' I LOVE this experience in chitwan for though short period! 'Xue Ying Fiona Wang
Disclaimer: The information given in this FAQ's page is generic. You should verify critical information such as visa-related issues, health and safety, customs and transportation with the relevant authorities prior to traveling. Please be aware that information given in FAQ's may change at any time. In effect, we accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from this information. For the latest updates, please contact us or our in-country coordinator(s).
The founder of RCDP has been involved in volunteer abroad business for the last 10 years. During this time, he has worked with more than 2000 volunteers and more than 200 universities, colleges, and schools groups.
Working with inspiring college students and humanitarian volunteers was very motivating as well as very enjoyable and presented many exciting learning opportunities. This experience encouraged him to start his own volunteer abroad program where affordable prices, premium programs and meaningful contributions to deprived communities would become the key components of the programs.
With this in mind, while setting up volunteer and travel abroad organization, we have selected many safe and culturally rich destinations where volunteers can make meaningful contributions, immerse in local culture, and get enriched from volunteer abroad experience. In each destination, we have carefully selected projects, host families, travel coordinating staff, and placed local support staff. We have provided them with extensive training to manage the program with professional services that will be delivered with care and respect for all volunteers. We are now proud of our coordinators, host families, host projects, and staff as all of them have at least 4 years of working experience with international volunteers. To meet your expectation, they are committed to working hard, delivering professional services, and turning your volunteer abroad experience into a memorable journey.
Volunteer projects in Ghana starts from the first and third Monday of each month year round. Volunteers are requested to apply at least two months in advance as RCDP has to process large volume of applications. However, if you want to expedite your application in less time, please contact our office for more information.
After receiving the application, it is then forward to our In-Country Coordinator in Ghana. The coordinator will then finalize the placement and information about it to us. We will forward you the details after immediately receiving the information.
The application process usually takes 1-2 weeks. Sometimes, it might take longer depending on the time of year and the projects you are applying for. However, if you want your application expedited due to late submission, you are request to contact RCDPs office by either phone or email prior to submitting your application.
Complete the application form online (http://rcdpinternationalvolunteer.org/apply.php ). You can also download the form and attached it with an email. Most of the time, this is the only document we require.
While volunteering in our Ghana program we expect our volunteers to:
Most travelers from Western countries receive a 30 day tourist visa upon arrival. If you want to stay longer, you can extend the visa. For that, you have to go to immigration department.
RCDP advises that ALL volunteers to get tourist visa in their home country BEFORE arriving in Ghana to avoid any unnecessary hassles at the airport.
As per your qualification and skill, the In-Country Coordinator of RCDP in Ghana will research appropriate volunteer project for you.
Most projects work run from Sunday to Friday and require 4-5 hours a day. Activities vary depending upon the will and feasibility of volunteer. Most volunteers have Saturday off to relax or explore Ghana.
Projects are located either in or around Accra.
Accra is the capital city of Ghana and the most populous area with over 70% of Ghana's manufacturing industries concentrated in and around Accra. The National Museum, located in Ghana, is a must visit place. The heritage of Ghana from the prehistoric to modern time is on display in the music. Among other attractions in Accra are the National Theatre, Independence square, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, the Accra International Conference Centre, the fishing port of Jamestown and the Makola Market.
English is the most widely spoken language in Ghana. It's also the official language. There are 9 other state sponsored languages in Ghana spoken by different ethnic groups. Hausa is the lingua franca amongst Muslims of Ghana.
The projects run throughout the year and volunteer programs start on the first or third Monday of each month.
We normally suggest from 2 to 12 weeks.
Airfare is the responsibility of the volunteer.
Volunteers should arrive at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana.
Volunteers should arrive in Ghana day before their projects start, which is usually on a Sunday. If you arrive early, you can either stay on your own and inform the in-country coordinator of your whereabouts, or you can choose to stay in our hostel and pay extra, provided we have rooms available.
After enrolling into the project, you must then forward your detailed travel itinerary to RCDP before your arrival in Ghana so that you will be picked up at the airport. The coordinator will organize your pickup. You will be picked up by a staff member or our in-country coordinator who will be holding a placard with your name written on it. The person will be waiting at the arrival lounge.
If you don't meet anyone, which is a very rare incident, you must call our In-Country coordinator, and the coordinator will advise you on how you can get a taxi or something immediately. Before your departure, you will be supplied with all contact information just in-case you are not picked up. Please rest assured that this happens only rarely and we always make sure everything functions smoothly.
Please call our In-Country Coordinator from the airport and inform him of the delayed arrival time. Check also your placement instructions and look for details on how to search for hotels if you arrive late or if your flight arrives after midnight. Finally, call or email our Ghana In-Country Coordinator once you arrive so that he can help with the pickup.
