Ghana is often described as a great place to "get your feet wet" in Africa for the first time. Ghanaians are famed for their boundless hospitality, and many visitors are astounded by the warmth of the welcome they receive. Life in Ghana is out in the open, and much of daily life includes authentic interaction with neighbors. A visit to a Ghanaian village is a return to social simplicity, a true experience of living community.
In this rapidly developing country, modern culture and traditional values continue to pull against each other in an odd dichotomy. Even as Ghanaians embrace new technologies and attitudes, they are in some ways deeply rooted in the past. In some ways, this is an advantage. Many would argue that Ghanaian democracy is a success in large part due to democratic values that have existed for centuries in the culture. Traditional Ghanaian values offer resounding wisdom as the pace and intensity of life gets faster. Ghana is a perfect classroom for studying complex development issues surrounding identity, modernization, privilege, cultural imperialism, traditional beliefs, sustainability, and community.
Although Ghana is developing rapidly, population growth still far exceeds the rate of development and the availability of social services throughout the country. In particular, the availability of affordable and quality education in Ghana is lacking many areas. School fees are expensive, qualified teachers are rare, and there is limited opportunity for the youth of the country because of the growing economic divide.
Health & Safety
Since 1957, when it became the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence, Ghana has been considered one of the most economically and politically stable countries in Africa. Fair and democratic elections make Ghana a paragon of democracy for other countries in West Africa. Ghana is welcoming to tourists and often frequented by Americans and other foreign travelers. It is important to receive proper vaccinations and use other preventative efforts in order to promote health and prevent illness. Petty theft can be a common occurrence, especially in cities. Please consult the US Department of State’s travel website for more information on health and safety in Ghana.
For practical travel information regarding currency exchange, visas, and other travel logistics, we recommend the Lonely Planet travel page on Ghana.
Food & Water-related Illness
We advise program participants to be diligent about hand washing and to develop other habits that promote health and prevent illness (taking vitamins, eating a balanced diet, not putting unclean hands in your mouth, etc.). Despite precautions, some people experience varying degrees of digestive problems. Filtered drinking water will be available to all students.
Malaria is a common occurrence in Ghana and many people experience the illness as Americans might experience a cold or the flu. Symptoms and effects can be mild to severe. The Keno Project requires all participants to take some type of malaria prophylaxis. Mosquito bed-nets will be provided. It is advisable to bring mosquito repellant for evenings when you may be outdoors.
Vaccination is required to enter Ghana. When vaccinated, you will receive a card, indicating your date of vaccination. Please carry this with your passport.