Home » Volunteer Programs » Ghana Mental Health Volunteers

START DATES

1ST & 3RD SUNDAY EVERY MONTH

PRICED FROM

480 USD + 249 USD REGISTRATION FEE

DURATION

CHOOSE FROM 2-12 WEEKS

MINIMUM AGE

18 YEARS OLD ON START DATE

GHANA MENTAL HEALTH VOLUNTEERS

The mental health volunteer in Ghana placement is designed to provide insight into how psychiatric services operate within Ghana. PMGY’s Ghana volunteer programs provide an amazing cultural experience. The mental health and psychology program provides international volunteers with a unique learning experience. Most noteworthy, participants will establish a deeper understanding of the history and developments of mental healthcare in Ghana.

 

MENTAL HEALTH VOLUNTEER PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE UN'S SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL NO.3 - HEALTH
  • GAIN EXPOSURE TO HEALTH TREATMENT & FACILITIES ACROSS 2 HOSPITAL SETTINGS
  • SHADOW PSYCHIATRIC DOCTORS & NURSES ON COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMS
  • STRUCTURED WEEKEND TRIPS TO CAPE COAST & MOLE NATIONAL PARK
  • EMBRACE GHANAIAN CULTURE WITH DRUMMING & DANCING EVENING ACTIVITIES

BACKGROUND TO THE MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM

Ghana’s mental health sector is funded primarily by the government. Its psychiatric services stem back to the early 19th century. Traditionally, patients who suffered from mental health illnesses would be detained in prisons. These prisons later developed into a ‘lunatic asylum’.

 

1904 saw the first purposeful psychiatric hospital built in Ghana accommodating 200 patients to start with. Extensive amendments focussed on mental health were made to hospital buildings to burden overcrowding. Rapid expansions in staff training and recruitment for mental health followed.

 

From the 1950s innovative treatments for psychiatric illnesses such as ‘chlorpromazine’ and ‘electroconvulsive’ therapy began to emerge more prevalently. Patients were removed from chains and isolation between patients became discouraged. Staff were now refrained from punishing patients as previously had been a norm.

 

Essentially, knowledge and understanding began to increase in and around mental health and the issues associated with it. Despite such advances, many citizens in Ghana still believed and practised the traditional forms of psychiatric treatment.

 

Many patients or their relatives would still opt for a traditional or herbal form of treatment. This is due to a widely held belief that mental health illnesses remain caused by supernatural evil forces. Such forces are best exiled by traditional medical methods. Examples include visiting shrines, herbalist centres or prayer camps. Methods that would be relatively more accessible and inexpensive.

 

Nevertheless, government policy in the long term remains to establish and expand psychiatric facilities in all regional and district hospitals. The 1970s saw the creation of registered mental nurses (RMNs) and community psychiatric nurses (CPNs). This program expanded into Kumasi in the 1990s.

 

To summarise, recent government policy has attempted to normalise, ingrain and mainstream up-to-date psychiatric services into primary healthcare. However, the reality is a lot more needs to be done to achieve this even today. With a population of over 26 million, Ghana only has 13 practising psychiatrists in the public service. Inadequate staffing remains a recurrent problem with occupational therapists, social workers and CPNs all hard to come by.

 

Traditional healers who can bring with them inhumane treatment methods remain prevalent in Ghana today. It is estimated that around 2.5 million people in Ghana currently suffer from some form of mental health illness. Public education plays a leading role today in helping to overcome widely held traditional myths about mental illnesses. Consequently, patients and relatives are encouraged to seek early professional and alternative treatment.

 

Such alternative treatments focus on areas such as occupational therapies and community outreach programs. As a mental health volunteer in Ghana, you will usually get the chance to experience this. In addition to this, a mental health act passed in 2012 aims to combat the stigma and discrimination associated with mentally ill people in Ghana.

 

Should mental health volunteers in Ghana wish to consider alternative or additional projects, our mental health volunteering abroad project in Sri Lanka is recognised as our leading mental health volunteer opportunity. For the reason that volunteers receive greater exposure and involvement across a range of placement and project settings.

