my opinions on international humanitarian development

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1st Recipients of TEAMe Builders Scholarship Attend CPAW 2014

Two months ago, six Ghanaian University students were awarded with the first ever TEAMe Builders Training & Workshop Scholarship (TEAMe). The scholarships enabled the six students to attend the 1st “Career Preparation & Advancement Workshop hosted by the Ark Consortium; a group of firms with a common interest in Human Resource Management, Recruitment, and Training in Ghana.

The TEAMe Scholarship is a grass roots scholarship to support opportunities for university students to attend trainings and workshops focused on hard skills in the areas of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEAM) as well as transferable soft skills.

The TEAMe scholarship aims to assist youth in gaining skills needed to obtain and maintain employment.  The scholarship is open to all university students who meet the requirements and students can be nominated or self nominated.

Here are three recipients’ reviews of their experience:


Doreen Klutse

There are a few things that can definitely not be overlooked when it comes to securing a good job: a good CV, great conduct and appearance and “wowing” the interviewers. More often than not, graduates tend to be unemployed mainly because they do not meet the necessary requirements, missed opportunities to express key elements in their Curriculum Vitae or during interview sessions.

In Ghana, our curriculum does not provide for training in CV writing and interviewing skills. How then can we make up for the job market of fit into it? Most often career workshops are organised by corporate bodies to address the gap. READ MORE




Forson Temeng

…the CPAW 2014 workshop has really given me much insight into writing effective curriculum vitae, which, in the words of the HR experts, jumps out when attended to, preparing and excelling at job interviews.

Much appreciation to the organizers and most importantly, to TEAMe Builders for the sponsorship to attend this workshop, indeed, it was a learning and empowerment session and I am so glad to have been given the opportunity to participate.  READ MORE




Samuel Azong

Samuel Azong

Over the years, graduates and other potential employees have been struggling to mesmerize Human Resource managers with exciting and attention grabbing CV’s that can lead to job interviews but more importantly jobs. Unfortunately due to many universities not having CV writing or interview preparation as part of their curriculums the errors committed by these graduates in building their there is a deficiency in effective CV writing.

I appreciate the efforts of Ark Consortium to organize such an informative and career revealing workshop as CPAW2014, which focused on educating graduates and other potential employees about how to draft a professional CV and build on their interview techniques. READ MORE



TEAMe Builders Scholarship Recipients and CPAW 2014 Organizers




Keep following for more information on scholarship updates and opportunities to nominate!


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Haïti – “The Pearl of the Antilles”

“Etranger qui marches dans ma ville/ souviens-toi que la terre que tu foules/ est terre du poète/ et la plus noble et la plus belle” – Anthony PhelpsMon pays que voici

(English Translation – “Foreigner who walks through my city, remember that the land which thou crowds is the ground of poets and the noblest and most beautiful”)

Haiti Tourism Logo

Haiti Tourism Logo

Haiti holds a very special place in my heart. It’s more than just where my parents and grandparents are from; Haiti is where I started to become who I am as a person. Many of my fondest teenage memories are intertwined with the sights, sounds, and feels of Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince.  Once affectionately referred to as “The Pearl of the Antilles” Haiti lies on the western portion of the island of Hispaniola; while the island’s history is marred by a tumultuous past of disaster, hardship, and tragedy that should not be the only adjectives used to describe Haiti. What should come to mind are the beautiful beaches, wonderful food, and some of the most resilient people found anywhere in the world.

One of the goals from my most recent visit was to venture to areas of Haiti that I had never seen before, such as the beach of Labadee. Labadee is a private beach leased to Royal Caribbean Cruise line by the Haitian Government. What does this mean? Haitians or anyone not cruising with Royal Caribbean are prohibited from visiting the beach and to ensure this the entire area leased by Royal Caribbean is surrounded by double metal fencing over 20 feet high (think prison fencing).

While gazing in utter disbelief at the manufactured environment around me a Midwest couple struck up a conversation. This couple would be unknowingly become the inspiration for this post.  Below is a brief portion of the conversation I had with the couple.

‘’What’s on the other side of the island” the woman asked.

“The Dominican Republic” I replied.

“Huh, I didn’t realize it was so close” she responded.

“It’s about a 3-4 hours to the border” I explained.

“So do they have animals” the man chimed in.

“What do you mean, like wild animals or big game?” I asked

“No, like cows and chickens, where do they get there food from” he clarified.

“You mean their food?” I asked hesitantly “You know there are people living on the other side of the fence, right?” I asked trying not to sound condescending.

“Well, how do they get stuff to Labadee?” he questioned.

It was then that it dawned on me that this couple did not realize or were not informed that Labadee was not an island but a beach on an island. “Sir, do you realize that you are visiting a beach in Haiti?” I asked inquisitively.

