Experience Volunteer in Ghana Programs
Volunteering in Ghana offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in one of Africa's most peaceful and friendliest countries. Ghana welcomes volunteers with open arms, embracing your efforts with genuine warmth. Experience the laid-back lifestyle, where locals invite you into their homes and communities, greeting you with big hearts and warm smiles.
Are you passionate about teaching English? Become an education volunteer and witness the enthusiasm of Ghanaian children as you bring fresh energy to their learning experience! If you have a knack for sports, especially football, share your skills as a sports teacher. Ghana, a nation crazy about football, eagerly awaits your expertise.
For aspiring healthcare professionals, numerous hospital internship projects seek volunteer support. Your contribution can make a significant difference in the lives of those in need. Ghana seamlessly combines urban development with its rural and traditional charm, creating a perfect blend for volunteers. Its untouched wilderness adds to the allure, making it an ideal starting point for volunteering in Africa.
Don't miss the chance to volunteer in Ghana – an enriching experience awaits you in this welcoming country! Join us and make a lasting impact while exploring the heart of Africa.
Volunteering in Ghana 2023
Volunteer in Ghana FAQ's
You want your next holiday to be meaningful? Explore the plenty of volunteering opportunities awaiting your assistance in the colorful and vibrant country of Ghana. Did you know that Ghana was the first African country to gain its independence from colonial rule in 1957? Since then, it has had ample time and better opportunities to develop as a nation as compared to other African countries. With its history of successful political transitions, Ghana enjoys sustainable democratic politics, freedom of the press, an independent judiciary, and a strong civil society. Stabilised export supplies and dependable infrastructure have also contributed to Ghana’s economic development. These characteristics make Ghana very easily navigable. This is also why this country is referred to as "Africa for Beginners", as you’ll have the easiest start in Africa here.
However, what also holds true for Ghana is that despite all the economic growth, poverty still persists as a major challenge in mostly rural areas. This persistence of poverty is directly related to the low quality of education available due to overcrowded and understaffed schools. Other problems include neglected infrastructures, understaffed healthcare facilities, irregular employment, and earning opportunities. On top of this all is the increasing rate of deforestation and the continued loss of local natural resources.
Ghana may be on the path of development from the past few decades and even though it has made considerable economic progress since then, it still relies upon the support of its NGOs which in turn count on the support of volunteers like you to help improve the living conditions of its citizens.
Every program has different requirements and expectations from its volunteers specific to the cause it is supporting. Therefore, it is important that you thoroughly check these requirements separately on the Meaningful Travel project page before applying. Although you can take note of some general requirements that apply to most Volunteer projects in Ghana:
- Most volunteer projects in Ghana need you to be at least 18 years old. Some projects also accept volunteers who are 16 years of age so we advise you to always check this preliminary qualification parameter with your volunteering organisation.
- You should be able to speak and write English at an intermediate level; although if you are teaching English or specifically undertaking an educational project then it is possible that advanced English proficiency may be required.
- Other documents like a criminal background check, vaccine certificates, and health declarations might be required depending on the nature of the project you have chosen.
Volunteering programs in Ghana are mainly focused on topics of healthcare & medicine, education, sports, wildlife, and community development. The opportunities are abundant and whatever skills you may possess, you will surely find a use for them while volunteering out here. The persistent issue is always that the institutions hosting these projects are understaffed and could always use extra volunteer support. Of course, the challenges of individual programs remain unique and we have described them in the following sections.
Volunteering in Ghana is required in these 4 main areas:
- Healthcare and awareness
- Education and childcare
- Community development projects
- Animal care and wildlife conservation
Now, if you are unsure about which category is most suitable for your skills and interest, then please read about the many different volunteering projects that further fall under the above 4 categories. You will get a clearer idea about what they mostly entail and where you can contribute most meaningfully.
Major healthcare challenges in Ghana are the prevalent tropical diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, lower respiratory infections, and strokes. Other socio-economic challenges are the unaffordability of healthcare by citizens, lack of access to healthcare services especially in rural areas, and the danger of potential epidemics. Mental health issues also persist in the country where psychiatric institutions are very sparse in number and usually understaffed.