MENTAL HEALTH VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

Manhyia Government Hospital - All participants in the Mental Health Experience in Ghana will spend their first week within the Manhyia Hospital. The psychiatric department consists of only two rooms and five physiatric nurses. The responsibilities of these staff members lie in diagnosis, prescribing and consulting.

 

Those completing volunteer work in Ghana can observe consultations and ward rounds for patients being treated elsewhere within the hospital. Common conditions witnessed by the staff include depression, mania, psychosis, enuresis, migraine, epilepsy, bipolar, alcoholism, dementia and delirium.

 

Tafo Government Hospital - Our participants spend their remaining time based at the Tafo District at the Tafo Government Hospital. The Physiatric department of Tafo Government Hospital first emerged in 1970. However, almost 50 years later, the department still does not have a permanent location within the institution. This follows a lack of recognition of the importance of the services by leading bodies of the hospital. The team of 14 members is therefore frequently shifted between available rooms.

 

The team offers three main services. Such services include consultation, community outreach programs and the provision of education to patients with mental health disorders. With these services, the department has three main goals.

 

First of all, to make mental health services accessible within the community. Secondly, to educate the general public about the prevalence of mental health disorders and avoid stigmas. Finally, to have a permanent location for offering mental health services.

 

The department will often see between 60-70 patients per day. On the first day, participants will receive an orientation from the staff, introducing them to the services offered by the hospital. For the remainder of their time, volunteers will shadow a member of the team. This will include observing consultations, clinical reviews and perhaps even outreach programs.

 

Healthcare professionals in Ghana are very friendly and willing to support international volunteers. They are always on hand to answer your questions and describe consultations clinically. Furthermore, the local staff usually speak very good English to combat any language barrier.

 

Volunteers on this mental health volunteering abroad project will have the opportunity to spend time aiding the local staff. This may include assessing patient records, evaluating signs of progress, measuring any diagnoses and prescribing any relevant medicines. The doctor will talk through the different ways in which they take care of patients suffering from mental health issues.

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORK DAY

This project is designed to provide insight into mental health issues for those currently studying mental health or psychology. More specifically, it provides a platform to increase awareness and learning about psychiatric services in Ghana. This extends to developing an understanding of the history and developments of mental health in Ghana.

 

In general, volunteers work at the project Monday-Friday for around 3-4 hours every day from 9am-1pm. Usually, as a mental health volunteer in Ghana, you will take lunch at the project. Use your free time at the Volunteer House to plan questions for the days ahead.

 

Transport to and from the mental health project is not included in your Program Fee. Consequently, volunteers will usually travel by private taxi. Our local team will show you how to get to and from your volunteer project location during the orientation period as well as how to use our local taxi system. Most noteworthy, heavy traffic and poor road infrastructure are commonplace within Kumasi. Subsequently, the journey to the volunteer project can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour from the Volunteer House.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER AS A VOLUNTEER IN GHANA

Return Airport Transfer - Your return airport transfer is not included in your Program Fee. Our local team can help arrange onward transfers to the airport or an alternative destination from the volunteer accommodation. Making specific arrangements once in Ghana provides more flexibility as plans can often change and participants may be on similar flight plans. The costs depend on your method of transport and your final destination. Participants will usually get the coach back to Accra airport or arrange a short domestic flight from Kumasi to Accra airport instead.

 

Project Flexibility - As for all our volunteer in Ghana programs, it is possible to combine multiple projects. First of all, please apply for the main program start date you’d like to partake in. Secondly, outline in your online application the details of the other projects you’d like to do. Our local team will finalise the details of your placements during your in-country orientation.

 

Hands-On Involvement - Please note this program has been specially designed for those already studying or exploring further study in psychology/mental health. Therefore it may not be appropriate or applicable for those outside this. This volunteer program provides a platform to gain insight and awareness into mental health in a new culture.

 

As a mental health volunteer in Ghana, your level of involvement at the project is dictated by a range of factors. First of all your medical experience (if any), duration of your program and willingness to get involved. The medical staff are accountable for you whilst you’re under their supervision, so it is completely up to them if you are permitted and want to get involved in hands-on procedures.

