Intern in Human Rights in Ghana
- Placement location: Accra
- Role: To work alongside local staff with communities and individuals in need of assistance
- Requirements: None
- Types of Placement: Projects Abroad Human Rights Office
- Accommodation: Host family
- Length of placement: From 2 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
Although Ghana is one of the most stable and well-governed African nations, there are still a large number of societal issues that need to be addressed urgently and life in its capital city, Accra, remains far removed from any North American city. Projects Abroad’s Human Rights internship is based in Accra and offers you the opportunity to get involved at a grass roots level, raising awareness of human rights in a variety of marginalized communities or at risk groups.
Interns work at the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office in Accra and your exact role will be determined by your level of experience and interest in specific areas.
These internships are ideal if you are a law student or a graduate seeking practical experience in human rights work. However, the work is also suitable if you are a student building a resume for law school or if you have a general interest in law and human rights. The experiences that you will have while interning in Ghana will give your resume an edge over the competition.
My time during the last three months at PAHO (Projects Abroad Human Rights Office) was dynamic. One of the benefits to a long stay in Ghana was that I was able to see projects run from start to finish. I was involved with several projects and had the opportunity to be lead volunteer on three projects. Read more...
Interning on a Human Rights Program in Ghana
On the Human Rights program you can expect to be busy at a full-time placement. This placement is best for interns with a strong interest in affecting change for the better while keeping in mind the long-term aim of the projects. Placements are demanding and must be taken seriously. In working for the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office, you are representing a professional organization.
You can expect to operate in urban and rural locations, meet people at all levels of society, and engage with international and domestic authorities and organizations. It is important to demonstrate cultural understanding and flexibility. Our mandate is to empower individuals and communities as well as nurture a supportive framework for human rights rather than impose western ideals on Ghanaian society.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Ghana Human Rights Management Plan.
Human Rights - Our Mission in Ghana
The mission of the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office is to ultimately promote and protect the rights of the people of Ghana. We do this through three main types of work: raising awareness of human rights, monitoring vulnerable areas, and resolving human rights abuses.
While there is inevitably a legal aspect to all human rights work, the Human Rights Office circles strongly around social justice and research which encompasses the three main aims detailed below. Interns seeking more direct legal experience should look at our Law internship.
Education and Awareness
Human Rights awareness is conducted for two main reasons. Firstly, to educate, as many victims of abuse are not aware of their fundamental human rights or the protection afforded to them by law. At the same time, perpetrators are often ignorant to the responsibilities they have to others. Secondly, to empower, as an increased understanding and awareness encourages legal conformity and access to justice in the future.
The Projects Abroad Human Rights Office regularly performs educational and awareness raising outreach work to tackle a variety of human rights issues. Interns can expect to travel to rural communities, schools, and other local institutions to make presentations and provide training.
The Projects Abroad Human Rights Office often partners with relevant authorities to address issues of domestic violence, interstate succession, offender's rights, child labour and the right to education, to name but a few. The topics covered do vary throughout the year. We recommend you read the Monthly Reports to see the kind of work our volunteers have been doing.
Human Rights Monitoring
In order to identify communities and individuals in need of assistance we perform human rights monitoring. We enter areas and facilities to identify abuses, determine their gravity, assess the needs of people affected, prioritize victims and determine a strategy to bring about change.
We also monitor facilities and activities of associate organizations to offer our most effective and efficient assistance. Such assistance may be in terms of personnel secondment, sourcing funding for financial assistance, offering direct financial assistance, or simply making recommendations.
Monitoring occurs in several areas. This will vary depending on the projects running at the time, but in the past it included the following: rural farming areas, fishing and mining communities, communities of foreign nationals or seasonal migrants, city slums, courts, areas of landfill, daily media, and in facilities under the direction of state institutions or NGOs.
Monitoring also allows us to consider our own level of success so that we may perform better in the future.
Where we have identified a victim or group of victims of human rights abuse we will proceed to assist those victims as directly as possible rather than offering assistance in a community setting. Such people come to our attention through our monitoring and awareness projects and we take it upon ourselves to identify the best means of resolve.
Legal resolve is facilitated through a referral procedure in which we partner with local legal organizations. Lack of accessibility to Ghanaian courts, however, often means we explore alternative methods of resolution. These include utilizing the traditional methods of village chiefs and elders, publicity through lobbying campaigns and conventional media, alternative dispute resolution and mediation, or the use of family structures or religious institutions which both carry high influence in Ghanaian society.
The work that I got involved in was interesting, fun and extremely diverse. One week I could be advocating better Human Rights for communities suffering at the hands of mining pollution, and then the next week I would be establishing contacts with other NGOs to start a national campaign to end child prostitution and trafficking. Not to mention the work we did across refugee camps, schools and prayer camps. Believe me the work is tiring but you really do feel a sense of achievement on this project. Read more...
You can join the Human Rights project in Ghana for two or three weeks if you don't have time to join us for four weeks or more. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely on the project, please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer stay.
Please note that the Human Rights Project in Ghana is not available for approximately two weeks over the Christmas and New Year period.
If you have qualifications or experience in this field then we can make use of your skills. Read more about the opportunities for skilled volunteers in Ghana.