General News of Saturday, 17 November 2018
The 10th anniversary celebration of France Volontaires-Ghana and the French Volunteer Day, has been marked in Accra.
France Volontaire is an implementing agency of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development.
Operating in Ghana for over 10 years, ‘’France Volontaires’’ is accredited by the French Government to enable many French volunteers to carry out missions with approved associations and institutions.
It brings together the state, local and regional authorities and associations around a mission of general interest to know how to internationally promote and develop voluntary and solidarity commitments.
Mr Moussa Bah, the Regional Representative of France Volontaires, speaking at the 10th anniversary celebration of the organisation, said it was a platform of international voluntary missions for exchange and solidarity. He said volunteerism was an action of solidarity which was today an important pillar of cooperation for development.
He said when this model of cooperation was appreciated by all, voices should be heard for some years, to affirm that solidarity could not be the prerogative of a group of countries.
He said it must be developed in both directions, hence the concept of reciprocity in international volunteerism. Mr Bah said the French Government, in response to this legitimate demand for reciprocity has, expressed its openness through the 2010 law that regulates the national service in France.
He said the law has enabled France Volontaires to organise several reciprocal missions for young people from Africa, Asia and Latin America, to France since 2013.
He said since 2017, three Ghanaians are currently volunteering in France whereas a fourth was about to leave next week.
He said in Ghana, their involvement with institutions and local communities started in 2008, and with Alliance Francaise Accra, it begun to operate in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture as part of the project to support the rice sector financed by the French Development Agency.
Mr Bah said subsequently they initiated partnerships with the National Service Secretariat, Wesley Girls’ High School and Alliance Francaise in Kumasi.
He said the volunteers operate in the various sectors and in all regions of Ghana.
He said in these regions, the volunteers mainly agriculturalists for the most part, but also instructors in the French language or specialists in communication and planning, offered their support, expertise and experience for the satisfaction of Ghanaian structures in the face of challenges.
Madam Anne Sophie Avè, the French Ambassador to Ghana, called for the promotion of volunteerism for the welfare of society.
She said there is the need to collaborate effectively to offer the best opportunities for Ghanaian volunteers.
She said the presence of French volunteers in Ghana and vice versa contributes to the strengthening of friendship between Ghana and France, as both parties learn from each other’s culture thereby acting as ambassadors of their respective countries.
Mr Charles Owiredu, a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, recalled that at the 17th La Francophone Summit, which was held in Armenia, Ghana was confirmed as a full member of the community; solidifying its membership of the French Priority Solidarity Zone.
He said the President was committed to a Ghana whose people were bilingual, in that regard Ghana has signed a Language Pact with La Francophone, with the view to accelerate the President’s vision.
Mr Owiredu said France Volontaires could contribute to Government’s effort by sharing lessons and experiences gained from working in Ghana and elsewhere across the world; adding that “such experience sharing can help to inform and enrich some of our own policies and initiatives”.
Mr Frèdèric Dart, Director, Alliance Francaise Accra, said the first French volunteers from France arrived at Alliance Francaise Accra, in 2013 at an average of three people every year, however, there had been 17 up to today.
He said they usually stay for a period of 12 months, and have been working in the fields of teaching, communication, culture and mediatheque.
He said the positive points of French Volunteers at Alliance Francaise was that, there was usually a first experience in Africa for the selected people, an immersion of a year in an English speaking country and there was a long professional experience for selected people.
Mr Dart said on the other hand there was a French Volunteer programme opened to Ghanaians in France; as the first French Volunteer programme reciprocity had been initiated in 2017 and it concerned a graduate student of Alliance Francaise.