Volunteering in Ghana

Ghana placement details

Volunteer in Ghana in health, building, teaching, playwork and sport where you can combine experiences on the same trip. Perfect for first-time volunteers of all ages, young and mature looking to help the poorest children through play work and teaching, sport or repairing crumbling schools.

Health students and qualified health professionals are also in need in hospitals and the communities we work in. Not sure what you would like to do or when you need to decide? Choose after arrival when you have met the local team and chatted to other volunteers who arrived before you.

Below you will everything you need to know the programme, including how it works, daily schedules, costs, health and safety and popular free-time trips available. Got a question big or small? Ask us!

If you need help with funding and are lucky enough to be under 25 years old we have prepared a useful guide on potential sources for travel awards. If you are self-funding your trip, no need to panic, our Ghana programme costs are kept as low as practically possible and are £95 per week including accommodation, housekeepers and a great support team to help you during your stay. From week 3, programme fees, which include accommodation, drop to £50 per week to help you stay and help that bit longer if you can.


What can I do in Ghana?

Our Ghana volunteer programme offers an unrivalled variety of projects to get involved with. Volunteer choose one or more of the following areas to work in: playwork, sport, teaching, health, building, repair work. Fill in a call back form to talk to a Ghana projects advisor today who will be happy to guide and advise on all aspects of our Ghana programme. All ages are welcome and no experience is required for non-health volunteer options.

Can I volunteer with infants and young children?

Yes. 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.


Teaching is great fun and the children love coming to classes


The Sunrise school toilet block building team

Bring some 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.

What is it like to be a volunteer teacher?

Volunteers choose between primary and secondary schools. The preferred choice is for primary teaching at one of the schools our volunteers built in remote locations where the very poorest children live. Volunteers often share classes or divide the class up into smaller groups of ability as preferred.

When schools are closed for the holidays, summer schools are opened up and classes operate in other locations. The children receive very little education even during term times that it is in their best interests to gain as much as they can throughout the rest of the year. No experience is necessary for teaching and it is very relaxed.

Often there are few local teachers (if any sometimes) so you will not feel you are being judged and have more freedom to explore ideas. In the summer volunteers often share classes with two or three volunteers together at the front of the class. Mostly the children just need help with writing, spelling and some very basic adding and subtraction.

Basic number skills will be important for the poorest children, many of whom may work later in a shop or will start their own business buying and selling goods. Without basic maths they will struggle. You may like to introduce them to their own Ghanian currency and set up a shop where they can practise.

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. Art and craft activities are always popular. Some children will not have a pencil or paper at home so do provide everything you can.

For some children art will be therapeutic. Some of the children you work with are orphaned in the sense they do not have their biological parents looking after them. There is always time to take the children outside for fun or organised games although they can be a bit shy of the midday sun so if it is too hot, you may want to adapt activities and use the classroom or shade from the trees if possible.

Fun sports days are popular, do include clean water (or juice) and some snacks, some children may be malnourished or may have walked a distance in the heat to get to class and may not be so enthusiastic to run an egg and spoon race. Find out more  with a call back from one of our expert advisors on how we can make use of your skills even if you have never taught more.

Can I volunteer with orphaned children?

Many of the orphanages in the Kwahu region of Ghana 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 living with their families who are living in desperate situations.

The children in most urgent need are often those living at home in remote locations at or close to Lake Volta, where their carers live a hand to mouth existence. Living in inadequate houses without a bed, clean water, schooling, essential food and without clothes they can call their own, this is where the majority of our volunteers prefer to work during the week.

It is not uncommon for parents to leave children with extended family or neighbours whilst they work elsewhere. Some children are effectively unpaid housekeepers for their new families and will be missing out on the essential development stages. In order to access the very poorest children, our volunteers built schools where there were none already existing, and now through these schools, our volunteers provide essential assistance.

If you would like to work with the most vulnerable children give us a call and we will be happy to advise you on how to get involved and what to expect. Or complete our form for a call back.

Can I volunteer in a hospital without experience?

Yes. 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.

Volunteers combine these visits with the regular community programme as visits can be only weekly or bi-weekly due to lack of funds and resources. For volunteers wanting more health-related opportunities, we recommend a longer stay of 4 weeks+ to provide the maximum number of outreach opportunities.

