Volunteer Program

PROGRAM LOCATION

The program is based in Wa, the capital city of Upper West Region. This is where orientation and general administration is carried out by our team. Volunteer projects are located in the Upper West Region in rural villages and townships.

PROGRAM START DATE AND DURATION

Projects begin on the 1st throughout the month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks.

VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS

  • Volunteers must be over 18 years of age at the beginning of the program.
  • Volunteers must have adequate travel insurance.

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PROJECT DESCRIPTION

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Although Ghana is an English-speaking country, many school children cannot communicate effectively in the English language. This is common in both rural and urban areas of Ghana and there is a real need for volunteers to assist in communities with a shortage of teaching staff.

The Teaching project in Ghana seeks to stimulate the interest of school children in studying and speaking English, while simultaneously offering international volunteers the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the Ghanaian culture and education system. Volunteers are placed in both rural and urban communities in Wa, where they teach solo or assist one of the few local teachers.

Volunteers on this project follow the syllabus of the Ghana Education Service, which is made available to volunteers during their orientation. Music, Math and Arts are also incorporated into the syllabus and volunteers are encouraged to bring resources that can assist with their teaching.

The school year has three terms and there are holiday breaks of 4 weeks, which fall between each term. Volunteers who apply for the Teaching project during these holiday breaks will work with school directors and placement staff in creating school holiday workshops for the children, and volunteers will then run these workshops unassisted.

As volunteers work with the support of CAVNET team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate.

Through providing education, love, care and attention to orphaned children in Ghana, the Orphanage Work project aims to address the problems that children left without parents face.

Volunteers on this project are placed in both rural and urban communities, where they teach and provide care and affection to orphaned children.

Volunteers are responsible for designing and implementing effective teaching programs, activities and events to inspire and develop the talent and abilities of the children.

Volunteers are welcome to bring along books, pencils, basic first aid supplies and musical instruments to help entertain the children and assist with activities.

These supplies can generally be purchased in country, if packing space is limited (CAVNET encourages the purchase of supplies in Ghana to support the Ghanaian economy, rather than buying the goods pre-departure).

Volunteers with a love of sport and real enthusiasm for working with children are well suited to our Sports Teaching project in Ghana.

Volunteers on this project work with young children and occasionally older Ghanaians to help develop their interest in a range of sports and increase their skill base. In addition to the physical benefits of sports education, this project helps in developing the mental discipline of the children, as well as heightening their alertness and coordination.

The Sports Teaching project will generally involve physical training, teaching the children how to work as a team, bringing the best out in the players, and encouraging children to have more self-confidence. Football/soccer is a popular sport in Ghana, however volunteers are also encouraged to introduce new sports to the children.

To teach these sports, volunteers may need to bring equipment from home, as there is a chance it may not be available for purchase in Ghana. Volunteers do not need any previous teaching experience to participate on the Sports Education project, however it is important to note that volunteers may be required to teach other classes during their project, such as Math, English, Science or Social Studies (Geography and History) as sports is usually taught in the afternoon and early evening.

During the school holidays, volunteer will work on school holiday workshops that will be created by the school directors, placement staff and volunteers.

The Medical Project in Ghana works within rural Ghanaian communities. This project aims to help smaller Ghanaian communities which are deprived of access to basic healthcare and medicine.

In the major cities of Ghana, such as Wa, medical care is poor relative to other cities. However, once you leave the major cities, the standard drops considerably and there is a real shortage of trained medical professionals to work in these communities and provide basic healthcare services.

Volunteers on the Medical Project in Ghana are placed in small rural clinics where they work closely with the local staff. Some Medical volunteers also have the opportunity work in health campaigns, where they visit various orphanages and homes within the community we work with, providing medical care and guidance to those in need.

It is important to note that the facilities and resources on this project are extremely limited and provide a much different working environment to what most Medical volunteers have experienced before.

Volunteers on the Medical Project in Ghana must be qualified medical professionals or have completed at least two years of medical training and provide a copy of their medical qualifications, or a letter and transcript from their school to be provided to staff in Ghana on arrival. Midwives are also able to work within one of our rural clinics on this project.

Based in rural Ghana, the Construction and Renovation project offers volunteers the special opportunity to work alongside local people to help improve the infrastructure in small, rural communities.

