TO DO: What is the Internship About ?
Read more about interning at HRAC below – or, if you have already decided you’re coming, have a look HERE for more specifics.
What Can I Expect from an Internship at HRAC?
Expect to deal with lots of different tasks. You could find yourself working on cases, writing content for HRAC’s website, working on research projects or writing articles about current topics and human rights issues. If you have a case of your own (or two or more) you will interview clients, write letters and notifications concerning the cases or have appointments, for example at court. Staff in the office will help you see where your skills will best fit the tasks that are available. Don’t feel overwhelmed, everyone is always willing to help and give advice. If you have certain preferences on the tasks you want to do, feel free to share, as HRAC is always willing to accommodate people’s special passions and interests.
What can this Internship offer me?
You are able to get involved in current legal issues, both through dealing directly with clients and researching broader cases. You will learn how to deal with clients and get an insight into everyday life in a legal office. While researching and writing articles you can improve your (legal) language skills or learn about human rights, the history of human rights in Ghana, the current human rights climate, or specific issues like remand prisoners or HIV/AIDS. Throughout this practical experience, you will get to know many interesting people – from clients to staff and other interns. As an intern you are never alone, the big table corner marking the “intern place” in the office is almost always crowded. Make friends or travel companions and enjoy your stay in Ghana. It will be a unique experience.
Who can Apply for an Internship?
Anyone who is interested in legal work concerning human rights should consider an internship at HRAC. We are looking for motivated people who can work both independently and as part of a team. It is often necessary to discuss your work with other colleagues or seek advice, so tasks should be carried out with an open-minded and forward approach. The internship at HRAC does not require applicants to be of a certain age, but does specify that they have a university degree such as an LLM or LLB or in a subject that is related to human rights or advocacy work. Such subjects include Human Rights, Law, International Relations, Public Relations, Communication Studies, Journalism, Development Studies, Social Science, Sociology, Social Studies etc. A Bachelors Degree in Arts is also an acceptable minimum qualification.
What are the deadlines for enrolling?
There are no deadlines. We accept interns all year round and do not have special preferences with regards to time or season. If there are intern places available, HRAC is happy to receive your application.
Do I get Paid to do an internship?
The internship at HRAC is considered to be voluntary work and is therefore unpaid. Interns at HRAC are given invaluable insight into human rights through interesting cases and by taking on a wide variety of tasks. The work will undoubtedly broaden your horizons and open you up to new points of view and passions. You should be willing to pay a non-refundable monthly fee of 100 USD ( Ghana Cedis Equivalent) on arrival to cover administrative expenditures of the office (not applicable to Ghanaian interns).
How Long is the internship?
There is no specific duration so this largely depends on personal preference. However, it is important that the length of your internship guarantees enough time to work on projects and take part in workshops. It is only possible to work on interesting tasks and cases if you know about certain work procedures, so plan some time to make yourself familiar to the everyday work in HRAC.
How do I apply?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com including the application form from the website, your CV and two writing samples on human rights related issues. Qualified applicants will be contacted within 7 days upon receipt of the application. It is probably best to apply a few months in advance to give yourself time to organise flights, visas, vaccinations, and to see if HRAC has space for you.
Are travel expenses to and from work reimbursed? How about on working programs?
HRAC will cover all expenses that are directly concerned with work. This does not include travelling to and from work, which is your responsibility. Depending on where you stay you can either walk to the office or take a taxi or a tro-tro. The last option is very cheap; one tro-tro drive will only cost you about 3 Ghana cedis.When you attend meetings or have appointments during work time, HRAC will reimburse you for either a taxi or tro-tro. Where possible a tro-tro should be used to reduce costs to the organisation. This could mean leaving some additional time to travel to such meetings. The staff can help you to work out the best mode of transport to your destination. Please confirm with the Accounts Officer before spending money which you would expect HRAC to reimburse for you.
Will I be able to travel on weekend?
Work days are only from Monday to Friday, which means you usually have the weekend to travel. From time to time there are workshops on Saturday, which should be attended if possible. Workshops can improve your skills, introduce you to new people and further integrate you into the HRAC team. If you wish to travel more than two days at the weekend, it is possible to ask for a day or two of vacation. If this is the case, management should be informed one to two weeks in advance. It should also be kept in mind that leave is always subject to approval by the Executive Director.
What is the Ghanaian Culture like?
The culture in Ghana is extremely warm and friendly, everyone is incredibly willing to help and welcome you to their country. It should be noted that in Ghana it is impolite to use the left hand, so you should use your right hand to eat with and to hand anything to others. There is a huge variety of languages and cultures within Ghana because it is split into 10 regions and over 216 districts. The main working language at the HRAC is English, but some of the main languages you will encounter in Ghana are Twi, Fanti, Ga, Ewe and Hausa.
