General Information

Ghana

Situated on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea in western Africa, Ghana is bordered to the northwest and north by Burkina Faso, to the east by Togo, to the south by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the west by Cote d’Ivoire. Ghana is one of the leading countries of Africa, partly because of its considerable natural wealth and partly because it was the first black African country south of the Sahara to achieve independence from colonial rule. In addition to being known for its lush forests, diverse animal life, and miles of sandy beaches along a picturesque coast, Ghana is also celebrated for its rich history—its habitation possibly dating from 10,000 BCE—and as a fascinating repository of cultural heritage. The country takes its name from the great medieval trading empire that was located northwest of the modern-day state until its demise in the 13th century. Direct sea trade with Europe, established in the 15th century, had much impact on the area’s inhabitants, many of whom actively traded with the Portuguese, Dutch, British, and other Europeans. Forts and castles, many of which still dot the Ghanaian coast today, were constructed by Europeans to protect their trade interests. Although trading was originally centred on the gold that was readily available in the area (and from which the future British colony the Gold Coast would take its name), the focus shifted to the lucrative slave trade in the 17th century. The area later became known for growing cacao, the source of cocoa beans. Introduced there in the late 19th century, cacao continues to provide an important export for Ghana.

The climate in Ghana is tropical and there are only two seasons. The dry season lasts from November to March whereas the rainy season starts in March and ends mid-November. The temperature range is in the day is between 30 and 35 degrees.

Busua

Busua is a small fishing community with just a little over 2000 people and is in the Ahanta West Municipal of the Western Region of Ghana. It also has the seat of the Paramountcy of the People and is also the Home of Ahantahene (King Of Ahanta) and shares borders with Dixcove on the west and Butre on the east side.

Despite being a popular tourist destination for many years the community of Busua still has many needs. Surf & Impact offers a responsible way for the community to begin seeing some of the benefits from travellers. Not only will your time and energy go back into benefiting the community, but your project fee will also assist us in further developing our volunteer projects. Additionally, Busua is a perfect place for surfing. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced surfer there is something for everyone. The main surfing spots are at Busua Beach, on Black Mamba’s or one of the other local point breaks in the nearby villages. There are also lots of different bars and restaurants where you can try local food and enjoy international dishes. To feel at home is very easy in Busua: You will no doubt find the people friendly and open to volunteers. It is not uncommon for volunteers to make lifelong friends after only a few weeks stay!

Black Star Development

Black Star Development developed the Surf & Impact surf volunteer program in 2011 to help the new surf tourists to the town to benefit the local community.

Black Star Development aims to design, organize and implement specialized development projects in small communities in Ghana.

The range and scope of our projects are broad and evolving, but the goal is to help different Ghanaian communities develop sustainably while elevating the standard of living and quality of life. The Organization is currently focused on ecotourism, but in the future the Organization will undertake other development projects, including education, health, sanitation and environmental projects. Through partnerships, project coordinators, interns and volunteers, the Organization works with the local communities to address their needs in a responsible way.

Surf & Impact is an organization that values the active participation of volunteers because it enriches and enhances our projects and activities.

Surf & Impact works in close collaboration with the local community and our volunteers are immersed in all aspects of their assigned project; from planning to practice. We are committed to having volunteers contributing their ideas and skills in different areas of our operations and expect in return that volunteers take their assignments seriously and act with respect for community members and local knowledge.

Through dividing the time between surfing and volunteering, Surf & Impact provides a great way of enjoying yourself while making a positive contribution to your host community.

Our volunteers stay in either in the Volunteer House or in homestays where they are introduced to the unique Ghanaian hospitality and rich culture. The host families and the community work, give the volunteers an opportunity to get immersed in a new culture and a different way of life; an experience that can promote mutual learning, personal growth, and a changed view of our own place in the world.

Our goal is that volunteers can leave us knowing they made a positive contribution to the development of Busua community and see that the community acknowledges the hard work and dedication of each volunteer.

Staff

Manager – Ebenezer Felix Bentum

Ebenezer Felix Bentum is the Manager for Surf & Impact Volunteer Program. He is born and raised in Busua and is the first born in a big family of five children. Being a natural leader among his peers, he is well known throughout the community. He loves sports and has been serving as the Captain of “Busua Soccer Ambassadors” since March 2005, taking them to win the 3rd Division League in 2008. He is also a die hard Liverpool and Ghana Black Stars’ fan.

Ebenezer studied agricultural science at Senior High School and is now enjoying gardening and growing vegetables on his farm in Busua.

Ebenezer is also a certified tour guide with the Ghana Tourist Board and has travelled to all of the country’s ten regions. He is good at making new friends and knows pretty much everything there is to know about Busua. He is happy to share his knowledge with any newcomers to make sure they have the best experience possible and maybe even end up loving Busua as much as he does!

Ebenezer is also one of the four founders of the “Asa Baako – One Dance” Music Festival which is one of the biggest music festivals in Ghana and happens every year in Busua around 6th March which occurs to be Ghana’s Independence. “Asa Baako” festival attracts around 3000 party goers every year in Busua. 

