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GHANA

Geography
Ghana is situated in West Africa and is bounded by Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east, the Atlantic Ocean in the south and Cote d’Ivoire in the west. A narrow grassy plain stretches inland from the coast, widening in the east, while the south and west are covered by dense rainforest. To the north are forested hills beyond which is dry savannah and open woodland. Ghana’s coastline is dotted with sandy palm-fringed beaches and lagoons. The capital, Accra, features the Makola Market, a large and busy open-air market. Kumasi is the historic capital of the Ashanti civilisation, where ruins of the Manhyia Palace and the Royal Mausoleum burnt down by Lord Baden-Powell may be examined. In the northeast, the Boufom Wildlife Sanctuary contains the spectacular Banfabiri Falls. Mole National Park is recommended. Species of antelope, monkeys, lions, buffalos, over 300 kinds of birds and elephants can all be seen on guided excursions. Local dishes include traditional soups (palmnut, groundnut), Kontomere and Okro stews that are normally accompanied by fufu (pounded cassava), kenkey or gari. In Accra and almost all the regions there are nightclubs combining a selection of Western pop music and spectacular Ghanaian music and dancing.

Area Size of Ghana
238,537 sq km (92,100 sq miles)

Population (Provisional Results)
24,965,816 (2011)

Average Population Density
55.5 Per sq km

Capital
Accra (3,909,764 representing 16.1 percent of the population)

Head of State
His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo

International Airport
KOTOKA International Airport  (KIA)

Our culture as a country shows the world how unique we live as a country and this is characterized by our way of life and what makes us unique. Our country values its culture and colourful festivals among others that make us unique.


PEOPLE
Ghanaians come from five main ethnic groups: the Akan (Ashanti and Fanti), the Ewe, the Ga-Adangme, the Mole-Dagbani and the Guan.

Ashanti Tribe
The Ashanti tribe of the Akan are the largest tribe in Ghana and one of the few matrilineal societies in West Africa. Once renowned for the splendour and wealth of their rulers, they are most famous today for their craft work, particularly their hand-carved stools and fertility dolls and their colourful kente cloth. Kente cloth is woven in bright, narrow strips with complex patterns; it's usually made from cotton and is always woven outdoors, exclusively by men.

The village is a social as well as an economic unit. Everyone participates in the major ceremonies, the most frequent of which are funeral celebrations which typically last several days. Attendance at funerals is normally expected from everyone in the village and expenditure on funerals is a substantial part of the household budget.

The Ashanti are noted for their expertise in a variety of specialized crafts. These include weaving, wood carving, ceramics, and metallurgy. Of these crafts, only pottery-making is primarily a female activity; the others are restricted to male specialists. Even in the case of pottery-making, only men are allowed to fashion pots or pipes representing anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures.


Ewe
The Ewe has over 600 deities to turn to in times of need. Many village celebrations and ceremonies take place in honour of one or more deities. They also weave kente cloth, and their more geometrical patterns contain symbolic designs handed down through the ages.

The Ewe occupies south eastern Ghana and the southern parts of neighbouring Togo and Benin. Most Ewes were farmers who kept some livestock, and there was some craft specialization. On the coast and immediately inland, fishing was important, and local variations in economic activities permitted a great deal of trade between one community and another, carried out chiefly by women

Fanti Tribe
The Fanti tribe are mainly located in the coastal areas of Ghana


Ga-Adangme Tribe
The Ga-Adangbe people inhabit the Accra Plains. The Adangme are found to the east, the Ga groups, to the west of the Accra coastlands. Although both languages are derived from a common proto-Ga-Adangme ancestral language, modern Ga and Adangme are mutually unintelligible. The modern Adangme include the people of Shai, La, Ningo, Kpone, Osudoku, Krobo, Gbugbla, and Ada, who speak different dialects. The Ga also includes the Ga-Mashie groups occupying neighbourhoods in the central part of Accra, and other GA speakers who migrated from Akwamu, Anecho in Togo, Akwapim, and surrounding areas.


