The Student Representative Council (SRC) of Ghana School of Law has launched a new volunteering initiative called GSL Volunteers (GSLV) – to help law students get involved in community services, social justice initiatives and advocacy.
The GSLV was launched by outgoing president of the SRC, Odupong Agyapong Atta-Agyapong, during an event held on the Accra main campus, Makola.
According to Mr. Atta-Agyapong, GSLV will expand students’ practical experience and leadership skills while building stronger relationships between law students and their communities. “Volunteering is the act of selflessly serving others without expecting anything in return. It includes providing free legal aid, impartation services, mentoring, participating in environmental conservation projects and even fund-raising campaigns.
“The GSL Volunteers will provide opportunities for all law students to use their education and skills to make positive impacts in the communities they serve. The goal is to build a supportive and inclusive community of individuals who are passionate about social justice and community service,” he said.
Highlighting the benefits to members, Mr. Atta-Agyapong indicated that GSLV is an avenue for law students to network and learn to work in teams. “GSLV members will unlock local and international opportunities in academic progression and career advancement.
“As a member, your meaningful contribution will be recognised through the record of your volunteer hours. By this, we mean that you will be issued a certificate for the services you have provided to the communities we serve. This certificate will indicate the number of volunteer hours accumulated during the service. We believe that it is important to know the value of community service in advancing your career,” Mr. Agyapong emphasised
Speaking to reporters after the launch, president-elect Gertrude Emefa Donkor expressed excitement about the launch and emphasised the importance of volunteering. “We appreciate the SRC leadership’s efforts in fostering a sense of volunteerism among our students.
“To me, volunteering is not just an act of kindness; it is a transformative experience that allows us to grow, learn and make a positive impact on lives; and also demonstrate commitment to social responsibility and community engagement. As students of law, we have the responsibility of contributing to our community in any way we can. I believe that the GSLV is an opportunity for us to step up and make a positive impact on our societies,” said Gertrude Emefa Donkor.
The Programme Coordinator, Prince Nketia – who is also a founding member of the initiative, has worked with individuals, local organisations and businesses to foster a partnership aimed at bolstering the initiative’s success, giving students ample opportunity to gain valuable experience while serving in their communities.
According to Mr. Nketia, students will be encouraged to participate in grassroots initiatives as part of their student experience to gain practical experience and leadership skills – which will also benefit the nation when these students are called to the bar. “We believe that the GSLV programme provides an opportunity for law students to engage with their communities and gain valuable leadership skills while serving others’ needs,” said Mr. Nketia.
Speaking further on the benefits to members, Mr. Nketia said that membership of GSLV (www.gslvolunteers.com) is open to all law students – including those currently in school and those undertaking their pupilage. He added that students who seek to apply for graduate studies should particularly take this opportunity seriously if they want to be distinguished from their peers.
“Having a history of volunteer work is what separates two applicants who are equally deserving. Graduate schools look for students who are academically excellent. Beyond this, students who volunteer are given priority for admission and scholarship consideration,” he said.
In order to achieve the goals of GSLV, Mr. Nketia added, the volunteer project will collaborate with civil society organisations, local government and international bodies. “By partnering with governmental agencies, local and international organisations, we hope to help bridge the justice gap by providing pro bono services and resources to underserved communities and minorities,” he said.
Accordingly, earlier-on in August this year, leadership of the SRC – led by the outgoing SRC president Odupong Agyapong Atta-Agyapong and accompanied by the GSLV Programme Coordinator, Prince Nketia; SRC president-elect, Gertrude Emefa Yawa Donkor; and vice president-elect (UPSA Campus) Maanaa Ansah met with leadership of the National Youth Authority (NYA) led by its Chief Executive Officer, Pius Enam Hadzide, to fortify their collaboration in the area of community volunteering.
The NYA will rely on GSLV members to spearhead advocacy on policy reforms in critical areas of our society; including juvenile justice, child marriages and girl-child reproductive health.