Fair Trade Learning
Our Partners in Development Programme is influenced by the concept of “Fair Trade Learning” and solidarity tours. Click here for more information on Fair Trade Learning. Many programmes in which international visitors aid overseas organisations have been criticised for being patronising, exploitative, upholding old colonialist relationships, and imposing a Western agenda on development. We keep these critiques in mind when designing meaningful, needs-led opportunities for our Partners in Development, and encourage participants to reflect on their learning experiences during their stay with us.
The values that guide our visits are:
- Children’s well being is always our top priority – We assess all our programmes to ensure children are not harmed by the presence of visitors, and that they receive maximum benefits from Partners in Development programmes. We have rigorous child protection policies and selection processes in place.
- Genuinely meaningful experiences for international visitors – All participants in our Partners in Development programmes will receive education about international development, issues relating to child slavery in Ghana and worldwide, insight into how a grassroots NGO functions, training in advocacy and campaigning and support in continuing to raise your voice as a global citizen once you are back home. We hope to offer a life-changing experience of global learning exchange where you know your contribution is truly valuable to Challenging Heights.
- Needs-led programs – All our Partners in Development opportunities are assessed by Challenging Heights staff to address real needs and gaps in our current capacity. We need partners with particular skills at different times throughout the year; please let us know if you feel you have a particular skill we could use. But our greatest ask of visitors is to become international advocates for our programmes when they return home.
- Pride in our local staff and quality of our programmes – The Challenging Heights staff team is passionate, skilled and experienced, and our Partners in Development programmes aim to complement our already existing skill set. We ensure that visitors do not take away work from local people, and we closely supervise volunteer work to maintain quality and ensure cultural appropriateness.
If these values match your own, and you are passionate about joining us, please see which of the following programmes you are best suited to.
When staff time allows, we can occasionally accommodate full or half day visits to Challenging Heights to learn about our programmes. All visits start with a detailed presentation about Challenging Heights’ work and may include a walk through the fishing communities (source communities for child trafficking to Lake Volta), a visit to the school and community library we founded, and a meeting with rehabilitation shelter staff or our field operations team. We ask a small fee to cover staff costs and logistics (see below). For more information, please fill in our interest form.
Advocates Programme (2 weeks +)
The Advocates Programme is suitable for those who are passionate about ending slavery and wish to combine field and classroom experiences with independent exploration and budget travel. Advocates will hold discussions with anti-slavery practitioners, visit Challenging Heights’ various facilities, receive training on becoming effective anti-slavery leaders back home, and hands-on volunteer opportunities may be available as well. The programme is subject to a fee, which includes simple accommodation at a local guesthouse. Group size is usually 10-12.
Our all-inclusive Ambassadors Programme is offered in partnership with Amizade, a non-profit global service learning organization with nearly 20 years’ experience in matching travellers and NGOs. This programme is aimed at those who prefer the comfort and security of a fully guided experience, and participants will benefit from close contact with Challenging Heights’ staff throughout the program. Once in country, all costs are included and we strive to provide a relaxed and enjoyable experience tailored to our Ambassadors’ individual needs. Group size is usually between 10 and 12. We hope Ambassadors leave us inspired by our work and passionate to spread the word and support us once they are back home.
Short-term Volunteers and Internships (2 weeks – 6 months)
We invite interns and skilled professional volunteers for up to 6 months dependent on current needs. Our interns are usually students or those beginning their careers who seek on-the-job training, while we invite volunteers who are already established in their profession and bring specific skills that are in current need. We usually expect interns to begin their stay with us by participating in the Advocates Programme, and we reimburse the programme fee for interns and volunteers who stay for 2 months or more (see below). Please visit our Short-term Volunteer Opportunities page for further details.
Visiting Staff (1 year +)
We occasionally advertise long-term staff positions for periods of one year or more. These positions are subject to a competitive application and interview process, with successful applicants offered a local stipend and accommodation in a shared house as part of their remuneration.
For day visits with small groups of up to 3 persons, we ask a fee of $60/half day and $100 for a full day. For groups of up 10 persons, we ask $125/half day and $225 for a full day. (Please contact us to discuss options for larger groups.) These fees cover activities, transport, staff time and overhead and can be paid in advance or on the day (in GHS or USD).
Full details can be found in our Partners in Development Handbook, available upon request.
If you are coming to Ghana, and are wondering what kinds of things you can bring to help support Challenging Heights, please check out the list below. Please note, that we do our best to support local businesses and the local economy. If you would like to donate money for the local purchase of these items, please click the Donate button and include a note of what items you would like to support the purchase of.
- laptops with power cables
- smart phones with chargers
- all-in-one printer and scanner
- large-scale video projector
- sports equipment (footballs, Frisbee, badminton equipment, volleyballs, basketballs, etc.)
- art supplies (paints, crayons, coloured pencils, construction paper, glitter, glue, pencils, erasers, etc.)
- children’s books (all levels)