A Partner West Africa News Story
Story 64 of 217
Ethical volunteering in Ghana, West Africa

Funding Orphanages: Is It Helping or Hurting?

Date Posted: 18/06/2017

An interesting story about one organisation questioning their stance on supporting orphanages and their change in focus as a result of considering the all-important ethical implications of residential care (orphanages).

An interesting story about one organisation questioning their stance on supporting orphanages and their change in focus as a result of considering the all-important ethical implications of residential care (orphanages), read it in full here.

The majority of children are in residential care because of poverty, not because they have no one to take care of them, and it’s this poverty that Partner West Africa (PWA) are trying to eliminate. We can influence the international community through education and advocacy, and through education and projects to tackle the root causes of poverty we can change local attitudes towards and need for residential care. Parents may feel that an orphanage can provide more, and better opportunities for their children than they can, but overlook the value of growing up in a secure and stable family unit which is critical to a child’s healthy development.

The projects and programmes PWA run, with input from our international volunteers, are all designed to improve a family's ability to provide for them and their children thus reducing poverty and ultimately keeping the family together. For example, our Malaria Prevention Programme provides not only testing and treatment, but most importantly, education, to reduce cases of malaria. This in turn, sustainably minimises the number of days parents are unable to work or children are unable to attend school – and therefore a parent must stay home to care for them – due to sickness and reduces the drain on family income of medical consultations and treatment. While malaria testing and treatment is relatively cheap, many of the families we work with survive on less than $25 per week, so testing and treating one episode of malaria can take a large proportion of the family’s weekly budget, without even taking into account the lost income through being unable to work.

PWA do not offer orphanage related work to our volunteers and actively campaign against it, including through the Better Volunteering Better Care initiative; our volunteer projects and programmes provide an ethical alternative to ‘voluntourism’ and orphanage volunteering. We offer genuine work experience, allowing volunteers to learn about development approaches, NGO work and working in the field; we work with them to create a bespoke role in their area of expertise and fully integrate them into the team which altogether enables each volunteer to offer the very best of what they are able to, while addressing the most urgent needs of the community and chipping away at the causes of poverty one piece at a time.

So, for ethical volunteering without an orphanage in sight, choose Partner West Africa.


Find out more about our values here

Find out more about volunteering here

Author: Go Philanthropic Foundation

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