Why Pay to Volunteer?
The fee that you pay goes directly to covering your costs of being in Ghana. This includes your lodging and food, pre-departure preparation, on-site support, a small compensation to your host institution (if applicable) to cover their staff time and other costs of your training, and other behind the scenes services such as safety monitoring.
Rest assured, your money is being well spent to ensure that your experience here is as impactful and memorable as it can be.
Do I have to be a professional to participate?
No, you don’t. Most projects only require that you are currently pursuing a higher education. Some positions do require specific skills and related experience so check the appropriate volunteer or internship page
Which areas in Ghana do you have volunteering and internship placements?
Our placements are mostly in the Awutu Senya District (Kasoa, Beraku, Papaase, etc.) in the Central Region of Ghana.
How far is the Awutu Senya District from the capital, Accra?
The Awutu Senya District is about a 45 minute drive West of Accra.
Can I select a location in Ghana where I want to Volunteer or Intern?
Yes, as long as we offer placements there.
Can I make a request of an internship position not stated on the website?
Yes! Cheerful Hearts Foundation has partnerships with many institutions in the Central and Greater Accra regions. Interns can make an internship request anywhere in these areas and we would gladly help find to get a worthwhile placement.
Can I volunteer / intern at anytime of the year?
Yes, you can intern or volunteer at anytime of the year. However, teaching placements are normally based on the school calendar in Ghana. Please contact us for more information.
What kind of training and orientation is provided?
Proper training/orientation/preparation needed for each individual and project will be provided by CHF and, if applicable, the institution at which you will be working. On arrival you will normally be given three days of orientation for your placement before starting work. This will introduce you to the culture of the local people, provide details of your placement position, and includes a community familiarization tour, visits to some local chiefs and other local authorities, and other information that may be necessary to help you get acquainted with the community you are serving.
What does a typical day look like?
A volunteer or intern will start work at 8:00a.m. in their assigned institution. You will either be able to walk to your placement or can easily take a tro-tro (minibus) to get there quickly and cheaply. Work as your schedule provides. Eat lunch around noon at the workplace or a nearby restaurant or street vendor. Return to work until 3.00pm. The number of working hours ranges from 4-6 hours per day; though the schedule is flexible to suit your needs. After working hours, you can plan how to use the remainder of the day. You are always welcome to help with other community projects, including planning health programmes, sports and games with the school children, or just relax and enjoy some free time. At about 6.00pm supper is served, and you will have warm friendship from colleagues at work and town folk to keep you company, show you around and immerse you into Ghanaian culture. Ghanaians are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality. You may also wish to spend your free time with other international volunteers in the area.
Weekends are for your free time. CHF staff members will be more than happy to show you around the local area or visit places such as the beach, the capital city, Cape Coast Castle, Hans Cottage, Kakum National Park, Nzulenzu, .etc. You may also wish to travel independently or with other volunteers to different parts of Ghana or neighboring countries.
What shots do I need to take?
Your health and well-being is very important to us, so be sure to take the necessary precautions before you arrive. A pre-requisite for all visitors to Ghana is the YELLOW FEVER inoculation. The vaccination must be taken at least 10 days before your trip. Other vaccinations are also recommended, such as Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio; your doctor, GP or nurse will give you the necessary information. Remember that some of these vaccinations are free in public/state hospitals, but if you are short on time, then you can also obtain them from your nearest travel clinics. It is essential that you speak with a registered GP/Doctor or nurse on advice about what immunizations are necessary. Prepare in advance of your trip.
Do I need malaria treatment for Ghana?
Malaria is, unfortunately, present in Ghana, so be sure to bring preventive medication that your health professionals deem necessary. There are three common options for malarial pills, Larium, Doxycycline and Malarone. These vary in price and side effects (although the side effects are not serious) so ask your Doctor/GP for more details. It is advisable for volunteers and interns to bring a suitable supply of malaria drugs to last the duration of their stay. We strongly advise that you purchase enough supply in your home country before you leave. Your room of stay will be protected from mosquitoes, although we advise that you bring mosquito repellent or deet for the evenings. A mosquito net is optional, and can be purchased cheaply upon arrival. You should let us know of any doubt you have concerning health issues and we will help you by providing you with the necessary information.
Do I need a visa for Ghana?
All visitors coming to Ghana are required to obtain a visa from any Ghanaian embassy or consulate in their home country. Typically this is a 1-3 month visa, although it does vary from country to country. If you intend to stay longer than 3 months, your visa can be renewed once you are in Ghana. You will need a valid passport, your vaccination certificates (yellow fever card) and other supporting documents to obtain a visa. For countries that have no Ghanaian embassies or consulates, application for entry visas may be made to the nearest diplomatic mission authorized by the Ghanaian Government. Please contact the nearest Ghanaian embassy in your home country for more enquiries:
Canada : www.ghc-ca.com
Other Countries: www.embassy-worldwide.com
You may also contact the Director of Ghana Immigration Service for any further assistance if necessary:
Director of Immigration
Ghana Immigration Service
Private Mail Bag
Ministries Post Office-Accra
Tel: +233-302-221667 / +233-302-225321 / +233-302-224445
Do I need travel insurance?