Joining a medical internship in Ghana in your field of interest will add tremendously to your work experience before applying to a medical school. Another benefit is that most medical internships will be rife with opportunities of understanding the workings of different medical departments and consult doctors upon which specialisation field will be best for your career.
If you’re a doctor or a nurse, then your expertise will be well-matched with the placement where you are most needed. If you are an elective student, you will be learning a lot as you shadow doctors and nurses on their daily rounds and work under their supervision. Whether you have any relevant expertise or no experience at all, there will always be meaningful volunteer jobs for you in Ghana such as:
- Health education & awareness
- Regional hospital placements
- Mental health & psychiatry internships
- Biomedical Science internships
You can browse through these volunteering opportunities to find the most ideal one for you and be a part of the medical progress of Ghana.
Teaching children in Ghana is such an enriching experience as along with having an everlasting impact on the children’s future, you will get to experience the kind-heartedness of the natives, their vibrant culture, and the welcoming spirit. The children always love your new energy and your volunteering efforts will help many Ghanaian students consolidate the foundation of their future learning and eventually rise out of poverty.
A common issue with Ghanaian schools is that they are overcrowded, understaffed, and with a lack of trained teachers. There is also the problem of scarce resources and expensive supplies which once furnished, are seldom restocked for the students. The infrastructure too, once built is then neglected for many years. A lot many other big and small reasons is why Ghanaian schools are always in need of volunteer support.
The most popular teaching requirements in Ghana are:
- The major need for English teachers as it is the language in which all other subjects are later taught to the students. Good English skills are crucial for Ghanaian students for getting jobs and further studies.
- French is also an extremely helpful asset for the students as much of Ghana’s trade happens with French-speaking surrounding countries and knowing the language gives an edge.
- You can also volunteer as an educator in a High school for other specific subjects as the schools regularly face problems of a lack of substitute teachers. You can teach any subject you specialise in.
- Ghana is football-crazy! Children love the game and every 1 in 5 wants to be a professional football player. So, if you have had some experience in football or in any other sport too, you can volunteer in Ghanaian sports academies and schools and give regular sports training to the students that might help many get closer to their dream career.
The children and the staff welcome you like family and any fresh and creative means of learning that you come up with are most appreciated by all. Do not also be surprised if even the parents invite you for dinner as a way of saying thank you. It's all part of the community life in Ghana!
If you have had any prior experience in childcare then there are many related projects for you in Ghana where you can improve the lives of young children. You will mainly be required to give them the much-needed attention, engage them in various activities and lessons, and overall keep their energies up. It is important to understand that this will have a huge impact on their learning, growth, and development.
Your work may involve volunteering in orphanages, daycare centres, and special needs schools where you will be assisting the teachers and the local staff in keeping the children active and entertained. Your tasks may vary every day and you might have to participate in everything around you. So, do not be surprised if one day you’re teaching English to the students and the next you are helping feed a child.
It should be understood that children in various childcare programs may all have very specific needs and may require volunteers to be quite sensitive and attentive towards them. Many of these children have been through a lot with their families living in poverty and relying upon childcare institutions to help provide better care for their children. Although it is possible that even these institutions aren’t well equipped and lack the means in terms of staff, supplies, and other resources.
This is where you bring in the fresh energy and lots of creativity that the children really love and benefit from. It is possible that many of these programs might require you to have some past experience or qualifications in fields related to childcare and they might vary from program to program.
Ghana offers various opportunities for meaningful community work. You can do a human rights law, or a journalism internship and play an active role in the local law cases and the local current affairs of your region. You want to have an impact on the local economy? Help native families increase their farm yields so that they may earn some extra income. There are also volunteering opportunities that let you contribute towards women empowerment.
