You are about to discover a new culture, accomplish something unforgettable, and explore what Ghana has to offer!
Immerse yourself in Ghanaian village life while contributing to the livelihoods and education of children, or the sustainable local farming methods of the community. This is an opportunity for you to connect with West African culture, while being a part of broader positive community change, supported by volunteers from around the world.
Ghana is a fun, happy, vibrant and safe country that can best be summed up in three words: football, religion and noise. I would like to thank GVN for a fantastic, hassle-free programme, my hosts, Eric, and the people of Ghana for having me and making me feel welcome.
Ben | Ghana Volunteer
Working at the orphanage was fantastic! Going to bath-time in the morning, as well as afternoon activity time and evening bath-time were the main parts of your day. In the spare time around those activities, you could help out with laundry or on the farm, or spend the time going to the local market or internet cafe or just relaxing in the volunteer house, perhaps fetching water from the well.
Francesca | Ghana Volunteer
Just Choose a Project and Apply!
While you're volunteering in local Ghanaian communities, you will be accommodated in a shared house alongside likeminded volunteers and experience the traditional Ghana diet. Teaching volunteers are placed at schools and are accommodated on-site or with a local Ghanaian family. We recommend visiting some of the many beaches along the coast of Ghana to escape the heat, sampling some local cuisine at a 'chop bar' in Awutu, or learning more about the African slave trade at the Cape Coast Castle.
Do you love kids and want an experience that will last a lifetime? Then seize the opportunity to work alongside local staff at an orphanage in Ghana. The home is basic, underdeveloped and always in need of volunteers to assist with caring for underprivileged children.
These children need love and attention, and assistance with education and developing their life skills. Providing the children with the essential skills in life will help them on their way to successful futures free from poverty, filled with the same opportunities as others.
Do you have green fingers? Great gardening skills? Then grab this opportunity to work alongside local Ghanaians and assist in the farming program.
The land belongs to the children's home and is used to grow food for the children and generate income to support the running of the children’s home; excess produce is to be sold locally. Duties will include weeding, planting, watering and harvesting.
Do you love kids and get a kick out of seeing them learn and achieve? Many schools in Ghana struggle with overcrowded classes and a lack of skilled teachers.
We have opportunities for volunteers to assist with teaching in the following:
Pre-School (4-5 year olds)
Primary School (6-11 year olds)
Junior Secondary School (12-14 year olds)
Subjects range from language and literacy, maths, science, computer skills, environmental studies, physical development, and psychosocial skills to creative activities such as music, dance, and art.
As a volunteer you can help to empower girls and boys by giving them the skills they need for the future and to make their voices heard.
A teaching qualification is not required but volunteers need to be confident in the above subjects and preferably have or be studying towards a university degree. Your level of experience will determine the age group that you work with.
Our vision is to connect people with communities in need, with a particular focus on vulnerable women and children. We do this by supporting the work of local community organizations in countries through the placement of international volunteers.
We are excited to get your placement under way where you will:
Be a part of GVN's efforts to inspire learning, innovation and action to unlock the potential of vulnerable communities around the world. Work with exceptional grassroots projects in community development, conservation and wildlife, personal development, fundraising and physical challenges.
Have the 24/7 support of a non profit with 12 years experience in placing 19570 volunteers that will provide you with an affordable and rewarding placement.
Volunteer with a world-class organization which is recommended by Bill Gates and CNN.
Be a part of progressive non profit that has raised over $2 million to help women and children in need.
Have the comfort of knowing that GVN staff have collectively flown over 1 million miles to ensure you get a quality placement.
Make a long-term impact in your community of choice - it's not just a vacation.
How GVN works...
The first step is to fill out an application to see if we have a place for you. Then if your application is successful you will be accepted and we will then get to work organizing your placement.
GVN is a registered Charitable Trust, so volunteers finance themselves, or can fundraise online with our unique GVN platform, with US donors receiving tax receipts. The Program Package provides you with all that is listed below, along with personalized support from our expert staff and the knowledge that you'll be working with a reputable and registered charity with over 12 years experience in the field.
At the heart of our work is the communities our volunteers work to support - we ensure that these communities truly benefit from your time in Ghana and that the Program Package fully supports you financially while you're volunteering.
The Program Package also includes a project donation, which supports the work the GVN Foundation does in addressing nutrition, education and healthcare needs, as well as supporting longer-term development approaches, including income generation activities and microfinance.
Your program package includes:
Personal support from your Program Specialist throughout the preparation process.
