Ghana

New Hope Volunteers

When we decided to go to Africa to volunteer, I expected we were going to stay in a very unprivileged place, like I did not expect we would be able to have a shower every day, change our phones, have internet around the corner etc. So I loved staying in your house! It was very comfortable and there is enough space for all the family members and volunteers. And food was delicious every day! The house exceeded my expectations.
The staff? More like family! I thought I was going to be home sick since 3 weeks is the longest I’d ever had to miss my family. But I only felt a little homesick when I didn’t feel well one day. So the family (staff) was AMAZING! I felt free to ask for anything I needed and they were all so sweet.
At first we thought we would be helping at the orphanage with cooking, cleaning and taking care of really young children. It turned out we were working at the school which was also great! The first two weeks at Good Shepherd were interesting. I learned a lot about school in general in Ghana but I did not feel like I was contributing very much… I am happy we worked at the school in Bentum the last week because we were actually needed there! So I think more volunteers should be placed at Bentum or be able to choose between Good Shepherd or Bentum or countryside.
One thing I dislike about the project was the way we got to give our donations at Good Shepherd, more than half of it was already gone when we wanted to give it and the kids did not even know that we gave it to them…Also I wish we gave everything to God’s Vision School because Good Shepherd did not really need it.
Well with a few miscommunications the week before, we felt we got very anxious whether the organization even existed. But after I talked to Franklin on the phone we felt reassured and when we saw Franklin and Josephine at the airport we were so happy! Our experience here the last 3 weeks was AMAZING! I loved teaching, living in a house full of good and sweet people and I will miss everyone!
Franklin, Josephine, Marie, Mary-Ann thank you so much for everything. I had an amazing time here better than I ever expected!!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jul 22, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Alliance for African Women Initiative (AFAWI)

I was with AFAWI for a month, working on the Livelihood project. AFAWI's approach is very interesting, as it links its different projects together, making the support it gives to the beneficiaries very comprehensive. The Livelihood project is more than just a programme that gives out loans: it seeks to give individualised help through business training and monitoring, to ensure that the money that women receive is indeed having a positive impact on their life. As a volunteer, you are actively involved in all aspects of the project, from planning to fundraising to fieldwork, and once you settle in (which happens very fast), you have the freedom to choose the areas you prefer to work in and organise your own schedule. The people you work with are dedicated and helpful, and always welcome your opinions and inputs with an open mind. Working with this small yet dynamic NGO has really allowed me to see how vibrant and exciting Ghana is. I would recommend this experience to everyone, but for a longer stay than mine.

Program:
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jul 20, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
8

uVolunteer

My name is Austin Ikechi, I am an Pre-medical student from Maryland, USA. As a premed, getting the required amount of community service and volunteer exposure at the hospital is an important step in medical school application. Having volunteer at a hospital in Maryland, I opted for a program in a developing country because I feel I can better utilize my skills, while gaining valuable knowledge on health care in developing countries.

I stumbled upon uVolunteer, the price was great, and the response I received from the program when I made my initial enquiries was also fast and detailed. The program director explained the various programs in different countries and which ones would better fulfill my needs. I was satisfied with the logistics, as well as the payment.

My program started my first Monday; I was introduced to the HR department at Koforidua general hospital where I was scheduled to volunteer. My first placement was in the surgical ward, it was hands on, I started learning right way because the doctors explained the cases and treatment plan to me. I was let to draw blood and set up IV lines under the supervision of a doctor and with the permission of the patient.

There were also lecture series that I attended. Attending theater was the best part, I was able to watch and ask question on the procedures being done. After the first week, I went to pediatrics ward; this ward was very challenging. The doctors and PA's had review sections that I sat in for, they went over several diseases and their causes and how to diagnosis them. After sitting in for most of these reviews, I was let to see patients one on one under adoctor's supervision. This felt like a crash course in medicine.

