In my latest link up with international organisations that offer sabbatical programs, I pick up with Benjamin and Gifty from Grow Ghana.
Grow Ghana offer sabbatical opportunities from six weeks and up for a cost of 220EUR a week.
Their aim is to support the young people of Ghana to grow their digital capabilities, providing a learning environment with the equipment and skills that are not always offered in the education system.
You don’t need to be a tech-guru to take part, this will all be included in the
- The Talent-Tech-NGO Grow Ghana: Background
- Taking a Sabbatical with Grow Ghana
- A Last Thought
The Talent-Tech-NGO Grow Ghana: Background
Our story started five years ago. We travelled for a consulting project to Ghana and fell in love with the warm culture of the country, the rich and exotic nature and the progressive attitude of the young generation. There is a vibe of change and progress in Ghana, loud and strong, at every corner. The country wants to continue its growth. The typical challenges and the chaos of a developing country are also evident, but the overall outlook is positive. Don’t you worry & work hard – that’s the new mindset. We feel that this entrepreneurial attitude is the right approach to transform Africa beyond aid, brain drain and dependency. And maybe the digitalization is the last chance for Africa to catch up.
We wanted to contribute to this by giving young tech talents a place to work in Ghana. Thus, we decided to leave our jobs in Germany to build a German-Ghanaian ecosystem, based on the principle of social entrepreneurship. We founded local start-ups in tech and graphic design to serve German clients with young talents from Ghana.
As the companies grew, we realized that training on the job is just a start, but it needs more for a true and significant change. Consequently, we started the Grow Ghana initiative to train young talents at school in digital and soft skills as early as possible.
Our NGO is determined to train, develop and mentor young students to grow their hidden and untapped potentials for their future careers.
The initiative also seeks to bridge the cultural gap between Europe and Africa by bringing international volunteers to Ghana. The volunteers work hand in hand with a dedicated local team in Ghana and contribute their various backgrounds to the team.
Taking a S
abbatical with Grow Ghana
Joining Grow Ghana for a sabbatical could be just the right thing to do if you are tired by your current job, searching for orientation, inspiration or purpose. Some volunteers describe their stay with us as a mind-blowing experience and a game-changer.
The cultural exposure you will experience may give you a totally new perspective on how to view things or situations in your journey
You will gain deeper insights into a typical African school system and its challenges, the Ghanaian culture, and also entrepreneurship in Africa. You will experience how students and people in Africa behave and think about the world around them, and why they do so. Being part of the Grow Ghana family would be an electrifying adventure for you and can even serve as an escape gate way to inner discoveries.
How long can you be involved for?
Most volunteers stay two months or longer. The minimum stay is six weeks, as the cultural orientation and adaption will take some time. Experienced volunteers who worked for other NGOs before and have experience in Africa, also a short-term stay may be applicable.
Where do volunteers stay?
Our volunteers stay in an African lodge, right on the beach. You can drink a fresh coconut in the morning under the shade of a wonderful palm tree while watching the waves of the ocean, listening to the birds and observing the lizards enjoying the sunshine.
The lodge serves as a learning centre and think tank for sustainable design and entrepreneurship and attracts guests and volunteers around the globe.
It’s a truly great place to unwind, think, relax and get inspired.
How much does it cost?
To cover our costs, we kindly ask the volunteers to contribute 220EUR per week they stay. As we are a registered NGO and Non-Profit-Organization, the costs can be claimed for tax benefits, depending on their country.
What skills do you need to sign up?
The volunteers should have an interest in Africa, must be culturally sensitive and adaptable. They should enjoy working with young people as most of our students are aged 12 to 16 years. Knowledge in IT or coding may help but is not required, the local team will bring you quickly up to speed. Fluent English is important.
What difference do you make to the local community?
In Ghana, there is a huge gap between education on one side and the required skills of the job market on the other.
The local schools are poorly equipped, and the teaching is heavily centred on theory and hierarchy.
For some of our students, it the first time they touched a computer was when they joined our program! They knew Google from a
Here are a few of our teaching principles:
- We encourage them to discuss with us rather than repeating given answers.
- We want them to try, learn, explore and critically think.
- We teach in small groups and focus also on soft skills. Our goal is to empower them and groom their self-esteem.
One important aspect of our work is the experimental coding. For this, we use the well-known learning computer Raspberry Pi. With practical coding challenges, the students practice critical thinking, team work and digital skills at once.
There is a saying that “a million-mile journey begins with a single step of movement“.
People who join the Grow Ghana program take one of these steps to enable a greater change in the future.
What age range of people can apply?
Our youngest volunteers are 18 years – they come to us right after school for a Gap year.
Most volunteers are young professionals in their 20s or early 30s, completing a sabbatical. Our oldest volunteers are in their mid-50s joining us after their professional careers.
We are proud of having such a diverse team of volunteers and feel it adds to the experience.
How do you sign up?
Our process is simple, just send us a short mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we still have a place for you at your desired time, we would arrange a phone call with the local team to get to know each other and answer all your questions.
A Last Thought
Education is key to development. Knowledge not shared fades away, but shared knowledge and experienced live on in the heart of the people. The team from Grow Ghana and our students embrace every individual who is willing to impact, contribute and explore the African continent.
Useful Tools for Booking Your Sabbatical
I always use Skyscanner or Agoda alongside Google Flights to make sure I’ve got the best price. I use Google Flights to save a route and monitor price changes and a combination of Skyscanner and Agoda to get the cheapest tickets.
If you are in the UK I would also highly recommend signing up for Jack’s Flight Club to get incredible flight deals sent to your email inbox every week.
When booking accommodation I always start with Booking.com as they generally have the best range and prices. I also regularly use Airbnb for longer stays and apartments in cities (use this link for £25 off your first stay). For a different experience try signing up to Housecarers for free house-sitting opportunities (get 10% off membership with this link).
Travel insurance might seem like an unnecessary cost, but when a flight gets cancelled, injury occurs or you damage a piece of gear you’ll regret not paying in advance. I’ve used World Nomads for two sabbaticals and (after badly damaging a hire car in Laos!) found the claim process to be simple and transparent.
Getting from the airport to your destinations is an added stress after a tiring flight, so take the guesswork out and pre-book with JayRide.com. Their prices often beat the local taxis and I've found them to be reliable and easy to use.