Guan Tribe
The Guan are believed to have begun to migrate from the Mossi region of modern Burkina around A.D. 1000. Moving gradually through the Volta valley in a southerly direction, they created settlements along the Black Volta, throughout the Afram Plains, in the Volta Gorge, and in the Akwapim Hills before moving farther south onto the coastal plains. Some scholars postulate that the wide distribution of the Guan suggests that they were the Neolithic population of the region. Later migrations by other groups such as the Akan, Ewe, and Ga-Adangme into Guan-settled areas would then have led to the development of Guan-speaking enclaves along the Volta and within the coastal plains.

LANGUAGES
The major languages spoken are Twi, Fante, Ga, Hausa, Dagbani, Ewe and Nzema. English is the official language of Ghana.

The Ashanti are part of the Akan tribes who speak various dialects of Twi. The language is very rich in proverbs, the use of which is taken to be a sign of wisdom. Euphemisms are very common, especially about events connected with death

RELIGION
60% Christian, 15% Muslim, 25% traditional African religions

Ghana has the highest percentage of Christians in West Africa, but the belief in traditional animist religions is still extremely common

RECIPIES
Soups are the primary component in Ghanaian cuisine and are eaten with fufu (either pounded plantain and cassava or yam), kokonte (cassava meal cooked into a paste), banku (fermented corn dough), boiled yam, rice, bread, plantain, or cassava. The most common soups are light soup, palmnut soup, and groundnut (peanut) soup.

MUSIC
Ghana is often described as a land of festivals, music, and traditional dances. There is hardly any community, clan, or tribe which lacks an occasion to celebrate annually.

There are three main types of music: ethnic or traditional music normally played during festivals and at funerals; "highlife" music, which is a blend of traditional and ‘imported’ music; and choral music, which is performed in concert halls, churches, schools and colleges.

ART & CRAFT
The Ashanti are noted for their expertise in a variety of specialized crafts. These include weaving, wood carving, ceramics, and metallurgy. Of these crafts, only pottery-making is primarily a female activity; the others are restricted to male specialists

Weaving is a highly developed craft, with dozens of standardized and named textile designs. Stamped cloth is also made.

Kente Cloth
Kente cloth is only worn in the southern half of the country and - as distinct from other forms of traditional weaving - is reserved mainly for joyous occasions

Traditionally the Kente cloth is a festival cloth worn mainly during the annual and seasonal festivals, which are happy occasions. Today they are not only used for festive occasions but also during the rituals associated with the important events of life; for example, marriage, death, and religious worship. Therefore, it is quite appropriate for outsiders to wear it for religious and festive occasions.

Adinkra Symbols
It is one of the highly valued hand-printed and hand-embroidered cloths. Its origin is traced to the Asante people of Ghana and the Gyaman people of Cote' d'lvoire (Ivory Coast). However, the production and use of Adinkra have come to be more associated with the Asante people than any other group of people. Around the 19th Century, the Asante people developed their unique art of adinkra printing. Adinkra clothes were made and used exclusively by the royalty and spiritual leaders for very important sacred ceremonies and rituals.

Wood carving is divided into many branches, each with its own specialists. Among the major products are wooden sculptures of outstanding artistic quality and the talking-drums (Atumpane).

The famous wooden "stools" are symbolic and ritual objects rather than items of furniture. "In Ashanti, a generation or so ago, every stool in use had its own special name which denoted the sex, or social status, or clan of the owner

One of the most attractive aspects of the Ghanaian culture is the colourful traditional festivals and durbars which are held yearly in all parts of the country. These festivals reveal some common features and beliefs of our society. Through these festivals, the people remember their ancestors and ask fortheir protection. Festivals are also held in order to purify the whole state so that people can enter the New Year with confidence and hope. Below are some major festivals to which you are invited when you volunteer with us.

