Human Rights Volunteering in Ghana
- POSITION: Lawyer
- PLACEMENT LOCATION: Accra
- REQUIREMENTS: Degree in Law
- ACCOMMODATION: Host family
- LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 2 weeks
- START DATES: Flexible
This volunteer human rights project for skilled professionals helps provide legal advice and defends the human rights of people and communities in Ghana.
Ghana is a constitutional democracy with a 230-seat parliament and population of over 23 million. In the 2008 election, the country made its second successful peaceful transition of power between political parties. Domestic and international observers determined that the election was generally free and fair. However, human rights violations are still widespread in Ghana. Lawyers and activists are investigating cases ranging from child trafficking to the treatment of illegal immigrants.
The Projects Abroad Human Rights Office (PAHO) is based in the capital, Accra, and helps to examine these types of human rights abuses.
Here you will find answers to the following questions:
How can I help?
As a volunteer lawyer you can use your knowledge and training to help local staff. You may work on tasks such as:
- Dealing with intakes and processing applicants to legal aid schemes.
- Mediating client disputes on issues such as debts and family disputes.
- Drafting legal documents such as child maintenance orders and letters to the police.
- Delivering presentations or statements at conferences or seminars representing the position of the Human Rights Office.
- Traveling to rural areas to raise civil rights awareness, especially among and women and children.
- Providing free legal advice to our growing number of clients
The human rights office is split into 3 departments – Social Justice, Research, and Legal Services. It is the latter where we feel your skills can be utilized. As a PRO volunteer, you will work along-side PAHO’s in-house lawyer assisting with the legal branch of the office. Tasks may include heading casework from our free legal services or conducting legal research. There is also scope to engage in the extensive community based work we do, involving workshops, outreach programs and presentations on human rights issues.
Volunteers on this project work 8 hours per day, Monday to Friday. Your placement will either be at the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office (PAHO) or be delegated to a partner organization called Legal Aid Board. At the Legal Aid Board you will work alongside qualified lawyers, interviewing clients, providing legal advice and preparing court documents such as divorce petitions and child custody orders.
This project runs all year round so you can join at any time. You decide how much time you can spare and we will help you get the most out of it.
As a professional volunteer you will also work alongside Projects Abroad volunteers who are not qualified - work at the office is distributed based on experience.
You can request a copy of our most recent human rights report by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This will highlight the range of projects we are currently working on.
What will I gain from this project?
Volunteer lawyers on a career break will work with experienced Ghanaian human rights activists and lawyers. You will be able to share ideas with them and learn from the problems they face in the developing world. You will also improve your skills by working in a challenging legal environment.
It is important to note there are many cultural differences in Ghana compared to your home country. In certain circumstances it may not be possible to directly transfer your professional skills in the same manner as home. For example, cases may move slower and progress more difficult than you are used to. Aspects such as language, local procedures and traditions all have to be taken into consideration as part of your challenge.
What will Projects Abroad provide?
We have over 20 years’ experience of running volunteer projects. We provide you with the following support to make sure your time in Ghana is successful and enjoyable:
- Safe accommodation with a Ghanaian family close to your project.
- Friendly and dedicated local staff available to help 24 hours a day.
- A member of staff to meet you at the airport when you arrive.
- Medical and travel insurance.
What skills or qualifications do I need?
If you have completed a degree in Law then you are perfectly suited for this project. Please inform us of any additional qualifications or areas of expertise you may have.
If you are interested in this project but don’t have the relevant experience, then please read about our standard Law & Human Rights project in Ghana.