Basic School English Literacy and Youth Development Volunteer

Project Description

Akwaaba! (Welcome!) Volunteers in Ghana will serve in a stable democracy with a rich history and hospitable and diverse cultures. Ghana recognizes over 70 languages and tribes throughout the sixteen regions, all of whom co-exist harmoniously. Welcoming visitors is a point of cultural identity; Hosting visitors is the ultimate expression of Ghanaian culture. Acknowledging the presence of another human being by greeting them honors their existence. In the local communities, visitors will be welcomed into families and quickly be made to feel at home. Ghana is Peace Corps’ oldest post, hosting volunteers since the Agency’s first cohort departed in 1961.

Peace Corps Ghana has been working in partnership with the Ghana Education Service (GES) to strengthen the 4Rs of the national curriculum: Reading, wRiting, aRithmatic and cReativity. Volunteers work as direct classroom teachers and teacher resources, teaching Science, Technology, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) in mainstream pre-tertiary basic schools in rural Ghana and in schools for the Deaf. Additionally, because English language is not a home language for rural households in Ghana, many children lag their expected levels of literacy. Consequently, most are unable to read grade level content. Peace Corps Ghana’s Integrated Literacy and Youth Development (LIT Youth) Volunteers intervene by providing foundational literacy, and essential lifelong skills. LIT Youth Volunteers focus on learners in pre-tertiary mainstream basic schools and schools for the Deaf from grades 3-9. These grade levels are critical levels in the children’s academic careers, where there is higher potential of bridging the foundational literacy and gaps and imparting lifelong skills.

Using learner-centered methods that make content comprehensible for learners, Volunteers work with their counterparts to promote critical thinking. Volunteers working with their counterparts, also engage community leaders including Chiefs, Opinion Leaders, Parents Associations (PAs), School Management Committees (SMCs), school administrators and School Improvement Support Officers (SISOs) on ways to increase students’ access to learning and to strengthen accountability in the Ghanaian pre-tertiary education system. They also model gender-equitable practices and advocate for girls’ achievement. Volunteers are positioned to engage local role models, integrate classroom learning into experiential community-based learning activities, and identify local partners to enhance clubs and camps and extracurricular activities designed to fight climate change and impart lifelong skills in the youth such as digital computer literacy skills and sports.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

• Teaching and/or tutoring experience in English or a foreign language
• Interest/experience in working with young children in both formal and informal educational settings
• Classroom teaching experience at the Early Childhood, Middle School, or Elementary level.
• Primary teacher training

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

Although English is one of the national languages, Ghana is a country with a plethora of local languages. Volunteers will learn Twi, Dagbani, Ewe or Ghanaian Sign Language during PST based on the local language of the region where they will be serving and will continue to build on their language skills at site. Volunteers need local language skills to live and work in rural communities. Speaking a local language is a sign of respect and is essential to integration, safety, and security. Acquiring a local language will endear the Volunteer to community members as well as other host country nationals. While English may be sufficient in professional settings, many community members may be more comfortable in their local language. Developing a deep understanding and proficiency in local language will make it easier for a volunteer to navigate and work in the local culture and community. More than a third of volunteers end up acquiring a second local language when living at their site.
At the Junior High School level, courses are taught in the English language, however, student proficiency in English will vary.

Living Conditions

Volunteers (PCVs) live in rural communities and are expected to live at the same socio-economic level as the people with whom they serve. PCV sites vary widely due to factors including geography, amenities available at each site (electricity, water), distances to travel, proximity of other PCVs, and remoteness. Some PCVs live in self-contained concrete houses while others have one or two rooms inside a family compound or nurses’ or teachers’ quarters.
Peace Corps requires the community to contribute housing that meets the minimum standard of at least one room with a porch/sitting area. Housing will be ventilated with a roof, solid floor, walls, secure doors and windows, and access to year-round water supply (boreholes and wells). Some PCVs have private latrines and bathing facilities (bucket bath). Others share latrines and bathing facilities with not more than 6 people in the household. Volunteers are issued a cook stove. Peace Corps and communities will ensure that you have a safe cooking environment and equipment.

Pre-Service Training (PST) PST ensures Volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for a successful service. PST will be community-based. Each volunteer will live with a host family in a training village. Volunteers will receive training in their technical area, language, personal health, and safety and security, as well as a practicum within their training village. Outside of formal training there will be opportunities for PCVs to interact with community members to provide an immersive approach to understanding Ghanaian culture.

Climate: The climate of Ghana is tropical. The dry season is November through April, and the rainy season is May through August. It is hot and comparatively dry along the southeast coast, hot and humid in the southwest, and dry in the north. During the dry season, the Harmattan winds are most extreme in the five northern regions with days of continual cool air, haze, and fine dust.

Communication: Communication systems have been improving, however, the level of reception, clarity, and speed of internet (where available) varies greatly. Peace Corps will provide each PCV with a cell phone. Cell phone coverage is inconsistent in rural areas so PCVs may need to walk to find a place near their home or work with a good connection to make calls and send texts. Peace Corps also provides an allowance which can be used to buy data for phones.

Transportation: Transportation to and from your community is primarily via public vehicles, which, depending on the remoteness of the site, can have irregular schedules and may or may not be well maintained. Travel often requires long hours on rough roads in buses and minivans. PCVs generally walk or bike around their community. Peace Corps does not provide bikes; however, volunteers will receive a move-in allowance which can be used to purchase a bike. Volunteers are not permitted to drive or ride on motorbikes.

Dress: Ghanaians are meticulous about their dress and personal hygiene in the workplace. Cleanliness is a sign of respect. PCVs are expected to dress and behave accordingly. During PST, the dress code is business casual. Following PST, PCVs need to dress appropriately for work situations in the community. Dressing appropriately will help you gain respect in your community, facilitate integration, and increase your credibility and effectiveness. Take cues from your Ghanaian colleagues, and dress to their standards of professionalism.

PCVs with visible body piercings or tattoos may need strategies to conceal them. Staff may ask you to be flexible regarding personal appearance to facilitate integration in training & during your service. Being flexible includes covering up tattoos and body piercings that are not culturally acceptable. Female volunteers should not wear dangling earrings. Male volunteers should not wear earrings. If a male volunteer has long hair, it should be tied up and neat in professional settings.

Serving in Ghana

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ghana: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Peace Corps Ghana welcomes couples serving in a combination of programs. Your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following programs:

Basic School English Literacy and Youth Development
Junior High School Math/Science Teacher

Couples live with the same homestay family during Pre-Service Training and live in the same accommodation during their 2-year service at site and will teach in the same community, but not necessarily at the same school, depending on the community’s size.
The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit:

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.

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