Although travel insurance is not required, some health insurance companies do not cover travelling abroad, so it’s a good idea to check and otherwise obtain appropriate travel insurance before travelling abroad. Make sure that it covers you for all eventualities, including emergency medical evacuation, whilst in Ghana. Prices will vary according to the provider and extent of coverage, so you will have to decide which plan is right for you.
What do I pack?
All of this information will be in your pre-departure handbook you receive on acceptance on your placement.
What services can be found in the Awutu Senya District?
Post office and telecommunications, hospitals and clinics, fair access roads, taxis and buses (tro-tro), markets, football parks, hotels & guest houses, restaurants & bars, tourist sites and internet cafés.
What happens when I arrive in Accra?
Prior to your departure, you will be sent an email containing instructions on how to meet a CHF representative at the airport in Accra without difficulty. He/she will take you to your accommodation and provide you with anything you might need.
What about lodging?
CHF will provide your accommodation, either with a host family or in the volunteer house.
What is the accommodation like?
In a host family, you will be assigned to your own bedroom with a lock, flush toilets and bath in most of the towns. In the rural areas, you will have to manage with a pit toilet & bath. You will not always have running water but there will be clean washing water to bathe and shower in. A mosquito net can be quite helpful. You will be living in a host family house and become a member of that family, which gives you the opportunity to learn their culture, learn a new language, and virtually do everything with them. Host families are carefully selected and are very caring and friendly.
If you are living in the volunteer house, you will be sharing a room with other volunteers. The volunteer house often has up to ten volunteers, so it can be quite fun as you get to know your roommates. The house has showers and flush toilets. You can also let us know the type of accommodation you prefer and we will help you get it if you send us advance notice.
What variety of foods can be found?
You can eat all kinds of dishes, including foreign dishes in the hotels, restaurants, and guesthouses. You can also purchase local foods at the market, side stalls or ‘chop bars’ including: rice, fish, chicken, ampesi, kenkey, plantains, fufu, banku, gari, all kinds of fruits and vegetables, .etc. There are also supermarkets for imported western foods, although these are very expensive. You should let us know in advance if you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies. Keep in mind that your breakfast and dinner are included in your programme fee; these will be available at your host family or the volunteer house. However, you are free to buy anything you like, including lunch and snacks.
Can you give me an idea of the cost of living in Ghana?
Cost of living depends on individual choice and lifestyle! On a general budget we advise that you come with an additional US$30-60 a week to cater for your personal needs such as lunch, phone credit, transportation, snacks, entertainment, drinks, excursions if preferred and any other things you may wish to buy.
How is transportation in Ghana?
Transport within town and other cities is mainly by shared minibuses (called ‘tro-tro’) seating about 14 passengers, with very low fares (from $0.50-$1). A shared taxi within town will cost you from $0.25-$0.50. A private taxi ‘drop-in’ to a specified location will cost from $1-$3. In Accra, it will cost more from $3-6.
For how long can I volunteer?
Volunteer placement is for any length of time between 2 weeks to 6 months (renewable). Once here you can decide to stay for more than the stipulated time of your placement. We can help with renewal of your visa in Ghana.
Who pays for my air ticket?
Airfare to and from Ghana will be paid by the volunteer/intern, as well as visas, vaccinations and travel insurance.
Is there ready access to Internet?
Yes, there are a number of internet cafés spread around town and you may have a café close to your house. An hour browsing is $0.50. The speed is not very fast but can be used for all the projects you want to do.
What language is spoken?
The local spoken dialect is Twi but English is the official language used in Ghana. Moreover, most locals can speak some English.
What should I bring for my project?
You will be sent a detailed handbook containing what to bring for the project support. This is normally based on the kind of project or programme selected or your project choice. You may also decide to make any material or financial donations.
Any other things that I need to know?
- Periodic tours to special places like game reserves, waterfalls, natural habitats, zoos, museums, cultural centers and various interesting places in Ghana can be organised for volunteers and interns by CHF.
- You must inform us of any health issues, medication etc. you are taking at the time of your journey to Ghana, i.e. allergies, epilepsy, etc. This will allow us to be aware of any special measures to be taken during and before the placement.
- On acceptance of your placement, you will receive a pre-departure handbook with all the essential information for preparation of your experience in Ghana.
Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you cannot find here or any further information you may require. We will do our best to make your visit to Ghana to be a meaningful and memorable one.