Action Volunteer Alliance

Volunteer Overseas. Change a life. Get work experience. Your adventure starts here.

FAQ

About AVA

  1. How do I know AVA is legitimate?

    We are a not-for-profit federal incorporation. Our file # is 441429-2 which was given under the seal of office of the Minister of Industry. Action Volunteer Alliance is also a Registered Charity with the Canada Revenue Agency effective December 4 2008. Our Business Number is 85312 4592 RR0001. We are also listed on idealist.org and goabroad.com. Organizations have to apply to both of these websites and prove they are legitimate before they are accepted.

  2. Do I have to be Canadian?

    No, volunteers from all over the world are welcome!

  3. Will I have time to travel while I'm volunteering?

    You can take as much time off as you wish to travel. We strongly recommend you plan at least 2 or 3 weeks to see the country aside from the time you will be volunteering. There are always lots of other volunteers who are also going to travel and it is quite safe to travel alone as long as you take the appropriate precautions, as you would do in any other country.

  4. What are the minimum requirements/qualifications to be accepted?

    There are not exact qualifications for our programs. You don't need a degree or foreign language. We would like to see you as an overall person to make sure this is the right program for you. We believe everyone has something to offer and we would like to utilize all efforts made.

  5. Can I change my placement if I am not happy?

    If you wish to change from one program to another once you are in the country it is should not be a problem.

  6. How will I get to my placement once I arrive in the country?

    You will be picked up at the airport when you arrive by one of our representatives.

  7. When and how do I pay?

    You will pay your application fee of $275.00 US once you have been accepted. You can pay this online at our website or send a cheque or money order.  You will bring the rest of the fee with you. Unfortunately, it is quite expensive to wire money so to keep our cost down you will pay our partner organization upon arrival. However, you do not have to carry cash. You can bring traveller's cheques and cash them once you have arrived.

  8. Do I pay for and organize my own flight?

    Yes you do have to pay for your own flight and organize it.

  9. Do I need to provide my own travellers insurance?

    Yes. We suggest you look into travellers insurance before buying your plane ticket. You may purchase health insurance with your ticket but it is very often not great coverage. We will need the information from your insurance before your departure.

  10. Can I bring my family with me?

    Yes, of course you can. If you have younger children they can accompany you to school if you are teaching or help out at the orphanage with you. If your children are old enough they can also help out during building projects. There are no babysitter’s available so your children will need to be watched by you while you are volunteering. There will be an extra cost for them to stay with a host family.

  11. Do you offer group rates?

    Yes, please contact us directly for inquiries.

Back to top

About Nepal

  1. Is Nepal safe?

    Nepal is quite safe. They have had political problems in the past but there has been peace in Nepal since 2006 and it is expected to stay that way.

  2. What is the climate like in Nepal?

    There is a dry season from October to May, and a wet season from June to September. In summer, (May to September) Kathmandu Valley may get very hot, often above 30 degrees. The winter (October to April) will be quite warm during the day, often reaching 20 degrees, but the nights may get as cold as 0 degrees.

  3. When is the best time to travel in Nepal?

    October to November is the beginning of the dry season. Everything is green and Nepal is most beautiful at this time. This is the high tourist season. December to January is also a very good time, although it can get cold. February to April is the end of the dry season. This is also a great time to be in Nepal. The weather can get quite hot at this time. May and early June is very hot while you wait for monsoon to arrive. Mid June to September is monsoon season. It won’t rain all day, but it will rain every day. The clouds will obscure the mountains so you are unlikely to get but a glimpse of the Himalaya’s. Also, during monsoon, the roads are muddy and covered with leeches, there are also many landslides. If you like festivals, August and September are full of them.

  4. Do I need to speak Nepali?

    No, when you get to Nepal you will have a week of language and culture classes. (Which can be disregarded if you are on a short term stay.) There you will receive 15 hours of language training. If you wish to continue with your language classes they can be arranged for you at an extra cost.

  5. When can I start volunteering in Nepal?

    Training starts in Nepal on the 1st and 15th of every month. If you are a short term volunteer or wish to skip the training it can be arranged for you to start whenever you would like.

  6. Are there times of year I cannot volunteer in Nepal?

    You can volunteer at any time in Nepal. The English Teaching program is interupted several times a year for festivals. You have the choice of using this time to do a bit of travelling and take part in the festivities or you can join another project until school resumes.

  7. How much down time will I have?

    That is flexible. If you are teaching you may teach as many classes as you want in most cases. If you are in the orphanage program, you will most likely not have any children during the day, as they will be in school. The building projects usually end early afternoon. If you are interested you may possibly work on more than one project, or you may be involved in extra programs. You also may want to continue your Nepali classes during the afternoons.

  8. How will I communicate with my friends and family back home?

    You will not be placed very far from the city and you will have access to the internet and phone in the city. Depending on your placement you may have access to the post and maybe to the internet and phone services. The post in Nepal is not totally dependable. Your host family may have a phone in the house. You will not be able to call home on it but your family may be allowed to phone you on it. This is NOT something that every house will have.

  9. How should I dress in Nepal?

    You should dress conservatively in Nepal. You will want to wear light clothing so you are not too hot but it should cover you. Women need to keep their shoulders and legs covered at all times. This is Nepali culture and you don’t want to offend anyone. There is a lot of shopping in Nepal and you will most likely find that buying their clothing works the best. It is very light (and cheap) and covers you up. It is also a good idea to bring clothes that will dry quickly.

  10. Do I need a visa?

    Yes you do. You can obtain a visa from a Nepali Embassy or Consulate, but it is easiest to pick one up at the airport in Nepal when you arrive. Your passport must have at least 6 month’s validity. A 15 day visa is $25.00 US, a 30 day visa is $40.00 US or a 90 day visa for $100.00 US. (This is subject to change) You can obtain a visa extention up to 150 days in a single year.