In addition to outreach visits there are plenty of opportunities to offer basic first aid at schools and nurseries. Wounds on the arms, feet and legs are the main daily annoyance for local people who can benefit from extra help. Basic equipment can be bought from local chemists. Volunteers, together with the local support team can also escort children needing professional advice to hospital, often paying for treatment which may cost as little as £2.

Can I volunteer in a hospital in Ghana?

For medicine, nursing, biomedicine, pharmacy, radiography and physiotherapy students and qualified professionals there are opportunities to work at one of the local hospitals. Clinical volunteers have worked in outpatients, on the wards, midwifery or in surgery depending on your experience, interest and qualifications.

Other students have volunteered in the pharmacy and laboratories. It is 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.

For example, in 2015, there was only one pair of scissors in the midwifery department to cut an umbilical cord – and they were rusty. Update January 2017: A new physiotherapy clinic, the first one in the area, has just opened close to the hospital. The owner is an experienced and certified physiotherapist and is welcoming both physiotherapy volunteers who are currently on physiotherapy courses and qualified professionals.

Most hospital volunteers combine health work with community work, spending their first week at the hospital before moving onto other areas of the programme with the rest of the volunteer group. This is entirely optional can be discussed after settling in and chatting with your volunteer coordinator.

We do not require any volunteer to stay with one particular placement throughout a stay on our Ghana programme. If your background does not fit the above it is still worth contacting us as we often have health opportunities which can be tailored to specific skills and interests.


OV Volunteers at Atibie hospital


Donating football jerseys to the Obo boys junior team

The focus for medical placements is currently Atibie hospital which has the following departments: maternity, laboratory, pharmacy, ultra sound, X-ray, dental. Atibie hospital caters to a local population of 200,000 and has 4 doctors. They can only support five volunteers at any one time due to supervision requirements so please book early.

Can I volunteer at the hospital if I am studying bio-medicine or other non-patient focused courses?

Yes, if spaces are available. Every year bio-medicine volunteers start work in the laboratory testing blood samples followed by time spent shadowing elsewhere in the hospital. Fill in a call back form if you would like to discuss further.

Can I do building work?

Yes! 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, toilet blocks, installing water boreholes and repairing homes to laying sewage pipes. Most of the schools that our volunteers work at were built by volunteers just like you from scratch without any real funding, just small donations and hard graft which added up to a whole school over time!

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 and nails. No experience or not sure how to get started? One of our team will be happy to give you a call to discuss the building programme in more detail and help with any questions you have.

What sport volunteer options are there?

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. You might want 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!

Volunteers with sports coaching backgrounds have also worked with local teams of all ages (8 to adult) to coach and organise tournaments. For more serious coaching, it is recommended to spend at least a week on this rather than a day on and a day off. Spaces are limited to 2-3 volunteers at a time. Volunteers have also played against local teams which have been great fun and a huge success.



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!


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

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.

Got a question about how how much time you will have, places to visit and how it’s organised over there? Fill in a call back form and we’ll be happy to help. Seeing the country helps you to get to know the Ghana better and understand the area you are volunteering in better by comparing to the other places you visit.

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.


Cape Coast beach, nearly everyone makes at least one weekend trip.

Cape coast

Price from just £75

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 £75 if travelling in medium sized group. 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!


Not for the faint hearted staying at Hans Cottage.

Live with crocodiles

From £15 a night

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!


Oasis hotel beach bar, popular with volunteers.

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.


OV volunteers on the tree top canopy walkway at Kakum.


Entrance approx £6

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 £6, guides available.


OV volunteers at the Premier balcony bar in Mpraeso.

Premier bar

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.


Kokrobite ‘Rastafarian’ beach. Popular with younger volunteers.

Kokrobite beach

Bus and hotel 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.

OV volunteers at Mole National Park. Your local support team organises regular tours for the volunteer group.

Mole National Park

Safari tour £90 - £200

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. £90 if large group travelling, including accommodation. May be higher if only 2-3 volunteers on trip as all costs are shared.


The pool at Wags hotel, Obomeng, 20 minutes from the volunteer houses.

