Ghana - Accra, Kumasi, Tamale

Population facets: 

Partner Organization: Unite For Sight (UFS) 

Location: Accra, Kumasi and Tamale, Ghana

Number of Students:  3 or more students

Dates:  Flexible and various date options available (ranging from mid-May to early-August) but dependent on site capacity and availability.

In person opportunities summer 2021: Yes

Virtual opportunities summer 2021: To be determined (see scope of work below)

Participation Requirements:

  • Language & Proficiency Requirement:  None, but openness and desire to learning local dialects is important. 
  • Gender Requirement:  None
  • Required Experience:  Particular interest in eye care, public health and global healthcare necessary.
  • Major Requirement:  None
  • Student Minimum Age:  18
  • Special Requirements:  Respecting institutional protocol, students offered the International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP) position will still need to apply formally as a Global Impact Fellow through Unite For Sight for final acceptance into the program. Students must also complete pre-departure training via UFS’s on-line training program during the spring semester, which includes topics in global health, social entrepreneurship, cultural competency, and eye care.
  • Special Funding Requirement: During the spring semester, students are required to fundraise $1800 as a donation to Unite For Sight and purchase sets of eyeglasses that cost approximately $270.00 as a donation to Unite For Sight. Donation and eyeglass amounts are subject to change and are set by Unite For Sight.

Special Training Required Prior to Summer Deployment:  (The following sessions and workshops will be organized and provided by the ISSLP during the spring semester.  Additional training sessions may be added as needed.)

  • Red Cross Certification
  • Self Defense Session
  • Orientation and training modules required by Unite For Sight during spring semester

Site Description:  

See the official websites of the partners involved in this collaboration:

Partner organization, Unite For Sight, is a global nonprofit organization that provides eye care to patients living in extreme poverty in Ghana, India, and Honduras.  Unite For Sight founder, Jennifer Staple-Clark, a  visionary and social entrepreneur, has been featured in Nicholas D. Kristof's columns in The New York Times.  In 2009, she received the American Institute of Public Service’s National Jefferson Award For Public Service, which is regarded as the "Nobel Prize" for public service.

Unite For Sight applies best practices in eye care, public health, volunteerism, and social entrepreneurship to achieve a goal of high-quality eye care for all.  The programs are locally led and managed by ophthalmologists at Unite For Sight's partner eye clinics.  Unite For Sight's partners with local eye clinics to provide comprehensive eye care services, including examinations by local eye doctors, diagnosis and care for all treatable conditions, education, and prevention. 

The Unite For Sight Ghana Program involves working in cutting-edge, grassroots global health delivery programs with eye clinics in Accra and Kumasi.  A total of five eye clinics provide eye care to patients living in extreme poverty within villages located throughout the country of Ghana.  As a Global Impact Fellow, students will have a unique immersive global health experience while learning from many Ghanaian doctors.

Scope of Work & Responsibilities:

Notice: Scope of work may have some changes based on the needs of our partner organizations at the time of student arrival/engagement.  

This site will be in person for summer 2021. Virtual opportunities are still being determined (see below).

Scope of work in person:

Students, as Global Impact Fellows, engage in a structured global health training program while working with local ophthalmologists to eliminate patient barriers to care for patients who are otherwise unable to access or afford eye care. Students with various interests and backgrounds support and assist the local ophthalmologists, while gaining a comprehensive understanding about best practices, the complexities and realities of global health, and effective evidence-based strategies in global health and program delivery. The Global Impact Corps opportunity is for anyone interested in public health, international development, medicine, or social entrepreneurship. Students participate with and learn from Unite For Sight's local partner ophthalmologists who have provided care to nearly 2 million patients living in poverty, including close to 93,000+ sight-restoring surgeries.

Students assist the ophthalmic nurses and optometrists in all aspects of the eye care programs. Under the supervision of the medical team, students take patient history, observe the ophthalmic nurse or optometrist during their examination and diagnosis, distribute medication and eyeglasses prescribed by the local doctors, and help with the coordination of patient surgeries. They also have an opportunity to observe the surgeries provided by the ophthalmologists at Crystal Eye Clinic, St. Thomas Eye Centre, Save The Nation's Sight Clinic, Charity Eye Clinic, and Friends Eye Centre. Students can expect to participate in village outreach programs near Accra; overnight outreach activities in remote villages located 3-5 hours from Accra; village outreach programs near Kumasi in a two or 3 week rotation; and some students may also participate in outreach activities at Buduburam Refugee Camp, located approximately 90 minutes from Accra.  These past years, ISSLP students have spent the majority of their placement with Friends Eye Centre in northern Ghana. Additional opportunities exist for students to engage in field research which directly contributes to the local research needs of the clinics and doctors.

Unite for Sight’s program is suitable for undergraduate and public health students interested in pursuing an internship for academic credit, as well as for medical and optometry students interested in pursuing a clinical rotation for academic credit. Students should consult their academic advisor and department for how to arrange this type of course credit. Unite For Sight will complete student performance evaluations required by a university so that a student can receive academic credit. They can also provide a letter for the university that confirms a student's planned participation in the Unite For Sight program and describes the student's pre-departure online global health coursework and global health field participation. Please review the Academic Credit section of the Unite For Sight website.

This program is also appropriate for undergraduate students, medical students, optometry students, and public health students who would like to pursue a community-based field research project, which requires that the student have a faculty mentor at their home institution and receive IRB approval. Those interested in research should read the Global Impact Lab section of the Unite For Sight website. Past research topics include: medication management, the use of visual resources for patient education, traditional medicine practices, and patient barriers to eye care.  Students must seek IRB approval from Notre Dame and from local authorizing institution in Ghana.

Scope of work virtual:

Possible virtual engagement for students includes an opportunity to be involved in Unite for Sight Global Health Leadership Internship Program.

Housing & Lodging Information:

While in Accra, students live in the Telecentre Bed and Breakfast.  When in Kumasi or when visiting other villages, students usually stay at a local hotel or guest house arranged by Unite For Sight. 

For More Information:

Visit the official Unite For Sight website:

Former ISSLP Participants:
Aidan Cook ’21 (ISSLP 2019)
*Did not deploy due to COVID-19 pandemic

Notice: Certain sites may be canceled and other sites added at any point during the selection and orientation process.


upd 09.24.20
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April 2021

Application Deadline | McNeill Leadership Fellows Program
Friday, April 30, 2021 - 12:00am to 11:45pm

May 2021

CST Research Seminar
Friday, May 7, 2021 - 9:00am to Saturday, May 8, 2021 - 9:45am
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June 2021

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September 2021