 

Generally speaking those with little or no medical experience assume a largely observational role. If you are studying a mental health-related degree, then you may have more opportunity to undertake some more basic hands-on involvement. However, to reiterate we can never guarantee or endorse hands-on experience should you choose to get hands-on, as the decision ultimately lies with the medical staff and their patients.

 

Trained Professionals - Please note this program is not suitable for trained professionals who are looking to practise overseas. This opportunity is only suitable for students looking to go into the mental health or psychology field and wish to learn about a healthcare system overseas.

 

Weekends - Your project work in Ghana runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Ghana Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend. We also run two separate weekend trips which you can sign-up to before you depart for Ghana. We offer the Cape Coast & Busua Surf Trip along with the Mole National Park Trip with opportunities running every month.

CHOOSING A VOLUNTEER TRIP

Can people from outside of the UK or USA volunteer with PMGY?

Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now operating internationally, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of volunteers from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries volunteers have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.

Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other organisations?

The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.

 

Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed Volunteer Handbooks and interactive webinars. Then, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time volunteering. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our volunteers really appreciate.

 

Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.

Why does PMGY not offer orphanage volunteer placements?

PMGY does not provide volunteer opportunities in orphanages in any of our locations. Extensive research and studies have shown that visiting and volunteering in orphanages can generate an industry that separates children from their families. In turn, putting children at increased risk of neglect and abuse. Therefore, we do not support these institutions with our volunteer network and our local team representatives do not associate with orphanage based volunteering.

 

Instead, we focus on offering alternative childcare volunteering opportunities whereby children come to and from the placement setting each day. As a result, project environments do not offer any form of residential care. These are safe, responsible, and vetted projects, where participants continue to provide valued support.

What are the requirements to volunteer in Ghana?

PMGY welcomes mental health volunteers in Ghana of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 and there is no upper age limit. Furthermore, all volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. Of course, you do not need to speak the local dialect. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us in Ghana will go a long way.
As a mental health volunteer in Ghana, you must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.

 

Volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.

What date should I arrive and leave the Ghana volunteer program?

For your volunteer trip to Ghana, you should book your flights to Kotoka International Airport in Accra on the Sunday start date. The airport code is ACC. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.

 

The program ends on the Sunday of your final week. Therefore, you must depart the accommodation on this day.

When is the best time of year to volunteer in Ghana?

Feedback from mental health volunteers in Ghana often suggests that it is best to join a PMGY project outside the European summer months. This is since June-August tends to be when we have peak numbers at each of our projects and volunteer accommodations. Conversely, outside of these months, there is typically the greatest opportunity to become fully immersed in the project and within the local community.

Are there any age restrictions to be a volunteer in Ghana?

In order to join as a mental health volunteer in Ghana, you need to be at least 18 on the program start date. Typically in Ghana we find 80% of PMGY volunteers are aged between 17-22 years old.

 

There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome volunteers of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 17-22 age range.

When should I apply to be a mental health volunteer in Ghana?

For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.

 

Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 60 days prior to your start date.

What duration would you recommend to volunteering for?

Based on feedback from previous mental health volunteers in Ghana, we believe that 3-4 weeks is the ideal amount of time to volunteer in Ghana. Consequently, this means you have enough time to integrate into the local community and really get involved in a project. For one thing, you will be able to make a positive impact on community development. Additionally, you will have a greater opportunity to explore during your weekends. Mental health volunteers in Ghana who join us for 2 weeks frequently tell us that this was not long enough and wish they had stayed for longer!

 

While our programs are available for a long duration and we’d love for people to join us for longer periods of time, we only allow people to initially sign up for a maximum of 12 weeks in each destination. In the past, we have had volunteers commit to longer periods and then prefer to shorten it in order to do independent travel or switch to a different program. Therefore, we recognise that a degree of flexibility is best applied as program fees are nonrefundable once committed. Once you have arrived and find that you are really enjoying the program, you would be more than welcome to extend your placement. This is subject to availability at the time of extension.

 

For those looking to potentially join us for a longer period, we recommend checking out our Encounter Programs that offer a 2-4 week stay across 3-10 destinations.