In the event your arrival time changes or is delayed and you are required to stay overnight in a hotel (or if you fail to meet RCDP representative at the airport), you should hire a taxi from the airport and ask the driver to take you to a hotel mentioned in your placement details/pre-departure information (and please remember to request a receipt from the driver).
Please also make sure that you call RCDP In-Country Coordinator before boarding the taxi. Failing so, participants are advised to contact RCDP Ghana In-Country Coordinator the next day and let him/her know your whereabouts.
Please make sure that you pack all your necessary documents which should include passport, clothes, and documents. Prepare your budget to cover various extra expenses of up to $100 USD a week and travel to your project each day.
There is a distinct possibility of getting a cultural shock as many things defer in Ghana in many ways compared to things at home. Be mentally prepared for that and steadfastly complete the project work as it's only a temporary stay.
You can arrive several days early or even up to a week early, however, the responsibility of arranging meal and accommodation is solely yours. Contact in-country coordinator and you will be advised on how to make your way to our hostel or project.
We ask participants to depart from Ghana on the Sunday after their project is completed.
All volunteers will depart from Kotoka International Airport in Accra.
The living condition will depend on the area you are assigned to. Although Ghana is a beautiful and friendly place, you should not expect luxury. Many things will be basic but proper hygienic standards are always maintained. During home stay, you will stay with a friendly family and you will have your own room. Our host families are mostly educated, well-respected and they will have the experience of hosting international students. In addition, members of the host families will speak English. In some cases, volunteers prefer to stay in the hostel
In most cases during home stay you will have your own room unless you request to stay with another volunteer. In some cases, you will share a room with another volunteer.
If you want your friend or a family member staying together with you that can be arranged. Please contact our office ahead so that we can arrange for that before your arrival.
Depending on projects and its feasibility, we receive 10-15 volunteers each month to Ghana. It is most likely other volunteers will be working with you, though this cannot be guaranteed. If you want to work with other volunteers, please let us know.
A shower with cold water is usually installed in the bathroom.
Laundry may be done by hand. You can arrange to pay someone to wash your clothes or you can use launderettes, which are only available in limited places.
In collaboration with the host families, RCDP will manage your accommodation and meal during your entire stay. Ghanaian food includes rice, tofu, pulses soup, ken key, seasonal vegetables, and meat occasionally. Due to monetary constraints, for the volunteers who arrive early or who want to stay longer, it is not possible to offer extra accommodation or food. In this case, RCDP will help volunteers find a good and reasonably priced place.
RCDP can provide both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. If you require a special diet, you are responsible for your own meals. We strongly urge participants to inform us if they require any special diet prior to their arrival in Ghana. We can advise if the diet is available and on where and how it can be purchased.
Tap water in Ghana is generally not safe to drink directly. We recommend you to purchase bottled water. Please make sure the seal of the bottle is not tampered. You can request your host family to boil water each day for you to drink.
Please see placement details to see the specifics pertaining to availability of hot water. In Ghana, unless you pay extra to the host family to boil water for you to shower, you won't be provided automatically. However, this setup depends entirely upon you and your host family.
Participants can purchase bottled water in stores. None of them is included in the program fee.
Ghana is one of the safest countries in Africa. There is no civil war and crime rate is relatively low. But you will hear news of petty crimes and pick-pocketing and other harassments that are targeted at expatriate community. Take precautions and avoid crowded places if you can.
International travel does present risks, especially with the threat of international terrorism. The U.S. State Department has issued travel warnings and advisories in many countries for U.S. travelers. These travel advisories and warnings change frequently as situations in each country change. We suggest that all volunteers consult their own governments before participating in a RCDP program. These links provide travel information:
We use the Center for Disease Control traveler's health recommendations (www.cdc.gov). Your travel doctor will be knowledgeable about current epidemics and should be consulted. Volunteers from UK are recommended to contact their local GP.
The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Ghana. You must discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.
A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain countries in West Africa. For detailed information, see Yellow Fever Vaccine Requirements and Information on Malaria Risk and Prophylaxis, by Country. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.
Before leaving for Ghana, consult travel health specialist. In Ghana, chloroquine-resistant malaria is widespread and you must take sufficient malaria protection with mosquito repellants, using mosquito nets at night and chemical prophylaxis.
The Northern Ghana falls under Meningitis belt of Africa. Take extra care while traveling north. During December to June, the dry winds compound the misery in these parts. A polysaccharide vaccine is available for Meningitis types A, C, Y and W135.
Although AIDS/HIV rate in Ghana is lower than other sub-Saharan African countries, it is still rampant. Receiving a blood transfusion while in Ghana greatly increases your risk of acquiring HIV as well as unprotected sex. You should also avoid contact with still freshwater as there is a risk of schistosomiasis.