  11. What vaccinations do I need?

    We recommend that you speak with your local travel clinic at least 6 weeks before travel. Some immunizations take more than one shot while some cannot be taken together. These need to be discussed with a doctor, but vaccinations to consider are:

    Diphtheria & Tetanus

    Hepatitis A &B

    Japanese B Encephalitis

    Malaria Medication

    Meningococcal Meningitis

    Polio

    Rabies

    Typhoid

    Yellow Fever

  12. Can I purchase supplies in Nepal?

    You may be able to purchase some supplies in Nepal. You can find most everyday items without a problem, including toilet paper. You may have trouble finding some supplies though so you are better off to bring things you will definitely need like a mosquito net. It is good for the Nepali economy when you purchase things there, please keep this in mind.

  13. How much extra money will I need in Nepal?

    This will depend on you. Your food and shelter is provided from the day you start volunteering until the last day of your program. However, you will most likely want to do some shopping and will probably go into the city during your day's off. For this we recommend bringing $25.00 US per week.

    Also, if you want to do some travelling aside from your program, which is strongly recommended, you will need extra money. We recommend you purchase a “lonely planet” book, it will give you full details of what kind of cost’s you will run into. Nepal is very inexpensive but it is better to have too much money than too little. Don’t forget, you will also have to pay for your visa ($30 US) when you get to Nepal and pay your airport tax (1700 rupee's) upon departure.

Back to top

About Ghana

  1. Is Ghana safe?

    Ghana is generally a safe country to travel in. Like in all large cities you should always be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone in unlit areas at night. Before going into the city talk to our staff in Ghana about areas to avoid.

    Drivers in Ghana are not as cautious of pedestrians as you might expect so be careful to look both ways before stepping into the street.

    Safety is our first priority and we would not risk sending volunteers into a dangerous area. While Accra and Ghana are safe to travel in, the border of Ghana and Cote d’Ivorie is a high risk area right now so we ask all volunteers to please avoid all travel in that area.

  2. What is the climate like in Ghana?

    The climate in Ghana is tropical which means it’s hot all year with temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius and about 80% humidity. Rainy season begins in April and ends in mid-July with a second weaker rainy season in October.

  3. When is the best time to travel in Ghana?

    The tourist high season is from June to August but Ghana draws travelers all year. The dry months are easier for travelling as the rain can close down dirt roads.

  4. What language is spoken in Ghana?

    The official language of Ghana is English. However there are 9 government sponsored languages: Akan, Ewe, Dagomba, Dangme, Ga, Gzema, Gonja and Kasem.

  5. When can I start volunteering in Ghana?

    Programs start in Ghana on the 1st and 15th of every month. If you need a special start date let us know and we are usually able to accommodate your schedule.

  6. Are there times of year I cannot volunteer in Ghana?

    You can volunteer at any time in Ghana. The teaching program is interrupted for holidays every year but at this time you can sign up to teach holiday classes organized by the schools.

  7. How much down time will I have?

    That is flexible. If you are teaching you may teach as many classes as you want in most cases. If you are in the orphanage program, you will most likely not have any children during the day, as they will be in school but you can help the staff with their daily duties at that time.

  8. How will I communicate with my friends and family back home?

    You will have access to internet café’s in Ho while you are volunteering where you can email or skype with your friends and family. The post in Ghana is not always dependable but you can send post cards and letters.

    You may purchase a SIM card in Ghana if you want to use your phone or you can buy a cheap phone to receive and make calls and text for approximately $20.00 plus air time.

  9. How should I dress in Ghana?

    You will want to dress in light breathable clothing in Ghana. Plan on short sleeved shirts, tank tops and shorts or skirts. Women do not show skin from the belly button to the hips. This is considered highly inappropriate.

  10. Do I need a visa?

    Yes you do. You will obtain a visa to enter Ghana ahead of time from the Ghana Embassy or Consulate. Your visa will allow you to stay in Ghana for 60 days from the date of entry and must be used within 3 months of the issue date. You may get 2 extensions for 3 months each time for $30.00 per month. You will need to provide 2 passport photos for each extension you plan to get. A single entry visa will cost $60.00 USD and a multiple entry visa is $100.00 USD.

    All visa applicants must have an international certificate of vaccination for yellow fever.

  11. What vaccinations do I need?

    We recommend you speak with your local travel clinic at least 6 weeks before travel. Some immunizations take more than one shot while some cannot be taken together.

    You will need a Yellow Fever certificate of vaccination to enter Ghana.

    These need to be discussed with a doctor, but vaccinations to consider are:

    Diphtheria

    Tetanus

    Measles

    Mumps

    Rubella

    Polio

    Hepatitis A & B

    Meningococcal meningitis

    Rabies

    Typhoid

  12. Can I purchase supplies in Ghana?

    You may be able to purchase some supplies in Ghana. You will find most everyday items without a problem but you may have trouble finding some supplies so you are better off to bring things you will definitely need like a mosquito net with you. It is good for the Ghanaian economy when you purchase things there, please keep this in mind.

  13. How much extra money will I need in Ghana?

    This will depend on you. Your food and shelter is provided from the day you start volunteering until the last day of your program. However, you will most likely want to do some shopping and may want to go out for dinner or some kind of entertainment on your days off. For this we recommend bringing $35.00 US per week.

    Also, if you want to do some travelling aside from your program, which is strongly recommended, you will need extra money. We recommend you purchase a “lonely planet’ book, it will give you full details of what kind of costs you will run into. Ghana is very inexpensive compared to your home country but it is better to have too much money than too little.

     

Back to top