Can I volunteer abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?

You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure you are accommodated in the same house and volunteer for the same project. However, please note all of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis.

 

Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.

Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?

Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our experiences are safe. Our programs are designed to provide a structured experienc for first time travellers where we provide a “balanced” experience of safety and structure but also providing some independence and freedom for our volunteers. For more info please refer to our Safety & Wellbeing page.

Volunteer safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our volunteer programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.

 

The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international volunteers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist volunteers 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.

 

When you join a PMGY program, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and support staff available 24 hours each day. Our team welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international volunteers to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.

 

When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general volunteer program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.

 

Although we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible. We strongly advise you to follow the local team’s advice to ensure your safety while abroad.

When do I pay for my volunteer program? Can I pay in instalments?

In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then the full balance is due once your place is confirmed. If you are applying within 30 days of your program start date you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. Once confirmed, if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated based on availability and will incur a fee.

 

Payments made in advance of the 60 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards and you can also transfer the funds to our international bank account as well. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments participants joining us from outside the UK and EU are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

 

If you’re applying within 30 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.

Can I use the program as part of a university or college placement?

It is certainly possible to be a mental health volunteer in Ghana as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that your time as a mental health volunteer in Ghana will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements. In addition, we can arrange international school trips to Ghana.

 

First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after a mental health volunteer in Ghana has confirmed their place on the program. Additionally, project staff in Ghana can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. PMGY regularly receives medical, nursing, childcare and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.

 

If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.

BEFORE YOU DEPART

Can I fundraise for my volunteer trip?

With PMGY, the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive on the Ghana volunteer program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.

 

We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that mental health volunteers in Ghana set up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.

 

PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for volunteers to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.

How do I register for your online webinars?

Every Tuesday, the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide volunteers in Ghana with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.

 

For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.

 

For mental health volunteers in Ghana who have already confirmed their volunteering role on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.

 

Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.

 

Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.

 

Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.

Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my volunteer work?

It is possible that as a mental health volunteer in Ghana you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your volunteer work in Ghana. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your volunteer destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.

How do I arrange my flights to volunteer in Ghana?

When you apply to be a mental health volunteer in Ghana, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place as a mental health volunteer in Ghana has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.

 

After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.

Do you offer travel insurance?

Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.

 

We have partnered up with the insurance company battleface to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel. You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

How do I obtain a background check?

To participate in a PMGY program, you need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.

 

If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date. If you don’t have a valid DBS check (also known as CRB or Police Check), then you will need to apply for one.

 

UK participants need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 18 GBP and takes around 10 working days to process. To ensure that we receive this on time, please apply for the disclosure at least 6 weeks prior to your departure. The application process is straightforward, it can be completed online or it can be processed through the post. You only need a Basic Disclosure and not an Enhanced Disclosure. When completing your Basic Disclosure please do not put our office address as your residential address in the UK. You should always put your home address as your residential address in the UK.

 

US participants can apply for a background check through Sentry Link. It costs 19.95 USD and is usually processed within 1-4 days. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or Governmental Body.

 

Dutch participants will need to obtain a Certificate of Conduct, otherwise known as a VOG. This is a document issued by the Dutch Minister of Legal Protection. To apply, your Program Manager will need to provide a signed form for you. Please contact your Program Manager in due time to receive the form which will be filled in with the PMGY details and signatures. You can then fill in your details before submitting the forms online to obtain your clearance. The document does not need to be translated into English and we can accept the certificate in Dutch.

 

German participants will need to obtain a Führungszeugnis certificate. A Führungszeugnis, is also known as a “Police Clearance Certificate”, and is printed on special green paper, generated by the Bundesamt Für Justiz (BFJ). These ‘Police Clearance Certificates’ can take up to 14 days to be generated from the date of request. The document does not need to be translated into English and we can accept the certificate in German.

 

For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.

When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?

All volunteers in Ghana will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.

 

This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare as a mental health volunteer in Ghana. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Zoom, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!

ON YOUR TRIP

Can I arrange a private room?

All of our accommodation options on the Ghana volunteer program involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for our mental health volunteers in Ghana.

