Volunteering Opportunities in Ghana

As a short-term or long-term volunteer in Ghana, you would responsibly assist and gain experience in healthcare, childcare, sports for social change or teaching while immersing yourself in local cultures.

Why Volunteer In Ghana?

 

Ghana is a colourful democratic country that claims it is the gateway to Africa because of its peaceful nature and the warm hospitality of the people. It also has a great variety of cultures, gorgeous beaches, national parks, conservation areas, and many important historic sites.

Recently, Ghana has seen a gradual but steady economic growth, greater accessibility to education and healthcare delivery, especially in the cities and towns, but the quality still remains poor.

Ghana is an ideal place for volunteers to assist on a sustainable program helping a community and its people in need, and at the same time to see and enjoy all the wonderful things it has to offer.

Volunteer Projects In Ghana

 

Medicine – Healthcare

Duties

Depending on your specialty and qualification, you would have the opportunity to shadow in a local medical facility, work in a maternity/labor ward, work in a surgical department, do outreach and informal clinic work (anything from health education to screening).

Why?

Ghanaian people living in the cities and the big towns are a bit fortunate receiving good medical services because most of the medical facilities have trained practitioners at post to serve them even though the doctor-patient ratio remains high. The situation in the small towns and the rural areas is quite different; there is a significant shortage of trained health workers at the under-resourced health facilities to provide various medical services. Different governments have tried solving this problem by training a good number of medical workers each year to fill up the shortages, but it is still not working. This is because most of these trained professionals leave for developed countries for various reasons that include improved conditions of service and further studies.

As a result, AIAV through its local partner organization has created an enabling environment for volunteers to assist, learn and acquaint themselves with medical procedures at these under-resourced areas to help the affected people and communities.

With many activities to get involved in, this is an ideal medical program for qualified practitioners, medical students, or a complete beginner. It provides an opportunity to work closely with local staff and to handle medical cases, providing health services to the local people.

It is important to note that most of the facilities we are associated with are of poor quality and you are also to bring your own scrubs, lab coat, etc.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors. Provide an original or certified copy of required qualifications (medical degree or transcript), medical professionals only.

Possible Workplaces

Public hospitals, clinics, and community health centres.

Season

All year round.

Caregiving – Orphanage

Duties

Some of the activities you could take part in to assist the children at the homes we are supporting in the Central and Volta regions are helping kids with their home work, helping with food preparation and getting kids ready for school, providing fun activities such as music, dancing, sports, arts and crafts, etc., treating minor wounds, creating or introducing any new initiative that could help shape the future of the kids.

Why?

Assisting innocent vulnerable children is the paramount aim of AIAV. Our orphanage program is intended to support the efforts of the local caregivers who are providing various services bettering the lives of the unfortunate ones, who did not get the privilege to be taken care of by their own parents or relatives. These children were in fact abandoned or left alone due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and ended up in orphanage homes.

You would agree with us that children anywhere in the world need care, love, attention, access to healthcare and an opportunity to get educated for a brighter future. Our orphanage program gives you the chance to do the little that you can to encourage, inspire, and put some smiles on the faces of unprivileged kids.

It is important to note that AIAV only works with licensed orphanages that have well-defined discharge or exit plans for these children.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you will be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Orphanages.

Season

All year round.

Sports For Social Change

Duties

You will have the opportunity to assist in leading training drills, organizing competitions, improving players’ techniques, coaching during games.

Why?

This program is aimed at providing activities that increase the mental and physical abilities of children and the youth, resulting in a healthy life style, discipline, self-confidence and good teamwork. It is also to discover and develop local talents and most importantly encourage children to attend and stay in school.

The sporting activities under this project are soccer (which is of course the passion of the nation), handball, table tennis, volleyball and basketball.

The communities offer this sporting program for free. The only condition for enrolling and being accepted into one of the sporting teams is that the children attend and remain in school. The strategy is working and with continuing motivation and support the program will see major transformations in the communities in the very near future.

As a result, we have volunteering opportunities for individuals or groups who are enthusiastic about sporting activities to join and assist local trainers or coaches to operate one or more of these teams.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you will be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Primary schools and/or junior and senior high schools and/or amateur community sporting teams.

Season

All year round.

Education – Teaching

Duties

Through this program, you’ll be able to motivate and inspire teachers and school children to practice and improve their oral English; teach other subjects like maths, social studies, general science, music, arts in your own classroom or assist in classes; assist in designing teaching and learning materials; help students who need to pass their oral English language test or any other subject that has become a hindrance to their academic progress.

Why?

The standard of teaching and learning in our selected communities in the Central and Volta regions of Ghana is very low. This is simply because of inadequate teachers and poor infrastructure. As a result, a lot of children in these communities do not have the interest to attend school regularly or completely drop out of school.

Furthermore, even though English is the official language in Ghana and most teachers are able to teach the structured English language, most school children in these areas are not able to have a conversation in fundamental English. This is due to the lack of stimulation from the teachers’ end, and therefore, a lack of motivation and practice from the students. This also means that the children struggle to cope with other subjects, since they’re all being taught in English.

You do not need to be a professional teacher to join this program and help out. Being a fluent English speaker and with our support and tool to help you prepare and teach English as a second language, you’ll be fine.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you will be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Primary, junior or senior high-schools.

Season

School vacates in December and July for a couple of weeks.