This project focuses on the construction and renovation of orphanages, clinics, community centers, toilet facilities and schools. Volunteers also have the opportunity to meet chiefs and community elders, and learn about the various cultures of the different communities through music and dance.

Volunteers work closely with the local people and CAVNET staff on tasks which include painting, brick laying, plastering, digging, block shaping, carpentry, steel bending, mortar mixing, etc. If you’re a keen outdoors person with a good level of fitness, this will be a perfect project for you.

Please note, projects and volunteer roles will vary from community to community. Volunteers should bring gloves, flash light, light weight scarf for sun protection or hat, insect repellent, working boots and water bottle (all can be purchased in Accra).

Please note, this project has an additional fee of US$25 per week for construction and renovation materials that are used during the project.

The Agriculture Project in Ghana is designed for those volunteers who enjoy the more physical aspect of volunteering and don’t mind getting their hands dirty.

The focus of this project is to address the difficulties facing orphanage placements in terms of providing a sustainable food source for the children. Volunteer work on the Agriculture Project involves both crop farming (eggplants, capsicums, palms etc.) and animal farming (rabbits, goats, chickens etc.).

The work available is dependent on the season and where volunteers are placed. Volunteers will be involved in clearing land for growing crops, assisting with fertilizing the land, developing land for cropping, planting crops, nurturing crops, teaching farming techniques to local staff, assisting with purchasing stock, caring for stock, and fencing and moving stock.

To support the orphanages where our volunteers’ work, the produce grown through the Agriculture project is donated to these orphanages, thus supplementing the children’s food intake. Work on the Agriculture project usually stops during the hottest period of the day and during this time volunteers will assist with teaching in local schools to ensure they have sufficient volunteer work.

While previous agricultural experience is not a prerequisite for this project, more experienced volunteers will be able to assist in developing the project and teaching techniques to the staff and older children at the orphanages, helping them to farm their crops and animals more effectively.

Please note, resources and machinery are extremely limited on this project and most work is very labour intensive.

Volunteers should bring gloves, flash light, light weight scarf for sun protection or hat, insect repellent, working boots, water bottle (all can be purchased in Accra).

FACILITIES AVAILABLE & WHAT WE PROVIDE

Volunteers are accommodated in a volunteer house where they live with other volunteers and local staff. On some projects, volunteers also stay together in a volunteer house alongside a local family. There are separate rooms for male and female volunteers with shared common room and toilet facilities.

Living is basic but the majority of volunteer houses have electricity, while only few have running water. Power cuts are common in Ghana and most rural houses do not have running water during times of drought). Bedding (pillows and sheets) is provided, however it is recommended that volunteers bring their own towels and mosquito nets (these can also be purchased in Ghana).

Given the great variety of ethnic groups in Ghana, there is a diverse range of traditional Ghanaian dishes. However, most Ghanaian dishes are made up of a starchy portion (jollof rice, fufu, banku, tuo, gigi, akplidzii, yekeyeke, etew and ato) and a soup or stew. Volunteers on the Ghana program are served three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

Breakfast generally consists of tea and coffee, toast and fruit. A typical lunch can include meat and vegetables with rice or noodles, while dinner may consist of more traditional food, such as fufu and banku. If you have special dietary requirements, please let us know ahead of time so that we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home.

We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but also as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible. Bottled water and plastic water sachets are readily available in Ghana and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 per week for this (2 liters per day).

While you are at your placement water sachets will be provided but if you travel away from your placement you will need to purchase your own drinking water.

SOME OF OUR LOCAL MEALS 

The Ghana programs begin on the 1st throughout the month and we ask that you arrive in Accra for a pickup on the day before your chosen start date. Accommodation is provided from the night before your start date through to (and including) the night before your end date. If you arrive one or two days earlier or depart one or two days later than these dates, this is ok, however you will need to pay US$25 per night directly to our staffs in Accra (this includes meals).
Orientation is hosted by our team in Accra and begins on the morning of your chosen start date. This covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program Ghana – Introduction to Ghana, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

Volunteer Week (example)

First Day: On the first day of the volunteering placement, you will be escorted to the project by our local staff and introduced to the staff at the project you will be working with.