My last week was in internal Medicine, the learning process was the similar with the other wards I rotated, doctors taught every step and approach they took on the patients. Every doctor had time to explain questions I asked. At the end of my three weeks, I can say I really appreciate the jobs being done by doctors in developing countries, without state of the art facilities in these hospitals; they do their best to save the lives of people whom they treat. Ghana has been a wonderful place, and I loved every bit of it, from traveling to Accra, to Labadi beach and travelling to Nigeria as well. My advice to future volunteers is, prioritize what you want to do, because there is so much to do. Always ask questions when you feel lost and people will gladly help you. Have fun and get a sun cream, lastly visit the beaches you would love it and most of all come prepared to learn.

Austin

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

I was amazed when I saw the house that I would be staying in for 6 weeks! The house was clean and stayed clean for my entire stay. Running water was a bonus that I was not expecting and there were always plenty of fans to keep me cool. The rooms were spacious and I never felt crowded or overwhelmed. At the end of my 6 week stay this house really felt like my home.
The house is great but the staff is better. I was in good hands from the moment they picked me up at the airport. They made my care and comfort their number one priority and I quickly felt like part of the family. They were always there to help me, whether it was with directions or finding things to do over the week end. I was ill with a fever for a short time during my stay, but the staff could not have been more helpful. They took me to the clinic and were with me every step of the way until I recovered fully. The food is AMAZING. I was never hungry. It’s one of the things I will miss most about Ghana.
I was placed at countryside and the kids there were amazing. It really is up to you to decide how much you do at the school. I wish I had more time to spend with my class. I will miss each of them so much! The adults at countryside are so helpful. They definitely made my stay there more enjoyable.
I’m definitely pleased with IFRE. This is my first volunteer trip to another country and they gave me all the information that I needed to know. I would strongly suggest IFRE to anyone looking to volunteer abroad.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jul 13, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

I could not feel more at home here in Kasoa. The room and bed are so very comfortable especially the two fans! Everything I could have ever needed was already in place for me. The shower was also very nice- I never expected so much! The food I ate was so very delicious and appreciated. The take-to-work lunches were even better than anything else that I experienced in Ghana. It such an array of dishes too so I thoroughly enjoyed the variety. I always felt very safe and at home. Coming from somebody who travels a lot, I think this was the nicest, homiest, safest place I have ever stayed. I loved coming home to my “family” everyday.
I feel strange calling them staff because they are my family. I have never met a more welcoming and friendly group of people in my life. From the moment I arrived to the house, I received hugs, so welcoming! The family truly lays down everything to be sure that the volunteers feel perfectly at ease. Mary. Josephine,Elisabeth,Cynthia,Samuel and Enoch all were so sweet and loving. They made me laugh and smile every day I was home. I loved spending time with all of them in the family room. Mary-Ann was the best Ghanaian sister I could have ever wanted. Her cooking was insanely good and always had a loving touch! I will truly miss my friend. Franklin was also the best community coordinator and Ghanaian father. He cared so much about our well-being- especially when I got sick! I will truly miss all of them
I LOVED MY PLACEMENT IN THE CLINICS! I think it is very true when they say you must take it upon yourself though to jump into the work. However, I think that anybody wanting to do medicine should already have that mentality. Take advantage of the fact that you are exposed to more than you would be elsewhere! When they see that you are exerting effort they really go out of their way to teach you things and expose you to as much as possible. I worked nights at Margo Maternity Clinic too to deliver babies and I highly recommend that. The staffs at both clinics were such great teachers and I’m very sad to leave my job.
I loved this organization for many reasons but the most being their greatest focus is the projects! They were never hesitant to provide logistical support or answer even the smallest of questions. I very much look forward to travelling with this company again.
I will miss Ghana

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jul 4, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

My review is specific to CCS Ghana, which I feel is a waste of money and designed for those who just want to have fun in Africa with minimal volunteering while still calling it a "volunteer" trip. I spent a combined 3 weeks in Ghana with CCS and 9 months in Ghana without any organization. I probably spent less money in those 9 months total than I spent on the 3 weeks with CCS, while having a much better trip.