A Description of few of the major festivals in Ghana

BUGUM (Fire Festival)
It is a major event on the traditional calendar. It commemorates the flight of Naiyul-Lar Mohammed from Mecca into exile in Madina AD658. The festival is celebrated in Dagbon, Gonja, Mamprusi and Nanumba. The event begins from procession from neighbouring villages. By night fall, all the villagers converge at the chief’s palace with torchlight and fire. After special invocation by the chief, the ceremony illuminates the streets. Festive drumming and dancing continues till early hours of the following day. This is usually help in January.

ABOAKYIR (Deer hunting)
A hunting expedition by two Asafo groups to catch live antelope from the forest follows initiation rituals of the festival. The first group to present its catch to the Chief at a colourful durbar is declared winner and is highly regarded for bravery. It is celebrated by the people of Winneba, 17 miles west of Accra and often held in May every year.

BAKATUE (Fish Harvesting)
A royal procession of chiefs and stool holders riding in palanquins through principal streets to a sacred shrine where chiefs make libation and sprinkle sacred food makes the festival very colourful. Pouring of mashed yam and eggs into the Lake (lagoon), followed by scooping with a net, after which permission is given to fishermen to open the fishing season, after a ban. Festival culminates in a regatta. The Edina/Elmina people celebrate this festival and they are 99 miles west of Accra. The festival is celebrated annually in July.

FETU AFAHYE (Harvest commemorating first contact with whites)
A colourful procession of chiefs amid drumming, dancing and firing of musketry is another fascinating thing to see. There is uniqueness in the attire. Sacrifice of a cow to the seventy-seven (77) gods of Oguaa land is made to commemorate the festival. The people of Cape Coast (Oguaa) who are 90 miles west of Accra celebrate this festival during August/September of every year.

HOMOWO (Harvest/Thanksgiving)
Ceremonies for this festival include a procession of chiefs through principal streets with all twins in the area dressed purposely for the occasion. All this is done amidst the sprinkling of festive food kpokpoi to the gods and ancestors of the state. The chiefs and people of Ga Traditional Area celebrate this festival in August/September each year.

ODWIRA (Harvest/Thanksgiving)
This festival dramatizes the tradition myths and legends of the people, and commemorates a period of remembrance and thanksgiving to the gods for their mercies in the past year, and reunion of families and communities. A durbar of chiefs’ crowns the celebration amidst drumming and dancing. The people of Akropong Traditional Area celebrate this festival. They are 90 miles north of Accra and this festival is celebrated every September each year.

DAMBA
This festival is originally linked with the birth of Mohammed, the Prophet of Allah. This festival has assumed a traditional character. A two-day festival full of pageantry, showmanship and horse riding celebrated in Tamale/Yendi. They are located 425 miles north of Accra. They celebrate this festival every September/October annually.

HOGBETSOTSO
This festival symbolizes the migration of Anlos from the tyrannical ruler of Notsie in older day Togoland to their present homeland in Ghana. There is a re-enactment of this migration, which involved walking backwards, performed by women, children, the old and the young alike. The people of the Anlo Traditional Area proudly celebrate this festival. They are 88 miles east of Accra. This festival is celebrated in November of every year.

ADAE (festival of Purifying of the Asantes' ancestral stools)
Festival of the Ashanti celebrated every 40th day, especially magnificent when it falls on Sunday. This is usually celebrated in Kumasi which is 168 miles (272 kilometres) north of Accra. 

Domestic Airports
• Kumasi Airport
• Tamale Airport
• Takoradi Airport

Time
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is used in Ghana - e.g. Australia have one day ahead of Ghana, but the same time frame and its 5 hours ahead of USA, an hour ahead of UK and 2 hours ahead of most European countries.

Language
The official language is English. Local Ghanaian languages widely spoken include Twi, Fante, Dagbani, Ga and Ewe.