Weekdays: While our programs are flexible and can be fitted to your requirements, a typical day is as follows:

7.30 AM Breakfast with host (orphanage volunteers usually get up early, such as 5:30am to assist the children with bathing and having breakfast)

8.00 AM Volunteer leaves home and is dropped (or walks) to the project; the volunteer joins with the local staff. You will be given a duty roster and a plan for your work. There is usually a tea break and a lunch break. Work and hours is dependent on the project and location that the volunteer is participating in.

2-5.00 PM Work at the project usually ends. The volunteer at this point is free to visit and see places or do shopping. You may also want to hang out with the children up to around 6.00PM. 6.30 PM Dinner with host.

*Please note this schedule varies from project to project

Weekends: During the weekend, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of their local town, Accra, Cape Coast and Western Africa. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield, embark on a tourist trip or sightseeing adventure. Sunday is a rest and church day in Ghana. If volunteers wish they can accompany their host to their local church. Even if volunteers do not prescribe to the religion of their host, it is recommended that volunteers attend at least one church service with their host as an African church service is unlike anything you will ever experience.

PROGRAM FEES & FAQs

The registration fee for the program is $150.
PROGRAM DURATION PROGRM FEE TOTAL COST(PROGRAM AND REGISTRATION FEES)
1 WEEK 150 300
2 WEEKS 250 400
3 WEEKS 350 500
4 WEEKS 450 600
6 WEEKS 600 750
8 WEEKS 750 900
10 WEEKS 850 1000
12 WEEKS 950 1100
16 WEEKS 1100 1250

The program fee does not cover
♦Transportation to and from your home airport
♦Air travel cost to and from Ghana
♦ Visa cost
♦ Holiday to places and events of interest
♦ Insurance cover (you need to purchase one)
♦ Expenses on meals and drinks from restaurants during outings
♦ Host family is not responsible for your feeding and accommodation cost if you travel outside home on weekends. It is your own cost. If it has to do with work authorized by the local organization, the local organization shall be responsible for your feeding and accommodation.

WHY CAVNET?

AFFORDABILITY

CAVNET was established in 2013 to provide volunteers with high quality, safe, responsible and yet extremely affordable volunteering opportunities abroad. Since our inception, CAVNET has developed a reputation as a leader in affordable international volunteer programs in Ghana. CAVNET is able to provide high quality volunteer programs at affordable rates.

QUALITY

Although CAVNET has built a reputation for providing low program fees, we pride ourselves on the high quality programs and superior service that we provide to all CAVNET volunteers. Our teams are motivated to provide top quality programs and support services for CAVNET volunteers.

SAFETY

Traveling to a foreign country and experiencing a different culture can be a daunting experience at the best of times, but when you are volunteering and living among the local community, this apprehension can often be compounded. While safety can never be totally guaranteed wherever we are in the world, CAVNET will ensure your volunteer program is as safe as possible. Volunteers are placed in trustworthy institutions and accommodations, all of which have been screened by our team. We conduct risk management audits on our frequent visits to programs, while providing our team with risk management guidelines to help minimize risk for our volunteers.

FRIENDSHIP

Volunteers on CAVNET programs often form life-long friendships with their host families and the people they assist while volunteering. However, they also form strong bonds with the other volunteers on their programs. Although many volunteers come from very different cultures and backgrounds, the experiences that these volunteers share forge strong ties that can last a lifetime.

ENJOYMENT

At CAVNET we recognize that there is more to a great volunteer travel experience than simply volunteering. While we are focused strongly on providing top quality volunteer programs, we also realize that many CAVNET volunteers are first-time travellers to their program destinations and wish to take time out for sightseeing and to explore. To accommodate this, our team have established partnerships with local travel companies to provide volunteers with access to high quality and often discounted travel and tour activities.

Do I need a visa to go to Ghana?

Visa requirements for Ghana vary depending on the following factors: your purpose of travel, length of stay, nationality and place of residence.

Purpose of travel: CAVNET trips fall under the category of “volunteer tourism” and we recommend you state your purpose of travel as “tourism” when asked by immigration officials. If you state “work” or “volunteer work” as your purpose, immigration officers often demand that you pay extra and acquire a work/employment visa, which is not necessary for your volunteer program.