Can you cater for my dietary requirements?

Our teams will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed as a mental health volunteer in Ghana. Consequently, there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.

Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?

We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide volunteers in Ghana with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.

What is the dress code at the projects?

Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival in Ghana.

 

The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.

 

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.

How much spending money will I need?

The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as a volunteer with PMGY can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in Nepal, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 150 USD per week a suitable amount.

Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time! Most of our programs have been designed so that you have weekends off. Therefore, this gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the weekend opportunities and travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures. During your time as a volunteer with PMGY, you are sure to make some travel buddies along the way!

 

It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. However, if you plan to travel extensively, please factor this into your flight itinerary. If you cannot fit all your travel plans into a single weekend, it is strongly recommended to keep some time after your volunteer schedule finishes to enjoy further travel opportunities.

ACCOMMODATION

Volunteer House

 

Your first night in Ghana will be spent at a hotel near Kotoka International Airport in Accra. Our partner hotel offers basic but comfortable accommodation. You will share a room with fellow volunteers. Rooms are air-conditioned and a local team coordinator will also stay at the hotel. As a result, you will have 24/7 support if needed. Furthermore, the team member will travel with you to Kumasi the following day.

 

During your time on the Ghana volunteer programs, you will live in our Volunteer House. This is located in a friendly neighbourhood, a 45 minute drive from Kumasi city centre. You will find restaurants, convenience stores and ATMs in the centre of the town. However, there is also a small shop opposite the Volunteer House. The local community is extremely friendly!

 

The Volunteer House is basic but comfortable. Each room has bunk beds with up to 10 people in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with air conditioning in the room. In addition, each international volunteer is provided with their own mosquito net and bed linen. Bathrooms are limited and are shared between volunteers. There are showers and western style toilets available. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem as Ghana is hot all year round!

 

Each participant will also be provided with a locker for storing small valuables and important items. In communal areas, there is CCTV for security reasons. However, we always recommend you store your valuables locked away when not in use. Living in the Volunteer House offers a great social experience! The house has a communal area for volunteers to hang out after completing volunteer work in Ghana. There is a lounge, TV and DVD player. Furthermore, there is an outside seating area for volunteers to relax in during their free time.

 

Wi-Fi is not available at the accommodation. However, our local team provides all participants with a free local SIM card. As a result, participants can purchase a data package that is reliable, cheap and allows for good internet access. A 4G data package is usually very cheap and can be used across Ghana. Please make sure your phone is unlocked before arriving in Ghana.

 

We also have a refrigerator where you can store your food items, however, please remember this is dependent on electricity. Since power cuts can be a frequent occurrence in Ghana! Clothes can be hand-washed or there are local laundry services near the Volunteer House. A member of our local team will also live at the house. The house is gated and secure and our local coordinator lives on-site ensuring you have constant support and security.

 

Please note that power cuts and water shortages are very common in Ghana. Whilst we have backup measures to combat this, there may be times when the power cuts out or there is no water for a while. It’s important to be aware of this in advance and be able to adapt accordingly.

 

During our busiest months on the volunteer in Ghana program, you may be placed at alternative accommodation. For instance, you could be placed in one of our secondary Volunteer Houses.

MEALS

During your volunteer trip to Ghana, volunteers will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast and dinner are served at the Volunteer House. Conversely, lunch will be provided in a packed lunch format. Packet filtered water is also available at the Volunteer House for volunteers.

 

Please note most meals will incorporate lots of carbs. Subsequently, do not expect much dairy or meat and please be open-minded around this! Moreover, it may take a few days for your body to get accustomed to the local food.

 

Pork, lamb and beef are difficult to source in Ghana and usually quite expensive. The main meats are chicken, fish and goat. There is also a real lack of fresh dairy products. Therefore, volunteers in Ghana should be prepared to live without milk and cheese. Most milk is tinned.

 

There are a number of western restaurants around a 45 minute drive from the accommodation. Therefore, home comforts are not too far away. Similarly, there are Chinese and Indian restaurants in Kumasi. Our local team will tell you about the options available to you during your in-country orientation.

