3.1 Tasks for volunteers in Friends Children’s Home and Orphanage 14
3.2 Tasks for volunteers in El Shaddai International School Complex 15
Your living environment 16
Living in the compound 16
Living in a host family 16
Important guidelines (by the project manager) 20
Your contact person 22
Contact information 24
Contact person 24
The project (manager) 24
Appendix 1: Registration form
Appendix 2: General information about Ghana (in Dutch)
Appendix 3: Basics of the local language, Ewe
Introduction ‘Let’s go Ghana!’ is an initiative of Noor van Hout, currently volunteer and coordinator of Friends Children’s Home and Orphanage, part of The Friends Foundation. The Friends Foundation is a registered Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Klikor- Agbozume, Volta Region, Ghana.
During her almost one year stay, from 10 January 2009 until 22 December 2009, she hasn’t only learned a lot about the Ghanaian/Ewe-culture, working in an orphanage and living in a traditional community in a rural area, but she also faced and experienced the difficulties that implicates running a social, non-profit project (involved a children’s home and school) in a developing country such as Ghana. Everything stands or falls with money and the biggest problem is that there is a structural lack of this for the majority of the local people in the rural area’s. Therefore, Noor has established this program to support social, non-profit projects (NGO’s), as The Friends Foundation, in reduction of rural poverty in communities of Ghana.
‘Let’s go Ghana!’ is a volunteer placement program to link people from Europe to local projects (Non-Governmental Organizations) in developing countries. On the same time the program will contribute to the development and empowerment of people in rural communities through practical help and financial support of these local projects to make them self-supportive and sustainable. This means that they are able to generate money themselves to cover their expenses and that it becomes possible for them to continue to support and empower the people in the local communities to get out of poverty and reach a higher standard of living. Especially, through stimulating and improving education, different opportunities for development will be created for the poor, vulnerable and needy people in these communities.
Noor hopes that this Information Guide gives you more insight in the program, the project and possibilities for voluntary work.
1. About the program “Let’s go Ghana!”
During Noor’s work as a coordinator of Friends Children’s Home and Orphanage, she saw a lot of volunteers from different countries in Europe and The United States coming and going to help and assist in the project. These different ways of support and assistance (e.g. practical, gifts or money donations), in the different area’s of the project (e.g. care, education, medical, farming, building, painting and ICT) are a great advantage and relief for the project, because there is always a lot of work that has to be done. But, at the same time Noor also noticed and became aware of the current situation, that cooperation and volunteers coming with big commercial exchange organizations, is a big loss of money for the project. In fact, it only costs the project money, because the compensation the project receives for board and lodging for every volunteer doesn’t cover all the expenses, which are made by every volunteer. Meanwhile the volunteer paid a lot of money to the exchange organization in their home country. This means that too much money stays in the Western World and these organizations get richer and richer, instead of the money arriving on the side of the local projects in the developing countries. In many cases even two commercial organizations are involved, one located in Europe and the other one in the destination country or continent, where both commercial organizations aim to make profit. This seems to be not transparent and is incorrect, because neither the volunteer nor the local project has any clue about this way of working, before they enter into an agreement with the commercial exchange organization. The result is that the volunteer pays too much for his/her voluntary work, while the volunteer thinks he/she donates a big part of the money to the local project. But in reality the local project doesn’t receive much money, paid by the volunteer. That’s the reason why Noor wants to make a change in this way of working.
An innovative way of working
‘Let’s go Ghana!’ works in a way that your contact person from The Netherlands, Noor van Hout, is directly attached to the local project in Ghana, so that the contact person links you and keeps direct contact with you, as a volunteer. The contact person will provide you on all the information you need, concerning the content of the local project, so that you know what you can expect of the culture, living environment and working conditions and concerning all necessary arrangements you have to take before departure, like passport, visa application, vaccinations, ticket, health and travel insurance, money issues etc. The contact person will collect your personal information, like your age, study background and certain personal ability’s and skills (Curriculum Vitae). Than, the contact person will provide the local staff of the project on this information and other relevant information about your length of stay and expectations, according the content of the work you like to do. This makes it possible that arrangements and a planning, what concerns and covers your stay in Ghana, can be made in advance. This ‘voluntary work plan’ will be discussed with you up on arrival and can of course always be changed, according your and the project’s wishes and needs at that time.
Advantages of working with a contact person, directly attached to the local project:
You pay less money than when you go with a big commercial organization, like Travel Active, Work Abroad, Activity International etc.;
Except from the compensation costs of the program, all the money you pay goes directly to the local project abroad, that covers all the expenses on board and lodging for you, as volunteer, and supports the project to develop and improve running programs of care, guidance and education for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and other needy people in the community;
You will have direct contact with the contact person of the local project and for that matter also direct access to important information;
The local project will be informed in advance about your personal information and wishes, the date of arrival and the length of stay;
If any problem arises during your stay, which can’t be solved locally, the contact person can always intervene and act as a mediator between you and local people/ authorities.
