How VWA Volunteers can help at the centre
Volunteer West Africa is a a non-ideological, non-political, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO). We finance and implement ethical and sustainable development projects in Ghana, West Africa. Most notably, we operate the Volunteer West Africa Daycare & Nursery Centre for Vulnerable Children. The centre provides free education, food, healthcare, family support and social services to vulnerable pre-school-aged children from across the local communities.
Central to the successful operation of the centre is the involvement of international volunteers. An exciting range of high-quality and ethical volunteering programmes are available at the centre, which allow volunteers to share and develop their expertise and experience across a vast range of disciplines and areas of study.
The centre hosts between 70 and 150 children and requires dedicated volunteers who can provide day-to-day care for the children, teach or support in the classroom, work in early-years child development, organise play and games and fun activities, provide health and medical care services, offer social and family support services, help in the core maintenance and administration of the centre, or extend other technical disciplines - through the centre - out in to the wider community.
As a VWA volunteer, you will join our team at the centre and you will achieve serious and meaningful development objectives that will improve and, on occasion, save the lives of young, vulnerable children. You will eat, sleep, & work alongside other team members at our high quality volunteer guest house and office facility located in the compound next to the centre.
How to avoid a disappointing volunteering experience
Volunteer West Africa is an ethical volunteering NGO for volunteers who are serious about delivering real and positive change to children and families at our centre in West Africa.
We are not a commercial volunteering agent or tourism operator; we do not offer volunteering packages for profit; we do not place volunteers in to poorly planned projects or in to sub-standard accommodation; we do not approve applications from potential volunteers who are not suitable for the volunteer placement in question, and we do not allow our responsibilities towards our volunteers to interfere with our responsibilities towards the West African children and families whom we support.
VWA is one of a very small group of organisations which fully complies with the ethical guidelines for volunteering organisations as published, here, on the International Ecotourism Website. Please be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
What will you be doing if you volunteer with VWA?
Volunteer West Africa offers a broad and exciting range of opportunities for international volunteers, from all backgrounds and skill levels, young or old, to get involved in. And unlike commercial volunteer organisations, that offer generic volunteer packages, VWA will always work with you to design a unique volunteer placement that aligns your individual interests, experience and skills with the aims and objectives of the work that we are undertaking at our Daycare & Nursery Centre.
From teaching lessons, to one-to-one tutoring in Mathematics, to running structured educational-play groups for nursery children, to distributing donated materials to underprivileged communities, to delivering health & hygiene workshops to parents, to designing a 6-month Polio vaccination programme, to teaching unemployed parents business or career development skills... VWA has the local knowledge and expertise to help you complete a volunteer placement that makes the most of your individual skills and ambitions.
Perhaps most importantly, VWA understands that your experience of volunteering in Africa must be challenging and rewarding. If your experience with Volunteer West Africa is a good one, you will continue to benefit the children and families that we support long after your volunteer placement with us comes to an end; from inspiring other potential volunteers by sharing your stories and experiences; to sustaining important relationships with the members of the community your volunteering placement has introduced you to; to acting as an ambassador or fundraiser for the people of West Africa in future; to gaining experience or motivation that drives you forward to help improve the lives of children in other places... if you find great reward in your volunteer experience with Volunteer West Africa then we will have found a friend for life in you. For that reason, we take our responsibility towards your volunteer experience very seriously.
"During my trip I interviewed so many volunteers and teams who felt the organisations they signed up to were just middle-men concerned with taking their fee rather than actually helping the people of Africa. These homogenised 'off-the-shelf' volunteer and gap year travel experiences seem to be all too common now... the current generation's version of the package holiday. So if you are thinking about volunteering, I would recommend that you take a look at organisation's like VWA ('Volunteer West Africa'). Volunteering should be about real development, real ethics, and real professionalism, not well-meaning tourism"
- Jenny Haasgill, Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield, UK.