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Ghana

A politically stable and successful country, Ghana has progressed rapidly in recent history. But dramatic reductions in overall poverty levels mask one of the fastest rising rates of inequality in Africa. ICS volunteers work side by side with communities on projects aimed at addressing this imbalance.

International Service volunteer Frankie teaches a disabled child at Yumba Special School
© Andrew Aitchison / International Service
International Service volunteer Frankie teaches a disabled child at Yumba Special School

Improving education 

Not all children in Ghana have access to a classroom. Despite recent regulation, vulnerable children such as those with disabilities, can be denied access to school. A lack of understanding, limited resources or support can all hinder a child’s right to education.

ICS volunteers with VSO support work to get children in to school, to increase the quality of education and support teaching staff provide inclusive and interesting lessons.

Work ranges, but ICS volunteers will typically work within the community, increasing awareness to the importance of education. They will also help create teaching resources and help identify children from the local area who are particularly at risk of being excluded.

Young entrepreneur Josephine participates in a Challenges community action day by sewing a reusable sanitary pad
© Katherine Stone / ICS
Young woman Josephine participates in a Challenges community action day, sewing a reusable sanitary pad

Helping people to support themselves and their families

Volunteers help create a sustainable source of income for people, so they can live with independence and dignity. Projects utilise volunteer’s enthusiasm and skills to increase business opportunities, deliver training and encourage entrepreneurship.

Volunteers with Balloon Ventures and Challenges Worldwide undergo specific business skills training which they utilise within the communities they support. Focusing specifically on supporting ventures that have a positive social, economic or environmental impact.

Other work conducted by volunteers include market research, help with book keeping and training to increase work opportunities for young people.

International Service UK Team Leader Kristina Golijanin in her host community of Tamale
© Andrew Aitchison / International Service
International Service UK Team Leader Kristina Golijanin in her host community of Tamale

Challenging the disability stigma

In Ghana, over 300,000 live with a severe visual impairment. They're often undervalued by those around them - and as a result, excluded by society. All because of a lack of understanding about their disability.

International Service are launching a new project, REACT, in northern Ghana in 2018 tackling the stigma around disability. Volunteers will train both disabled and non-disabled people to play the inclusive Paralympic sport of goalball.

They'll offer visually impaired Ghanaian people an opportunity to push their self-development. And they'll be raising awareness about disabilities through interactive discussions in local communities and on local radio.

Half the volunteers on this project will be people who are visually impaired, and half will be fully sighted.

Find out more about REACT:

Find out more about International Service's new disability rights programme in Ghana next year
"The best thing, the most challenging thing, is getting dropped in a part of the world that’s completely unfamiliar.

You just have to adapt to it and in that process you learn so much about yourself and also the community you are part of.”
Raluca Moraru
UK volunteer, Talensi, Ghana, 2016
Raluca Moraru, UK volunteer, Talensi, Ghana, 2016

Living in Ghana

There are multiple project locations in Ghana, including in Ho, Kumsai, Asamakese and Jirapa. All placements in Ghana see volunteers living with host families, usually with one other volunteer.  

As with other placements, volunteers living with host families will be expected to eat like a local. Ghanaian staple food includes TZ (made from maize and water and usually served with groundnut soup), Jollof rice, yams and plantain.

Volunteers on these projects also undertake community work. This work is led by teams and varies throughout each cycle. Previous activities have included running school sports days, raising awareness of sexual health and community litter picking events. 

Your ICS placement is about more than what you do while you're overseas.

Also see:

Entrepreneur Sarah Wanjiku talks to Balloon Ventures volunteers in Njoro, Kenya
© Stephen Nderitu / Balloon Ventures

Kenya