In Ghana, sea levels are rising, extreme weather patterns are becoming more commonplace, fish stocks are dwindling, and man-made pollution is a significant challenge affecting health and sanitation. GVI works alongside the coastal community of Kokrobite to assist with educating community members on the climate crisis and help provide tools and resources that support a grassroots effort to become more sustainable and reduce overconsumption and pollution. From delivering talks in local schools on responsible consumerism, to educating local community leaders on the wider effects of climate heating, to collecting and recycling litter from the community’s beaches and streets, if you join this program you will contribute towards critical efforts to affect behavioural change and empower the local community.
Man-made climate heating is the greatest immediate threat to human, animal and plant life on earth. The global south will be affected by rising sea levels, droughts, fires and floods more severely and more quickly than many other countries, and many of its citizens do not always have the expertise or economic empowerment to affect change.
GVI Ghana works with a broad range of local stakeholders to help improve education, provide healthcare, and remove gender disparities in Kokrobite, near the capital of Accra. GVI is partnered with eight local community schools through which we help facilitate conversations around the climate, pollution, sustainability, and necessary behavioural change – and with whom we organise litter collections, beach cleanups, and tree planting days.
GVI also works in partnership with Guinness and Coliba Ghana to operate a recycling centre in the heart of Kokrobite, where people can drop off a range of plastics, which are then professionally recycled into other items. This is aimed at protecting both Kokrobite’s residential and marine environments.
You can contribute towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG 11: Sustainable Communities and UN SDG 13: Climate Action) by joining GVI’s Ghana field team as a volunteer or intern to support grassroots change.
|24-hour emergency desk|
|24-hour in-country support|
|Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)|
|All project equipment|
|Food (except on long-term internship placements|
|Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)|
|Group introductory call|
|Endorsed GVI Specialisation Course|
|Endorsed Leadership Course|
|Sustainable project work|
|Data collection and research|
|Real projects with partners|
|Weekly group check ins|
|Remote Academic Internship Supervisor|
|Remote Career Internship Supervisor|
|Preferential recruitment on GVI positions|
|Job portal access|
|Endorsed Careers Course|
|Career coaching sessions|
Certificates and achievements
|PDF reference - upon request|
|Linkedin reference and skills endorsement|
|Additional drinks and gratuities|
|Extra local excursions|
|International and domestic airport taxes|
|Medical and travel insurance|
|Personal items and toiletries|
|Police or background check|
Our base in Ghana is in the lively town of Kokrobite on the Atlantic coast. It’s a large house with a big communal kitchen and living space where you’ll spend a lot of time when you’re hanging out at base. There’s a patio area and a walled garden, where participants wind down in the evenings. You can also read, plan lessons, or have breakfast out there. There are also gym facilities, table tennis, and lots of space to work or relax. Most GVI staff live on base and it is family friendly.
The natural beauty of Kokrobite’s golden beach makes it a popular destination for visitors to Ghana. Experience West African culture by visiting the rural suburban areas and traditional fishing communities surrounding the capital city of Accra. Known for its coastal landscapes, palm-strewn beaches, and beautiful rivers, you’ll enjoy breathtaking scenery in a communal environment – sharing a once-in-a-lifetime experience with fellow participants from all over the world, as well as the dedicated GVI team on the ground.
The base is walking distance from the schools GVI is partnered with. It’s easy to be independent in your working day, and you’ll get to know Kokrobite very quickly. Within walking distance of the base you can find local street food. Many team members visit here and buy food in their free time.
You’ll live in a guest house that was built to accommodate our participants. With a garden full of colourful flowers and tropical plants, the house is a two-minute walk from the...
The GVI team provides transfers from Kotoka International airport in Accra to the base. Participants are able to walk the short distance between the base and the project and par...
While in Ghana, you may find yourself fully engrossed in the program, with little time for long-distance communications with friends and family. Communication can be a little in...
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided by GVI at the base. Food on our Ghanaian base is a combination of traditional local and international dishes, utilising locally availab...
Ghana enjoys a year-round tropical climate and most of the time it’s hot and humid. During the so-called “rainy season”, which is from April to November, it can rain heavily onc...
Our GVI staff are first-aid trained, and always on hand to assist with any medical concerns. There are community health clinics in Kokrobite, and the nearest emergency medical f...
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
We want you to make the most of the chance to live in – and contribute towards – the most diverse and unique wildernesses and communities on earth. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI that have been specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development.
Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.
Joining a GVI program not only allows you to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems – but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer over weekends.
Field staff are a great source of advice and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. You can choose to travel before or after your experience with GVI (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships you’ve established on the program. Please note that the below options are not included in the program fee, and would be up to you to arrange at your own expense.
Located approximately five hours’ drive from GVI base, the Volta Region is home to some of the most beautiful scenery and outdoor activities in G...
In this tranquil village located two hours east of Accra, participants can stay in beach huts which are nestled between a tropical estuary and th...
On weekends off, participants can visit historic Elmina and explore the beautifully dishevelled colonial buildings, clapboard houses, and corruga...
Alternatively, for a relaxing day out, be sure to visit Bojo Beach – located west of the city of Accra....
Take a trip to the National Museum for insight into the local culture, or head to the ANO Centre for Cultural Research, where you can check out t...
Head over to the Makola market for a true African market experience. Be sure to try out some of the local cuisine that is sold by the local vendo...
A guided tour of this historical monument could make your experience go from good to great. Experience the amazing views of the coastline from th...
