In my last blog, I discussed the most reflecting part of the ICS placement. But in this blog, I will discuss something very different and important.

As the thematic analysis states, this will explain the most rewarding part in the presence of ICS. The road to success starts when one applies for volunteering. Many resources are used such as time and money. Thinking that it might be just a waste of these resources I have, with critical thinking, known and hope that resources are not wasted. Even those people in the rural communities where we go and conduct sessions have got lots of things to learn and gain from these.

The first people rewarded with the ICS placement are the volunteers themselves. Looking at the way we have to present in front of the communities, I have seen even in myself that this is no longer a challenge. My shyness and fear when speaking in public is now history, a thing of the past. Another thing is the way I communicate with my fellow youth, for example, when we are conducting sessions; this has been more achievable as I have formulated new relations with the fellow youth in the communities around Nkhata Bay. In addition to that I have also grown my relations with my fellow volunteers from the UK. 

The second to be rewarded from the ICS programme is the partner organisation we work with. In this case we are referring to Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO). Their mission is to empower youth, women and children in combating the spread of HIV, which I know from reaching this far the impact of AIDS has been mitigated and human rights have been promoted in all sorts of lives. Whereby change is seen in social-economic development, I know and hope that YONECO as an organisation have benefitted a lot from the ICS programme.

Thirdly; the community is next to be rewarded. People in the typical rural areas had lots of challenges before ICS, due to the lack of access to information so that they can be aware of the issues that affect their lives and behaviour. For example, some areas are far away from health facilities and services; so it becomes very difficult for those people to access information. The YONECO ICS partnership targeted these areas and responded to their health needs, bringing and addressing them with information about sexual reproductive health and rights issues with the aim of providing a better livelihood. From my point of view, I have seen these communities improving. 

Lastly, the whole nation is now rewarded. The programme has contributed to a very big change in the development of Malawi as a nation. Starting from the volunteers who have been converted to being active citizens. I am now able as an active citizen to take part in development projects because I now understand that development work is a shared responsibility, whereby anyone can contribute and take part. This contribution has helped the government to respond to the communities’ needs and the government is able to take part, which will result in bringing a brighter future for Malawi.

There are a few youths who involve themselves in volunteering with YONECO ICS, which is helping and contributing to a very big change, not just as an individual but the community, plus the whole nation is being rewarded. 

Written by ICS volunteer Eric Veeto Nyengani