‘Let’s go Ghana!’ is a volunteer placement program to link people from Europe to local projects (Non-Governmental Organizations) in developing countries. On the same time the program will contribute to the development and empowerment of people in rural communities through practical help and financial support of these local projects.
The new initiative of ‘Let’s go Ghana!’ wants to make a change in working to attract, select and link volunteers by a contact person, directly attached to the local projects (NGO’s) in developing countries, so that more money will reach and stay, where development is most needed. Hereby, the aim of the new initiative is; to profit and support the local projects (NGO’s) in developing countries and make them self supportive, self sustainable and independent.
When you are still interested in the program after reading this Information Guide, you can fill in the Registration form (Appendix 1) enclosed. The contact person will send this form with your Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) to the project manager of the local project, so that a good ‘match’ can be made between your potentials and abilities and the work in the project. The project manager will streamline the activities that has to be done in the project and put a job proposal/-description for you on paper. This will be reviewed and discussed with you up on arrival in the project. After the ‘match’ is made, the contact person will provide you with the necessary papers that has to be filled in and guidelines for preparations, that have to be made in advance. Program costs will be paid after signing the necessary documents and at least 2 months before departure. Depending on your needs and wishes any question or help, related to preparations and arrangements before departure, can be answered or given by the contact person, so that you will start well-prepared on the journey. The contact person will guide you up on departure, but will stay in contact with you and the project manager to monitor your stay in Ghana. From your arrival in Ghana until your return back home, staff members of the local project will take over the direct guidance and lead you through your first meeting and experiences within the Ghanaian lifestyle and culture. They will make sure that you feel welcome, safe and comfortable during the rest of your stay in Ghana.
Price p.p. (in Euros)*
From 3 months onwards every month
200,- (each extra month)
* price changes may occur. Notices:
Currency values are liable to fluctuation without notice. The default currency is the Euro.
Details of what program costs cover and what is excluded in the price are outlined below.
Remember, this program is 100% non-profit. The program costs cover your board and lodging (45%) and the costs of the program (25%), with the remainder (30%) going to support the local project (NGO).
Because the program doesn’t have his own bank account yet, we ask you to transfer your money into the bank account of the contact person of this program. Bank account information; 11.05.39.311 in the name of N.H. van Hout stating the volunteers name + “program costs, ‘Let’s go Ghana!’”. The contact person will transfer the money into the Ghanaian bank account of the local project, that covers the expenses on you in the project and supports the project to develop and become self supportive and self sustainable.
Airport pick up
Transport to the project
Meals (3x a day)
Information guide; Let’s go Ghana!
Extra information and tips concerning preparations and stay in Ghana
You have to be at least 18 years old to enter and join this program. There are no strict requirements in educational background, but your Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) will be examined to see if you will be able to fit in and are able to work in the local project. Personal characteristics as responsible, independent, self-initiative, flexible and adventurous are demanded. Your length of stay in the project is at least two weeks, but preferable more than that. To get a good impression of the way of living and working in Ghana it is advised to stay at least two months, but this is not required.
You are responsible for all the necessary arrangements (passport, visa, vaccinations, ticket, health and travel insurance, credit card, cash money etc.), which has to be arranged before departure;
You sign a contract, in which is stated that the local project and contact person are not responsible for anything in anyway, what happens to you during your stay at the project;
The contact person signs a statement, what declares that 75% of the amount you pay (which corresponds with the agreement), goes to the local project, which is a registered Non-Governmental Organization (NGO);
You receive a certificate or testimonial (proof of participation) at the end of your stay at the project.
2. About the project in Ghana ‘Let’s go Ghana!’ works in collaboration with The Friends Foundation. The Friends Foundation, formally known as the Friends for Orphan Education Society, is a locally based, non-political, non-profit and Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO). The Foundation is registered under the Ghana Company Code in 1994 and with Department of Social Welfare as charity organization in 1996. It was finally recognised and registered as a legal foundation by the Ketu District Assembly in 2008.
Evangelist David K.A Kporfor founded The Friends Foundation in 1991 at Avlorto-Klikor. During an evangelical mission in the area, the founder realized that a great number of children in the project area are orphans or vulnerable children with poor economic backgrounds and therefore lack of proper care and formal education, which is often said to be the bedrock for socio-economic development of every nation.
Since children are the future leaders of every nation as well as agents of change in the New Millennium, they need thorough care to develop their talents. The founder therefore became much concerned about these disadvantaged children, hence the formation of the Friends Foundation with the assistance of his wife and some concerned members of the community to support these children, by providing them with safe home-based care and formal education.
The founder realized that all educational programs and other activities of The Friends Foundation can not be sustained without a basic school. So El-Shaddai International School Complex was also founded in 1991 to support and assist all programs of The Friends Foundation for growth and sustainability. The school was registered in 1996 under Ghana Education Service(GES) and with the Registrar Generals Department in 2007 by request of the Government of the republic of Ghana.
The Friends Foundation vision is to care and nurture the talents of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and make their dreams become reality.