Are you good at some extracurricular activities? Join a book club after school and enhance the student’s English reading and speaking skills or just teach them basic social skills. When it comes to after-school activities, you can also teach football to students after school and as a coach in academies. Also, these institutions may have some infrastructural requirements that you may fulfill by volunteering in construction projects.
There are just so many ways to help the community out! Select from the plenty of NGOs in Ghana and make your contribution to doing meaningful work for Ghana’s future.
Volunteer for Construction Projects
It is widely known that the developing Ghana does not fall behind in its infrastructure and attention has been given by the government to adequate construction work of schools, clinics, hospitals, and other buildings for public resources. However, what also remains true is that most of the time, these buildings are just neglected for several years after being built. Not many efforts are made for their maintenance and their beautification is a far cry.
If you choose to volunteer for construction programs, you will be contributing meaningfully to the much-needed reconstruction of these buildings, making them more attractive and lively by perhaps painting them, more spacious by paving uneven areas that could not be used, and in many cases even making them safe for those who visit them daily.
Construction programs may be focussed on the reconstruction of schools and classrooms for the benefit of the students, local clinics for ensuring that their space can be optimally used as they are usually overcrowded, and even building homes for disadvantaged communities Construction programs in Ghana are also focused on building homes for disadvantaged communities.
Ghana suffers from a major loss of 90% of its forests (that’s right, only 10% is left) and this has taken the biggest toll on its wildlife. Ghana’s indigenous species are heavily affected by habitat loss and continued poaching and they need all the help they can get. This is why there is a dire need for wildlife conservation in Ghana.
This is why help is always needed at animal rescue centres where you can nurse sick and injured animals back to health and release them into their natural habitats. You can also assist at zoos and veterinary clinics in underdeveloped regions where there is a lack of trained professionals.
If you are a nature and animal lover then you will learn so much, make a lasting difference for Ghana’s endangered species, and absolutely enjoy these projects.
The most interesting volunteering programs are located in Ghanaian cities like Kumasi, Abetifi, Accra, and others locations.
The organizations in these locations are a bit inland, quite local, small, and away from the hustle and bustle of city life. In all these locations, organisations host similar kinds of programs with a few exceptions here and there depending on what different their surroundings need.
Accra and Abetifi for instance will have more projects related to volunteering for healthcare and medicine, community life, and education where as Kumasi will offer better opportunities for those who prefer to be in nature amid a more peaceful environment and want to volunteer for environmental protection and wildlife conservation.
Daily budget estimate: US$12 - US$35 (for one person)
This is a tentative average amount you may have to spend daily to cover the cost of some basic goods and services you may need. Below is a cost overview of some basic services and commodities in Ghana (in US $, for one person) is:
# Cost Big Mac $2.63 Coca-Cola $0.55 Eating out $4.68 Rental Car $156.72 Hostel $8.91 Marlboro $0.76 Beer $0.65 Fuel $1.03 Public Transport $1.00
You should also consider the following additional costs:
- Flight tickets
- Program fees
- Travel insurance
- Visa fees
- Personal expenses
Several questions about a country come to mind when travelling abroad. What is the culture like? Any do’s & don’ts I should know about? Will I be safe there? Will it be too hot? What precautions I should take?
The more you know, the smoother and hassle-free your experiences become. So, please take note of some interesting and useful tips about Ghana that will make your traveling all the more fun.
Safety & Precautions
Ghana is actually a very peaceful country and not many strict precautions are there when volunteering in this country. However, here are some things you should pay attention to:
- Be careful of your belongings like your wallets and bags. Pick-pocketing is common in market areas.
- Best not to stick your phone out of the car window for photos and videos as sometimes there are instances of snatching by motorcyclists.
- Please be aware that smoking publicly is banned in some regions.
- Almost all taxi drivers do not have a licence so it is best to use Uber, Bolt, or take assistance from your volunteering organisation.
- Always have some cash on you, although not a lot, or you may get stuck.
- You should be careful while driving as the road conditions aren't that good in Ghana.