“What do you mean?” He replied.

“Sir, you’re in Haiti” I replied.

It is with this conversation I debunk five travel myths about my dear Haiti.

Myth #1 – Haiti is too dangerous to visit

Haiti is no different than many other countries when it comes to safety. So yes there may be more street crime than destinations in Europe but is it more dangerous than other areas than South Africa, Mexico or even Jamaica? The advice I take and give is anywhere you travel be vigilant and take the necessary precautions such as avoid being flashy, don’t carry around your passport and if able speak the local language as much as possible. Be street smart and don’t take unnecessary risks.

There are certainly areas that pose some security concerns especially in slum areas of Port-au-Prince but hardly evident in other parts of the country. Do some research and avoid dangerous places.


Myth #2 –  Haiti is too expensive to visit

With traveling to Haiti it’s all about planning. I’ve seen tickets as low as $400 roundtrip from the DMV area.  I generally use and then compare the least expensive option found to itself on the main site; so if American Airlines is the least expensive, I then compare what I found to the actual American Airlines website to see if there are any other discounts.

Hotels on the other hand are priced more similarly to those in the US, however there are many Bed and Breakfast options available Check out AirBnB for some great options.

Karibe Hotel pool side

Karibe Hotel pool side

Myth # 3 – There are no reliable roads and transportation

By no means are the roads in Haiti like driving in America but the roads are good enough to get around the country. On my recent visit I decided to visit Cap-Haitien for the first time and booked a ticket on SanSouci Tours. The company came highly recommend and I was impressed by the price, on time departures, comfortable (air conditioned) buses and clean rest stops.  Keep in mind if you do want to visit Cap Haitien there is also the option of in country flight for about $160 roundtrip, through locally owned airline companies such as Sunrise Airways.

Boarding Sunrise Airways back to PAP

Boarding Sunrise Airways back to PAP





San Souci Tours Bus Station

San Souci Tours Bus Station







Myth # 4 – Following natural disasters and political violence, there is little remaining to see in Haiti

Haiti has experienced more than its share of natural and unnatural disasters, but even through this Haiti remains a hidden jewel. The landscape of Haiti is beautiful and has many natural attractions that are waiting to be discovered.  Since the most devastating natural disaster that Haiti has faced the earthquake of 2010 there has been a big push of tourism by both government and private sector

As you approach Mais Gate International Airport you fly over crystal blue oceans only interrupted by the mountains that seem to go on forever. There is wonderful music for dance lovers, fresh seafood to die for and beaches that are the inspirations for postcards. Lest not forget the numerous historical sites and buildings like the Citadel there is so much to yet see, feel and discover in Haiti and gain insight into Haiti’s complex and multicultural history.

Check out more pics from my visit Haiti Pics 


Cormier Beach in Cap Haitien

Cormier Beach in Cap Haitien



Pathway up to the Citadel



Palais Sans Souci – where Henri Christophe lived

Myth #5 – Haitians speak Haitian

Lastly, Haitians’ don’t speak Haitian but we do speak Creole, French, English, and Spanish. So pick a language and go for a visit. You should also buy a shirt from  Civilized Nations (I bought mine at the Miami Kompas Festival this year!!!)


Retrieved from civilized nations apparel site


So why don’t you go visit my dear Haiti you may discover a new place to love!!!

Check out these cool links for more info:

Cormier Beach Resort

Discover Haiti

Haiti Tourism Inc.

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TEAMe Builders Training & Workshop Scholarship Recipients






Samuel Azong

Samuel Azong

Name: Samuel Azong
University: University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA)
Major: Marketing
Class Year: ( Final Year) 2013/2014
What are you looking to gain by attending this workshop?
I am looking to experience a very informative event that will equip me to be very strategic and highly competitive in the workforce with regards to interview techniques and awesome CV building guidelines.



Angela Bortey

Angela Bortey

Name : Angela Bortey
University: University of Professional Studies, Accra
Major: Business Administration
Class Year: Third Year
What are you looking to gain by attending this workshop?
Experience, improved CV and building my confidence level are the key things I hope to gain after attending this workshop. I hope to expand my network base and learn about new things from other people.



Doreen Klutse

Doreen Klutse

Name: Doreen Klutse
University: University of Cape Coast
Major: Public Relations
Class year: Third Year (2015 Graduation Class)
What are you looking to gain by attending this workshop?
Meet new people already in the corporate world. Also become a better candidate through improved interview skills in order to boost my chances of getting a job.



Israel Koranteng

Israel Koranteng       Follow on Twitter

Name: Israel Koranteng
University: University of Professional Studies, Accra
Major: Business Administration
Class/year:Third Year
What are you looking to gain by attending this workshop?
At the end of the conference I hope to be enlightened on the criteria employers use to hire and recruit personnel especially during interview sessions. I should also be able to put together a   captivating CV that is professional yet mind blowing.


Forson Temeng

Forson Temeng

Name: Temeng Forson Kwaku
University: University of Professional Studies, Accra
Major: BSc Accounting
Class/year: 400 ( Final Year)
What are you looking to gain by attending this workshop?
At the end of this workshop I expect to be equipped with requisite knowledge and skills with respect to career guidance and to build healthy relationship with people in industry.



Michella Otu

Michella Otu

Name: Michella Otuko Otu
University: University of Professional Studies, Accra
Major: Business Administration
Class Year: Third Year
What are you looking to gain by attending this workshop?
I hope to know and understand the dynamics of what employers look for in potential employees. I also hope to upgrade my CV to the required standard. I also look forward to networking and creating sustainable business relationships.



About the event: “Career Preparation & Advancement Workshop 2014″

RecTrain Limited part of ARK Consortium is conducting their first annual “Career Preparation & Advancement Workshop 2014″ in Accra.The event will begin with a meet and greet session and complimentary breakfast. The purpose of the workshop is to prepare college students/graduates, and working class professionals for career opportunities in their respective fields. Providing the needed information and tips to succeed in a competitive workforce. 






Special Thanks To The Mpwr Show 

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A Woman’s Place at the Table of International Development

Retrieved from 4.7.2014

Retrieved from 4.7.2014

As an international community, we are realizing that women and girls are an integral component to addressing development challenges: women make up nearly 40 percent of the world’s population—2.7 billion people—and a majority of them live in poverty, struggling to survive on less than $2 per day.[1]  Providing these actors with the resources they need to support and empower their children and communities makes a marked and statistical difference in organizations’ and programs’ success.

Yet, despite these advancements, leadership in international development agencies and organizations remain largely empty of female participation.  I do not mean to suggest that women do not participate in international development efforts; to the contrary, women make up nearly 63% of the U.S. Peace Corps volunteer base, and this statistic has been reaffirmed by my experiences in the field.   But where are the female leaders, especially the minorities?  Even as foreign aid is increasing to women and women-focused programs, the percentage of women in leadership positions in the international development sector is lagging.

Read More

[1] See Millennium Project, “Fast Facts: The Faces of Poverty.”

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My Peace Corps Week 2014 In Review

Before we talk about Peace Corps Week 2014 you may be wondering “What is the Peace Corps?”.

The United States Peace Corps (PC) is an international service organization managed by the United States government that sends American volunteers to address challenges across the globe (preferably through grassroots measures). Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) support social and economic development, increase the awareness of others on American culture and increase Americans understanding of cultures of other countries.  PCVs work abroad for a period of 27 months.

PC was established by executive order by President John F. Kennedy on March, 1961. Check out the televised broadcast. Want to learn more? Check out a Recruitment event in your area.

Peace Corps Week is an annual event to celebrate President John F. Kennedy’s establishment of the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. This annual event provides the Peace Corps community an opportunity to acknowledge, share, and celebrate the impact at home and abroad made by Peace Corps Volunteers.

With about a month and a half before I ceebrate my one year anniversary as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV), each day during #PCWeek2014 I posted on my Facebook page something I learned during my service and how I’ve changed because of my service. Here is the collection of my posts from #PCWeek2014.

Day 1:

in celebration of #pcweek2014 I would like 2 share 1 thing each day this week that#peacecorps taught or changed in me 1. #listening is probably one of the least used ways 2 help ppl when working in development #listenmore

Day 2:

in celebration of #pcweek2014 I would like 2 share 1 thing eachday this week that#peacecorps taught or changed in me 2. I found a new found #respect and#understanding for #Islam and for #Muslims while living in #Mali. Don’t let anyone dictate what you believe about people, culture, or religion. #Learn for yourself.#immersion

Day 3:

in celebration of #pcweek2014 I would like 2 share 1 thing each day this week that#peacecorps taught or changed in me 3. #Flexibility is one of the #keys to#success. being rigid will break you. learn from the #challenges#celebrate the#wins and #enjoy the #experiences.

Day 4:

in celebration of #pcweek2014 I would like 2 share 1 thing each day this week that#peacecorps taught or changed in me 4. Being a #black #volunteer in and of itself is challenging but a very fulfilling experience; add to that being a black volunteer serving in (west) African countries has continued to teach me how dynamic and diverse we all are. No matter how we look on the outside, its important to respect the differences, appreciate and learn from them.  #moreblackvolunteers #diversityindevelopment #africaisnotacountry #allblackpplarentthesame#blackppldovolunteer

Day 5/6 (Had to combine days because I was busy with National Day of Action on Capitol Hill – Read Below):

in celebration of #pcweek2014 I would like 2 share 1 thing each day this week that#peacecorps taught or changed in me (I missed yesterday so here’s 5 & 6) 5.#America is far from perfect but its pretty damn good! 6. #international#development and #aid needs an overhaul. The type of aid I’ve seen creates an unfortunate cycle of #dependence in ppl who if they had been given the#opportunity 2 build their #capacity wouldn’t need aid in the first place.