CCS has its good points and could be a good introduction to Africa for those a bit hesitant (like I was) or unwilling to forego certain amenities. You will always have running water, a power generator, huge fans for the heat, westernized meals served to you, and a nice razor wire fence around the compound. All of this sounded great to me at the time, but in retrospect it robbed me of any true insight into the Ghanaian lifestyle.

Volunteer placements are usually nice (the majority being schools and orphanages) and volunteers have a lot of fun with the kids, but beware that you will probably not come away with any deep sense of fulfillment if you are looking to feel like you really made a difference. Volunteers are only at their placement for about 3 hours, while the rest of the day is dedicated to fun (outings, visiting town, hanging out at the homebase). Obviously the fun times are great, just be aware that the actual volunteering will seem like a minimal part of the trip. This trip caters to those who favor saying they have done volunteer work over actually doing the work itself.

CCS prides itself on cultural immersion activities. The activities are great - the highest waterfall in West Africa, a monkey sanctuary, a visit to the market, etc - but these are all easy activities to do without CCS. I visited all of the same places during my own visit to Ghana, and found all of them much more enjoyable to do with my real Ghanaian friends (rather than people I was randomly put into a house with), on my own time and in my own way.

Lastly, I unfortunately have to comment on the staff who will act warm and welcoming, but are in fact very petty towards volunteers and each other. Volunteers will not realize that the staff often talks poorly about them right in front of them in Ewe (the native language), or the amount of drama within the staff behind the scenes (dating each other against their own policy, giving silent treatments, threatening "juju" [witchcraft] against each other, etc).

I had previously heard rumors that the staff at CCS Ghana does not like volunteers to return to Ghana without CCS, and this was sadly proven true to me. Some staff members expressed excitement at my return and then never spoke to me while I was there, despite my attempt, specifically because I did not bring gifts to them (I was told that laptops, cameras, ipods are acceptable gifts, but unfortunately a 9-month leave from work does not afford me this possibility).

Lastly, while on the subject of the staff and homebase, I cannot stress enough that this living situation is structured specifically to those who are of an outgoing talkative personality. If this is you, great - this is not a negative observation, as most volunteers seem to fit this profile and staff prefers volunteers to fit this profile. I, however, am the very quiet type who prefers to take in my cultural surroundings without necessarily commenting out loud on each and every thing and also liked to spend most of my time at the homebase either preparing something for my few hours at my volunteer placement the next day or keeping a journal of my trip. I am a friendly person and always stayed with the group, but the staff made me feel excessively awkward and alienated because of my shyness, and even spoke poorly of me after I left (for example: remarking that I return to my serious face quickly after laughing at something. Excruciatingly petty). This may seem trivial, but it warrants mentioning because it ended up being a negative factor in both my trip and impression of the staff in retrospect. Introverts beware!

In conclusion, CCS Ghana is not an all bad experience, but there are unlimited ways to get a greater (and more realistic) experience of Ghana for a lot less money. Moving there by one's self like I did is not feasible for most people, but there are many many many organizations available. My best suggestion is simply to spend enough time researching to find a more basic volunteer program at a reasonable price (and that offers more time dedicated to the volunteer work if that is one of your primary objectives), and plan cultural excursions according to your own schedule and budget. Ghana promotes tourism so everything you need can be found online. CCS seems like a great package deal at first glance, but I guarantee that your visit to Ghana will be a thousand times more beautiful, realistic, exploratory, and fulfilling without CCS.