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

* Please note our local team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Most importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the volunteer program.

COSTS INVOLVED

DURATION

PROGRAM FEE

REGISTRATION FEE

TOTAL

2 weeks
480 USD
249 USD
729 USD
3 weeks
615 USD
249 USD
864 USD
4 weeks
750 USD
249 USD
999 USD
6 weeks
1,020 USD
249 USD
1,269 USD
8 weeks
1,290 USD
249 USD
1,539 USD
10 weeks
1,560 USD
249 USD
1,809 USD
12 weeks
1,830 USD
249 USD
2,079 USD

* These fees apply to each individual application.

 

In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your Registration Fee will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated for an admin fee of 60 USD. Please note any changes will be subject to availability.

 

If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.

 

Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.

 

Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

 
 

OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME - 40 USD

PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers in Ghana works as follows -

 

🇰🇪 Kenya - 28 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to Ghana and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.

 

🇮🇳 India - 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don't have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.

 

🇺🇸 USA - 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.

 

This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date.

VOLUNTEER IN GHANA REVIEWS

 

COSTS INVOLVED

WHAT'S INCLUDED

PROGRAM FEE

  • ACCOMMODATION (VOLUNTEER HOUSE)YES
  • MEALS (BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER) YES
  • AIRPORT PICK UP (24 HOURS)YES
  • IN-COUNTRY ORIENTATIONYES
  • 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY SUPPORTYES

REGISTRATION FEE

  • 24 HOUR EMERGENCY SUPPORT YES
  • DEDICATED PMGY TRAVEL MENTOR YES
  • EMAIL & TELEPHONE SUPPORT YES
  • VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK YES
  • LIVE PRE-DEPARTURE WEBINARS YES
  • 100% FINANCIAL PROTECTIONYES
  • REGULAR PROGRAM INSPECTION YES
  • CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETIONYES
  • SUPPORT WITH UNI PAPERWORKYES

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • TRANSPORT TO PROJECTNO
  • FLIGHTS TO ACCRANO
  • TRAVEL INSURANCENO
  • RETURN AIRPORT TRANSFERNO
  • VISANO
  • CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKNO

WEEKEND TRIP ADD-ONS

TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME

OPTIONAL 40 USD PAYMENT

  • TREES PLANTED IN KENYA42
  • DAYS OF SOLAR ACCESS IN INDIA80
  • HOMELESS MEALS PROVIDED IN USA1.25KG

PMGY GHANA FACEBOOK GROUP

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Hi everybody! I’m doing the Childcare program from the 3rd October- the 24th 2024, anyone else there at that time? 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Hi I’m doing my visa as I go on the 2nd of June, does anybody know how to do the high resolution scan of your signature, as the only thing I can do is write it on a piece of paper then take a picture but not sure if that will be allowed? Just wondering what everyone else did? 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

3 CommentsComment on Facebook

I wrote mine on a bit of paper and then used the “scan document” option on my iPhone notes

Hi, I’m also going on the 2nd of June! How long are you going for? Also, I was told not to do my visa until 30 days before travel as it could run out?

I just took a photo of it on a piece of paper and it was fine. Some of the images needed to be compressed so they would upload, but it wasn’t a problem.

Hey! I’m going Ghana to volunteer from the 7th of July to the 4th of August. I’m planning to do 2 weeks as a medical volunteer and 2 weeks teaching/childcare. Let me know if your going to be out there at the same time as it would be nice to know some people x ... See MoreSee Less

3 months ago

2 CommentsComment on Facebook

Hi me and my cousin Jenna Maxwell will be there from June the 16th to July 16th!

Hi! I am doing the childcare program in Ghana from the 21st July to the 18th August, would be great to connect xx

What should I pack? How many clothes sound I bring? What sound I wear when volunteering? What sound I wear to the excursions? ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago

2 CommentsComment on Facebook

what programme are you doing?x

Casual loose clothes like T-shirts and loose bottoms, maybe like 5 of each x


 

Good morning from kumasi jungle market #pmgyghana #smiledennis.
Keeping our 2 metres. #socialdistance #stayhome #staysafeoutthere @dennispmgy