The Friends Foundation seeks to promote the general wellbeing of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in partnership with their families by providing quality institutional care (for the most underprivileged ones) and family-based care through foster-caregivers and provide protection, attention, quality formal education and employable skills in Agriculture and Vocational for the OVC.
The Friends Foundation’s overall goal is to assist (extended) families and communities in the Ketu South District/ Klikor area in caring for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and to enhance their living standards, so as to fit into society. We strive to provide the OVC with appropriate care, protection, formal education and employable skills, preferably within their own families or community.
In order to achieve this goal, the NGO consists of 3 programs:
El Shaddai International School Complex, a basic and junior level high school.
Since the project was founded in 1991, it has expanded to the extend where the school now consists of approximately 500 students and Friends Children’s Home caters for 34 children. The family and community assistance program is currently being developed.
Klikor-Agbozume is a bigger town in the Volta Region, located around 3,5 hours drive Southeast from the capital, Accra. The first part of the journey from Accra is on a good new highway, but the last part of the road is bad, what takes more time and is less convenient to drive.
Map of Ghana; The arrow points Klikor-Agbozume.
2.6 El Shaddai International School Complex
The Friends Foundation is affiliated to El Shaddai International School Complex at Klikor, also founded by David Kporfor. The school started out with one class consisting of 7 students but has grown to become a well-known school in the area, consisting of a Nursery, Kindergarten, a Primary School and Junior High School (JHS). All together, El Shaddai has around 500 students. A new school building is under construction on the outskirts of Klikor. This school has started operating from October 2009. The children living in Friends Home attend El Shaddai until they finish the JHS-programme. After passing their JHS exam, they will be supported to go and board at Senior Secondary Schools.
Schoolchildren of the Nursery class in El Shaddai The new school building is in use
2.7 Friends Children’s Home and Orphanage
Friends Children’s Home and Orphanage is the name of the home that operates under The Friends Foundation. It provides shelter, food and care for the orphans and needy children aged 0-18 years. Friends Children’s Home and Orphanage also enables the inmates to receive formal education. Around 30 children live in the home permanently and a few additional beds are open for children who need short time shelter. Children are placed in Friends Home through Social Welfare and application by a parent, relative or carer/guardian.
Friends Home doesn’t have it’s own building yet, so the children are sleeping in rooms around the school compound and in the new ‘boys house’, behind the school. All the boys, except for the younger ones, are sleeping in the dormitories of the new house with a supervisor (15 beds). Next to the kitchen, in the back of the school compound, there are two rooms, one for the older girls (6 beds) and one for the younger children (4 beds). There are 5 beds in the room where David’s wife sleeps and two rooms are rented in a house on the left side of the school, where another 4 boys stay.
There are two cooking mothers who cook for the children and one supervisor who supervises the children. They live in a room in the old orphanage building, opposite the entrance of El-Shaddai. The cooking mothers also work in the school canteen, selling food to the schoolchildren. They do this together with Victoria, David’s wife, who heads the canteen. In the morning, before going to school, all the children collect their porridge from the kitchen. Lunch is taken during school-break. The evening meal is taken in two groups, the eldest children eat apart from the younger ones. Victoria cooks for David, the volunteers and the eldest children, Mary cooks for the other children.
David and Victoria with all the children of Friends Home and two local staff members.
Day schedule during the week:
5.30-6.00 Waking up and self studies
6.00-7.00 Bathing, dressing, sweeping the bedrooms (+ other chores)
7.20-7.30 Brushing of teeth and getting ready for school
7.30-8.15 School starts (morning lesson) (time for volunteers to take their breakfast)
8.15-8.30 Assemble (singing of national anthem)
8.30-15.00 School day. Lunch is taken between 13.00 and 13.30
15.15-15.30 Coming from school, change school clothes to housedress
15.30-16.30 House chores (grinding maize /cassava, getting firewood, washing, going to market etc. children take turns in helping with the dishes etc.)/ Washing of cloth + school uniform on Wednesdays.
On Saturday morning clothes and bed sheets are being washed. Every child washes his or her own clothes but the younger ones (under 10) need assistance with it.
Saturday afternoon is playing time or, when it is farming season (March-December), the children go to help at the farm (sowing, harvesting, weeding etc.) or peel maize or beans at the Home. Every two weeks there is one hour of education/counselling/workshop planned for the children. Depending on the subject the children will be divided into groups to take part in the lesson or workshop.
On Sunday morning there is church service in one of the classrooms at school. The project manager is a pastor and has his own church with the children, called Seek First Ministries. Every one month there is ‘joined service’. This means that different churches in the community form a union, where the children can interact with other people from different communities. Sunday afternoon is playing time or helping with chores that need to be done.
Other time during the weekends can be used to clean and organise the children’s rooms or undertake activities with the children, like colouring, dancing, playing games, or anything else. Now and then, a daytrip to the beach for example is organized. If volunteers develop an initiative for a daytrip they are welcome to discuss their plans with the project manager.