Are you ready to commit six weeks to working alongside international development professionals?

International Service is working in partnership with York St John university to offer students from any university a six-week volunteering opportunity. 

You can be a part of it.

Our projects

We are offering placements with our local partners in Ghana, Malawi and Burkina Faso. Check out the specific projects that you could be part of below.


With one of the faster growing economies in the world, Ghana is often seen as a development success story. But development has been uneven: poverty in the Northern Region in Ghana is two to three times higher than in the South. 

And with poverty comes a lack of resources, education and understanding. With less money to invest in health, people with health problems often get left to one side.

Read more about our work in Ghana.

Arts and Minds: mental wellbeing through creativity

Mental ill-health is a widespread and significant issue in Ghana. Under-resourced, misunderstood by many and linked with negative traditional beliefs, people suffering with mental ill-health are among the most marginalised in society.   

Arts and Minds uses visual arts, including traditional Ghanaian art, to tackle mental ill-health in some of the poorest communities in the Upper East region of Ghana. 

The programme focuses on the use of community arts as a tool for change – both for individuals with mental health issues, and to influence public perceptions and understanding. 

If you volunteered on the Arts and Minds programme, you would be involved in: 

  • Using Arts sessions as a platform to start conversations around mental ill-health in a safe communal space.   
  • Providing basic mental health patient care support training to community leaders, community workers, care-givers and families making use of arts sessions.  
  • Raising awareness about mental ill-health in the wider community through radio discussions, school sensitisation events and a community art exhibition.  
  • Making sure that mental ill health information resources are available for community members at accessible centres 


The Malawian government has recently begun to focus on investing more money in women and girls. This is a positive step but there are still significant challenges facing people living in poverty.

Children and young people still struggle to access an education, as poverty forces many families to send their children out to work, rather than go to school. And despite being made illegal, child marriage still persists, meaning that many girls are pulled out of school. Meanwhile, discrimination and a lack of appropriate support means that many children with disabilities don’t go to school at all.

Read more about our work in Malawi.

Fair Play

We’ve found that inclusion happens most quickly when inclusion is first demonstrated. Fair Play uses inclusive sports to tackle deep-rooted social stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities. Working alongside local disabled people’s organisations and sports committees, our volunteers teach communities the rules and tactics of sports that enable people with disabilities to play alongside able-bodied people on an equal playing field. And by engaging the same number of volunteers with as without disabilities to facilitate the project, Fair Play challenges restrictive and discriminatory attitudes and behaviours without confrontation, breaking down the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fully engaging in education, work and society.  

For more information about Fair Play, click here.

Burkina Faso

Despite significant development progress across the country, Burkina Faso remains in the bottom 10 countries in the world in the UN Human Development Index, with nearly 45% of the population still living below the poverty line. Added to this, violence against women is normalised and accepted, particularly in rural communities. Cultural norms and patriarchal attitudes to marriage mean that the majority of community members do not perceive violent behaviour, such as wife beating or non-consensual marital sex, to be violence.

The situation for the majority of women in the communities where we are seeking to run this project is that they are largely unaware of their rights, or unable to enforce them, and many women experience pressure from families and communities not to press charges against a violent partner. But with an issue such as gender-based violence, those experiencing violence are not the problem.

Read more about Burkina Faso here.

He Respects

He Respects is a gender equality project using locally-rooted men’s groups to inform men about what constitutes violence against women, encourage them to rethink their behaviours and attitudes towards their wives and female relatives, and enable them to become leaders of change in their communities. The project trains local men in rural communities to establish and facilitate interactive discussion groups about women’s rights, respect, consent, positive masculinity and shared parenting. The aim of the groups is to foster an environment in which men can reflect on their toxic and damaging behaviours, develop respectful attitudes and change the way in which they conduct themselves at home.

Students indicating a preference to volunteer in Burkina will require a conversational level of French.

Placement Dates

Six weeks: 17 July - 28 August 2019

Make sure you are available three days either side of these dates, as flights can have limited availability during the summer months.


Running an overseas volunteering project costs the charities involved time and money. In order to ensure core funding is directed toward the people and projects that most need it, we ask our volunteers to raise the funds needed to deliver their overseas placements themselves.  

Your total fundraising commitment: £1,995

Payable in instalments.

We provide you with:

  • Accommodation with a local host family  
  • Two meals each day 
  • Insurance 
  • Pre-departure guidance and support
  • Face-to-face training at your university 
  • Support at the airport upon arrival and departure 
  • In-country orientation  
  • Debrief at the end of your placement
  • Regular & emergency support from experienced staff in-country  

Not provided: 

  • International flights 
  • Vaccinations  
  • Visa  

Our staff are happy to offer guidance on booking flights, arranging vaccinations and obtaining a visa. 

Funding Streams


Fundraising is not only a great way to contribute to the cost of your placement, it’s an opportunity to raise awareness of the issues you’ll be tackling whilst overseas. At International Service, we’ve supported thousands of volunteers to fundraise for their volunteering placements. Once accepted onto the programme, we’ll send you our tips and advice.  

Grants and Trusts

With a little research, you’ll find countless trusts and foundations offering small grants to young people embarking on overseas volunteering placements. We’ll send you the resources to get started. 

YSJ Students Only: YSJ Opportunity Fund

YSJ students can apply for a scholarship of up to £500 to volunteer in the UK or overseas with a registered charity. Contact your university for more information. 

Independent Travel

International Service placements provide an opportunity to engage in meaningful work alongside motivated and experienced local staff members. As we expect you to work hard, we’ll make sure you get two days' rest every week and a standard holiday entitlement of 2 days per month. 

You can use this time to explore the country – think safari parks and natural beauty! Our staff will be on hand to support you with local knowledge. 

Why International Service?

  • We are a credible international development non-profit organisation with a 66-year history of facilitating volunteering placements;
  • Our sustainable volunteering model means you will be working with our trusted partners on existing projects; 
  • This is not a holiday! You will be engaging in meaningful work and making a real difference in the lives of people living in poverty; 
  • We offer you the opportunity to develop personally and professionally. Make your CV stand out from the crowd; 
  • A placement with International Service is a genuine cultural exchange: you'll live with a local host family and fully integrate into the community.

Ready to apply?

Download the application form here.

Email completed applications to [email protected] or send a printed copy to our mailing address. 

Deadline: 23:59pm, 27th March 2019 

Questions? Email [email protected] or call 01904 731142.