Please, I am not requesting or interested in a response from any CCS reps.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jun 26, 2014
Overall:
3
Support:
1
Value:
2

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

Having recently returned from a trip to Ghana with IVHQ I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the experience with anyone wishing to get a personal viewpoint on the entire experience.
Arriving in Ghana I was exhausted and nervous but my nerves were calmed immediately when I found IVHQ Ghana staff member, Benedict, waiting for me exactly where I was told he would be. Benedict was pleasant and greeted me warmly, asking about my flights and how I was feeling about being in Ghana. Upon arriving at the volunteer house in Accra I was greeted by the remaining IVHQ Ghana staff members and other volunteers – both new and old who helped calm any remaining nerves about what I was about to experience. The first day was orientation held by Benedict, who very professionally taught us the basics of what we needed to know and some of the local language; Benedict answered any and all questions that we had about the trip and shortly after we met with our program coordinators who were to take us out to our placements. Being placed at the Turquoise program my coordinator was Gideon.
Gideon was friendly and welcoming right from introductions; he advised that if we had any issues or needed any help we were always welcome to contact him for help. Throughout my entire placement at Turquoise Gideon followed through on that promise with weekly visits to our placement, always asking each of us how we were going and if there was anything he could do help if we needed something.

Upon arriving at my placement I was greeted by all the children screaming with excitement which was overwhelming at first but their excitement was infectious - never have I had so many children wanting to know my name, wanting a cuddle or wanting to ask me a million different questions! Met at the home by Seth and his wife Vivienne who run Beckys Home, I was immediately welcomed the family and made to feel extremely comfortable. I could tell that the month I was about to spend with these people was going to be a very happy one. Never have I met more genuine people than Seth and Vivienne. Seth genuinely cared about all of the volunteers and thought of us as family, he checked in with each of us every morning – asked how we were going and if we had slept well. If we ever needed anything Seth was always helpful and he always expressed how happy he was with us for organising activities for the children. Not only did I become a part of the Becky’s Home family but I have made life long friends with the other volunteers who I shared the experience with – within days we were all great friends, travelled together on weekends and shared hundreds of new experiences together, memories that I will always treasure.

I cannot find the words to express how much I fell in love with the children at Becky’s Home. Each and every morning we were greeted by children running to get the first cuddle, all of them happy to see us. Our days were filled with laughter; we played so many games – both ones we taught them and ones they taught us. Weekly trips to the beach and an endless supply of cuddles; your arms will never be empty when you’re around these kids. So much so that when I was on my way home of an evening I experienced phantom weight – my limbs expecting there to be a child hanging off somewhere! Each and every one of the children are so uniquely individual, getting to know them was amazing. The older children are always happy to help with the younger children and always willing to help you with anything you might need.

I feel extremely privileged to have been a part of the Becky’s Home family - a network made up of the other volunteers, Seth, Vivienne, their children and the children living at the home; to this day I still consider them family after the wonderful time we spent together and will continue to do so until I can return.

Travelling to Ghana with IVHQ was the greatest decision I have ever made.
I went to Ghana expecting to help change some lives but in truth the experience changed mine. I miss it and the children every single day; I am working on getting back to Ghana to visit as soon as I can and I will be doing so through IVHQ Ghana as their professionalism and friendliness is unparalleled by any other company.

Program:
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jun 22, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8

Comments

Hi Claire, It is great to read about your experience volunteering abroad in Ghana. It is great to hear that your time as a volunteer in Ghana was such a rewarding experience. We hope to have your volunteer with us again in the future. Thank you for volunteering with IVHQ.

