Cross-Cultural Solutions: Volunteer Abroad in Ghana

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About

Poverty is endemic in Ghana and has devastating effects on children and families. There are 1.2 million children in Ghana living in extreme poverty, often suffering from malnutrition, and not meeting child development milestones (28% of the country). Nearly 623,500 children of primary school age are not enrolled in school, in addition to one in four kindergarten-age children.

Join CCS to volunteer in Ghana to fight for girls education and combat rural poverty. Together as a movement, we can help break the cycle of poverty by systematically implementing programs that work directly with young children to help them meet developmental goals, while supporting nutrition projects, providing them with health care services that keep them in school, and support their families to create a loving home environment.

CCS in Ghana has been working for the last 20 years as a leader in early childhood education with the support of our international volunteer base.

Questions & Answers

Our intern abroad program, like all of our programs, does require a program contribution. This contribution covers the cost of your needs while living abroad, including accommodation, meals, and transportation - as well as activities and a meaningful work assignment, and the support of our in-country team of local nationals. However, we do offer payment plans and financing options to make this a...

Reviews

8.81 Rating
based on 16 reviews
  • Impact 8.5
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 8.1
  • Value 8.6
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 8 of 16
Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best month of my life

I loved every minute of my trip to Ghana, but my favorite moment was when the staff took us to the wli waterfall and as we hiked up a short trail we came upon the beauty of the waterfall. You could see a rainbow forming upon the water and the force of the waterfall was amazing. Of course it was a great way to beat the heat during the summer of Ghana. They had little shops and trinkets at the beginning of the waterfall where they had hand carved animals and hand made blankets baskets and anything you could have wanted. Truly one of the best days of my life.

What would you improve about this program?
Longer volunteer times since we only got to volunteer for half the day I would have loved to spend the whole entire day at the school.
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Jari
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ghanian Artistry

I spent three weeks in Ghana in 1999 on behalf of Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS). With the help of my local CCS partners, I traveled the country, interviewing and photographing artists. Upon returning home, I worked with two prior CCS volunteers who had enjoyed the same experience. Together, we authored a book that became a funding tool for what was to become a new Accra (capital city) Art Museum.

I did exactly what I would have done as a visitor and got the intrinsic reward of contributing to the culture and meeting people I would otherwise been unable to access. It was a wonderful and enlightening experience with great support, both in country and In the US, from Cross Cultural Solutions. HIGHLY recommend!

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Sophie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

I loved my time with CCS Ghana! The staff was incredible, the community was safe and friendly and I met life long volunteer friends in the home base. I would suggest staying as long as possible to have the most time to adjust and really learn about the culture/have the most impact and build the most relationships.

What would you improve about this program?
Cultural awareness activities for the volunteers to not only learn about the Ghanaian culture but to reflect upon their own and recognize the differences.
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Kristen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I wish I could have stayed longer.

It was hot. It was my first time in Africa and I was nervous when I stepped off of the plane. The weather was not helping. I very quickly realized that my worries were for nothing and the heat would be a fun part of the experience because the staff, the students I worked with, the people of Hohoe that I met and my fellow volunteers provided me with such an immediate sense of family that I can't even remember any negative feelings creeping in during my week there.
This trip really showed me how people with common goals and positive attitudes can get great things done together. We all came home from placement exhausted every day but after our delicious meals we found new energy to play outside with the kids in the neighborhood. Teaching the students and being in Ghana gave me so much that it almost seems unfair. I thought I went to help others. Maybe I needed their help more.

What would you improve about this program?
This is hard to pick something to improve. The ride from the airport to the house was an hour longer because a bridge was out. Hopefully it's been fixed.
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Kaleigh
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Gone to Ghana: CCS Trip

I thought that CCS provides excellent services to individuals searching for a short time in a voluntourism setting. There was a solid mix of time in placement and 'cultural activities' for fun. Mornings were spent at placement, and afternoons were spent exploring and participating in cultural activities to teach us more about the country and culture we were living in.

What would you improve about this program?
The program is run on a 2 week rotation. Any volunteer there for more than 2 weeks ends up repeating the same activities, and not furthering their cultural experience. Allowing for more time in the local community (as opposed to travelling with others) would be beneficial. I found that as a volunteer staying for an extended period of time, I did not enjoy the experience as much in my last few weeks because the programming was so repetitive.
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Alexis
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Good experience, room for improvement

Had a great experience volunteering in Hohoe with CCS. The placement was an incredible opportunity, as was the Ewe education and cultural events. The Hohoe program director was unprofessional. Some of the students who volunteered for a week were very disrespectful and impacted the trip negatively for others. Really enjoyed the weekend getaways.