Disability Program

Duties

As a volunteer on this project, you will work alongside with local staff to assist and support individuals/groups to participate in recreational activities, encourage and provide education on personal hygiene, help with behavioural management, provide a variety of therapies (according to your skills), do clean-ups, help with homework, help with arts and crafts, provide loving care and support.

Why?

Most typical Ghanaians consider people born with mental or physical disabilities being ‘cursed’. They believe the parents or a member in their family might have broken a taboo; hence, the disability is a punishment. There are instances where parents of these kids are advised to abandon their children in the bush for nature to take its course. Those parents who refuse to heed to this act have to struggle all by themselves for the upbringing of their special children as there would not be any support whatsoever from the relatives or friends. Moreover, there is a lack of resources or appropriate facilities in the communities to assist in providing proper care, attention or support for these special children. As a result, many of these kids are usually isolated, uneducated and become a huge burden. This situation has rendered most people with special needs in Ghana unproductive and to become beggars in the streets.

Fortunately, we have opportunities for volunteers to assist a few schools and centres in the central region that admit these unfortunate people and provide them with emotional and physical support that is to say therapy, counselling, formal education and job training, to enable them to become independent and useful to their families and society as a whole. These children are survivors. When you hear about their birth stories, the environment they live in, the situations they have been through, you would be surprised that they are still alive.

Requirements

Interest in working with and helping children who have special needs. Enthusiastic, patient, flexible, caring, mature, and responsible. You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you will be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Centres for the disabled.

Season

School vacates in May for a couple of weeks.

Ghana FAQ

Start Dates

Our start dates are flexible. You are at liberty to chose a date that works for you. We’ll then crosscheck if we have a spot for you at that date.





Duration

We have both short-term and long-term volunteering opportunities, ranging anywhere from 1 week up to 1 year.





Program Locations

We currently have opportunities available some towns and rural areas in the Central and Volta regions.





When To Apply

To volunteer in Ghana, we don’t have a set deadline for applications. However, we do recommend that you apply at least 2 months before your intended departure date to ensure you have adequate time to prepare for your trip. If you have a spontaneous desire to volunteer, give us a call and we’ll see what we can do.





Visa

• Ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months.

• Apply for a tourism visa.

• A single entry visa for Ghana is valid for three months from the date of issue. Should you need an extension, our in-country coordinator will be more happy to assist you.

• For cost, how to apply and more information about Ghana visas, click Ghana Visas.





Vaccinations

Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required. Also, make sure your routine vaccines are up to date. Additional vaccinations recommended are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Measles, Meningitis, Rabies, and Typhoid. Please note, there is no vaccination for Malaria, but you can take preventative medication, which we do recommend (from personal experience). Click here to read more regarding travel health. Please visit your local travel health clinic to discuss this with a professional and which vaccinations are suitable for you. It is recommended you visit the clinic at least 6 weeks before your departure date.





Orientation

Once you arrive, you will be picked up by in-country staff from the airport and taken to your accommodation for the night. There, you will have the chance to freshen up, contact home, and meet other volunteers. This is the perfect opportunity to exchange contact information for possible future travels or get-together. The next day, you will receive an orientation, where you will learn everything you need to know to have a safe, educational, and exciting experience. After the orientation, you will be transported to your project, where you’ll be introduced to your host family and project staff.





Meals And Housing

You will be provided 3 meals per day (homemade local food). The following are examples of food you might be provided:

Breakfast: Pancakes or toast and peanuts with porridge, tea, cocoa, or coffee.
Lunch: Jollof rice, yam and sauce, or plantains and beans.
Dinner: Noodles, sausages, rice and peanut soup, kenkey and garden eggs stew, or fufu and palm nut soup.

As for housing, you will stay either with a local host family or on the project site, depending on your placement. You will either have your own room or share a room with other volunteers. You will receive specifics on living arrangements before your departure.





A Typical Day's Schedule

AIAV aims to make your volunteering day in Ghana a combination of valuable voluntary work, sharing of cultural experiences, and free time to loosen up and reflect. The schedules do vary from program to program. The following is a general schedule:

7:30 am You will have breakfast with your host family or other volunteers, depending on your living arrangements. Those working at an orphanage will have to wake at 5:30 am to help taking care of the children with bathing and their breakfast.
8:00 am You will travel to your project. This is usually a walking distance; however, it could as well be by trotro (local minibus).
8:45 am – 12:30 pm Working at your project site.
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch break.
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Working at your project site.
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm Work usually ends between this time-period, depending on your project. You’re then free to explore and/or socialize.
6:00 pm Dinner with your host family or other volunteers.

 

♦ There is also a tea break and a serving of fruit once a day during work.





Free Time

As a volunteer in Ghana, you will have plenty of free time to immerse yourself in local culture. During the week, you can enjoy mingling with the locals and observing their ways of living. On the weekends, you are free to go wherever your heart desires and explore the wonders of your host country or neighbouring countries, if possible.

Some key things to see or do in Ghana:

Cape Coast – Elimina slave castle; Kakum National Park – canopy walk; Accra/Kumasi National Art Centre – souvenirs and cultural activities like dancing/drumming; Nzulenzu stilt village; Mole National Park – safari; Kintampo/Wli waterfalls; Paga crocodile pond; beautiful beaches like Labadi, Sir Charles, White Sands or Busia. Remember, your in-country coordinator is always available to help you plan safe, educational and cost saving travels.

Click here to learn all about what you can do during your free time while in Ghana.





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