COVID-19 has greatly affected our day-to-day life, our businesses and has disrupted access to opportunities. However it also sparked a lot of resilience in us, just like the saying goes: “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”.
Episodes of Resilience
A month after I applied for the African Union Youth Volunteer Corps (AUYVC) Program, the African Union Commission (AUC) Youth Division began notifying selected applicants. It was a bittersweet moment in the WhatsApp group, some crying tears of joy while others were disappointed. I happened to be in the disappointed group.
One night I accessed my email to submit a different job application and there was an email from the AUYVC program notifying me that I was selected. I excitedly woke everyone in the house, returned to my laptop and reread the email making sure I had all the confirmation details and required documents. I sent them back that night.
In Congo Brazzaville, where we the pre-deployment training took place, an interesting journey began. I got to meet different young people from all over Africa, it was overwhelming to finally see different faces I saw online live. Meeting the vibrant, energetic Commissioner H.E Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor and the hard-working Daniel Adugna who had supported us earnestly in our travels.
We received trainings on different modules, Pan Africanism, Leadership, Financial Literacy and got to learn better on Agenda 2063 and how to perfectly brand ourselves in our daily and professional work.
The AUYVC program introduced me to different languages spoken in Africa through the group assignments and interactions we had with fellow volunteers. I was able to keep up with new friends within the AUYVC family, we exchanged beautiful and interesting things about our countries and cultures. I got to love and appreciate, mostly the West African tradition and even got myself a beautiful Togolese name from the Ewe tribe ‘Komlan’ which is commonly given to boys born on Tuesday.
An unforgettable experience
A year after my pre-deployment training I was deployed to UNICEF Eswatini as a (T4D) Technology for Development officer. In contrast to previous years where deployment was physical, 2020 introduced us to the virtual work space due to COVID-19 restrictions. I must admit, it was difficult to adapt but as time went on it became a normal working modality as even my colleagues in Eswatini were also working from home.
From the virtual deployment I learned new skills, memorizing people’s voices and accents so much so that I didn’t need to look at the Zoom screen to know who was speaking during a meeting. Even though I have not had the opportunity to go to my host country I have learned so much about it; from the cultural ceremonies like the annual Reed Dance and other beautiful places which colleagues were sharing.
During my deployment I was able to undertake trainings and acquired a trainer of trainees’ certificate which lead me to being one of the facilitators for the 11th cohort of the AUYVC, this was a great step in building my facilitation skills and contributing to the AUYVC program as a proud alumnus.
Through AUYVC I was able to find career building opportunities and trainings as I carry out my deployment duties in UNICEF Eswatini, also the linkage and relations between volunteers has been fruitful as we engaged in peer-to-peer learning activities which are so vital in our career paths.
Through AUYVC I was able to rediscover myself, I came to learn different values and characters which contribute to my personality. Cultural diversity within the AUYVC has brought so much pride and realization of how beautiful our continent is, the love for different languages and the forever growing interest to be able to understand all AU official languages got me inspired to learn.
Indeed, not only did this training and experience polish my skills, through effective virtual working, it also built my resilience to face tougher issues whenever I am confronted with them.
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