Ghana is graced with a rich variety of flora and fauna, but sadly, a lot of it’s wildlife is fast becoming endangered due to pollution and erosion. With waste management failing across the country, the ocean and beaches are heavily polluted with rubbish and now local villagers of the coastal region find their homes seriously in danger due to erosion. Villages set back from the coast are now based directly on the beach and cabins are swept away by the sea daily.
Most residents have nowhere else to go, and the state of the beaches is now having an impact on wildlife too. Large sea turtles, long threatened with extinction in other regions, set up home on the beaches of Ghana between September and January, but now they are threatened by the environmental pollution, causing their numbers to drop even further, and fast.
You’ll be working in Axim, an endangered coastal region, home to a small oasis – a paradise beach resort. The largest of its kind in Ghana, this 45 hectare resort has been committed to environmental protection, education and sustainable development for over twenty years. The resort has become an indispensable institution for the local population, with its vital educational work teaching locals about the importance of conservation, and providing jobs in the area.
You’ll undertake a variety of tasks on this project, depending on the time of year. One of your main responsibilities will be conducting beach patrols, where you’ll collect rubbish and driftwood, which is often used at a local joinery to prevent waste further. You may also undertake some night checks with the security team.
To help protect the coast from further erosion you will be responsible for planting trees and palm trees and you can also get involved in educating the locals on the usefulness of sea turtles, and how to protect them, and other endangered fish species. Sea turtles are the largest known algae eaters, so are important for the coastal ecosystem. If you take part in the program between September and January you’ll also get to monitor the turtles as they nest on the beach, putting protective measures in place to keep them safe.
Your working hours depend on the tides, seasons and the moon, but typically you will be working around 40 hours a week across five or six days. Staff and volunteers will eat lunch together each day at the beach resort, which gives you time to get to know one another and form friendships. In your free time, or on your days off, you can relax on the beach, take a break, or go on excursions – the resort plans excursions for its visitors and it is a great way for you to see more of Ghana. Another popular choice with our volunteers is surfing lessons!