Your Program Guide, with all the details on Ghana and your placement.
Fundraising strategies and access to our crowd funding platform where you can raise up to 100% of the cost your trip, with tax receipts for your US based donors.
Access to Your Own Online Journal: which helps you to communicate effectively and easily with your family and friends back home.
Opportunities for Preferred Pricing and Personalized Service when booking Airfares: through our travel partner GYT Flight Centre who go the extra mile to support GVN volunteers.
Accommodation: Home stay, volunteer dormitory or onsite at your project
Meals: 3 meals daily.
Project Donation: Included.
Airport pickup: On arrival date.
Training: In-country orientation.
Supervision: In-country staff supervision.
Support: Pre-departure personal support from your volunteer coordinator, 24/7 in-country support from partner, and 24hr emergency line.
An opportunity to debrief and provide feedback
Free access to GVN Changemakers program which alerts you to future internship/job opportunities at GVN.
A Letter of Completion in Volunteer Service.
The opportunity to stay connected with your project.
Global advocacy and fundraising campaigns to continue your part of the movement for social change with an international non-profit that has granted over $2 million to our partner organizations.
The program package does not include: Flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, departure from the program.
We recommend you allow a weekly budget of US $30 for your other expenses such as bottled water, lunch, personal items, beverages, and entertainment.
Your Program Package
Calculate the price of your individualised program package. Details on longer placements may be available on request.
Select A Project
Then: Select A Length
Your Program Package
For those securing far enough in advance, there is a possible US$300 discount. Confirming your placement early on allows us and our partner communities the ability to plan in advance with confidence in terms of volunteer numbers and funding for the months ahead.
Can you tell me more about Ghana?
Ghana is a vibrant and alluring country, steeped in rich tradition and a frequently tragic history. Free from the trappings of mass tourism, this former British colony has much to offer the visitor. Tropical beaches abound but there's so much more: feed the sacred crocodiles at Paga, plunge into the waterfalls of the eastern highlands, marvel at the game-rich savannah of Mole National Park, or relive the chilling story of the coastal slave forts. For more information we suggest that you purchase the Bradt Travel Guide to Ghana.
What is the climate like in Ghana?
Since Ghana is only a few degrees north of the equator, the only seasonal changes are distinct wet and dry seasons. The best time to visit is during September and October when the weather is relatively cooler and it rains only occasionally. From December to February it is the dry season, when day temperatures are in the 80s-90s Farenheit (27-36 degree Celcius) and nights in the 70s Farenheit (18-26 Celcius). Another dry season occurs from July to August. A dry northeast wind known as the Harmattan blows for about 10 days in January. The eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry; the southwest corner has the highest humidity and rainfall, while the north is frequently hot and dry. Don't forget to take along an umbrella during the rainy season.
Are there holidays or festivals I should be aware of when traveling?
Ghana has several holidays and festivals throughout the year. Some of these will interrupt project schedules and some will not. One thing about Africa is that schedules are never written in stone. You should use the break from the regular work schedule to soak up the culture and get to know the people you are living among.
Do I need to speak English to become a volunteer?
It is helpful if you speak English; it is also fine if English is your second language. While there are many local languages spoken in Ghana, the majority of people speak English.
What age do you have to be to volunteer?
You must be between 18 and 60 years old to volunteer in this program.
What immunizations/vaccines will I need?
Diphtheria and tetanus
Hepatitis A & B
Yellow fever - a certificate proving you have had this should be shown at the airport on arrival.
Malaria (needs to be closely discussed with doctor)
Some of these can be taken in oral form so please do discuss all options with your doctor to see what is best for you. Some people can be affected quite differently to others by medication. Malaria is prevalent in Ghana so we strongly recommend medication for this. A yellow fever vaccination is legally required to enter Ghana and you will need to provide a certificate to prove you have had it to obtain a visa.
Tell me more about flying into Ghana.
All volunteers fly into Kotoka International Airport in Accra (airport code ACC). You will be met by our partner or an airport guide arranged by our partner to transport you to the project or your evening accommodation, depending on how far your project site is from the airport and what time you arrived.
What are the living arrangements when volunteering?
