What makes ACIPP different?

ACIPP is different from other placement organizations in several ways:

1) ACIPP is a small organization; therefore, we can offer a personalized service that many big placement organisations cannot. Additionally, we allow you to make a fully autonomous choice about your own placement, and you are can apply for the placement that best suits your interests and goals.

2) We pioneer a model called “sustainable service”. This means we offer valuable, high-quality internships that are useful for your career as well as for the local community. We prefer the term internships above voluntary work exactly for this reason. This principle is standardized by our commitment to only offer programs with a minimum duration of 8 weeks; we believe this is the minimum amount of time needed for you and the organization to truly gain from the internship experience.

3) Our fees are significantly lower compared to other placement organizations:

ACIPP Total Fees- 8 week stay $2450
Global Crossroads Ghana Fees $3480
ProWorld $3375

4) We are a non-profit organization. ACIPP, in contrast to many other placement organizations, was created to foster intercultural exchange and community development, NOT for making profits.

5) Following up from number 4, this is why we are increasingly using the small revenue received from interns (after deduction of overhead costs) to support our local partners as well as implement development project ourselves. We recently facilitated the donation of 30 radios to a partner in Sierra Leone, from a partner in the U.S. for example (read the whole story here). Right now we are in the process of setting up a scholarship program to support bright students lacking the financial resources to finish their education.  In addition to this we offer low-cost trainings to build internal capacity to NGOs and other organizations supporting community development and we provide free professional skills trainings for local youth. You can find detailed descriptions of these activities on our Programmes page!

What if my area of interest for an internship is not mentioned on the website?

If you have an area of interest that is not mentioned in any of our available internships, please do not hesitate to contact us. While we can’t offer any guarantees, we are happy to do some research and see if we can find a reliable, local organization that fits with your interests.

What type of intern are you looking for?

We are looking for bright, adventurous and independent people. You will always have the safety net of ACIPP West Africa while you are here, but we try to make that as non-intrusive as possible. We want our interns to feel free to make connections on their own, and not feel like they are just visitors but part of the community.

What are the fees and what do they include?

We charge $200 (Ghana and Sierra Leone) a week for all our placement programmes. This fee covers accommodation and utilities at the ACIPP West Africa house, breakfast and dinner, airport pickup and drop-off if necessary, 24/7 emergency support, including access to a local doctor, and an orientation in the country.Not included in the fees is your lunch, transport to and from work and any luxuries you might like.

Why are your fees much cheaper than other placement NGOs?

We can offer some of the cheapest volunteer placements and internships because we have a low overhead coupled with hiring local in-country staff. We can keep the costs low for you because we are a not-for profit organization.

Can you tell me how you spend your money?

We believe in transparency and showing how we spend our money. Find our annual report and financial statements for 2012 in a downloadable PDF-File.

What happens if I don’t like my placement?

We are here to help, and if there are any problems with your placement we will help you work through them with your partner organization. If a resolution cannot be met then we will re-assign you to a new placement, as needed.

What happens if I get sick?

While we’re not medical professionals, we are here to provide you with 24/7 emergency assistance during your stay. This may include accompanying you to nearby clinics and laboratories for out-patient care, or in emergencies to a nearby hospital. We do however recommend that you take out medical insurance that includes ambulatory services and medical evacuation as standard.
As a part of your access to local doctor fees, we have a doctor available to provide medical support as well. Some of our partners are health facilities and this give us leverage when we need such services.

What have past interns said about ACIPP West Africa?

You can read our past intern’s experiences on our testimonials section of the blog or current experiences on our intern blogs. Former Intern Brian Mann watch former has made a video about his experience in Ghana to give prospective interns a better idea of what their experience could be like!

Do you have any references from previous volunteers/interns?

Again, you can take a look at our intern blogs and testimonials section. We also maintain a list of past participants who will be happy to discuss their experiences with you in more detail. Please contact us at volunteer[at]acippwestafrica.org for details. Former Intern Brian Mann watch former has made a video about his experience in Ghana to give prospective interns a better idea of what their experience could be like!

Where can I find more pictures?

We regularly upload pictures from our countries of operation to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/acippw.africa

Do you host or organise programmes for groups or institutions?

Yes, we are able to plan and host placements for institutions or universities. We have considerable experience working with universities, organizations and larger groups of interns.

Is there a deposit?

We require confirmation of the placement through a non-refundable $500 deposit after we have sent your acceptance.

When is my programme fee due?

Your programme fees must be paid in full 30 business days prior to your arrival.

What are my payment options for my placement fees?

You can pay by wire transfer to the ACIPP West Africa account (details of which will be provided to you during application process); Or by Paypal, send to info[at]acippwestafrica.org

Can I pay in instalments?

Sure, a lot of interns pay their fees in instalments. Please discuss the details with your volunteer coordinator. Just make sure they’re paid 30 days before arrival

Do I have to raise money for ACIPP beyond my fees?

No, this is not a requirement. However you are encouraged to raise money for ACIPP West Africa and the specific project that you will be taking part in before you come.  Not only will this help raise awareness in your own community about your particular cause, but it will also help educate those around you regarding different global realities. If you wish to fundraise, we will gladly provide you with information material about ACIPP and a list of fundraising ideas!

If you do decide to fundraise be sure to record the names and addresses of your donors. For every donation over $100 we will be sure to send you home with a special Thank You package for your donor(s).

Can I obtain academic credit for my internship with ACIPP West Africa?

