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Volunteer abroad, Gap year in Accra

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What is a Volunteer Job?

Volunteering in Africa has, in recent years, become extremely popular with westerners. As a volunteer, you lend your services to a local community to help support their initiatives. You also gain important experiences that help shape your personal life and professional career. Most volunteer positions are coordinated by a non-profit or public sector organization, based either in country or abroad.

These positions rarely offer any salary or wage. More often than not, you will actually pay to volunteer in Africa. The fees cover both your cost of living and make a donation to the functioning of the organization. Volunteering internationally offers a native's perspective into a country, a chance to work with people from around the world, and unparalleled experiences.

Volunteering in Ghana

Ghana, as a stable and promising African country, has a huge number of local and international organizations that rely on volunteers. Volunteer placements occur in cities and rural areas, and across many sectors. Common placements often include the following:

  • Teaching or assisting in a school
  • Working in healthcare (community clinics, small hospitals), possibly with an HIV/AIDS focus
  • Supporting micro finance and business development initiatives
  • Working in community development (sport, art, cultural preservation etc.)

Logistics and Application Process

It is standard that a volunteer pay to participate in the program. Typically, volunteer fees cover both the cost of living and a donation to your host organization. 

Ghana has the most volunteers in the summer months, when North American and university high schools and university/colleges are on holidays.

Applying to volunteer depends entirely on the host organization, though most will require a formal application, a personal statement and a deposit. Positions will range from a week to a year, and the associated costs range just as greatly.


There truly is no end of possible volunteer opportunities in Ghana. Opportunities are organized by both large international organizations, and small local initiatives. Often, larger international organizations will connect with smaller local organizations on the ground. These organizations will charge higher fees, because they offer preparation services and added support. It is also possible to apply with some smaller organizations directly, though it will be more of a self-made volunteer placement.

Insurance Abroad

Most volunteer programs will not provide insurance coverage within their program fees. Unless your volunteer program states that it does, you will need to shop around for insurance rates and coverage that provide support for international travel and international medical issues.

Consult our section on “International healthcare & Medical Insurance” to find out more about your options.

You might also look at our other articles on Summer Jobs and Internship abroad on the left column of this page for other opportunities.

Update 8/05/2015


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