Volunteers in the Ghana program will be placed either in a volunteer house or in a home-stay situation within the community they are working in, or in a neighbouring community. All of our caretakers and host families have been trained to provide a warm, safe, and clean environment for volunteers. Your host family will truly adopt you as one of their own, and you are encouraged to feel at ease with them. All living quarters have a bed, mosquito netting, bath and facilities, and a lock on the door. You will have drinking (unfiltered) and bathing water, a kerosene lamp, soap, and toilet paper available. You may want to purchase bottled water. You should plan on bringing a flashlight as well. You will be fed three meals a day, and if there are any problems with the meals (too spicy, for example) please discuss it with your counterpart so that the menu can be changed.
How do I get to the project?
After a brief orientation in Ho, volunteers are typically driven to their placements by a member of staff later that day or the next day, depending on the distance to be travelled.
Can I bring my family/children to this program with me?
Volunteers are welcome to bring their family members with them on the program. Each application will be considered on a case by case basis and there will be a minimum additional cost per family member. Partners will need to apply separately if they wish to take part in the program. Things to keep in mind include the additional costs for accommodating your family and how your children will be supervised while you are at the worksite.
How does GVN choose volunteers for this program?
Each GVN program has different criteria depending on our partner's requirements. Every application is reviewed to ensure that the minimum requirements (as set out on the program page) are met. Next we look to see what skills or experience you have that relate specifically to the program. We are also interested in any previous volunteer experience you may have (either local or international), travel experience, and your particular interest in the program.
After reviewing your application, should we require any further information from you, we will email you to request this.
Are there more expenses once I arrive?
The in-country fee covers food and home-stay accommodation during your placement. If you arrive early or intend on staying on in Ghana for longer than you are volunteering then you will need to have spare money for this time. Since most flights from the U.S. and Europe arrive in Accra late in the day it is often necessary for volunteers to spend their first night in Accra. Volunteers are asked to cover the cost of their additional accommodation and meals; this will be approximately US$25/per night in total. Other costs include buying bottled water and any shopping you want to do personally. Also some money may be required for your days off, depending on what you intend doing.
How safe is it to volunteer in Ghana?
Ghana is one of the safest countries in Africa. It has a democratic electoral process and a stable economy. We work very hard to ensure you are placed in safe environments while volunteering. The people are very warm and friendly towards foreigners, so you will be well looked after.
Is there any time of the year when I can't volunteer?
Volunteers in the Teaching program should not plan to begin placements in March, April, July, August, or December as teaching placements are not available during school holidays which are generally:
(a) 25th March to 9th May (b) 25th July to 9th September (c) 10th December to 9th January
Note: These dates vary slightly from year to year. They also vary from school to school and should be treated as approximate rather than confirmed dates.
When will I know specific details on the placement?
After you have joined the program, you will be sent the program guide with more details about the program and we will begin making arrangements for your placement. Once you’ve confirmed your placement, you’ll be put in touch with your Program Specialist and our partner organization in Ghana.
Where will I be located?
Specific placement location is typically confirmed about 4-6 weeks before the term begins, however all placements are in the Greater Accra, Central, Eastern, Volta and Ashanti regions of Ghana.
How many volunteers are there on site at the same time?
This depends on how many people volunteer at any one time. Usually there have between four to ten volunteers arriving in Ghana each month. You will usually be placed with at least one other volunteer, depending on how many volunteers we have at the same time and location as you. Please note that due to variation in volunteer numbers, we are unable to confirm the number of volunteers until closer to your placement start date.
What is the course content of the training?
Volunteers are expected to bring their own skills and experience to the program as no formal training is given. Orientation for the program will include a short language course, introductions to other members of the project staff and a familiarization tour of relevant parts of the volunteer accommodation and village, including the trotro station, worksite, and internet facilities.
What clothing is appropriate for the program?
Volunteers are encouraged to wear comfortable but tidy attire. It can be very hot at certain times of the year, however covering up is important not only for protection from the sun and insects, but also to show respect to your fellow teachers and members of the community. For women this means long pants, skirts, and dresses. For men, this means long pants, or even nice knee-length shorts if necessary.
Can you tell me more about your partner in Ghana?
Our partner is a non-profit NGO, whose main goal is to look for short or long term volunteers to assist in teaching, childcare and community based projects.
What kind of volunteer work is available?
Volunteers have the opportunity to teach children from 4-14 yrs, work in orphanage or on a farm.
When do I need to arrive in Ghana?
Teaching dates are flexible but the school holidays must be taken into consideration.
Children's and Farming all start on the 1st and 15th of each month, you will need to arrive day before your placement begins.
Are we able to do any sightseeing while volunteering?
Absolutely! If volunteers would like a local guide to accompany them on their travels, this can be privately arranged through the project staff. You may also want to spend some time in Ghana after volunteering to see more of the country. You can survive on as little as US $25 a day in Ghana. You can also spend much more if you want a bit of luxury.
What resources are available when I'm volunteering? Do I need to bring my own?
There are very few resources available on the programs - volunteers are encouraged to bring or purchase their own. Anything from paper and pens, to toys, teaching resources, old laptops, etc are welcome.
What hours am I expected to take part in the program?
Volunteers will work 5 days a week, Monday through to Friday. Typically you will work 4 to 5 hours per day.
Who organizes my visa for my volunteer placement?
You will organize your visa through your travel agent before you leave for Ghana. We also provide a detailed program guide which includes links to Ghanaian embassies throughout the world.
Do I need travel insurance?
All GVN Volunteers must have insurance. You are free to take out insurance cover through any provider of your choice. However, as some policies do not cover volunteering, we recommend you check you are covered during your volunteer placement.
For your convenience we have arranged a comprehensive package specially designed for volunteering. It includes excellent medical and accident coverage as well as “loss of deposits” cover which covers fees paid to GVN, airlines etc. If you would like to learn more just follow this link: http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/insurance/
Is there the opportunity to take classes such as language or more cultural activities while on the program?
There are many cultural festivals, as well as other activities such as informal drumming or dancing. You may also choose to arrange private language classes. Volunteers are free to do as they please on the weekends and after their volunteer activities are done for the day. We encourage volunteers to experience as much of the country as possible since there is a lot to see and do, but we also expect volunteers to take precautions when traveling alone, heed the advice of the locals for where it is safe to travel, be mindful of personal health, and to respect the rules and culture of the country in general.
How do I pay my fees?
Your program fee is payable to Global Volunteer Network 10 weeks prior to the 1st of the month you wish to volunteer. Please note, your placement is not confirmed (ie secured) until your program fee has been received. Please note that all charges incurred by the payment of the program fee are at the volunteer’s expense, e.g. if a bank transfer incurs a bank fee at the point of origin, that is at the expense of the volunteer. Seventy percent (70%) of the program fee is refundable until two calendar months before the 1st of the month you are due to begin your program. For example a volunteer with 15 July 2012 as their start date would need to submit their refund request form by the last day of April 2012 to be eligible for a refund. Refer to GVN's legal terms of service for full details.
Can vegetarians be catered for in this program?
Vegetarians and Vegans can be catered for, however in this case the diet will predominantly be beans and vegetables. The program fee covers locally produced food, and therefore the choice is limited. Any special food items purchased will have to be at your own expense. If you have any food allergies please inform your Program Specialist as soon as possible, as our partners may require significant time to check whether such dietary needs can be accommodated for.
Ghana is located in West Africa, and is bordered by three French-speaking countries with Burkina Faso to the north, Côte d'Ivoire to the west, and Togo to the east. Ghana is roughly the same size as the United Kingdom (or smaller than Oregan) and it's largest river is the Volta.
Development in Ghana
Ghana, when compared to our western society is considered one of the poorer countries in the world. A high percentage of Ghanaian people are subsistence farmers; only growing enough for their own family and at times perhaps a little extra for trading or cash sales.
The life expectancy for people in Ghana is less than 57 years.
Ghana was the second largest producer of cocoa in the world at one time. In the early 1990s gold become the number one leading export, but as world prices fell it hit the economy hard. More recently tourism has become a big generator of hard currency. Timber also creates some income.
Many Ghanaians do not attend school past the primary level. School fees and uniform prices can stop a large number of children attending school altogether. Poorer families will keep their children at home to work in the fields or send them off to work to bring back money for the family. The numbers of students alone is daunting and there are never enough teachers to cope with class numbers.
Volunteers provide assistance to disadvantaged socio-economic groups within Ghanaian communities, focusing primarily on orphaned children, school children, farming and community groups.
As a volunteer in Ghana you can provide love, affection, education and support to orphaned children. You will help to improve education in schools ensuring children learn and flourish. As a volunteer you can share your skills and experience with adult community groups. You will also provide education, inter-cultural exchange and understanding in Ghanaian communities.
What else can I do in Ghana?
Ghana is often called 'Africa for Beginners'and is a great place to start your travels on the continent.
Ghana offers hundreds of kilometres of coast and we recommend you visit some of the beautiful beaches on offer. You can learn about the history of slaves at the ruined European fort of Cape Coast Castle. If you like the urban life, take in Accra’s club scene, the birthplace of some of the region’s most popular music.