Relax by the pool

Price from just £2

There are three hotels near the volunteer houses. Wags hotel in Obomeng, 15 mins away, cost approx £2 transport. 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. £1 per person taxi.


Local children perform traditional dancing in Obo not far from the volunteer houses.

Traditional drumming and dancing

Price from just £5

Every 6 weeks or so a local festival takes place in Obo 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!


Experience something unique at a Sunday service!

Experience Sunday worship

Price from just 50p

Experience Sunday worship – Ghanaian style. 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. Price from just 50p for collection.    


The now famous Easter paragliding festival.

Easter Paragliding Festival

No charge

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.


Swim and boat at this ancient meteorite crater.

Lake Bosomtwe

Price from just £20

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. Travel and hotel from just £20.


The local dish of Jollof rice is tasty.

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.


The secret free country club built by a mining company. Well worth the bumpy ride to get there.

Secret country club

Transport approx £15

“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. Transport approx £15, free entry.

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 amongst others) 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 7pm and 11pm.

The money exchange desk is still open if you want to get the local currency 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.

On your first morning, 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. 

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. A typical schedule follows below.

Most volunteering takes place Monday to Friday or Monday to Thursday if the volunteer group has chosen a longer weekend tour. 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!


A volunteer 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.

What else do I need to know?

Are meals provided? 

The volunteer programme in Ghana is usually 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. 

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.

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.


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


Outreach trips to remote villages are popular in the summer. A volunteer cleans an infected wound, common in Ghana

Is the water safe to drink? 

Drinking water is usually bought in 500ml sachets for under 1 Cedi, about 50 British pence. Many volunteers manage well at the volunteer house on soft drinks and tea and coffee. 

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


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 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. 

What money should I take? 

The local currency in Ghana is the Cedi. There is no need to take Cedis with you although some volunteers prefer to order some in advance before travel. There is a money exchange desk at Accra airport on arrival which everyone uses where Dollars or Pounds can be exchanged into Cedis. 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. 

What happens if there are school holidays in Ghana? 

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. 

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. 

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. 

How will I get around in my free time? 

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 60p – £1, 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 £7. 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.

How much is it to volunteer in Ghana?

After you have booked on to the programme with the once-only registration, 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). Get in touch and we will be happy to go through all the costs with you including the little things you might not have thought of!

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 approximately £55 if bought in the UK. Allow £7 – £12 a day for meals and local transport. Often the biggest cost will be transport if you are volunteering at the most remote poor schools. There are often options to volunteer closer to the volunteer house which will keep costs down, speak to the local team. If you buy western imported brands you may need a little more.  In 2016, Pringles crisps and similar products were often bought daily and these will not help you keep to a £7 a day budget!  

Don’t forget to bring 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.


Volunteers often stop off for a natural shower on their way back to the volunteer house each day


Volunteer group visit to Cape Coast

What additional costs are there? 

Because of the lack of local funding for any resources some projects require an additional contribution. The projects requiring these are building/hospital placements and conservation.

For hospital placements 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 any resources that are needed although it is helpful if every health volunteer can bring some basic resources (gloves, syringes, wound dressings etc) as these can often run out.

For building projects 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 job. 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. 

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 £2 British pence for the 15 minute drive. A bus from Nkawkaw to Accra is 6 Cedi or £7. From the bus station in Accra, a taxi to the airport is 7 – 10 Cedi or £10 – £20.


OV Volunteers gather at the house for a social evening


Primary school level teaching need not be challenging!

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 pairs of scissors. And don’t forget 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 in your back pack or a holdall 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. 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.


OV volunteers enjoy a visit to Kokrobite beach Ghana


What happens after I have booked?

  • As soon as you have booked with the once-only £125 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. Not sure how to book a space and check dates? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to go through everything for you.
  • 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 (airport code ACC). Skyscanner.net is possibly one of the best price comparison sites around. Prices 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.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions big or small on any aspect of our most popular African programme or would like to check dates please contact us at the earliest opportunity.Alternatively complete an easy enquiry form with your contact details and we’ll be in touch! On a budget? If you like the sound of Ghana but might not be able to stretch your budget this time round, take a look at our Morocco programme where flights from the UK and Europe start at as little as £50 return with Easyjet and Ryanair.