Keep in mind that Ghana has tropical temperatures and is also rich in wilderness. The health risks of travelling in Ghana can vary depending on several factors like the duration of your stay, activities you engage in, and your general health and immunity.
- Do not drink tap water or eat undercooked or street food. Either take assistance from your volunteering organisation, your hosts, or you can cook for yourself too.
- Wash your hands at regular intervals & maintain proper hygiene.
- Be cautious of bug bites. Try to wear covered clothes, use mosquito repellents, and a bed net while sleeping.
- It is best to get travel insurance that will cover your health care while traveling. You should also carry your medications along with your prescriptions.
- Avoid direct contact with street dogs, domestic, and wild animals as there is a risk that they have rabies.
- Make sure you get all the necessary vaccines before you travel. They include MMR, Chickenpox, Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis, Polio, and your yearly flu shot. Moreover, there are other recommendations like Hepatitis A, Typhoid, etc. vaccinations by the US-based health protection agency CDC. You should take them into consideration before traveling.
- Showing a yellow fever vaccination certificate is mandatory if you are planning on traveling to Ghana.
- Come prepared for chances of dry desert winds. It's advisable to drink plenty of fluids, carry eye drops, and have other suitable arrangements to protect yourself from heat strokes.
Culture & Religion
Ghana has a fascinating cultural heritage closely linked with the institution of chieftaincy. You will see an emphasis on communal values such as family, respect for the elderly, honoring traditional rulers, and the importance of proper social conduct and living with dignity. The characteristic social customs and traditions values can be seen more evidently in the rural parts of Ghana as compared to the urban. Majority of Ghana’s population is Christian and about one-fifth is Muslim. Many different indigenous ethnic groups also comprise the population.
You will just love travelling around this breathtakingly colourful country that will offer you so much to see and do. Here are some interesting things about Ghanaian culture and keeping them in mind will help while traversing the country:
- Be mindful of the clothing cultures that vary from city to city. Try to wear more covered clothes in rural areas. Things are more relaxed in the cities.
- Every sixth Sunday, Ghanaians honour their king by celebrating the festival of Awasidee. You can attend the colourful festivities.
- People may not be very punctual in Ghana so try to stay relaxed, as things might take time.
- Only use your right hand for things like eating, giving money/gifts, receiving something, shaking hands, etc. From an early age, Ghanaians are taught that the left hand should only be used for the purpose of cleaning oneself. So, it is considered very disrespectful if you do anything auspicious with your left hand.
- Moving your thumb up and down is seen as a gesture similar to the middle finger in Europe.
- You should accept gifts with a smile. Rejecting them is considered rude.
- Do not swear as using vulgar words is strictly prohibited.
You have to apply for a volunteer visa if you plan to volunteer in Ghana for 60 days. Remember to apply for the visa before you leave because it will not get issued at the airport on arrival.
You can check this link to apply at your closest Ghanaian Embassy or Consulate.
Please ensure to collect all the supporting documents from your volunteering organisation as they will be required to start your application process. You can confirm the entire checklist of documents by the Ghanaian Embassy or Consulate that are additionally required to complete your application.
A volunteer visa is valid for only 3 months from the date of issue so please make sure you enter Ghana within this duration. You should also not apply too far in advance as it is recommended by the Ghanaian Embassy to submit your visa application one month prior to the intended date of departure.
This way, by the time you arrive at the airport, your visa will automatically only be good for two months instead of three.
If you decide to stay for durations longer than 2 months then you can renew your visa for roughly $5 US per month, every two months, for as long as you desire. The Department of Immigration is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 3 pm in Kumasi, Accra, Sunyani, Cape Coast, Koforidua, and Tamale.
All in all, Ghana is a superb choice if you're searching to volunteer abroad in Africa. There are so many volunteer opportunities available that you're sure to find the ideal program. Most ideal programs are available for those who want to gain international work experience and benefit from real-world knowledge.
Ghana is one of the best places to start whether you want to work in the medical field, with animals, teach, or strengthen the community. Volunteer opportunities in Ghana are awaiting your helping hand!