Ghana specific questions
Do I need experience? And what are the ages of volunteers?
Few if any community 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. We welcome volunteers of all ages. Between June and August the average age of our volunteers will be between 18 and 25 with a few volunteers each week in their 30s/40s etc. The rest of the year the age is more varied across the age groups. The Ghana programme has a few limited spaces for under 18s. Please contact us to check availability. June to August is also the busiest time of year when our volunteer group size can reach 30 on one day as this is the only time students can travel so early booking is essential.
When do I choose what I will be doing?
Unlike many organisations we do not tie a volunteer to a specific programme for their entire stay. This is because we know that many of our volunteers’ talents and interests and talents can be unknown until they arrive in Ghana. All volunteers not on the hospital programme can choose the area they would like to work in after arrival.
If it is not possible to get involved straightaway because volunteer numbers are low, this can usually be arranged for the following week when new volunteers arrive. An example of this would be the smaller-interest groups, such as conservation or building which require a minimal group size at some times of the year. If you would like to try out anything other than teaching or healthcare, a longer stay is advised just to be on the safe side.
All our volunteers have the opportunity to swap and change their area of work according to their interest during their stay, although it is most practical to stay in one area of work for one week at a time.
We’ve seen aspiring teachers discover talents for community healthcare and midwives become builders over the course of their visit.
On arrival in Ghana all volunteers are provided with an orientation. This usually takes place the following morning unless you want to get started straightaway. Your support team will go through all the volunteering options available and help settle you in. Most new volunteers will try out something simple for the first day, perhaps assisting classes at one of the remote schools where the main group are or if you have the energy, join in with the building volunteers.
Do you offer medical placements in Ghana?
Medical and nursing placements are available at Atibie hospital for volunteers currently on courses and for qualified experienced professionals. This is usually offered as a combination of one or two weeks hospital placement followed by community volunteering. An additional supervision fee is charged by the hospital of $100 US Dollars or approximately £70 depending on the exchange rate at the time of your visit. Limited placements are available up to maximum of 6, early registration and submission of documentation is essential as our places fill quickly.
For pre-med and pre-nursing volunteers who are not currently on health courses at home, 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.
Physiotherapy placements are now available at the newly opened clinic for physio students and qualified practitioners who would like to help.
Can I volunteer at the hospital if I am studying bio-medicine/pharmacy?
Bio-medicine/pharmacy placements are available for students to volunteer in the hospital laboratory working with blood samples and will have an opportunity to include work shadowing.
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?
Providing we have availability for the week you are planning to arrive, 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.
Are there any Muslim volunteer opportunities in Ghana?
Yes there is a small Islamic primary school which welcomes Muslim volunteers. Previous volunteers have also helped outside the classroom with the complete installation from scratch of washing facilities.
Is there wi-fi?
The volunteer houses do not currently have wi-fi but internet access is only a 10 min taxi ride away in town (taxis usual form of local transport and extremely cheap) 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
We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. We pride ourselves in the vast knowledge of our projects and are always willing to share (and from what our callers tell us we are currently offering more detailed pre-trip telephone advice than our competitors). So give us a call for a quick chat with one of our expert advisors on 01603 280702, complete a call back form, or email [email protected] to get the answers you need and test our knowledge!