Day 7:

in celebration of #pcweek2014 I would like 2 share 1 thing each day this week that#peacecorps taught or changed in me 7. one person can make a difference the moment they believe there’s a difference to be made.

In addition to sharing my thoughts (what’s talk with no action) I spent National Day of Action (Thursday February 27, 2014) on Capitol Hill with over 100 National Peace Corps Association Advocates urging support for strong Peace Corps funding.

The National Day of Action is a day when NPCA and its supporters go to Capitol Hill to advocate on issues of importance to the Peace Corps community, including an independent and robust Peace Corps, and policies that respect, honor and support the Peace Corps community. This year marks the 10th annual National Day of Action. This event also allows RPCVs to share their experiences and voice concerns on other global issues.

Here are some pics I captured from National Day of Action:

Image of Capitol Hill from Rayburn Office Building

Image of Capitol Hill from Rayburn Office Building

Congressman Joe Kennedy

Congressman Joe Kennedy (4th District Massachusetts)


                                                                                    “Breaking News” Latest update from National Day of Action

Congressman Joe Kennedy was delighted to know that my Mali group was affectionately named 'The Kennedys"

Congressman Joe Kennedy was delighted to know that my Mali group was affectionately named ‘The Kennedys”


This gentleman was in the 1st group to go to Peace Corps Ghana!!!

This gentleman was in the 1st group to go to Peace Corps Ghana!!!

Each gentleman here was  in the first group to go to their respective countries

Each gentleman here was in the first group to go to their respective countries

RPCV Advocacy on the Hill

RPCV Advocacy on the Hill

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Help raise funds for the Ghana Girls’ Learning Hub

My name is Monica Jeannormil and returning to Washington, DC after completing my Peace Corps Volunteer Service in West Africa this year has been bittersweet. I volunteered for over 27 months, first in Segou,Mali as a Business Development Advisor, and then in Accra,Ghana as an Assistant Communications Manager with Relief International/USAID-Ghana WASH Project. Months after my completion of service (COS), I still find myself longing for ways to give back. These communities taught me so much about myself, about service to others, and that working together is the only way to solve our global challenges.

Working with and learning from local communities, I gained a new found appreciation for my education and the loving support of my family and friends. My success, ability to take on new adventures and face challenges can only be attributed to them.  Unfortunately not everyone has access to education or a strong support system, especially not girls in developing nations.

Additionally due to the lack of education access girls often do not have the right to decide when and to whom they want to marry or when is the right time to have children. During my time in Ghana, I became acquainted with the Revolutionary Underground Foundation, and have since committed to helping the Foundation provide education and support to underprivileged girls in Accra.

The Revolutionary Underground Foundation, a Rebecca Project for Human Rights Initiative, has been ensuring that young girls in the Jamestown community of Accra, Ghana receive an education, earn income and decide when they will marry and when they will have children. The Foundation is officially registered in The Republic of Ghana as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).The mission of the Foundation is to empower girls and young women in Africa through education, learning resources and technology, leadership training, mentorship and emotional support.

For over four years, the Foundation has been empowering young girls to become vessels for change.The Foundation encourages and promotes the development of the mind, body, creativity and spirit of each girl. The Foundation works hard to challenge and inspire each girl and help her develop the skills and confidence to enable her to strive towards achieving her personal goals and to contribute to the wider global community.

Founder Chiedza Makonnen began the Foundation by providing educational assistance, counseling, support networks and mentoring to these at-risk young girls in Jamestown. In these past years, the Foundation has helped more than 300 girls, and these services have enabled these promising young girls the ability to focus on their education rather than the challenges to completing their education. In order to continue this amazing work, the Foundation needs YOUR help to secure a long-term physical space. For many years, the Foundation, worked without a permanent location and has been fortunate to use the Jamestown Community Theatre; a shared community space for youth, arts and creative activities.

Despite this challenge of space the Foundation continues to provide its girls and young women with meals, educational counseling, courses and school supplies to help them stay in school and perform better. The Foundation has also helped these young women connect to a strong network of women mentors and through these mentorships, leadership trainings, emotional support, and health education these young girls become informed, responsible and strong future leaders.

Please click HERE for more information on our Girls and Gigabytes Campaign. I hope you can help us reach our goal!


Founder Chiedza Makonnen with young RU girls during 2013 school supplies and backpack distribution