I found a travel blog website and zoned in on Ghana and the stories of this year’s volunteer troups. The diaries and accounts read just like a book. A book I’ve read so many times. The positive attitude reigns – despite being pick pocketed in a trotro, being food poisoned at the dump of a hotel, having local groups only participate in the great programs if they are paid to join in.
Rather sadly, there is something in this jaundiced look at volunteers from rich countries working in poor countries.
The one thing that most poor countries have in abundance is cheap, unskilled labour; so it is not clear how cheap, unskilled volunteer labour from abroad is going to help.
The main benefit of volunteering programmes appears to be for the volunteer: they get a life-enriching experience. They might also return home with a lifelong interest in development issues and internationalism.