Volunteer Coordinator – Dinah Essel

Dinah Essel is a young and friendly lady, and she is currently working as the Volunteer Coordinator for Surf & Impact. She is also preparing the food for the volunteers who are staying at the Volunteer House. Dinah comes from Busua and she likes to cook, read, dance and watch movies.  She has a good heart and lots of love for dogs. Her smiles are addictive and make you laugh.

Airport Pickup – Grace Amonoo Parker

Grace Amonoo Parker is our Airport Picker for all our volunteers arriving in Ghana. She comes from Anomabo, Central Region of Ghana. Aside picking up volunteers from the Airport in Accra, she is also a fashion designer specialized in bespoke wears. Parker is a very jovial person, and she loves to empower the children especially females in the society of Busua. She also loves to party a lot and loves to welcome both old and new faces across the world.

Surf & Impact Program

Surf & Impact is a volunteer program running since 2010 that gives volunteers the unique opportunity to surf (and learn to surf) while volunteering. Surf & Impact volunteers live in the coastal village of Busua in the Western Region of Ghana for a minimum of four weeks and support and develop sustainable community development projects in the area.

Our volunteers have long-term placements in the fields of education, health, environmental issues, and gender equality. While volunteering, participants get dedicated surf lessons and/or surf tours (depending on skill) as well as a unique cultural experience through homestays (host families) and other cultural activities. You won’t find another volunteer program like this!

Surf & Impact is an initiative led by Black Star Development (NGO)

What makes Surf & Impact unique?

Surf & Impact provides more than just the typical volunteer experience. Volunteering and working on development projects in Busua are only just the beginning. In addition, volunteers will have the opportunity to spend time surfing the waves at the local beach by participating in a surf camp with trained surf instructors.  This combination of a volunteer program and surf camp is a model that is currently being used in other parts of the world, but this is the first of its kind in Ghana and West Africa.

Furthermore, volunteers will be participants in a cultural exchange alongside community members, whereby they will be immersed in the local community. Activities will also be provided to introduce volunteers to local customs and to visit nearby attractions. Our goal is that volunteers not only leave feeling like they accomplished great things but also that the community acknowledges the hard work and dedication of each volunteer.

Volunteer Expectations

Time Commitment

We believe that for volunteers to really make a difference in the community it is necessary for them to stay for an extended period of time. Therefore, the minimum time commitment for a volunteer is one month (four weeks), however we recommend at least three months to allow for a more complete volunteer and surfing experience. There is no maximum time limit, and we encourage each volunteer to dedicate as much time to their placement as possible, you will definitely see the benefits of staying long-term! Don’t have one month? Contact us directly and let us know how much time you can give. We will try to work out an activity or project that can benefit both the community and your experience with us.

Free Time

Volunteers will have the afternoons and weekends free. In the afternoons, if you aren’t surfing, it is up to you to decide how you want to spend your free time. We encourage you to take time building relationships with people in the community as well as enjoying the beautiful beach and the nearby villages.  The weekends are a great opportunity for you to go and visit some of the many sights in Ghana, some of which are very close to Busua (Nzulezu stilt village, Axim Beach, Kakum National Forest, Cape Coast) and volunteers are welcomed to join our organized week trips but might have to let us know in advance before you arrive in Ghana. You will find more information about our offers in the section “Activities”.

Orientation

To help you settle in when you arrive, we will give you an orientation session to help you get your bearings and meet some of the local people. Orientation will take place at a suitable time once you have arrived and settled into your room. During this time, we will make sure you get settled in your homestay and give you an introduction to the community and culture. There will be a meet and greet for you to meet other volunteers, staff, and some community members. Over the course of your first few days, you will learn about Ghanaian culture, some key Fante/Twi phrases, and your expectations as a volunteer.

We do provide airport pick up, however if you wish to arrive yourself in Busua, we can arrange this as well. Please indicate this on your volunteer application form. If you do not wish to have an airport pick up Surf & Impact staff will be happy to give you any necessary information you need to find your way from the airport to Busua.

First Week

The Surf & Impact Program Manager will introduce you to your volunteer placement and the community members who you will be working with. This first week will be for you to get settled in your placement, learn about your responsibilities and expectations, and get started with the surf camp.

Weekend

Saturday and Sunday are free for you to practice surfing, relax on the beach or visit nearby sights and villages. You can either do you own plans or get in touch with us and book one of our amazing weekend trips. This is also a great opportunity to get to know other volunteers of the program better.

Following weeks

After the first week you should be accustomed to your new day-to-day routine. Pretty soon you will start to see an improvement in your surfing ability and will notice the impact you are having in your volunteer placement as you quickly become part of the Busua family. The staff is here to support you with any issues that arise and to help ensure that you have an incredible surfing and volunteering experience in Busua.

Last day

By the time this day arrives we hope that you are confident in your surfing ability and leave feeling that you have made a difference in the Busua community. Before you leave, we will ask that you take a few moments to fill out the volunteer feedback form. This ensures that we get your feedback while it is still fresh in your mind. You will also get a certificate that proves that you have been volunteering with us. This day should be dedicated to packing up your bags and saying goodbyes before you head back to Accra to catch your flight or continue your travels.

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