The decision to live and work abroad can be a difficult one, especially when the decision is based off the advice and experiences of others. Therefore, your information source becomes very important. Here you find will information about what to expect while living and working in Ghana as, what the locals affectionately refer to as obroni, a foreigner.
THINGS TO KNOW
Ghanaian culture is filled with a proud and rich history. Ghanaians pride themselves in being the first [black] African country to gain independence in 1957 and is very safe and developed compared to others on the continent. While living here one important fact to note is, for many, the painful historical context. Much of the major Atlantic Slave Trade activity took place here in Ghana along the coast. Many do not speak about slavery and more importantly do not like to be asked about it.
It is rude not to accept a gift someone tries to give you. That being said, sometimes there is a fine line between a gift and someone trying to sell you something. If you are not sure, politely refuse, and do not hold or carry the item. And if they persist, as they usually do, tell them you do not have any money to spend.
All interactions with others should be done with your right hand. For example, when you first meet someone never extend your left hand to them. It is very disrespectful to exchange money, wave, or accept something with your left hand, so keep this in mind!
As a sign of respect, certain prefixes like “Mama” or “Auntie” are used when speaking to older women or authority figures. “Please” is mostly used to begin a sentence when talking to an elderly person.
Religion plays an incredibly important role in the lives of Ghanaians. An overwhelming 69% of citizens identify as Christian (24% Pentecostal/ Charismatic, 19% Protestant, 15% Catholic, and 11% other). You can attend lively church services of any sect practically every day of the week. While most Ghanaians are Christian, a significant part of the population (16%) is Muslim.
Although English is the lingua franca in Ghana, it is often very hard to communicate with Ghanaians in the English. Most speak with a distinct Ghanaian accent, and many speak pidgin English, a simplified version of English with different grammatical structures and one or more of the local languages blended in. There are many indigenous languages in Ghana, including Twi, Ga, and Ewe. Twi is the most common language
THINGS TO EXPECT
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Ghana is very affordable in comparison to many other developed countries around the world.
Like as the cost of living, eating out is relatively inexpensive and reasonable. Local dishes are readily available on every corner and under many mango trees. Some local dishes include the ever famous fufu (plaintains and cassava mashed), banku, kelewele, jolloff rice, red-red and many others. Continental dishes however, can be rather expensive depending on where you go. Sometimes when you sit down in a restaurant, menu in hand, when you make your choice you will be told that the item is not available. When this happens it can be very frustrating. However, keep in mind that most of the food in Ghana is made to order and they have limited supply of things that are not locally grown and produced. One special treat in Ghana is the white pineapple. So do well to try!
Getting around in Ghana, especially the capital Accra can be difficult at first. This is mainly because the locals often use landmarks rather than street names to get around. Therefore, when you first start taking taxi’s and trotros (don’t worry we will get there), it can be hard. Some care must be taken in telling the drivers where you want to go because many have difficulty understanding foreign accents. There are two major forms of transportation in Ghana, taxis and trotros. Taxis operate much like any other taxis except the prices can be negotiated. One rule of thumb when bargaining with a driver is whatever price is first given cut it in half and proceed from there. There are two types of taxis, charted and shared. Charted taxis are ones that are reserved just for you after you stop it and when you sit. One important thing to know is you must decide on the price before you take off or the taxi driver can charge whatever ones you reach your destination. Shared taxis usually have four passengers. They have designated spot where they pick you up and drop you off. The prices for shared taxis vary depending on your destination. Trotros are vans that carry 12-20 passengers and make several stops along the way. They are extremely inexpensive and very accessible.
The nightlife in Ghana is diverse. There are many options. With night clubs, pubs/bars, or plots of land with locals playing music and dancing under the night sky, there are many ways to have fun. Going out also is a great way to meet other foreigners in the area. In Ghana people often go out on Friday nights more frequently than any other night on the weekend. However, rest assured there are always people going out looking to have fun!
Many people in Ghana have their clothes made. So while here buy some fabric and design something great
Thanks for your interest in interning/volunteering at HRAC!
Please fill in the following FORM, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to attach your resume (CV), a cover letter explaining why you are interested in working at HRAC and two writing samples on human rights related issues. Qualified applicants will be contacted within 7 days upon receipt of the application. It is probably best to apply a few months in advance to give yourself time to organise flights, visas, vaccinations and to see if HRAC has space for you.
So, you’ve applied – and HRAC has accepted. You are almost on your way, but you have a few more questions. Have a look below, and if you still have more questions, get in touch with us at email@example.com
What do I have to bring?
