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VOLUNTEER HEALTHCARE & MEDICINE PROJECT IN GHANA

 

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INTRODUCTION GHANA HEALTHCARE AND MEDICINE

In a place where modern medical facilities meet traditional healing rituals, Ghana’s healthcare system is both diverse and complex. Through outreach, education, and care, you will provide much-needed support to an underfunded and overcrowded public health system. The KIVOLEX Global Health Project works to support the medical and emotional needs of patients, assist with health education, or address the underlying factors contributing to public health. You’ll contribute in a meaningful way and gain a unique understanding of a fascinating healthcare system that involves traditional healers, bone setters, and witch doctors.

In a place where modern medical facilities meet traditional healing rituals, Ghana’s healthcare system is both diverse and complex. Rural communities, like Ho, are frequently without access to the healthcare causing negative health outcomes in children that could be prevented. To address these challenges, volunteers work in a health clinic to support mothers and children through well-child checkups, home visits, and educational workshops to stem the spread of malaria and malnutrition. To maximize our impact, volunteers are encouraged to form groups of 4 or more, to carry out a variety of health campaigns in public schools. The largest needs have been identified as building hand washing stations, conducting vision screenings, and supporting dental clinics for the school children.

 

HEALTHCARE AND MEDICINE VOLUNTEERING IN GHANA

volunteer abroad ghana mediacal and healthcare project

The health care system in Ghana is confronted with the formidable task of improving and guaranteeing
the health and well-being of the Ghanaian people. The health system has the responsibility of combating
illnesses associated with poverty and lack of education; at the same time, it has to deal with a growing
population, inadequate funding and resources, and an increasing burden on the health care system due to
the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The health of Ghanaians has been improving since Ghana’s independence in 1960. Infant mortality rate
(IMR) among Ghanaian children has fallen from 133 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1957 to 57 deaths per
1,000 live births in 1988, and the under-five mortality rate (U5MR) has decreased from 154 deaths per
1,000 live births in 1957 to 110 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1988 (Ghana Statistical Service and Macro
International, 1999). Although improvement has been seen, the Ministry of Health (MoH) is of the view
that rates of change have been slow, with current rates still far from desirable. The national level rates
obscure the substantial differences that exist between groups and sectors of the country, and this is of
great concern to the MoH. For example, IMRs vary from less than 57 deaths per 1,000 live births in the
southern part of the country to over 100 deaths per 1,000 live births in the northern part. 

 

 

 

VOICE FROM GHANA COMMUNITY

“The KIVOLEX volunteers have a very positive impact on my organization because they give pupils a reason to always be present in school and ready to learn.”

“The love and empathy exhibited towards the students causes our school and the community to show more love and care for these children, too. The volunteers bring the school and the community together.”

Volunteers help to teach English and they promote cultural exchange and self-expression among the students.”

“The KIVOLEX volunteers have a very positive impact on my organization because they give pupils a reason to always be present in school and ready to learn.”

“The love and empathy exhibited towards the students causes our school and the community to show more love and care for these children, too. The volunteers bring the school and the community together.”

“Volunteers help to teach English and they promote cultural exchange and self-expression among the students.”

 

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES IN GHANA

volunteer cultural activities abroad

 

JOIN A DANCE CIRCLE

The local community puts on an exclusive collaborative presentation just for KIVOLEX volunteers to formally welcome you, and you’ll get to join in on a traditional drum and dance circle, a very important cultural practice for the Ghanaian people.

WEAVE A KENTE CLOTH

Typically reserved for special occasions, the kente cloth has a long tradition in Ghana, and is said to have initiated from the observation of spiders creating their webs. Work with local artisans to help with the creation of a kente cloth, which can take months to complete, as you learn about the colorful meanings of these fabrics.

TOUR HO

Get to know your new home away from home on a KIVOLEX staff-guided walking tour of Ho. Staff will be sure to call out all points of interest including silversmiths, money exchange sites, ice cream shops, and internet cafes. The tour ends at the weekly outdoor market where you’ll catch your first glimpse of the ubiquitous handmade batik fabrics. Purchase some eye-catching fabric to bring over to the local seamstress and she will inexpensively transform it into a one of a kind souvenir.

SWIM IN THE WLI WATERFALL

Plunge into a natural pool at the base of the Wli Waterfall, the highest waterfall in West Africa. You’ll take a short hike to the falls where you’ll witness the rainbows forming in the mist, and then you’ll paddle out to experience the refreshing spray of the falls up close. After drying off, you’ll stop by one of the best souvenir spots in Ghana for a chance to buy wood carvings and batik clothes directly from the artisans who crafted them.

LEARN TO SPEAK EWE

Although English is Ghana’s official language, you’ll still have the opportunity to learn Ewe, the mother tongue of Ghana’s Volta Region and neighboring Togo. After just one round of biweekly classes held at your Home-Base, you’ll be ready to greet your new neighbors in the local language

DYE BATIK FABRIC

Ghanaian folklore isn’t a strictly oral tradition; it’s conveyed through traditional “adinkra” symbols as well. You’ll quickly begin to notice adinkra in pottery, wood work, business logos, and fabrics. Visit a local seamstress to learn about these symbols, as well as the traditional batik process for fabric dyeing. Make your own batik handkerchief as a small but meaningful keepsake of all you’ve learned and seen.

