Colonial mentality and volunteerism : “How perspectives originated in the colonial era still influence present-day interaction.” : A case study about the colonial mentality of volunteers and local Ghanaians and its influence on volunteer projects

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On the global scale it are always the Western countries in power who tell the other countries of the world how to do things the ‘right’ way, according to democratic and capitalistic principles. The behaviour of these Western countries that the West is superior to all the other countries can be traced back to the colonial era in which many Western countries were the rulers of colonies in Asia and Africa. In these colonies, rules and principles were implemented according to Western ways without the concern if these rules and principles were even applicable to these countries that often had a different culture and a different set of moral and values. The people in the colonies had no chance to protest and over the years they may have started to believe that the Western way is indeed superior to their own way. This thesis researches if this perspective of superiority of the Western ways can also be found on a smaller and more local scale. In this case in volunteer projects in Tamale, Ghana. The behaviour and interactions of volunteers and local Ghanaians are observed to see if these perspectives are still present and if the Western volunteers see themselves as superior to the local Ghanaians and if the local Ghanaians indeed believe that the Western ways are better than their own. These perspectives can be related to the colonial mentality of the volunteers and local Ghanaians. Colonial mentality is defined as “the perspectives of present day people that have their origin in a historical colonial context and are apparent in the attitude and interaction towards others.” A question that arises is if these perspectives, a person’s colonial mentality, influence the effectiveness of the volunteer projects both actors work in. From this question the following objective is formulated: To examine to what extend the ‘colonial mentality’ of both volunteers and local people in Tamale (Ghana) is of influence on the effectiveness of the volunteer projects in Tamale.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen