Volunteer in Ghana
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Volunteer in Ghana, where both education and willing hands are highly valued. If you would like to try out Africa for the first time get stuck in with a rewarding project working together with other volunteers, are resourceful or would like the freedom and flexibility to try out your own ideas, Ghana is for you.
Although two or three weeks is the average length of stay, with such variety and so many places to explore in your free time (beaches, tropical forest and safari) you may want to stay longer to get everything into your stay.
Most volunteers choose two areas to work in, although you can opt for many more, schedules permitting. If you already know, tell us your preferred area of work at the time of booking or alternatively choose on arrival after meeting the other volunteers and your support team. And there is no need to volunteer alone unless you choose to as there is often a good sized group travelling together each day to all project locations.
Volunteering options in Ghana
- Childcare and play work at nursery schools
- Organise sport and outdoor games at schools and local clubs
- Build and repair schools/classrooms/toilets/homes
- Medical electives. Work shadow in a local hospital or work on the wards, the maternity unit or in surgery (depending on qualifications)
- Outreach and informal clinic work for entry level health care workers, pre-meds and pre-nurse training (i.e. woundcare, health education to weighing babies)
- Teaching basic English and Maths in poorer primary schools
- Plant trees and work on conservation programmes
- Teach basic English and Maths at a very small and friendly Islamic school always in need of volunteers
- Setting up your own project (for example teaching dressmaking skills or putting in a borehole for a village)
- A great variety of volunteer options to choose and combine
- A great first time placement in Africa staying in comfortable modern volunteer accommodation
- Visit the elephants at Mole National Park, walk the jungle canopy walk at Kakum and enjoy local waterfalls (see Trip Info tab at top for trips,photos and prices)
Volunteer in Ghana with the support of a large dedicated team of English speaking volunteer coordinators, never far away to assist and advise on how to get the most out of your experience as a Ghana volunteer from drivers, housekeepers to placement organisors and coordinators.
Placement at a Glance
Playwork, sports, teaching, conservation, hospital, building and hands on projects.
Images from Ghana
For an amazing experience call us on 01603 280702
Ghana placement map
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Book now on 01603 280702 and contact people travelling to the same project!
Trip info for Ghana
Book your placement with £145. Then pay £95 per week to volunteer in one of the friendliest countries of Africa.
Change lives and volunteer in Ghana 2015 - 2016
Ghana Placement Details
Here's everything you need to know about our volunteering programme in Ghana, including detailed placement information, health and safety and the top free-time trips available.
Health, safety and support in Ghana
Is Ghana a safe country to visit?
Ghana is considered one of the safest countries in Africa to visit. The country has been economically and politically stable longer than many other African countries and unaffected by some of the troubles in other West African countries. Added to this the number of hassle-free trips by holiday makers, this may combine to be the reason why so many volunteer-sending organisations include Ghana as a destination.
Will it be safe where I am staying?
Our volunteer programme is located in the Kwahu region of Ghana, a relaxed, friendly green and cooler area of the country where people still leave their doors open, everyone knows everybody and there is a real sense of community. However if you venture off at the weekends to Accra or to the coastal resorts without an organised trip, take sensible precautions, keep your belongings close, back up money hidden and handy and avoid flashing your wealth!
What is included?
Accommodation is organised for all volunteers and included in the project costs.
Are there fixed dates for the Ghana programme?
In Ghana, there are no fixed dates or days to arrive. Monday to Wednesday is recommended to settle in and make friends before the weekend when many volunteers head to the beaches or take tours, but there are always some volunteers arriving at the weekend because of their flights, work and study commitments and the team will be there to welcome you in the same way as if you were arriving midweek.
How are project payments organised?
Ghana project payments are payable on a nightly basis from the date you arrive. For example if you arrive on a Tuesday and stay 11 nights, you will be charged for 11 nights. This makes is easier if you find a great flight deal.
What happens if I take a tour during my stay?
Project costs still apply until the day you leave the programme. Due to limited bed availability in the volunteer houses it is not possible to provide refunds for a weekend spent away at the beach.
Can I extend my stay in Ghana?
We recommend booking the longest time that you might stay. If you leave the programme earlier, a refund of your unused nights is available. Simply email us your leaving date after you have left the programme. Don't forget to tell one of the housekeepers if you head off though, or everyone will be worrying until we hear from you with your leaving date.
What level of support is provided?
A local support team is available in Ghana; made up of senior programme managers, volunteer group co-ordinators, house keeping staff and drivers. They can be reached easily at anytime during your stay for advice and help on any matter from changing projects to organising a visit to a doctor should you need one. Because of the flexibility of arrival dates, there are often volunteers who arrived before you available for informal advice and insights on where to volunteer and how to spend your free time. Frank looks after the Asaka volunteer house and Daniel at Twenederese. They ensure the volunteer houses are kept clean, secure when volunteers are out during the day, and support volunteers with additional support when needed. In addition, there are two experienced volunteer coordinators, Richard Twum escorts and assists teaching volunteers, and Dominic the building team.
How can I protect my health in Ghana?
Ghana has malaria carrying mosquitoes so don't forget to take malaria tablets. Most of the bedrooms have screened windows but if you do want a net, they can be bought more cheaply in Ghana than at home. There is a hospital nearby, although volunteer visits are extremely rare. Should you need a doctor, ask a housekeeper, follow the advice on the noticeboard or call your coordinator to assist. In almost all cases, self inflicted sun or alcohol related health incidents are the most common, so try to cover up in the sun and drink plenty of non-alcoholic drinks to keep hydrated! For more detailed information on what jabs you'll need and how to stay safe visit our travel health section.
Outreach trips to remote villages are popular in the summer. A volunteer cleans an infected wound, common in Ghana.
Volunteer Iyisha at a primary school.
About the Project
What is it like to be a volunteer teacher?
Volunteers choose between primary and secondary schools. 9 in 10 volunteers without experience tend to assist or take classes in poorer primary schools working with the 7 to 12 age group. No experience is necessary in primary schools and the teaching is very relaxed, mostly the children just want some help with writing, spelling and some very basic adding and subtraction. You are welcome to include art and craft activities. There is always time to take the children outside for fun or organised games. For older age groups at some schools there may be some set books to follow but there is always an opportunity to introduce new activities.
Can I work with very young children and infants?
Some of the nurseries have even been built by previous volunteers! From nursery songs, colouring and playing with toys to washing dirty hands, cuddles and care work; nursery work can be exhilarating. Working with young children can be very rewarding as you watch them grow and know you have been involved with their development. Bring ideas for games and durable toys and play equipment which can be reused as things can get worn out quickly. You may want to bring a larger holdall or trolley case to transport resources each day in case you are at a poorer nursery where there is no secure overnight storage for equipment. Read our guide on how to organise young children's activities.
Donating football jerseys to the Obo boys junior team.
Can I do my nursing or medical elective in Ghana?
If you are new to healthcare, join one of the outreach visits to some of the poorest communities to dress wounds, weigh babies, promote health through education, distribute health resources and make general assessments alongside your coordinator or outreach medical staff. For first year med students and beyond including professionals there are ample opportunities to work at one of the local hospitals. Medical volunteers have worked in outpatients, on the wards, midwifery or in surgery depending on experience, interest and qualifications. This can be extremely rewarding and there is high demand for all help. If you can bring some everyday equipment it will be most appreciated as the hospital is short on many of the basics. The focus for medical placements is currently Atibie hospital.
Atibie hospital caters to a local population of 200,00 and has 4 doctors. They can only support five volunteers at any one time so please book early and send us your flights to confirm your place as soon as you can. A once only additional contribution of 100 US Dollars for hospital placements is kindly requested.
This covers supervision by qualified staff and also helps cover resources that are needed. For volunteers new to healthcare we recommend a longer stay to allow for health related opportunities as and when they arise as these cannot be guaranteed whilst local funding is erratic. Choosing additional project work from nurseries to building work as per your personal preference is recommended. There are plenty of opportunities amongst the community and children to offer basic first aid. Wound care is often the main annoyance for children and adults. Volunteers have with the help of the support team, also escorted children in need to hospital, often paying for treatment which may cost as little as £2.
Your local support team. Front row - Co-ordinators, Rebecca and Fred. Middle row - House keepers and assistant co-ordinator, Rose. Back row - Drivers
Can I do building work?
Nearly everyone has a go at something during their stay whether mixing cement or painting the walls of a new classroom. It can be great fun to work as part of a team whether you choose to build throughout your stay or just for a day to help the others out with an extra pair of hands. Recent projects have varied from repairs to existing classrooms and homes to sewage pipes and whole schools. Bring at least £50 a week for materials if building is your thing, although for the most basic projects you might only need a few pounds a week if you only need to buy some lime wash or a bag of sand. Sometimes building volunteers hold fundraising events at the volunteer houses to raise extra funds for current projects because £100 can go a long way in Ghana and might finish a project! Building volunteers should bring strong garden gloves, comfortable clothes that can get dirty and a good sun hat. Read how OV volunteers have improved water quality in Ghana.
Volunteers at the Mangoase school building project. The building programmes are great fun and everyone is welcome to have a go.
What sport opportunities exist in Ghana?
Many of the children only go to school for the morning or afternoon providing plenty of opportunity to get the children together to play sport. Although football is the national sport, the children are always keen to try something new from rounders to volleyball to ‘fun’ sports day events and athletics (although don’t forget to provide refreshments and snacks for long activity sessions to keep the children going as they may have walked a distance to get there that day!). Some volunteers have even started local teams and organised tournaments.
Can I work in conservation?
Get your hands dirty off the beaten track and help replace lost plants and woodland. Work alongside local people to plant trees and help in conservation. Contribution payable locally of £50 to cover materials and donation direct to conservation project. Bring strong trainers, garden gloves, hat and suitable clothes.
The Sunrise school toilet block building team.
Can I work with orphaned children?
Many or the orphanages in the Kwahu region have closed because the children have been successfully homed or relatives found which is great news. However there are many thousands of children in the region still with their families that can be considered the most vulnerable. Without schooling, adequate food and shelter, clothes and healthcare, these children can be found in some of the more remote communities volunteers visit. If you would like to work with the most vulnerable children let us know before travel so your coordinating team can plan visits to these areas.
Can I set up my own project?
There are many opportunities to set up your own project. Perhaps you would like to put on a performance, help local people to start a business or offer a workshop on a subject of your choice. Let us know before arrival so the coordinating team can think how best to help you to get started when you arrive. Previous projects have included: a poultry farm for an orphanage, producing a play for teenagers on HIV prevention and prejudice, sewing classes at the technical college, introducing water filters to the lake villages and building a bore hole for a remote village. It might not be something you are ready to start on day one, but if you think that you might want to have a go at something which interests you, try to bring everything you can from home just in case. It is not uncommon for volunteers with great ideas to feel more confident in week two, are ready to get going but wish they had brought their resources with them!
Teaching is great fun and the children love coming to classes.
Can I get copies from workbooks I take with me?
There is a photocopier for a small charge in Mpraeso, ask at the Post Office. To make things go further try to get two copies on one sheet which you can cut in half or copy enough for one to be shared between two and the children copy the activity sheet onto a piece of paper or book (if they have them).
A typical day
What is a normal day like in Ghana?
As with flexible and informal volunteering anywhere in the world, schedules can change at the last minute due to local projects and schools closing or organising their own activities without notice. The coordinating team always endeavour to offer a last minute project as a replacement but this is not always possible so a day off here and there may be required, perfect for local exploration, relaxing in a local pool or some lesson planning! The schedule below offers a glimpse of the type of daily schedule in place during most of 2014's volunteer programme between Monday and Friday.
Volunteer giving piggyback ride to child at school
A schedule to give you an idea of what to expect
08:30 All volunteers leave volunteer house together in pre-booked taxis/vans arranged by the support team.
08:45 Group arrive in town for breakfast and to buy lunch/drinks for your lunch as many project locations do not have shops or cafes.
09:00 / 09:30 Classes, building, hospital work starts.
12:00 Lunchtime or volunteers supervise and play with the children.
13:00 Work begins.
14:00 The taxis/vans travel round the project sites to collect the volunteer group and transfer to town.
14:30/15:00 Eat lunch/dinner in town or buy meal to cook at volunteer house later as preference.
16:30 Volunteers take taxis together back to volunteer house, stopping off at the Tafo waterfall on the way for shower and splash around, some go on to Lake Volta for late afternoon sunset swim.
17:30 / 18:00 Volunteers all back at volunteer houses to relax, eat, watch TV and plan the next day's activities.
Volunteers help with outreach installation of water filters which will save the lives of the youngest and oldest members of rural communities cut off from a clean water supply.
Are meals provided?
The volunteer programme is self catering. Between Monday and Friday most volunteers buy their breakfast and lunch on their way to the day's project then buy dinner on the way home at the end of the day. Most weekends are spent travelling or on the coast where hotels and nearby cafes are plentiful. If you would like to cook meals each volunteer house has its own kitchen. Pasta, rice and instant noodles are easily available in local shops. There are markets at Mpraeso and Nkawkaw to buy fruit and vegetables that are in season. Dairy products are in short supply in Ghana, as for much of Africa. Laughing cow processed cheese is about the only available cheese product. Sometimes flavoured milk drinks can be found.
Building work mixing cement
Eating out locally, there is a cafe offering Ghanaian and Western food. The Rojo hotel, popular with volunteers for its swimming pool.
Drinking water is usually bought in 500ml sachets for under 1 Cedi, about 50 British pence. Many volunteers manage at the volunteer house on soft drinks and tea and coffee.
What do need to take equipment wise for me?
Essential: malaria tablets, small backpack for everyday use to carry all your resources, snacks and water to your project. Recommended: Wetwipes, hand cleaning gel, mosquito repellent (50% Deet), shower flip flops, buy toilet roll on arrival, umbrella handy for rainy season May to September, coloured beach and bath towels so won't show the dirt, swimwear (two sets ideal for longer stays), plenty of clothes and underwear and washing in a bucket tricky! Sheets or single duvet cover to sleep inside, most hostels in your free time will not have any bedding.
Outreach volunteer group photo
Optional: Suncream, old mobile for Ghanaian sim card, Immodium tablets, practical sandals and trainers, pillow, board games/books for evening, DVDs to watch, small travel kettle (there is a pot to boil water in the volunteer house), torch, Ghana guide by Bradt has been recommended. For female volunteers, leave cropped tops at home, the stomach in rural areas is considered as risque as bare breasts, tampons not easily available in the Kwahu region so bring plenty, biodegradable ones or a Mooncup may be an alternative to save on waste.
Ghana Project costs
What are the costs for the programme after I have registered and booked my space?
The weekly project costs for the Ghana programme are £95 pw for week 1 and 2 and £50 from week 3 onwards (this includes accommodation and organisation of the placements by your dedicated volunteer support team). Airport pick up from Accra is £40 and is organised for you before arrival. All volunteers purchase a return flight to Accra (Kotoka is the name of the Accra airport, airport code ACC) and travel insurance (this can be added on easily when you buy your flight). A visa is required for all visitors and costs £40 if bought in the UK. You should allow about £10 a day for meals and local transport. We also recommend taking extra for the many trips which are available, £100 should cover a basic highlights tour and a weekend at the coast with other volunteers, although like any holiday it is a good idea to take as much as you can extra in case to cover anything else you might want to do in your free time or things you may want to buy or donate for the project you are working with.
Do I need a visa?
A visa is required for most visitors to Ghana and this needs to be obtained before travel. Allow 3 to 4 weeks for your Ghana visa to be processed. It is not recommended to apply too early in case your passport is mislaid or returned. The process is straightforward. The addresses for the form can be found on page 3 of the information pack sent after booking. Contact us if you need any help. We also have letters of support if these are required, simply email us if you need them.
What happens on arrival?
The nearest airport to the project is Accra. We will send your flights details to the local team for you and once you arrive at Accra airport, one of the regular drivers (Richard, Ameyaw, Felix and Ebenezer) will be waiting for you with your name on a sign. More detailed instructions for your airport arrival are emailed closer to travel.
90% of all volunteer flights to Accra arrive in the evening between 7 and 9pm. The money exchange desk is still open if you want to get Cedis. On arrival at the volunteer house if it is late, the housekeeper will be there waiting to take your luggage to your room and show you where the bathroom is before you take a much needed sleep.
OV Volunteers gather at the house for a social evening.
On your first morning and after a complimentary breakfast, the volunteer programme manager will escort you into town to buy a SIM card, change money and go shopping for any basics from drinking water, soft drinks and snacks.
On return to the volunteer house they will cover all the project options and discuss which you are most interested in. Most non-health volunteers decide on their chosen projects after chatting at this stage. In addition, your fellow volunteers who arrived shortly before you, may also have their own recommendations.
Will there be other volunteers?
We can Buddy you up with another volunteer so you can fly out together, just let us know at the time of booking. Even if you do travel alone, and about 7 in 10 do, you will never be alone on this busy and popular project. Check out the travel buddy list and our main Facebook page too (leave a post with your project and month of arrival).
What happens if I book with a friend?
All friends are met on arrival and transferred to the volunteer house together. Let us know at the time of booking that you are travelling with a friend so we can place you both at the same volunteer house (there are 3 volunteer houses in the summer months). Because you will be choosing your project after arrival as per your preference there is no need to be apart at anytime unless you want to work in different locations!
Teaching in Ghana is easy and fun and often classes are shared.
What to take
What do I need to take for the children?
A couple of activity books and a ball will not keep you going if you are in Ghana for more than a couple of weeks. For teaching, bring along children’s activity books for the 7 to 12 age group. You can easily copy the activity onto the blackboard for the children to complete in their notepads or get photocopies at the Post Office in Mpraeso town. A few of the schools will have text books for you to use but this is rarely the case for the poorer primary schools where most volunteers choose to work, although previous volunteers may leave some spares in the volunteer house. If you are staying for a longer period and working with younger children bring different props which are reusable to avoid running out of equipment and some craft/art activities. A great investment brought from home would be a ream of coloured sugar paper, cellotape, string, glue sticks, felt tips, crayons and 10 pairs of scissors. And don't forget to come with some ideas on what the children can make and ensure you are taking or can obtain extra resources in Ghana by contacting the coordinators shortly before travel. Nursery schools and orphanages are often lacking in materials, so anything will be welcome. At most schools there is not a secure supplies room so you should take your materials each day so they are ready to use if the need arises. In the summer months volunteers often share classes so if you only take 5 activities and stay for 2 weeks you should be covered with the materials other volunteers have taken.
Primary school level teaching need not be challenging!
Popular activities with children and volunteers when stuck for an educational activity include spelling tests, geography quizzes and maths questions in teams as a class together.
Why not take an old suitcase (so the things you take do not get squashed) of cereal boxes, toilet roll holders, yoghurt pots, anything that can be reused for an art project to make houses, robots. Start asking family and friends to start collecting now! In primary schools where most volunteers choose to volunteer, there is a considerable amount of freedom on activities. Just don't forget some numbers (adding, taking away and timetables)and writing at some point between activities!
When there is a surplus of unused materials leftover when volunteers depart, day trips to a project or community in need are made to distribute them.
Other items in need outside of the classroom include underwear, shorts for boys, skirts for girls, girl's bras and sanitary pads (often girls do not go to school for lack of pads - Tampons are not used in poorer areas). Flip flops, rehydration sachets, painkillers, antiseptic cream and cheap reading glasses also handy.
A van (or pre-booked taxis) come each morning to the volunteer house to collect the volunteer team and transfer everyone to the projects together so it could not be simpler!
What language is spoken in Ghana?
English is the official language together with many local languages and dialects also spoken. In the Kwahu region where the volunteer programme is based, English and Twi are spoken.
Should I learn Twi?
There is no need to learn Twi but it can be fun to try and it can help break the ice with locals! Medaase - Thank you. Mepacho - please. Tinase - sit down. Etesen? - How are you? Me ho eye - I am well. Maa kye - Good morning. Maa ha - Good afternoon. Maa yo - Good evening.
Getting to some remote locations can be an adventure itself. Here volunteers return from a Lake Volta community by boat. Often volunteers use the opportunity to take a swim on the way back.
How much free time will I have?
Most volunteering takes place Monday to Thursday or Friday and the weekends are spent relaxing or more often, exploring.Locally the beautiful Kwahu Tafo waterfall is a must and volunteers can swim in the pool below. There are also beautiful lakes and beaches, including Lake Volta and Lake Bosomtwe, and Kokrobite beach. Mole National Park is also a popular tourist visit to see elephants, giraffes and the usual safari wildlife, along with different churches and other places of worship. Closer to home there are many pleasant walks from the volunteer house up into the hills behind.
A small local hotel allows volunteers the use of their swimming pool. The local support team organise regular short and long trips for the volunteer group. Scroll down to the free time section to see more.
Will the schools be closed during my stay?
Summer fun schools operate when the schools are closed for holidays. They run at the same school or a house in the community which can accommodate the children. The children are always eager to attend as education is limited in Ghana to 2 - 4 hours at best a day so all educational opportunities are well attended. There are few full time schools offering 9am to 4pm in Ghana due to lack of funding and few teachers.
An OV volunteer gives out worming tablets.
Getting back to the airport
Are return transfers provided?
Your in-country Ghana support team can organise your return transfer for you. Many volunteers return to Accra by bus a day or two before departure combining with some shopping or visit to the beaches, often travelling in a group. Because of this, you may want to leave plans open until closer to the end of your stay. For those on a budget, public transport is the more affordable option although you should allow extra journey time. Very often in the summer volunteers travel back to Accra with one of the programme's pick up drivers when they collect new arriving volunteers. For a door to door taxi from volunteer house to airport allow £30 - £40. Alternatively, take a taxi to Nkawkaw, the nearest bus terminal, for about 1 Cedi or 50 British pence for the 15 minute drive. A bus from Nkawkaw to Accra is 6 Cedi or £3. From the bus station in Accra, a taxi to the airport is 7 - 10 Cedi or £4 - £5.
Volunteers often stop off for a natural shower on their way back to the volunteer house each day.
How will I get around in my freetime?
Public transport is the main way to travel around Ghana but taxis are the preferred and most common transport used in rural areas where the volunteer houses are. The transport is cheap for short trips ranging from 30p – 60p, between a few volunteers it can be cheaper still.
Most of the projects are within a 15 minute ride away, although some of the most vulnerable and isolated communities require longer journeys and a visit all day, so don't forget to pick up snacks and soft drinks and water from the shops on your way. For Accra, the capital and gateway to the beaches at the weekend, a bus is the best option and costs around £3. At the weekends volunteers often take a tour organised by the local team and travel together. This can make journey time quicker and enable you to fit more destinations into a day.
Where are the nearest towns?
The towns – Mpraeso and Nkawkaw will have all the local facilities that are needed, including banks, doctors, cafes and other amenities. You will get to know these towns fairly well on your way to and from projects each day.
What money should I take?
The local currency in Ghana is the Cedi. Cedi currency can be ordered in advance before travel but most travellers change money on arrival. Dollars or Pounds can be exchanged into Cedis at the airport on arrival.
OV volunteers enjoy a visit to Kokrobite beach Ghana.
The airport offers a better exchange rate than where the volunteer houses are located. Clean notes are preferred and the money exchange office is still open if you are arriving on a late flight.
How should I manage my money in Ghana?
Any travel journalist will tell you, cash is king when abroad (cash pays for taxis when you need one for example) but we also recommend taking a card, VISA is the most accepted card abroad. It is a good idea to have enough money to last each week to avoid regular trips to the cash machine in town. Travellers cheques are hard to change and not recommended as you may need to travel back into Accra with no guarantee they will be exchanged.
Near the volunteer houses, a group climb up the ridge. The Kwahu region where the programme is based is greener and hilly, in stark contrast to the dry plains of the rest of Ghana.
The area is safe where you will be staying so as long as you spread your money around on you, locked in your luggage and do not advertise this you will encounter no problems. As a rough guide, for budget travellers, £50 - £70 a week should be more than enough for eating and local transport to projects. In addition, allow £100 for a weekend excursion or tour and £100 back up for anything else you might like to do or spend on a project you are involved with. Although Ghana is a relatively cheap country to live in, if you overspend and you don't have a card, family can get money to you in minutes with a money transfer service like Western Union. There are plenty of offices/agents close by to collect your money.
How and when do I need to pay for my project?
An invoice will be sent by email shortly after we have received your flight to Ghana which will include the airport pick up for you. Project costs for the volunteer programme are based on the dates of your flight. If you think you may leave the programme early to travel around Ghana, a refund of your unused stays can be made when you return home. This helps keeps things flexible - there are lots of new friends to be made amongst your volunteer companions and there is a lot to see in Ghana!
OV Volunteers at Atibie hospital.
Volunteer group visit to Cape Coast
Elephants taking a swim in Mole National Park.
Free Time in Ghana
All activities and excursions below can be organised for you by your volunteer coordinator. Let us know before travel on your final form or at any time if there is any trip below you are interested in. There is no obligation or payment before arrival but it will be helpful for the coordinators to know how many are interested so they can organise a group trip around everyone's dates and fit this in around project work. Group trips are in any case more fun when shared with others! There is a noticeboard at the volunteer houses with trips, costs and details.
Here is a suggested itinerary preferred by volunteers over three weekends:
Weekend 1 : Cape Coast Canopy walkway/slave castles/monkey sanctuary and beach.
Weekend 2 : Mole National Park The best wildlife West Africa has to offer.
Weekend 3 : The rest of the best Kokrobite beach/Kumasi region/Ada beach estuary.
Price from just £25
Coordinators regularly organise guided tours for the volunteer group to Cape Coast which include the beaches, slave castles and the canopy walks at Kakum (see below). Approximate cost per volunteer £25 - £35. Going with the volunteer group is a great way to see everything quicker and cheaper than on public transport. Coordinators can usually get volunteers into parks on reduced entry fees too!
Left: Cape Coast beach, nearly everyone makes at least one weekend trip.
For a weekend getaway
Price from just £10
If you are heading to the Cape Coast beaches at the weekend with other volunteers, Hans Cottage is popular. A quirky beach side hotel with swimming pool, it even has its own reptile pond where they look after crocodiles. Pet them only if your nerves can handle it!
Right: OV volunteers visit the reptile area of the hotel at Hans cottage. Not for the faint hearted!
Oasis hotel and club
Price from just £10
Although most volunteers will stay at Hans Cottage when they visit the coast, Oasis resort has a bar and party nights which are popular with a young backpacking crowd.
Left: Oasis hotel beach bar, popular with volunteers
Tafo waterfall near Asaka volunteer house
Price from just 20p
Our coordinator writes “first timers usually go with the house staff, afterwards they go by themselves. Since it is on the way back from the projects, volunteers tend to stop on their way back to the volunteer house and have their ‘shower’ there....!” Cost? Free. Or flag a taxi down outside the volunteer house for 20p.
Right: OV volunteers at Tafo waterfall on way back to volunteer house. Almost a daily showering ritual!
Entrance approx £5
A visit to Kakum is best organised as part of a long weekend together with a visa to Cape Coast which is only 10 minutes away. Entry approx £5, guides available.
Left: OV volunteers on the tree top canopy walkway at Kakum.
Price from just £5
“There is an upstairs, balcony bar in the town of Mpraeso close by called Premier which we went to in the evening. It was interesting to experience the local nightlife! I have never been anywhere where the whole nation collectively love the same 10 Akon songs”
Laura Mcfarlane, Ghana volunteer.
Right: OV volunteers at the Premier balcony bar in Mpraeso.
Hotel and travel approx £25
“Very popular place that is becoming a bit of a backpackers destination, volunteers tend to stay at Millies but there are a few guesthouses along the beach. Kokrobite is a Rastafarian community so lots of reggae and drumming on the beach. The beach is about 40 mins from Accra, 60 Cedis for return trip in private van. Do not take valuables to Kokrobite and do not swim when the currents are strong, stick to paddling and sunbathing”. Rebecca, Ghana coordinator.
Left: Kokrobite 'Rastafarian' beach. Popular with younger volunteers.
Mole National Park
Guided safari and tour £80
Allow 3 days for this incredible trip into the heart of Africa to see buffalos, elephants and crocodiles up close. Despite the 10 hour journey, every volunteer recommends it! The coordinating team organise everything for the volunteer group to go as there is only one hotel and getting there is difficult without a car.
Cost approx. £80 including accommodation.
Photos right/below: OV volunteers at Mole National Park. Your local support team organises regular tours for the volunteer group.
Relax by the pool
Price from just £1.60
There are three hotels near the volunteer houses. Wags hotel in Obomeng, 10 mins away, cost approx 70p per person. Rojo Hotel in Nkawkaw (no website yet), the coordinator’s recommendation, the swimming pool at Rojo has a nice chill out area, nice showers (important in Ghana!) and good foreign food. Modak Hotel in Pepease another option, approx. 90p per person taxi.
Left: The pool at Wags hotel, Obomeng, 10 minutes from the volunteer houses.
Traditional drumming and dancing
Price from just £5
Every 6 weeks or so a local festival takes place in Obo near the Twenederese volunteer house, with a full day of traditional dancing, drumming and the odd animal sacrifice of a goat or hen. A separate viewing area is provided for squeamish observers and tourists wanting to focus on the dancing!
Right: Local children perform traditional dancing in Obo near the Twen volunteer house.
Swimming in the world’s largest man-made lake
Cost of boat hire only, approx £8
Lake Volta is the largest man-made lake in the world. Volunteers hire a fisherman and boat to swim for the afternoon or watch the sunset over the water.
Left: OV volunteers enjoy the lake. Volunteers who have taught at the Lake schools often stay at the Lake until the sun sets before heading back to the volunteer house.
Experience Sunday worship - Ghanaian style
Price from just 50p for collection
Anyone around at the volunteer house on a
Sunday must get down to the local church for Sunday mass. In most churches it is a colourful “happy-clappy” event and participatory.
To witness “speaking in tongues” and “miracle making” check out the Pentecostal churches for a surreal experience. Volunteers recommend.
Easter Paragliding Festival
Launched in 2003 and growing in popularity as part of the Easter festival, join in the fun at the annual paragliding festival with paragliders from all over the world donating their time to support local good causes. See local chiefs, traditional dancing and drumming and enjoy good food all up on the hill. You might not get the chance to paraglide due to demand and cost of a flight (all proceeds go to local projects) but there's a great atmosphere and it's local.
Travel and hotel from just £15
Swim or hire a pedalo at this ancient meteorite impact crater, Ghana’s only natural lake. 5 miles across, it is a popular recreational area with beaches, hills surrounding and villages and resorts. Approx 2 hours from the volunteer houses near Kumasi. Most volunteers making a trip here will stop by the Golden Tulip hotel in Kumasi for a buffet style meal and use of swimming pool.
Where to eat
Price from just £1
“Rojo Hotel is popular for a treat, and Wags hotel. Jollof rice (photo) is the most popular local dish volunteers enjoy as a main dish. In the mornings most volunteers stop off on the way to their project to buy a delicious omelette sandwich breakfast in Mpraeso from a lady well-known to all the volunteers. This local knowledge is passed on to every fresh volunteer arrival! For lunch/dinner after volunteering is done for the day, meals are taken at volunteer-recommended food stalls in Tafo or Mpraeso for about a £1” Rebecca, Ghana coordinator.
Secret country club
Transport approx £10, free entry.
"An hour's drive from Nkawkaw town in the middle of nowhere is a little-known country club called Beige. It boasts all the usual country club facilities; golf course, swimming pool, tennis courts, life-size chess and scrabble games, hair salon and gym but it's free entry. The local mining company built it and entry is free. As long as you can put up with the bumpy ride, it is a great place to rest for a day". Rebecca, Ghana coordinator.
Right: The secret free country club built by a mining company. Well worth the bumpy ride to get there.
What happens after I have booked?
- As soon as you have booked with the once-only £145 registration fee (this covers one or more projects within a year), you will receive a welcome email confirming your booking and explaining in more detail how to get organised for you trip.
- We will Buddy you up with another volunteer going to the Ghana volunteer programme arriving around the same time so you should have a good chance to travel together if you wish to
- You will also receive an email confirming your place and guiding you through the next steps in preparing for your trip
Below is an example timeline of what to do next after booking
- At anytime : As soon as you have booked with the once only registration fee, get return flights to Accra airport. Flights can go up considerably over time and you may save one or two hundred pounds by buying early. There is generally no difference in cost between a two week or eight week return flight so if you can afford to cover your weekly stay and have the time available it can be more economical to stay longer. Most volunteers to Ghana say they would have stayed an extra week if they had realised. If there is a big difference in flight price between short and long stay it may be the particular travel dates you have chosen are expensive so it is worth to keep trying different travel dates. There are no fixed start dates or preferred times to arrive, the local team can meet flights regardless of time of arrival 24/7. Most flights from the UK depart lunchtime and arrive in Ghana at 8pm. However for a more comfortable transfer to the volunteer house during the day time you may like to find an earlier flight to arrive in daylight hours and enjoy the countryside on your way to the volunteer house. You may like to be aware that some cheaper tickets available require longer travelling times and may require changing plane more than once. Some volunteers have bought flights to Ghana via the Middle East but which is in completely the opposite direction - so it is worth checking the length of flight and route before purchase. Volunteers arriving on cheap flights after a 23 hour journey can be exhausted and need a days rest for the benefit of a £100 saving. The simplest flight, even if not always the cheapest, is from Heathrow with British Airways direct to Ghana. The next best is with Dutch airline KLM usually via Amsterdam. Search for flights on the website skyscanner.net or call a few agents (Dial A Flight, Trailfinders) and ask for their best quote before you make a purchase.
- Add yourself to the Buddy List to meet other volunteers, travel together or simply find a familiar face when you arrive.
- Join the volunteer community on Facebook to see recent pictures from projects and other interesting stories and updates
- 3 to 4 weeks before travel: contact your travel nurse or travel clinic to make appointments for jabs and boosters (for more information on what is typically recommended please refer to the NHS website fitfortravel). Malaria tablets are essential and need to be started before travel – consult a good pharmacist about 2 weeks before travel. There is occasionally the need to have a Yellow Fever jab and acquire a certificate to obtain your Ghana visa. If you would rather not have the Yellow Fever jab, it is a good idea to contact your nearest Ghana Embassy or Ghana Consulate as soon as you can to see if it is a requirement so you have enough time. Visit our travel health section for more advice on how to get your jabs organised.
- Anytime before travel : Arrange suitable travel insurance – this can often be bought at the same time as your flight, ensure medical bills and repatriation are included as medical bills can soar in Ghana without adequate insurance.
- A visa is required before travel for Ghana for UK passport holders and most nationalities. Do not apply too early, 3 to 4 weeks before travel is sufficient or your passport may be misplaced at the consulate or returned to you. The basic process is apply online, select tourist visa, complete the form, print and send to the consulate with your actual passport, not a copy. You are strongly advised to pay the extra postage for special delivery with tracking there and include an additional special delivery envelope for the return journey back to you even though this may cost approx. £7 each way.Without a passport you can't even swap project and travel elsewhere so it is worth paying the extra to make sure your passport is not lost in the post. If you live in or near London it may be advisable to drop off your passport and form and collect in person. The addresses required to complete the visa form are included on page 3 in the information pack sent after booking on the sample form. If you have selected a volunteer/work visa or require letters please email us and we can prepare this for you.
- As soon as you have your flight to Accra: Email us your flight to organise your pick up
- At anytime : pay for your project - we will send you an invoice by email to pay online – don't worry we will send you a reminder if you forget!
- We will organise your pick up and transfer from Accra airport automatically when we receive your flights
Ghana at a glance
Ghana, a former British colony is one of the most peaceful in Africa. Its lush green plantations and dusty, sleepy roads will draw you in and make you feel at home. The people in Ghana are warm and friendly despite forty percent living below the poverty line. There is great pride and energy which is clear to see in the classroom, during ceremonies and on the football pitch.
Ghana is located in West Africa. It is bordered by the Ivory Coast to the west and the Gulf of Guinea to the south. The word Ghana comes from the ancient Ghana Empire and means ‘Warrior King.’ The Gold Coast achieved independence in 1957. It was the first sub-Saharan African Nation to gain independence.
Not to be missed: Kakum National Park, Lake Volta (the largest manmade lake in the world), coastal forts and beaches, Elmina castle, Accra's bustling harbour area, elephants at Mole National Park, hippos at Weichau in northern Ghana, the stilt village of Nzuleo. Also venture into the little visited neighbouring countries of Togo and Burkina Faso.
Religions: 63% Christian, 16% Muslim, 21% indigenous beliefs. There are mosques within reach and a Muslim primary school which Muslim volunteers are welcomed to get involved with.
Time difference from the UK: GMT +0 hrs (Ghana Standard Time is GMT)
*Peak volunteer periods in Ghana are Christmas, Easter and June to the end of September.
Ghana has a tropical climate; however temperatures vary with each season. In the north the rainy season occurs between April to September. February and March are the hottest months, the highest temperature being 32 Celsius.
Accommodation in Ghana
Book your placement with £145. Then pay £95 per week to volunteer in one of the friendliest country of Africa.
Image title goes here
Accommodation The accommodation of the main volunteer houses (3, one pictured above) comprise of large modern basic, self-catered, shared volunteer houses with communal lounge with TV and kitchen areas. Beds are usually single or bunkbeds and bedrooms are dorm style usually sleeping 2 to 4. Friends are placed together wherever possible. Toilets are western style sit-on toilets but water shortages still apply as water is delivered by tanker weekly.
Support: You will also have access to a 24/7 support team.
Not supported in the rooms so don't forget:
- Summer weight sleeping bag
Pictures for illustration purposes only.
Actual room design/layout may differ.
Volunteer houses: Facilities near by within walking distance or taxi (from 40p)
Laundry- 5 mins provided with your stay small fee
Media from Ghana
Book your placement with £145. Then pay £95 per week to volunteer in one of the friendliest country of Africa.
Images and Videos of Ghana
Many of our returning Ghana volunteers send us photos and videos of their positive experiences in Africa. Click on the images and films below to get an idea of what to expect volunteering at this project.
Video - Below you'll find all the videos for Ghana so you don't have to search around the whole site!
Photo Album by volunteer Alan Phillips
Photo Album by volunteer Emily Tudor
Photo Album by volunteer Charlotte Constable
Photo Album by volunteer Coral Evans
Photo Album by volunteer Fiona Kaye
Photo Album by volunteer Matthew Ash
Photo Album by volunteer Natasha Hudson
Photo Album by volunteer Rebecca Hudson
Photo Album by volunteer Eleanor Howe
Photo by volunteer Marie Moxley
Photo Album by volunteer Nick Frost
Photo Album by volunteer Kaylee Hurst
Photo Album by volunteer Gemma Pilmoor
Photo by volunteer Kate Gutteridge
Photo by volunteer Adam Goodgroves
The Team - Ghana
You will be well looked after in Ghana. The senior coordinating staff have looked after more than a thousand volunteers from Original Volunteers since the first volunteers arrived in the Kwahu region in 2007.
Pre - 2007 the local programme was only open to qualified medical teams from overseas to work in Ghanaian hospitals but following an increasing need for volunteers in the poorest areas there was an urgent need to expand the programme to create a bigger impact in the most vulnerable communities.
In addition to the senior staff coordinating the programmes and providing orientations you will be supported by housekeeping staff and escorted to your placements each day.
If this is your first time volunteering abroad, you do not need to worry about getting around or being on your own as the group travels together each day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Book your placement with £145. Then pay £95 per week to volunteer in one of the friendliest country of Africa.
Ghana Specific Questions
Do I need experience?
Few volunteers heading to Ghana have any experience. Everybody is welcomed to have a go and find the project which they enjoy and suits them best. Everyone volunteers together in a group so you will never be on your own.
When do I choose what I will be doing?
On arrival in Ghana all volunteers are provided with an orientation. Your support team will go through all the volunteering options available. Most new volunteers will try out something simple for the first day, perhaps a nursery or building project, going with a larger volunteer group. In the evening at the volunteer house you will also have an opportunity to chat with current volunteers who are on other projects. You may decide to try out something new or perhaps you will continue with your first project. Whilst most volunteers after settling in stick to one project, it is possible for non-school-teaching volunteers to move between different activities over their stay.
Do you offer medical placements in Ghana?
For volunteers who have finished or are currently in their first year studying Medicine or Nursing, placements can be organised with the local hospital in Atibie. An additional workshadowing payment is required. There are limited placements available, and early booking and submission of documentation is essential.
For pre-med and pre-nursing volunteers, placements with community clinics and outreach health workers can be combined with the regular volunteer programme but dates can be irregular. These placements provides some hands on experience from health checks to wound-care.
I need to teach a minimum number of hours for my education course?
It is recommended that volunteers which require a minimum number of hours volunteer for at least one month. It essential to find out from your course tutor exactly how many hours you will need in the classroom and whether lesson prep time is included or excluded. It is not uncommon for some course tutors to ask volunteers for 80 hours classroom teaching over two weeks which no teacher in the UK would be expected to complete in that time frame. On closer inspection the volunteer either needs to stay longer to complete the required hours, or the 80 hours includes 30 hours of lesson prep. Sometimes playwork and outdoor games can also be included in the total number of hours required. Check the finer details with your course tutor or department head if in doubt. Please note when schools close for holidays, community classes continue to take place throughout the area and your coordinator will assist you to ensure that your teaching hours are sustained.
Will I be met on arrival?
All volunteers are met at the airport in Accra on arrival.
What do I need to take?
A full kit list is provided after booking in the Welcome Pack. As a general rule for community/teaching or playwork bring pens, pencils and art/craft resources. For building/repair work bring strong work gloves, sturdy footwear, clothes to get dirty and a good wide rimmed sun hat. For hospital/clinic placements; examination gloves, smart casual clothes with a clean white blouse/shirt and sandals/shoes. Bring a lab coat if you already have one. Mosquito nets are not needed as all windows at the volunteer houses are screened. They can be easily bought locally and cheaply if you are travelling to remote areas in your free time.
Where will I be staying?
All volunteers are grouped together in one of three spacious modern volunteer houses near Lake Volta in the Kwahu region about 15 min taxi ride (usual local transport) from towns Mpraeso and Nkawkaw.
Is Ghana safe?
Ghana is one of the safest countries in Africa. It has been politically stable for longer than most countries on the continent. There are possibly more volunteering organisations in Ghana than anywhere else in Africa for this reason.
Are there rules about clothes?
People in Ghana are fairly relaxed about clothes – the only thing to be aware of is the stomach – this is a no no – so avoid cropped tops and keep your swimwear for the beach and waterfall only.
Do I need a visa for Ghana?
Most passport holders will require a visa for Ghana. We can provide letters of introduction if required at anytime as soon as you have flights. There is no charge for this.
Are there fixed arrival dates?
There are no start dates for the Ghana programme. Volunteers can arrive on any day of the week at any time 24/7 and our regular driver will wait for any flights which are delayed. Most flights tend to arrive at 8pm if flying from Europe. Arriving between Monday and Wednesday can be a good idea giving you plenty of time to settle in, check out a project or two and make friends before the weekend.
Will I be placed with friends?
All volunteers arriving with friends on the same flight (if we are aware, let us know at anytime) will be placed in the same room wherever possible and always in the same volunteer house.
I am worried about travelling on my own - can I buddy up with someone?
We can Buddy you up with someone else going around the same time. Take a look at our Buddy List too or pop us a message on the main Facebook Group and we'll add you to our weekly round up. But if you are travelling alone, don't panic, the Ghana volunteer programme is always busy and it has a family-feel so you will make friends at the volunteer house as soon as you arrive. About 7 in 10 volunteers travel alone.
Will I need any jabs?
This is Africa, so sadly yes you will need to get some jabs and boosters to protect yourself. You should consult a travel health nurse at least 6 weeks before travel, although some independent travel health clinics (most large towns have one or two) can provide last minute jabs and boosters. Please remember that malaria tablets must be started before travel, not as you arrive.
I am a practising Muslim - is there a mosque?
Yes there is Mosque reachable from the volunteer houses. Taxi is the usual transport.
How can I keep in touch with home?
The volunteer houses have internet/wifi, where not available at any time, internet access is a 10 min taxi ride away in town (taxis usual form of local transport) or you can pop in on your way to and from projects each day.
How will I get back to the airport?
Your support team will organise a taxi back, or with the driver if he is picking someone else up. Alternatively the journey back to Accra can be made by taxi to town, bus to Accra and taxi back to airport. Some volunteers like to leave a couple of days earlier than their flight to spend some time at the beach or shopping in Accra and often current volunteers will join you.
Contact us for specific questions
Book your placement with £145. Then pay £95 per week to volunteer in one of the friendliest countries of Africa.
Skills and experience, specific skills and experience are not needed for any placement in Ghana and everyone is welcome to come and try their hand to something new.
GhanaThe staff were lovely, spoke good English and there was always someone about to help you out and check you were ok
After my month in Ghana I feel I am a lot more comfortable speaking in front of crowds and presenting ideas to them.
It was my first time travelling outside of Europe and by myself, I wanted a challenge and I defiantly got one. I loved it.
I wanted to gain life from another perspective and so that I could help people that are less fortunate.
The company was great, the projects was fun, there were great places to travel to, and the overall feel was relaxed
Since I was little I always had this dream of going to Africa to help the poor out there. As I am going to university this year I felt it was time to book it and finally tick it off my ‘to do list’ and I am so glad I did.
I wanted to gain life from another perspective and so that I could help people that are less fortunate
I have always wanted to visit a country “differently”, not as a tourist. Working with the local people helped me to feel like one of them and taught me a lot
Go for it! I had ups and downs but it was definitely worth it and I feel like a much stronger person for doing it
I taught one of the boys in my class how to write and read basic numbers and the pride he had on his face when he could write ‘5’ was something I will never ever forget!!
I would recommend it to others as I enjoyed it and felt comfortable in my surrounding, everyone was very welcoming too
Do it!! It's a life changing, humbling experience. You have to put as much in as you want to get out
Book your placement with £145. Then pay £95 per week to volunteer in one of the friendliest countries of Africa.
Booking your Place
There are two ways of booking your place at our project in Ghana:
Phone - Call us on 01603 280702 to reserve your place on the project.
Online - Apply online with a Debit or Credit Card using PayPal following the instructions below.
For more information on booking a place, read our guide to how Original Volunteers' applications work.
Other Volunteer Options
Planning Your Trip
Once you've booked your volunteering experience in Ghana you'll want plan the trip, and Original Volunteers has lots of helpful advice for first-time travellers.
To find someone to travel with on your trip, browse through our Travel Buddy List.
To learn more about raising money for your travels, check out our Fundraising advice.
To discover the the qualifications you could gain from your volunteering experience, visit our Training and Certificates page.