Some restaurants maintain European health standards, but these places are expensive. Smaller restaurants like locally known "chop bars" don't serve food hygienically prepared.
Near the coastal area of Ghana, the climate is tropical and you tend to get hydrated fast. Drink plenty of fluid. Bottled water is available everywhere. Volvic Water has been a reliable brand, but do check to make sure the seal has not been broken.
If you do get ill, don't panic. Participants can obtain information pertaining to medical assistance through a number of channels:
If you want, you can call home also.
Not suggested at all. While you are in Ghana, consuming healthy food should be your number one priority. Don't eat from street vendors. Prepare your food well by washing and boiling. The host families will follow proper hygienic standards. But you can always double check.
Toilets are not up to the Western standard. We make sure that our volunteers always get clean and well sanitized toilets but don't get shocked if you encounter poorly maintained toilets. Most toilets won't contain toilet rolls. Make sure you always have one with you when you enter toilets.
Credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, JCB, Master and Visa are accepted at the large hotels or tourist stores. You can also withdraw cash from most international banks' ATM machines, but $2-4 surcharges will apply for each transaction. ATM machines are only available in Accra. Carry cash or traveler's check if you are traveling beyond.
The official currency is Ghanaian Cedi or GHC
Current exchange rates can be found using a currency converter like www.xe.com , or checking in a newspaper like the Wall Street Journal.
Your cash or traveler's check can be exchanged into local currency at various banks, hotels and authorized money exchange counter shops on high streets. Please be aware that in smaller towns and villages, Traveler's Checks are difficult to exchange. You are however advised not to carry too much cash.
Reminder: Please retain the receipts of currency or traveler's checks you have exchanged into Cedi. You will be asked to show the receipts when you want to exchange the Cedi back to your currency when you are leaving Ghana. This process is done in the airport.
We suggested you to change at least $100 in the airport for transportation or extra expenses you might incur. Beyond that, it's really up to you, according to how much you'd like to spend on things. We advise you to bargain when shopping for almost anything, e.g. food, clothes. Foreigners are automatically charged a higher rate than locals. If you can find a local to shop for you, it's even better.
Generally, during the day it is safe to carry cash. However, we advise you not to carry too much and avoid large crowds and people who approach you to grab your attention so that someone else might pickpocket you.
We will forward you the detail contact information when we forward your placement details.
Most places in Ghana you can call home with International Direct Dialing. Phone cards are widely available and calls can be made from post offices, hotels and telephone booths. Mobile phone networks in Ghana allow many major cell phone providers access to their network but please check with your provider to see if you will be able to use your phone in Ghana. Internet cafes are available in most cities.
Internet cafes are available in Accra. While you might not be able to watch videos online, bandwidth in Ghana has increased substantially and you can use voice chat and use webcam to talk with friends and families back home.
It may be possibly to use your phone from back home. You can contact your provider about service charges, roaming, and whether you can substitute a Ghanaian SIM card (purchased in Ghana) with your US one.
During the day, it's warm in Ghana even in winters. Volunteers should be careful when shedding clothes. Though Ghanaians are open mind people, it's also a conservative country. Jeans and a t-shirts are acceptable. We don't advise our volunteers to wear high shorts and tank tops in the villages. It might attract unwelcomed attentions.
Ghana respects different cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, and moral concepts. You can practice your beliefs on your own accord. Try to be respectful towards temples, monasteries and religious events.
Be more inclusive and show respect of other cultures. Ghanaian culture is rich in customs and traditions. The Ghanaian people enjoy sharing their customs and traditions with foreigners so feel free to take part with them. You may even be asked to join your host family at their local church for services, this is up to you and you do not have to attend the services if you do not wish.
Ghana is very close to the equator, and so the weather is quite warm and tropical. There are two rainy seasons, one from April to June, and the other from September to October. This differs slightly from the more northern regions, but volunteers will most likely be stationed in the south. During the hottest months temperatures may get up to 100F, while during the rainy months temperatures will stay around 70F, though it will be much more humid.
Ghana is not always as cold as people think. The country is geographically divided into three parts. The high mountainous regions are always cold. Most trekking route takes you through these regions.
In the mid hills, the weather is pleasant most times of the year. Winter falls from November to February. During this time, you will be required to wear warm clothes. In Terai, the flat region bordering India, summers are dry and hot and winters are warm.
Please bring your clothes according to the season you are traveling and where you intend to travel.
Lightweight clothing and rain wear is recommended as well as warmer clothing for the evenings (light jacket and/or light sweaters). A solid pair of walking shoes is highly recommended for trekking.
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NOTE: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is generic information and should not be used as a definitive travel guide. Travel information and situations abroad change constantly. Participants should consult RCDP or travel advisors to verify this information.