HIKE IN AMEDZOFE

While your Home-Base can be found at the end of a dirt road, just 45 minutes away, you’ll find lush mountain landscapes. Try your hand at scenic Mount Gemi, or challenge yourself with Mount Adaklu, within view of your home in Ho.

FREE TIME IN GHANA

SLEEP IN THE TREETOPS

You didn’t realize Ghana has rainforests? Surprise! Explore Ghana’s most accessible animal haven, Kakum National Park. Scale the treetops on Ghana’s only canopy tour and keep your eyes peeled for monkeys and birds. For an extra dose of adventure, and perhaps even a super-rare glimpse of an elephant, camp out in one of the tree houses scattered throughout the park.

MEET THE SACRED MONKEYS OF TAFI ATOME

According to legend, when the residents of Tafi Atome moved almost 200 years ago, monkeys were seen in the nearby sacred forests that they believe had followed them on their journey. Considered ‘representatives of gods’, the people of this region protected the monkeys and the heritage of their sacred grove. Today, you can visit these friendly inhabitants and try your hand at feeding them a banana!

FISH AMONG THE PALM TREES

Along the palm tree lined shores of the Volta Region, local fishermen launch their boats at dawn to make a living on their daily catch. As you wait for the boats to return for the evening, there’s plenty of opportunities to enjoy water sports, stroll through the sacred woods, or even visit a crocodile farm!

DISCOVER GHANA’S WILDLIFE

Have you ever met a genet? What about a western kob, grey duiker, bushbuck, serval, or civet? These unique animals, as well as baboons and monkeys, make their home at the Volta Region’s Shai Hills Game Reserve and Quarry, along with 175 species of birds. So take a trip and discover your new favorite animal!

ENJOY LIFE IN ACCRA

If you find yourself missing the niceties of urban life, Accra is the place! Ghana’s capital city provides a striking contrast to Hohoe’s small-town feel. Slip into the air conditioned mall for a movie or a snack from the food court, and find yourself surrounded by hip young urbanites clad in leather pants and high heels. For a bit of culture, explore Accra’s museums or wander through one of the outdoor weekend markets.

BOAT ACROSS LAKE VOLTA

Lake Volta, one of the world’s largest man-made lakes, dominates the landscape of eastern Ghana at over 3,000 square miles. Boat across Lake Volta and watch as fishermen tow in the day’s catch. Check out some of the recreational facilities lining Volta’s shores, and even go for a refreshing swim in the lake!

DINE IN HO

In a small town like Ho, every day brings a new opportunity to engage with local people. Practice your Ewe language skills by greeting new neighbors, and don’t be afraid to accept a friendly dinner invitation from a new friend. After dinner, hail down a Fan Ice bicyclist to buy some ice cream treats, or get a coffee from a man vending from his cart. Next, make your way to a local watering hole to sip a cold drink and huddle around a televised soccer game with new friends.

DESIGN A GHANAIAN BEAD

Beading is taken to new levels at the Cedi Bead Factory, where artisans use recycled glass bottles to create unique beads sold across the world. If you’re looking to up your own bead craftsmanship, stay overnight and create your own bead designs.

VENTURE INTO TOGO

The present day Volta Region of Ghana, along with neighboring Togo, was once part of a large German protectorate called “Togoland.” While the area was divided by post-WWI arbitration, eastern Ghanaians and Togolese still share the same heritage, culture, and language, and many local people travel across borders to visit friends and relatives. Once you’ve found your way around Ghana’s Volta Region, cross the border to Togo for an international experience with a familiar feel.

 

HOME BASE ACCOMMODATION IN GHANA

Sitting atop a hill in a safe, residential community, your KIVOLEX Home-Base in Ghana offers beautiful views and your very own mango tree! Common areas are furnished with plenty of chairs and couches that are decorated with bright batik fabrics. Enjoy the evening breeze on the patio with fellow volunteers or bring out a book for some quiet time. Living areas are communal with plenty of space to keep your belongings. Each bed also has a mosquito net, so we’ve got you covered, literally.

During your stay, you’ll feast on a blend of healthy Ghanaian cuisine. If you’re not “big on spicy,” the KIVOLEX cook will turn it down a notch or two. Typical meals include plenty of starches like pasta, potatoes, and some new favorites like cassava and plantains mashed into fufu and banku — Ghanaian specialties, and fresh fruit to sweeten each dish. At meals, you’ll have the option to use silverware, but give the traditional way a try by using your hands to sop up a helping of homemade stew with your fufu.

 

WORDS FROM OUR REPRESENTATIVE IN GHANA

I am committed to the protection of children through education and opportunities to rise from poverty.

Growing up in small town in Ghana with my grandparents, I have seen the vulnerability that comes from being raised in poverty and not having opportunities for education. I was fortunate to have parents who believed in the value of education, and attended a Technical School to further my talents in electronics. However, it was KIVOLEX volunteers who motivated me, as a young man, to follow my passions and goals of attending university to establish a career in social justice and change.

In Ghana, over 28% of the population lives in poverty at under $1 per day. With schools that are too often underfunded and overcrowded, the need for individual attention, guidance, and encouragement to children pursuing their dreams is key to a brighter future. I am committed, with KIVOLEX volunteers, to improving the possibilities for each child in my community.

 

 

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