What would you improve about this program?
Better leadership. More scrutiny in selecting volunteers. (A group of VERY disrespectful teenagers came for a week, and significantly impacted the groups experience in a negative way)
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Robin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ideal Volunteer Experience for Making A Difference, Not a Donation

I spent 2 weeks teaching reading to 7th graders at a parochial school in late November 2011, but CCS usually requires a 3 week volunteer minimum and we overlapped with some recent college grads on longer internships. The local CCS staff were organized (especially by African standards), diligent, warm and friendly. We stayed in a newly built, comfortable, dormitory-style compound (4-6 people to a room with a shared bath) surrounded by a waist-high wall and took a mini-bus or taxi to our volunteer jobs each day where we worked for 3-4 hours. This doesn't sound like very long, but you work hard! In my case, the teacher completely disappeared for the entire 2 weeks after the first hour the first day leaving me completely on my own, though this may have been because I came well prepared. Afternoons were reserved for language lessons, cultural lectures, field trips to outdoor attractions and some free time to relax or walk into town to shop and explore.

The homebase was spacious, with electricity to run fans and lights plus running (cold) water for toilets, showers and washing. We arranged for brief, nightly internet access for work purposes, but in general CCS discourages volunteers from spending lots of time on computers. There were internet cafes in town (a 30 minute way to the center), but there were lengthy waits for erratic and unreliable connections. As more mature volunteers unwilling to risk getting sick we ate all our meals at the homebase which were prepared by professional cooks using imported meats (mostly chicken) and local fruits and vegetables. CCS provided unlimited bottled water, but you're on your own if you want soda and they have a no-alcohol policy during the week and at the homebase. Only one person in our group suffered a GI illness. We had guards for the compound, but their main job seemed to be keeping neighborhood goats, chickens and kids out of the yard. None of us ever felt unsafe while in Ghana where tourists are warmly welcomed though women need to stick with modest attire.

CCS met us in Accra, the capital, when we arrived and arrangd transportation to and from Hohoe, a 4-6 hour drive (depending on traffic) to the Volta Region. We found out our volunteer assignments about 2 weeks in advance, but you should come prepared to be flexible as the local situation is fluid and can change quickly. For example, one microfinance organization shut down without advance notice for a week to allow their staff to travel to a funeral. My school didn't inform CCS of upcoming exams that would prevent regular class instruction until the Thursday before exam week. If you come prepared to integrate into the local organizations on their terms rather than arrive with an agenda then you'll be fine. In my case, I felt less anxious by having more structure so I partnered with a local school to bring books, curriculum plans, and tests to use then I donated all of it to CCS at the end for future volunteers. If you're working with younger students then there were some craft supplies and books at the CCS homebase, but if you have something special planned to share or something from your culture then bring it as local supplies are hit and miss. We were free to travel personally over the weekend, but note that bus connections are prohibitively time consuming for a weekend so you must rent a car and driver to get anywhere. It's 7 hours minimum to the coast to tour the Slave Forts and about 3 hours to Lake Volta. This wasn't a problem for us as everyone wanted to go somewhere, but you're responsible for organizing it which is best done in advance. CCS can help you find a local driver, but they're not travel agents.

If you're looking for a volunteer assignment that requires you to live on the local economy, fend for yourself in most instances and really suffer, then CCS is not for you. CCS approaches the volunteer assignments in a fairly structured (though flexible) way that alternates time volunteering with cultural lectures, language lessons and a modest amount of free time. You will get a flavor for life in a low resource country (cold water showers, hand-washing your laundry) without having to actually suffer through the worst of it. If you accept the premise that personally interacting with organizations on their terms and helping them advance their mission, not yours (i.e., you are not allowed to donate anything but your time) is the approach you want to take then CCS is perfect. If you have a high need to make donations directly and live on the local economy with lots of free time then I would look elsewhere.

What would you improve about this program?
We had enormous difficulty finding any local language (Ewe) resources outside of Ghana. Most people speak English, but I would have appreciated more help from CCS to learn the language further in advance. They did send us a file, but not everyone could access it.
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adupre
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time in Hohoe

It was unfortunate that I could only spend a week in Hohoe because I immediately feel in love with the country! From the moment I arrived in Ghana I was welcomed by Makafui, the in country director and upon arriving at the home base I felt like I was part of the CCS family. The entire in country staff was so welcoming and helping. The really make it a point to give you the best experience. I was happy to find that my placement was at a local school and I chose to work with a JHS 1 class. My time working with the students in that class was so rewarding and positive that I look forward to returning and seeing the progress each student has made. I have nothing but positive things to say about my experience with CCS and my time in Ghana. Ghana truly is a beautiful place and the people are some of the most friendly people I have interacted with while volunteering!