Gap Year Ghana, Africa! Situated on the coast of West Africa, Ghana is a country full of beautiful beaches, lush vegetation and the world’s largest artificial lake – Lake Volta! Hailed as one of Africa’s great success stories, Ghana is reaping the benefits of a stable democracy in the form of fast paced development.
Although a stable country, many Ghanaians live in poverty, so volunteers really do make a difference. English is learned at school and widely spoken, but a little effort to learn a few phrases in one of the local languages will go a long way. With so many opportunities to make a difference, spending your gap year in Ghana is a truly rewarding experience.
Gap year Teaching Volunteers help teach a variety of subjects including English, Maths, Science and others, depending on their skills and the school’s needs. Volunteers working with pre-school children will also do some care work and help with any extra-curricular activities. Schools in Ghana are often under-resourced, but you will find that the students are eager and willing to learn and the more effort you put in the more you will be rewarded. Resourcefulness, initiative and ingenuity are key attributes needed.
There is plenty of opportunity for proactive placement volunteers to get involved in more than the role of a Teaching Volunteer too. Often gap year Ghana volunteers set up extra-curricular clubs such as sports coaching, drama or music clubs. These clubs are often very well attended by the local school children and become a great part of the week for the community and also the volunteer to enjoy.
Health worker placements are some of our most challenging but rewarding volunteering placements. Based in local health centres, volunteers help the local staff, who are usually overworked and responsible for almost everything medically-based in their community. The role of a local health centre is vital within a rural community and is greatly respected; it’s rare to find doctors or nurses at rural health centres, so the demands on local staff are great and your support and flexibility will be much appreciated.
The role does not require any technical or medical experience and you will volunteer under the supervision of local staff (although if you do have experience, that would certainly be welcomed). Typical activities of a Volunteer Health Worker will include: assisting with some of the running of a health centre, looking after a basic pharmacy and providing general administration for patient care, helping to maintain patient records, assisting with activities with babies and under-fives and monthly baby monitoring (weighing) and feeding, assisting with outreach programmes and involvement with health education campaigns.
The needs of communities and individuals around the world are varied and diverse. As a Community Volunteer, you will work within communities to provide assistance in meaningful ways, often to disadvantaged groups. This may involve working with young people with special needs, or elderly people in community centres. Alternatively you might work with a youth organisation or undertake education and awareness programmes through partner organisations to highlight issues such as HIV and AIDS. The work can be challenging but is truly rewarding and will give you a unique insight into the life of your new community.
As yet another Community Volunteer option, Lattitude works in partnership with organisations such as the Football for Hope (FFH) movement which uses sport to re-engage young people. FFH builds on the historic hosting of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and harnesses this enormously popular sport to address education and health challenges in underserved communities across Africa. One of the first FFH centres was built in Cape Coast in Ghana and Play Soccer Ghana (PSG) was selected to be the Centre Host.
Volunteers on this placement will be helping to educate the users through a range of different sports. Volunteers on this placement should have an interest in sports and will be focusing on raising awareness, training, peer education, resources development and teaching.
What to expect:
Most volunteers live with a host family providing a unique opportunity to live amongst local people. Ghanaian society is far more traditional than western society and your hosts will expect you to live as a family member and spend time with them, whilst welcoming you with open arms. Some volunteers in Ghana choose to live in staff accommodation or have a room in a boarding school. This gives you more independence, but you will still be living close to teachers and students. You are free to travel at weekends and during school holidays, provided that you let your host know that you will be away.
Free Time & Travel:
As one of the region’s more prosperous countries and with over 50 ethnic groups, Ghana offers visitors a diverse and welcoming introduction to the African continent. Explore the country by boat, bus, train or air and witness a range of sights, from beautiful beaches and stunning national parks to lively cities. At weekends or during your holidays from work, you could travel to Mole Park in the North of the country, and find yourself face-to-face with forest elephants, gazelles and baboons. Alternatively, head south to Lake Volta: this vast body of water is the world’s largest artificial lake and provides Ghanaians with hydroelectric power.