Currency
Ghana Cedi

Religion
Ghana is a secular States. Freedom of religion is permitted and enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana

Independence
March 6, 1957

Currency Exchange
The Ghanaian Cedi is pegged to the US Dollar. The exchange rate system has been liberalised and foreign currency is freely available through authorised dealers including banks and forex bureaux.

Exchange Rate:
• 1 Dollar: 4.8 cedi
• 1 Euro: 5.59 cedi
• 1 pound: 6.27 cedi

Credit Cards
Credit Cards are accepted by leading hotels, restaurants, banks and businesses. The most widely accepted credit cards are International Visa, American Express and MasterCard

Travellers’ Cheques
All banks and forex bureau accept Travellers’ Cheques.

Climate
Ghana has a tropical climate, characterized most of the year by moderate temperatures (generally 21-32°C (70-90°F), constant breezes and sunshine. There are 2 rainy seasons, from March to July and from September to October, separated by a short dry season in August and a relatively long dry season in the south from mid-October to March. Annual rainfall in the south averages 2,030mm but varies greatly throughout the country with the heaviest rainfall in the Western Region and the lowest in the northern Regions.

Required Clothing: Tropical lightweight clothing and Sunglasses can be useful.

Electricity
Electricity in Ghana is 220-240 volts AC, 50Hz; usually 3-pin plugs. Single phase, 3-pin plugs are used in larger buildings. Older buildings have 2-pin plugs.

Health: Vaccination against yellow fever is compulsory for Ghana

Communication
Telephone: IDD service is available in most all parts of the country

Dialing Code: 233 
Outgoing International Code: 00233 - International calls can be made by buying a phone card or using a communication center which has an international direct dialling service.

Mobile Phones: Mobile phones are widely used. You can buy your own handset or get if from authorised dealers like Glo, Vodafone, Mtn, Airtel, Tigo and espresso.

Fax: There is a 24-hour fax service throughout the country.

Telegram: Services are available from Post Offices throughout the country.

Internet: Internet Providers and Internet Cafes are available throughout the country.

Post: Airmail letters, EMS, DHL, UPS and FedEx other expedited mail services are available.

Press: Daily/Weekly newspapers are in English and include The Ghanaian Times, Daily Graphic, Business Weekly, The Mirror, Weekly Spectator, The Pioneer, Chronicle, BF&T, The Democrat, Free Press, just to name a few.

Natural Resource Base: Ghana is largely known for its high production of Gold in the world market. Other minerals are diamond, bauxite, silver manganese among others. It is amongst the world’s leading producer of Cocoa and many other industrial agricultural produce.

Society & Customs
Most Ghanaian families are very traditional by western standards. The family is very important here, and children are often highly protected by their parents and the extended family. Most families will be in bed by 10:00 pm and will be up at 5:30 am or earlier.
Greetings are taken very seriously, when entering an office; for example, you may be considered rude if you don't say hello and shake hands with everyone who is present. When approaching a person on the street, perhaps to ask the time or directions, you should begin with a polite 'good morning, how are you?” Simply walking up to someone and saying "excuse me, what is the time?" will be seen as rather blunt.


Program Fee


Volunteer/interns pay the following amounts for one month stay on project, which covers Airport Transfers (pick up and drop off), Program Orientation, accommodation, Personal accident insurance and Administrative Cost and Food.

Payment is made upon arrival in the country in the following currencies.
$ 700 Dollars
£ 532 Pounds
€ 596 Euros

NB: Volunteer/interns staying for a week or two should email us for prices on weekly stay.

Volunteers/interns staying more than 3 months will also be given discount on program fee.

What program Fee does not include
Flight, Airport Taxes, Visa, Immunizations, Personal expenses, Soft drinks, Mineral Water, Passport, Travel Insurance, Entrance fees and in-country travel expenses including any excursions the volunteer/intern wishes to take whiles volunteering. 

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