For the nature lovers, there’s Mole National Park, home to about 90 species of mammals, including beautiful African elephants....
Take a tour of Cape Coast’s whitewashed castle. A former slave-holding site the castle is rich in history and deeply rooted in the national ident...
Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.
On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.
Situated in the Gulf of Guinea of West Africa, Kokrobite is in the central region of south Ghana. The village has a population of roughly 5,000 p...
Traditionally, Kokrobite is a fishing community. More recently Kokrobite has become a tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches, live ...
If you’re a foodie, you’re going to love trying some of the local delicacies, including Jollof rice, Fante Kenkey (boiled maize dough), Fufu, Coc...
Participants are able to fully immerse themselves in Ghanaian culture through learning more about the local languages. More than 50 languages are...
22 Jun, 2023
If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.
We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.
Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.
This is Matt, the Program Manager for GVI’s base in Accra, Ghana. He has lived in Ghana for over 11 years and loves its music and dance, which is why he considers ...
Meet Libby, the Volunteer Coordinator at GVI Ghana. She has an undergraduate degree in music technology from the University of West London. She originally joined GVI in Ghana to ...
Meet Esther, the Volunteer Coordinator at GVI Ghana. She has a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. She now assists participants with the d ...
Meet Aimee, the Volunteer Coordinator at GVI Ghana. Her journey to becoming a staff member began when she first joined GVI as a volunteer. She now works to support participants ...
Meet Leonie, the Project Coordinator at GVI Ghana. She fell in love with the country when she visited it for the first time. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications ...
Meet Clodagh, the Volunteer Coordinator at GVI Ghana. She originally volunteered in Ghana on a 2-week program and her journey has progressed from there into her becoming a staff ...
Introducing Naa, the base manager of our GVI Ghana base. Naa was born and raised in Accra and ensures that things are running smoothly on base.
Introducing Zen, who is the Projects Manager for our GVI Ghana base. Zen is passionate about education, women’s empowerment and is currently pursuing an MPhil in Political ...
‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.
We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.
GVI is a proud member of the Gap Year Association.
Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’
Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:
Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.
When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.
As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
GVI’s base in Ghana was set up as a result of an invitation to support education, gender equality, and community development programs in the region. Over the last 20 years, Kokrobite’s economy and diversification has changed rapidly as the community transitions from the traditional way-of-life to a modern economy. GVI Ghana aims to assist in easing this transition. We assist schools in providing a higher level of education to students who will soon face fierce job competition amongst their contemporaries. We aim to assist with training and empowering women who will soon be forced to leave traditional fishing and housewife positions and join the modern economy. We also assist with improving the health and well-being of community members, providing a safe space for the community to focus on long-term development, rather than immediate health crises.
GVI Ghana works with the most vulnerable members of the community – providing knowledge, skills, expertise, and resources that allow people to gain greater control over their livelihoods and well-being.
You’ll assist our local partners by teaching English to primary and secondary school children, or working with gender equality organisations that promote women’s social and economic advancement through educational workshops. Public health also plays a huge role in educating the local community about how simple lifestyle changes can benefit their well-being in the long run.
Early Years Education
We aim to support traditional fishing communities in their efforts to improve the quality of basic education offered at schools. We do this by combining teaching, classroom assistance, and one-to-one mentoring with students aged 2 to 16 years. Our work involves planning and delivering curriculum-based lessons, creative or sports activities, and one-off workshops focused on topics like oral health, hand washing, and teacher training sessions.
We work with women in the community to increase their knowledge and build usable skills and expertise. This includes planning and delivering classes in computing, jewellery making, menstrual and reproductive health, nutrition and catering, and leading discussions on women’s rights. We aim to provide women with the support they need to become financially independent and socially empowered.
This work focuses on women and children from vulnerable socio-economic backgrounds. We assist with building up access to, and understanding of healthcare issues. This includes planning and delivering workshops on current health concerns (for example, COVID-19), organising registration days where community members can sign into healthcare insurance schemes, organising talks on malaria prevention and treatment, and organising workshops and activities on reproductive health and family planning. We aim to help the community improve its understanding of – and access to – good health and well-being.
GVI Accra long-term objectives:
1. Enrich and improve the extracurricular education and learning environment of early-year students at community schools in Ghana.
2. Assist underserved women and girls to achieve economic independence, improved life skills and confidence, and gain an equitable share of social power and position.
3. Empower women and girls from the local community to achieve an improved standard of health and well-being, and to become more confident with issues around gender equality.
Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.
We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.
We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.
We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.
We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.
We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.
For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.
We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.
In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.
We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.
We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.
We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.
As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.
However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.
We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos
We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases
When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.
We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.
We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.
We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.
Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.
We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.
We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.
A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.
Learn about COVID-19 pre-departure guidelines, base expectations, personal and area hygiene practices and what we are doing to keep you safe.
Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.
Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.
Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.
Learn about gender equality, skills development and examples of income generating activities.
Learn about our empowerment principles.
In this course, you’ll explore the most common pitfalls of community development initiatives so that you can avoid them. You’ll also learn how to carry out community development work effectively and ethically and how local context impacts program development. After successfully completing the course, which you have the option of doing prior to your in-country program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Richmond.
This online course, valued at £295, is included in all volunteering programs. Full course details can be found here.
We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays ju...
As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the heal...
The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes ...
Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations a...
Join a program abroad and save up to 15%!