Ghana is situated just a few degrees above the Equator, so in the past volunteers have chosen to spend some time cooling off on one of the country’s many handsome beaches. Ghana is blessed with hundreds of kilometres of picturesque coastline, and the two fishing villages of Busua and Dixcove are particularly favoured for their sandy assets. History buffs will also find fodder for their curiosity in the country’s ruined European forts, such as Cape Coast Castle. If you have a spare weekend but do not want to travel far, you can also explore the local culture and traditions. Music and dance are highly diverse in Ghana, and each ethnic group and occasion has its own individual dance. Also, you cannot travel to Ghana without noticing the importance of textiles to its culture. Locals buy their preferred cloth first then ask a tailor to make them into clothes. Past volunteers have also taken advantage of this and enjoyed getting some one-off garments made up for them at very reasonable prices. With so much to do, Ghana is the perfect place for an inspiring, memorable gap year.
(Please note – we have made several changes recently to ensure our viability during Covid-19 and beyond. One change you may notice is we now list our pricing in US dollars. To convert to your own currency, you can use xe.com)
Lattitude Application Fee – $50 (USD)
The application fee covers the cost of processing applications and conducting interviews.
All applicants are guaranteed an interview. This fee is non-refundable.
Lattitude Placement Fee: $2800 (USD)
This fee is broken into three payments:
Once you have been interviewed and accepted into the programme, you will be required to pay a $500USD deposit to secure your position. The deposit covers our costs for identifying, assessing and matching you to a suitable placement.
Under normal circumstances, this is a non-refundable deposit. However, due to the uncertain timeframe of COVID-19 travel restrictions etc, we have adopted a more flexible approach to ensure there is no financial risk to our volunteers proceeding with their Lattitude travel plans.
Your deposit will be refundable if: You have paid your deposit after 11 March 2020 (the date WHO declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic) and if nearing your scheduled departure, as a result of COVID 19, you are still unable to travel, or if, following government advice, your destination is deemed unsafe to do so.
If you are still unable to travel to your first-choice destination, we can work with you to look at alternative destinations at short notice. In the unprecedented scenario of no appropriate departures being available, we will look to reschedule, offer you the opportunity of deferring, or refunds will be made available.
Deposit Update – October 2020
From 8th October 2020, Lattitude will refund deposit payments in the event that Lattitude needs to cancel a specific programme departure due to COVID 19 or if international/government COVID 19 advice is to avoid travel to that destination. Lattitude will always encourage volunteers to consider an alternative destination or to defer travel.
You will be required to pay an interim payment of $1,000USD no more than 6 months before departure. This payment covers Lattitude costs involved in the pre-departure stage of your placement.
The remainder of the Lattitude fee of $1300USD will be due 60 days prior to your scheduled departure.
- In depth matching process to align your skills and interests with a placement that really suits you
- Assigned Volunteer Coordinator to help with all your pre-departure information, advice and guidance
- Links with returned volunteers
- Relevant DBS/police check fees
- Pre-departure briefing
- Airport pickup on arrival
- In-country orientation as part of country programme network of international Lattitude volunteers
- Day to day support from your placement host and a member of staff as your mentor
- Accommodation with a host family
- 24/7 support from Lattitude, including in-country support from the Lattitude Country Manager
- Focus on your personal volunteer learning and development
- Returned Volunteer follow up and Debrief Event
- Opportunity to join the Lattitude Alumni
- International Flights
- Onward travel to placement (if applicable)
- Travel insurance
- Contribution to host family for food (each month add on £100)
- Inoculations (if applicable)
- Pocket Money for weekends/holidays/post-placement travel
As a charity we always recommend our volunteers fundraise to help meet the costs involved in volunteering overseas. In many ways it is part of the whole experience. For more information and fundraising ideas please click here.
I have to admit my heart is still in Ghana. It was a life-enhancing and truly unforgettable experience.Lucy, Teacher