What is Volunteer West Africa?
Volunteer West Africa (VWA) is a non-ideological, non-political, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO) which designs, finances and implements community-level projects to improve the lives of West African children and their communities. We have offices in the UK and in Ghana.
Central to our approach is the placement of international volunteers within our projects. International volunteers come from all over the world to share their time and expertise with our field team in Africa. If you volunteer with VWA you become part of our team and you get to live and work in the same West African communities that we do. We are not a volunteer agency, we do not place you in third-party accommodation or volunteer projects, and we do not profit from the volunteer fees that you pay: we offer well structured and rewarding volunteer experiences to individuals who want to assist the West African communities that we serve.
What does Volunteer West Africa do?
The key principal that underpins Volunteer West Africa is the rights of the child: the opportunity for children to be children, to enjoy a good quality of education, to build meaningful relationships, to be safe, to go without hunger or fear, and to live a childhood that will give them the best possible opportunity to achieve a brighter future. With this in mind, Volunteer West Africa implements a range of community development and education projects that:
- improve access to education for West African children;
- improves and enriches the education that those children receive;
- promotes a safer, cleaner environment;
- improves the standard of living of West African children, families & communities;
- improves cultural awareness between West African communities and communities from across the globe.
Why do volunteers choose Volunteer West Africa?
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 work with you to design a unique volunteer placement that suits your individual interests, experience and skills.
From teaching and classroom support, to running structured play groups for nursery children, to distributing donated materials to underprivileged families, to delivering health & hygiene workshops to single parents, to designing wide-reaching conservation projects, VWA has the local knowledge and expertise to help you complete the development work that you are most interested in.
Perhaps most importantly, VWA understands that the experience of volunteering in Africa should be as rewarding for you as it is for those African communities that you have come to assist. If your experience with VWA is a good one, we are certain that when you finish your volunteer placement you will still continue to benefit the children and families that VWA works with; from inspiring others by sharing your stories and experiences of the people you have met; to sustaining long-term 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 Africa in future, if you find great reward in your volunteer experience 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 who felt the organisations they signed up to were just middle- men concerned with taking a 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. Volunteering should be about real development, real ethics, and real professionalism."
Jenny Haasgill, Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield, UK.