Length of stay: A tourist can stay in Ghana for a maximum of 180 days and an initial tourist visa is valid for 60 days. If you are planning on volunteering in excess of 60 days, you will need to extend your tourist visa in Ghana and our team will help you with this process. The cost for the extension is approximately 40 GHS per month (about US$20). Any volunteers staying for more than 90 days in Ghana will also require a non-resident card, which must be purchased at the time of obtaining a visa extension. The cost of a non-resident card is approximately US$120.

Nationality and place of residence: Volunteers of most nationalities are required to obtain a tourist visa prior to arrival in Ghana. You will need to check with your nearest Ghanaian embassy to verify your specific requirements.

How to apply: Most nationalities are required to pre-arrange a 60-day tourist visa from their nearest Ghanaian embassy prior to arriving in Ghana. Fees and processing times vary from embassy to embassy and we recommend checking the requirements of the Ghanaian embassy nearest to you, well in advance. All volunteers need to ensure they have a passport that is valid for 6 months from their date of entry into Ghana.

What is the currency in Ghana?

Currency: Ghanaian Cedi (GHS). We recommend checking out the most current exchange rate before your departure.

Managing your money: We recommend taking some United States Dollars (around US$200) to keep away in case of emergencies as well as a VISA credit/debit card to withdraw cash in local currency, as you need it. ATMs are easily accessible in major cities and tourist areas, and hotels, shops and restaurants in tourist areas generally accept credit cards. You will need Cedi for public transportation, taxis and independent shops and hospitality venues. Most currencies can be exchanged easily at the airport (although you will not receive a favourable exchange rate) and at any bank. MasterCard and Maestro cards are starting to become more widely accepted, although this is mainly just in Accra.

I have never been to Ghana before and am worried! How safe is it?

Ghana is a developing country where there can often be unrest and like all countries around the world, there are areas where criminal activity is more prevalent than others. Safety and security is a high priority for CAVNET and you will not be placed in areas where we feel your safety is at risk. You will be accommodated and placed with other volunteers, so it is unlikely that you will ever be alone during your time on the program and we do everything in our power to ensure your volunteering trip is as safe and secure as possible.

Placements and homestays are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge volunteer experiences and we are continually improving our projects through feedback from our volunteers. Security and safety of our programs is constantly being reviewed and if you have any concerns we encourage you to discuss these with our staff at orientation. During orientation, our staff will provide guidance in the area of safety and security and in the unlikely event that something was to happen, you will be able to call on our staff for support 24/7. The host families and staff at your placement are also available to provide you with assistance if needed.

Is it easy to keep in touch with friends and family at home?

Phone: You can bring your own cell phone to Ghana to use with a local pre-paid SIM card, however it must be an unlocked phone. You can buy prepaid SIM cards for about US$1. Both international and local calls can be made. If you wish to use your own cell phone on global roaming, you will need to check with your cell phone provider for roaming costs and coverage in Ghana. Please note, the country code of Ghana is +233.

Internet: You will be able access the Internet through Internet cafes located in towns near-by to your accommodation.

Do I require vaccinations to travel to Ghana?

The Yellow Fever vaccination is legally required for you to enter Ghana.

All other vaccinations are a personal choice and we recommend visiting a travel doctor to discuss vaccinations for your trip, as the list provided below is only a guide. Your doctor will be able to advise the benefits and implications for each vaccination according to your travel plans, so you can make an informed decision. We recommend discussing the following vaccinations:

  • Polio
  • Hepatitis A
  • Diphtheria/Tetanus
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis B
  • Tuberculosis (when epidemic)
  • Malaria – Tablets

To secure your place on our program and begin preparing for your trip abroad, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Browse our range of affordable volunteer programs at www.cavnetgh.org
  2. Select the program that you wish to volunteer on and apply online using the online application form. Within 24 hours, you will receive an email from CAVNET, informing you of whether there is space on your selected program.
  3. After being accepted on our program, you can confirm your place by paying the registration fee of US$250 (refundable* if you choose not to go) and becoming a registered CAVNET volunteer.
  4. As a registered CAVNET volunteer, you will be connected with a dedicated CAVNET Program Manager for ongoing support and you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training, comprehensive information booklet and pre-departure check-lists.

* Terms and conditions apply.

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