VPWA runs a small grassroots microfinance programme in the GA West Municipal area of Ghana. This programme complements the work of other initiatives run by the government and other organisations which aim to reduce both urban and rural poverty. Volunteers will work in VPWA’s microfinance office alongside local staff to implement this programme.
The idea behind microfinance is quite simple. We provide loans or particular financial products to individuals who may not be able to access these from a traditional bank. These loans are repaid in full over an agreed time period. This simple process has several additional aspects in which self-motivated volunteers with the right skill set can be a great help.
Volunteers can assist the programme by reviewing loan application forms, completing the daily ledger, conducting exit interviews with those who have completed their repayments, updating the beneficiary profiles and visiting the beneficiaries to monitor their growth and receive repayments.
During a longer placement a volunteer is likely to be involved in more in-depth analysis, for example conducting long-term financial projections, reviewing the programme’s policies and procedures, and helping to develop new microfinance products.
In any free time we’d also like to see microfinance volunteers complete some of the following tasks on our behalf:
- Conduct research and analyse the growth patterns of beneficiary businesses
- Provide business advice to beneficiaries through translation by the programme’s Ghanaian staff
- Discuss programme ideas and implementation with VPWA Director
- Write about the project and research case studies for publication in the media
- Research different funding and grant opportunities that the organisation could apply to in order to help the beneficiaries in different forms and not only in giving them loans
- Draft grant applications based on research and give these for review by VPWA Director before submitting
- Research potential strategic partners for the programme
If you think you have what it takes we would love to work with you
More About this Project
Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa (VPWA) operates a microfinance project in the GA West District of the Greater Accra Region in Ghana. This provides financial support to people who are unable to access mainstream banks. In particular, the VPWA microfinance project provides loans to low-income women in the district, allowing them to set up and to grow their small enterprises.
The project started in 2009 and to date more than 60 women have received microcredits. In addition to the provision of loans, VPWA supports the beneficiaries with essential business skills training, such as bookkeeping.
The aim of this project is to support the economic participation of women, promote gender equality and improve the welfare of the beneficiaries.
To grow the microfinance project VPWA would like to establish a network of donors, whether individuals, companies, donor agencies or trusts.
Why is this project important?
Ghana is burdened by extreme poverty and faces significant challenges as it tries to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 44.8% of the population of 22 million is living on less than one dollar a day, whilst 78.5% of the population lives off less than two dollars a day.
Microfinance is proven to be an effective and efficient means to combat poverty. However, in Ghana only about 300,000 people are currently benefiting from microcredit. Many more people could benefit from this help and therefore it is important to expand microfinance programs in the country.
How does the VPWA’s microfinance project work?
The VPWA’s microfinance project uses a Group Lending Methodology (GLM). This requires beneficiaries to form a ‘solidarity group’ with a maximum of four people. The group then joins other groups to form a centre (with a maximum of 5 groups). By doing this the group members guarantee each other’s loans (group guarantee scheme).
Volunteer credit officers provide all the beneficiaries with business skills training before they receive their first loan payment. The borrowers have to repay the loan within a four month period. Repayment begins on a weekly basis at our VPWA Microfinance Centre a fortnight after they have received the loan. The group are only able to receive new credit when all of the group has fully paid back their outstanding loans. The selection of beneficiaries who are eligible for microfinance credits is based on various economic and social criteria.
Volunteer Requirements for Microfinance
- At least 18 years or older
- Good spoken and written English
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Strong commitment to values and principles of volunteerism
- Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment
- Ability to adjust to difficult living and working conditions
- Strong support and advocate for NGOs
- Should be able to work independently and in teams
- Ability to respect and abide by the rules of the placement activity
|Project Duration||No duration limit|
|Dates||Placements available year round|
|Cost of Living||Refer to Living Conditions and Cost section Visit www.xe.com for the current exchange rate in your local currency|
|Deposit||Registration Fee of of 150 Euros required to secure placement Total Payment required 90 days before arrival|
|Location||Greater Accra and Eastern Region of Ghana|
|Nearest Airport||Accra Airport (ACC) – (also known as Kotoka International Airport)|
What’s Included in the Project Fees
Registration Fee (Non Refundable if you choose not to go)
- Application Review and processing
- Administration costs
- Visa Support letter
- 24/7 emergency support from VPWA
- Program marketing costs
- Pre-departure information
- Travel costs to VPWA programs
- VPWA Education & Health Fund and communication costs with volunteers
- Airport pick up
- Accommodation and evening meals during volunteer placement period
- In-country 24/7 volunteer support
- In-country administration costs
What’s Not Included
- Airfare to Ghana
- Visa Fees
- Vaccinations and immunizations (please speak to your local GP)
- Personal insurance (required)
- Personal spending
- In-country travel
Volunteers working on VPWA projects live in Greater Accra and Eastern Region. Please confirm your project location with our coordinator. Volunteers live in shared rooms with bunk beds. Couples are advised to inform us if they wish to share a room in advance. The rooms have comfortable beds with pillows and covers, so there is no need to bring sleeping bags. The volunteer apartment has a kitchen with fridge, as well as toilet and shower facilities.
Additional Services Based on Availability
- Basic TWI language orientation (Special Fees apply)
- Mobile phone SIM card number on arrival, so that you can inform family and friends of your number in Ghana
- Certificate of Recognition given to hardworking volunteers, as well as the opportunity to serve as VPWA ambassador in your city, college or community. You need to write a volunteer report covering the period of placement to qualify for the certificate which has the endorsed logo of the United Nations Global Compact.
Health and Safety
Ghana is one of the safest countries in Africa. In the Global Peace Index it is ranked above both the United Kingdom and the United States of America. It provides a perfect introduction for first time volunteers to Africa. It has a democratic electoral process and a stable economy. Our team will ensure your health and safety at all times and you will have emergency support 24/7.
Volunteers must arrange their own flights to Accra Airport (ACC). Please be aware that you should communicate your arrival date and time to Volunteer Coordinator. The following airlines fly into Accra:
- Alitalia (Lagos, Rome-Fiumicino)
- British Airways (London-Heathrow)
- Delta Air Lines (New York-JFK)
- EgyptAir (Cairo)
- Emirates (Abidjan, Dubai)
- Ethiopian Airlines (Abidjan, Addis Ababa, Lagos, Lome)
- Ghana International Airlines (London-Gatwick, Dusseldorf)
- Kenya Airways (Nairobi, Freetown, Monrovia)
- KLM (Amsterdam)
- Lufthansa (Frankfurt, Lagos)
- South African Airways (Johannesburg)
You must obtain a volunteer visa for travel to Ghana. Once you have secured your place on the project and made a deposit we will send you a letter confirming your placement for use in your Visa application.