are high. That is until, shock horror, the bus blows a tyre on the dusty roads just outside of Waya. The wait to get it fixed, means an excuse for a few selfies as a team and then we are back on the road.


We arrive at a VERY busy Mafi market, a vast contrast to Waya, with stalls, cars and people everywhere, selling everything from groundnuts to maize to jewellery to pastries. Lots of volunteers get very excited by all the fruit on offer and stock up – we like to make sure we get our 5 a day! But our objectives always come first and before buying ourselves anything, we spend our time observing and interacting with the traders, finding out how easy it is to obtain a stall, the prices they sell at and how good business is. We find out a lot of interesting information and it will be good to use in our future training surrounding marketing and branding.

Afterwards we head to Ho, where we spend some more time with the traders – there are more clothes stalls available in Ho and a lot of our team pick up authentic clothing, getting away from the dark colours most of the UK volunteers are used to. With our heads full of new knowledge from the markets and stomachs full of the delights the market had to offer, we head back to Anfoe for dinner and our first volunteer-led Active Citizen Day presentation.

The group have chosen Nuclear Weapons as a topic and they deliver information on the ‘for’ and ‘against’ side for nuclear disarmament before getting the whole group to join the debate. The group is very split on the topic and it makes for a good discussion, with everyone giving their opinion and making interesting arguments from the cost of having the weapons to the potential problems countries may face if they are unarmed. I believe we could have a few activists in our group!

Tuesday starts with the exciting news that the pig some of our volunteers purchased has arrived! Although, the plan to call the pig Herbert, is ruined with the news the pig is actually a girl! We’ve had lots of other suggestions from Babe to Jolene to just keeping Herbert; finally we decide on Roxie, who seems very happy in her specially built pig pen and all the food the volunteers are bringing her. Once the excitement dies down, it’s time for work and all of the groups meet at the Blue House to set their agendas for the week. The monitoring and evaluation team are analysing the results of the survey, safety and security are filling in risk assessments, planning and logistics are coming up with ideas for our first Awareness Event and the media team are posting last week’s blog and coming up with the new idea of ‘a day in the life of’ where they will film the farmers to demonstrate what their daily life is like. We end the day with an all Team Meeting, where star counterparts of the week are awarded and everyone updates on their work.

Our first Awareness Day is the topic of Wednesday, with the planning team explaining their idea to the team for feedback and any other ideas. They’ve come up with a Family Fun Day, complete with fun activities for the children, such as a sack race and apple bobbing, and a football match, but with the main focus being on group formation and registration, including stalls on record keeping, creating a bank account and the benefits of registration. We are hoping to also have the District Assembly and the Bank present to talk to the community. It sounds like a fun day for all involved and we hope it will be a big success.

Wednesday night is social night and it’s four of our volunteers turn to host us – they start the night with a fun game where everyone must pick a dare from the hat – meaning we have some brilliant impressions of pigs, descriptions of volunteer’s perfect partners and some singing! Then it’s film time and we are given orange slices and toffees as snacks – it’s better than an actual cinema!

Our Thursday is a very busy one, with back to back meetings and events happening. We start with an all team meeting to organise what needs to happen around the Awareness Day within each individual teams and come up with questions to ask when we have our bank meeting in the afternoon. Luckily our day is broken up with the local children performing traditional displays of dancing and music, portraying their Voltarian culture. It’s all really exciting and colourful and some of our volunteers are pulled up to dance with the children – much to their embarrassment!


From there, it was back to work, to have a meeting with GN Bank, who gave us lots of information about creating group bank accounts and who very kindly agreed to help us at our Awareness Day next Sunday. The man from the bank was so passionate about his work, we think he managed to convince some of us to create accounts with them! Afterwards, our planning team headed to Waya to visit the football pitch and speak to the Chief and Elders for their approval of our event. Thankfully, they agreed and the space at the pitch will really work to show off everything we want to do.

Our night ended with ‘my culture day’ where four of our volunteers taught us about their culture in the Volta region of Ghana, including details about traditional dress, dancing and festivals. We all learnt a lot and are hoping we will get to experience one of the festivals during our time here.

We started Friday with a general meeting to write up our experiences at the Mafi and Ho markets and what we learnt from the bank. The media and planning team meet to discuss how to promote our Awareness Event and are getting ready to create lots of colourful posters and flyers to catch the community’s attention. We will also be doing announcements in the local church services on Sunday and continue to do announcements on the big speakers across Waya.

Lots of our groups met with their individual farmer groups during the day too, and every group has managed to elect an executive team and are starting on constitutions – it’s all going really well and we’re very proud of the progress everyone is making.

Friday night is our ‘Know What I Know’ night and two of our volunteers, who turn out to be counterparts who’ve read the same book, teach us about how to be an effective person and move from a state of dependency to independence to interdependency. It’s really interesting and everyone is impressed – putting a lot of pressure on next week’s group!

Although it’s a Saturday and technically the weekend, there is no rest for the wicked as our teams meet early morning to prepare for next week and finish the results from the survey, which is looking really interesting and will give us lots to work on. We then spend the afternoon making football nets from water sachets, a little project we’ve created on the side as most of the goal posts in the community don’t include nets. It’s recycling at its finest! Once the sun had gone down, half of our team went to play football to prepare for next Sunday’s Awareness Day match against Waya football team. Our proud team leader managed to score a goal but the celebrations didn’t last for long, as she scored an own goal shortly after! Oh well, you win some, you lose some! She’s insisting that technically, she scored two goals and therefore, should be even more proud of herself. The other half of our team did a short exercise class of cardio, yoga and stretching, which causes some sore muscles the next day.


The evening was open mic and we all came together to tell jokes, riddles and finish with a boys vs girls sing off – to which we still don’t know the winner of, with the boys insisting they were better and the girls determined they had nailed it. Either way, Roxie the pig, who was present, seemed to enjoy it all.

Sunday morning we all headed to the churches across Anfoe and Waya to spread the news of our Awareness Day and invite all of the community along. We also stayed for the full services and fully enjoyed the singing and sermons. Once back home, it was counterpart day and most spent their time washing and catching up on odd jobs before spending the night relaxing before it starts all over again in the morning! We know it’s going to be a busy one preparing for our first Awareness Event and making sure everyone has lots of family fun (while forming and registering groups, of course)!