New Hope Volunteers

At first I was supposed to stay with a host family in Accra, but when I arrived in Ghana, there had been a slight change of plan. I would stay with franklin and his family instead. At first I was a little disappointed that I would not be lodging in accra but now I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. First of all, the people here were great. Mary Ann is a fantastic cook, she always made sure that we had plenty to eat and we tasted a lot interesting dishes. Mary always knew how to make everyone laugh and Franklin made sure we were always happy. I can definitely say that I was. I felt at home here since day one and it didn’t bother me that we occasionally lost power and running water. The house itself is also really spacious and pretty well maintained. If indeed many volunteers can find a home here ( I don’t even know how many people can sleep here but at least 15 people.
Staff? More like friends/family. Everybody here was extremely helpful; they did their best to make me feel at home. Franklin also checked on me from time to time to make sure everything was alright. It was good to know that people were really looking after you.
On my second day here I had almost lost my credit card when I was trying to withdraw some cash from an ATM machine. The machine refused to eject my card, it was really stuck and I started to panic. Wisdom was with me when it happened and promised me I would get it back. After two hours, still nothing happened and we had to leave. We’d have to contact the bank the next day. In the end, this wasn’t necessary. Next morning, wisdom brought me back my card while I was having breakfast. He had really done his best to solve the problem as soon as possible for which I’m still very grateful . This is just one of the many examples, in the end everyone here was warm welcoming and helpful. I will miss them all.
I volunteered at a school called Marvellous, which is not far away from the house(I could even walk from here to school which I sometimes did) I was supposed to teach only English( at least that’s what the project description from my organization claimed) but I ended up doing many different things. The first two weeks I was more of an assistant than an actual teacher. I marked assignments, wrote on the chalkboard, played games with the kids and taught them a few songs. But I also wanted to teach! Luckily,they gave me the opportunity to do this during my last week. I basically taught every subject, even ICT and creative arts. I learned a lot form this school as well, the entire experience has really been rewarding. The kids were great, so were most of the teachers. I met some really nice people there and they too will be greatly missed!
New Hope Volunteers is a good organization. I would say the staff from the head office (in Nepal) was really helpful and all my questions were answered within a day. Franklin too was very helpful in this aspect. I encountered some difficulties in obtaining my visa but Franklin made sure I received all the required documents so my application could be processed in time.
I would certainly recommend New Hope Volunteers. They offer one of the most affordable programs (also in many other countries) and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who considers to go volunteering

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jun 14, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Crossroad

I was very happy with my living arrangements and food. My room was comfortable and clean and the house had everything needed in order to make me feel at home. My host sister, Mary Anne was such an amazing cook! She was more than happy to make sure that there was always a meal for me seeing as I’m a vegetarian. I felt safe and welcome every day of my trip.
My host family took me in immediately. They made me feel loved and safe. Not only did they teach me about Kasoa and Ghana, but they offered me support that a family would offer. They made me laugh, they protected me, they taught me, they fed me, they nursed me while I was sick and they loved me. I can honestly say that this family is my family.
My placement was not what I expected at first. The original plan was to go between one orphanage and an HIV/AIDS clinic. Unfortunately, the clinic was no longer an option. But Franklin was amazing at finding new placements for me and my group. I really enjoyed my service and I learned a lot.
I would definitely recommend this experience to others! I will not lie and say it is easy. Coming to Ghana was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But if you open up your heart and accept the help that is offered you, then you will find yourself and your life changed forever.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jun 7, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Crossroad

My accommodation and food were AMAZING. I absolutely loved the house and the food. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay. I also loved getting to know and try different Ghanaian dishes.
My support was unbelievable. The host/family treated me as one of them. I felt so safe and secure with the host. Franklin and wisdom were with me every step of the way. I never felt alone during my stay. The placement was fantastic. I loved the location. We were very close to the market and seamstress. It was also within a good distance from all of the service sites. With a tro tro ride, nothing was too far away.
Overall, I LOVED the time that I’ve spent in Ghana. This trip was unlike any other trip I’ve ever done. I don’t think that I could’ve asked for a better experience. I’m so glad that I was able to come on this trip. The service was phenomenal! The kids were great and I had a blast at the different schools.
I would absolutely recommend this trip to others. This experience is one that I believe should be shared. I’ve seen and learned things that I will take with me for the rest of my life. This experience has changed my perspective and has me excited for my next trip to Africa because I definitely plan to come back after this experience. Thank you Franklin 

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jun 7, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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