Depending on your institution it is possible that you will be able to receive credit for your work with us. We are happy to provide evaluations and progress reports as required by specific academic programs. Please consult your department head for further details on the specific programs available at your school. Many of our previous interns have obtained credits or even finished their thesis through their placement.

How is the standard of living that ACIPP provides in its programmes?

Part of ACIPP’s mission is to allow our interns to experience the TRUE experience of being a citizen in Ghana, Sierra Leone, or Liberia. Thus, ACIPP strives to provide a modest, but convenient standard of living in all its countries of operation. We have comfortable intern houses in all three countries and a house manager who does most of the shopping, the cleaning and cooking. Nevertheless, interns are expected to help with small chores in the household and they should be expecting an African-style diet, based on local and fresh ingredients, which can be quite different from what you’re used to eating at home. We also recognize that the local diet in West Africa does not provide a wide variety of fresh vegetables or whole grains, so we recommend that our interns bring dried fruit/veggies and possibly their own supply of whole grains (if this is very important to you). We also recommend that interns bring a probiotic (as the diet is very carb and starch heavy) and a good multi-vitamin for daily consumption. You will also be able to buy Multivitamins and other dietary supplies locally.
Remember that the countries we work in are among the poorest in the world (except Ghana), and that many amenities will not be working all the time (namely, electricity and running water). Do your research, read blogs, and be prepared for a simpler life than the one you’re used to at home. Additionally, please be aware that flush-style toilets do not mean “running water” and you will not be able to flush toilet paper down the toilet (you will be provided with sanitary waste receptacles next to the toilet). Septic systems in all of our countries of operation are very weak and unable to handle paper-based waste.
Your general standard of living outside of the house will depend on how much money you bring on the side. Remember that your personal budget should include daily allocations for transport and lunch, and that a meal out in a fancier place can easily cost 10$-20$ in our countries of operation. If you’re not sure how much to budget for, ask your Volunteer coordinator for help!

ACIPP recognizes that sometimes the living conditions in our countries of operation can be (at times) uncomfortable and outside of interns comfort zones. We strongly encourage you to think carefully about your capacity to live in differing circumstances with limited amenities before accepting your internship placement with us. While we firmly believe that our interns are in comfortable, sanitary, and secure accommodation, we also know it’s no Taj Mahal :) That’s part of the learning experience!

Do I require a visa?

Unless you are from a country that is a member of ECOWAS, you will likely require a Visa prior to your arrival in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Sierra Leone does allow visitors to receive their Visa on arrival, and you will have to work with us prior to arrival as we will provide your personal information to immigration services. For more information on visas in Sierra Leone, check our website: http://acippwestafrica.org/sierra-leone/sierra-leone-internship/preparation/visa-application/
Generally ACIPP West Africa cannot apply for visas on your behalf and urges all interns to research their specific situation earlier, rather than later. However, we are happy to provide you with a letter of introduction describing your status as an intern with us, and the length of your stay.

Does ACIPP West Africa pay for my flight?

Your airfare is not included. One service we have used that we recommend is www.travelcuts.com, and www.flyforgood.org; however, we suggest that you shop around.

Does ACIPP West Africa provide me with health/travel insurance?

ACIPP West Africa does not provide its interns with health or travel insurance. We strongly urge all interns to purchase health or travel insurance and takes no responsibility for a interns decision not to purchase such protection against loss or any fatality.

Does ACIPP West Africa provide a refund in case I decide to shorten my stay?

Unfortunately we can’t do this since most overhead costs are already made when you arrive. You may speak with our in-country coordinator for support, but all fees are non-refundable once you’re in the country.

What is the safety situation like in your countries of operation?

All our countries of operation are generally deemed to be safe destinations for travellers. Security in Sierra Leone and Liberia has tremendously improved since the end of their bloody civil wars, and today they are completely undeserving of their bad reputation.

However, we recommend that interns follow basic safety rules, and will provide detailed information during the in-country orientation. ACIPP has its own safety protocols in each of our countries of operation, and we highly recommend that each intern utilises those as a guide.

What kind of training and assistance will I receive upon my arrival?

Our knowledgeable country coordinators will pick you up on the airport and will show you around the city on your first day in the country to familiarise you with your new living environment, and our staff will help you with your way to work until you feel comfortable using the public transport system alone. After you start work, they will be there for you to assist you with your questions and problems. Additionally you will get an in-country orientation on history, culture, and other important topics.

Your placement organisation will be responsible to provide you with any training and information you will need to do your work. This usually consists in a one or two-day orientation after your arrival.

What will my living expenses be like?

You will have to pay for your own transport to and from work, as well as lunch, unless it is provided by your employer. It’s reasonable to calculate about 5 dollars per day for this. Additionally, things like phone credit, the odd meal out, weekend trips, going out at night and souvenirs will be expected expenses.

Can I take language classes?

Yes, we will help you in setting up language classes in Fante and Twi in Ghana, as well as Krio language classes in Sierra Leone. Learning one of the local languages will make your daily interactions much more fun and meaningful! A small fee will be charged for the service.

What is the dress code like in West Africa?

People in West Africa take great pride in their appearance and undertake a big effort to always look clean and neat, torn and stained clothing or shoes are frowned upon. For work, the dress code is fairly traditional western-style business clothing, skirts should absolutely cover the knee. Generally speaking, people dress more conservatively that in Western Europe or North America, and the only appropriate places for shorts and miniskirts are the beach and nightclubs.

What is ACIPP’s physical address?

ACIPP West Africa
Lange Herenvest 122
2011 BX
Haarlem, Noord Holland
The Netherlands