The office has air conditioning, desks and chairs, a small kitchen and fridge – but it is important that you bring your own laptop. Internet access is provided. It would also be useful to bring a USB.
Not just for the office, but for your social life as well – it is advisable to bring (or buy on arrival) a cheap phone. That way, you are always able to stay in contact with the office when you are attending events or programs or researching, and clients are always able to stay in touch with you. Costs may be refunded in certain cases if requested.
What are the usual working times?
Working days start at 8am and close around 4pm. In the morning you should be on time, so leave time for some delays when you come by tro-tro or taxi. It is always better to be too early than too late. Log-in and out times are to be noted in a book at the reception.
How about Lunch?
Lunch is from 12 to 12.45pm. Bring food from home or some money to get something to eat at one of the various chop-bars or food outlets around. Costs are generally not higher than 7 to 15 GHC. Lunchtime is the time to come together, chat and take a physical and mental break from work. You can free your mind while sitting and eating on the balcony, watching everyday life on Osu’s streets. From time to time some vendors appear at the office, selling local fruit like coconuts, pineapples, mango or papaya . Feel free to accept the offer and buy some for lunchtime, for after work or for in between. Drinking water and general kitchen utensils are provided.
What Should I wear?
Office attire is generally formal. Women will commonly wear a suit skirt/trousers and a formal shirt, or a formal dress. Men usually wear suit pants and a shirt, but ties are optional. A matching suit jacket or blazer should be brought for any court appointments.
On Fridays workers are able to mix it up by wearing more casual clothing or traditional Ghanian dress.
Where do I live?
You will need to organise your own accommodation during your stay in Accra (unless this is organised via your program). There are many local guesthouses, which are a popular option:
Share House in Osu, Ako-Adjei
You could think about renting accommodation for the duration of your stay in Accra. This share house comes highly recommended and is often used by our interns, about 300 meters to the office.
Contact: 0266145341, (+233) 266 145 341
For phone numbers add +233 and omit the first zero if calling from outside Ghana.
Shared House in Polyclinic La
You could think about renting accommodation for the duration of your stay in Accra. This share house comes highly recommended and is often used by our interns, about 1 kilometers to the office.
Contact: 0277 806 210, (+233) 277 806 210
For phone numbers add +233 and omit the first zero if calling from outside Ghana.
Share House in OSU, Kuku Hill
Alternatively, you could think about renting accommodation for the duration of your stay in Accra. This share house comes highly recommended and is often used by our interns:
There are eight rooms available in this house, each fully serviced, includes: air-conditioning, flushing toilet, (hot) shower, Internet, as well as, weekly cleaning and laundry services. The area is very safe, and in close vicinity of the HRAC office. It takes 5-10 minutes by taxi at a cost of 2-3 GHC, or alternatively is a 30-minute walk to the office. The average for a room (although may vary depending on the size of the specific room) is: 550 USD per month for a single person, and 600 USD per month for a couple.
Landlord: Esi – Mobile Number: 0243262810
It should be noted that prices can change fast in Ghana, especially in Accra. Therefore, all these prices should be checked in advance, as you might have to pay more than what is stated above. Also, when it comes to ‘luxuries’ such as running water, electricity, the Internet etc., be aware that these can and will break down once in a while.
How can I extend my visa?
If you have entered Ghana on a two month tourist visa and will be placed at HRAC for longer that this, it is necessary to apply for an extension visa from the immigration department. The process takes a minimum of 15 days but can be done in 10 days , so please plan to apply well in advance to your visa’s expiration date. For the application, you will need two passport size photographs, as well as a supporting letter from the HRAC. A completed visa extension form should accompany these, which is only available in hard copy from the Ghana Immigration Service. Your passport will be taken by the department during the 15 days required to process the application and you will be issued with a passport collection docket. It is therefore important to apply for the extension when you are not planning on traveling anywhere outside Ghana, such as Togo. The cost to extend your visa is GHC 50/ GHC 30 /GHC 20 per month, and the money will need to be taken in cash and paid to the bank teller at the department.
Do I have to register with my local high commission or embassy? If so, how?
Most countries who have embassies or high commissions in Ghana keep a database of their nationals who are living, working and traveling in Ghana.
Volunteers from the UK can register on their LOCATE system: https:www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-high-commission-accra#our-services
Australian volunteers can register online via the website: https://au.tlscontact.com/
Dutch volunteers should use this URL to find the most up to date embassy website: http://www.ambaccra.nl
US volunteers should use the website :http://ghana.usembassy.gov
A general list of embassies in Ghana can be found at:
Please contact your country’s Embassy in Ghana to confirm how to register your travels with them. It is not a necessary requirement to travel into the country but is highly recommended. You may also find that they have events on that you wish to attend.