Placement at a glance

Volunteer OptionsPlaywork, sports, teaching, conservation, hospital, building, health work. Unlike many organisations we do not tie you in to one programme, our volunteers work as a group together in as many areas as they choose during their visit. Call us on 01603 280702 and speak to an expert projects advisor about what you can do in Ghana or by visiting the Trip Info page (box above) which contains detailed information on the programme.
SupportPre-departure helpdesk, in-country coordinating team from housekeepers, drivers and security and 24hr emergency support
Project locationMost projects located close to Lake Volta in Eastern Ghana.
AccommodationShared volunteer house in hills near Mpraeso, Lake Volta region.
Working hours Variable (usually part time) depending on chosen area of work
Language English is widely spoken and understood.
Getting to project Daily transport organised for volunteer group. Average cost about 50 UK pence.
Minimum stay 1 week
Volunteers usually stay 2-4 weeks, longer stays possible
Project operates All year round
When and how to applyThis is our top Africa volunteer programme for first time volunteers to Africa. Complete a Reserve Now form and we will contact you straightaway to confirm availability and advise next steps.
Costs£95 per week (weeks 1-2 accommodation and support) & £125 (Registration to join OV which provides a year of volunteering without registering again) Extra weeks in Ghana are £50 per week.
Airport pick-up serviceWe'll organise your airport pick up and transfer. Cost: £40. Return trips are booked in Ghana, allow between £20 and £40 depending on arrangements.
Want to find out more?Visit the Trip Info area (Tab top of page) for more on the project including daily routines and how volunteers spend their free time from safaris, beaches to secret free country clubs!

Accommodation info

  • Shop 20 minutes Shop 20 minutes
  • Bars 20 minutes Bars 20 minutes
  • Chemist 20 minutes Chemist 20 minutes
  • Bus nearest stop 10 minutes Bus nearest stop 10 minutes
  • Taxi rank 20 minutes Taxi rank 20 minutes
  • Cash machine 20 minutes Cash machine 20 minutes
  • Bank 20 minutes Bank 20 minutes
  • Pay Phone 20 minutes Pay Phone 20 minutes
  • In Town Access 1 hour In Town Access 1 hour

Basics, what to take?

  • Summer weight sleeping bag
  • Adaptor

More info

The accommodation of one of the main volunteer houses pictured below are all large and modern compared with local standards. Volunteers can enjoy the use of a spacious lounge with TV and kitchen which you are free to use. Beds are usually single or bunk beds in rooms sleeping 2 to 4. Toilets are western style sit-on toilets, water is delivered by tanker weekly. Support: Full team for support and on hand during stay.  

Meet the project team

the team in ghana You will be well looked after in Ghana. The senior coordinating staff (senior team pictured above) have looked after more than a thousand volunteers from Original Volunteers since the first arrived in 2007. Before 2007 the programme was only open to qualified medics to work in Ghanaian hospitals. But with a need for volunteers in the poorest areas, the programme was expanded to Lake Volta villages.

As well as the senior staff – who coordinate the programmes and provide orientation – you will be supported by housekeeping staff.

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 door to door from the volunteer house together in a group each day.

Placement map

Call us today on 01603 280702

Image gallery

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!

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Joyte Parmar

Hospital Project Manager helps build school in Africa

While volunteering in Ghana a Project Manager for a Midlands Hospital helped to build a Classroom, install a Creche, and set up Maths, and English tests during her two week stay at a school. Joyte Parmar, who works at the University of Birmingham Hospital, described her time spent volunteering at the Lisa Findlay scho...

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TRAINEE TEACHER DESCRIBES TEACHING IN GHANA AS ‘THE MOST AMAZING TIME OF MY LIFE’. A Trainee Teacher who spent part of her summer holiday teaching at a school in Ghana described the experience as ‘the most amazing time of my life’.Indeed, she enjoyed the experience so much that she has recommended voluntee...

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SURREY WOMAN WHO SET UP FAIR TRADE BUSINESS AFTER VOLUNTEERING HOPES TO SET UP PROJECTS IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES. Surrey woman Stacey Kerr, who spent three weeks volunteering in Ghana, decided upon her return to set up her own jewellery website to help poor people in developing countries. She hopes one day to be able ...

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