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)

In person opportunities summer 2022: Yes

Virtual opportunities summer 2022: No

Additional Information:

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, if we are unable to deploy students in person, students will not be obligated to complete the ISSLP and may withdraw without penalty. For students wishing to continue with the ISSLP in virtual mode, ISSLP staff will work with them to be placed with a virtual international service option.

Participation Requirements:

  • Language & Proficiency Requirement:  None, but openness and desire to learn local dialects is important. 
  • Gender Requirement:  None
  • Required Experience:  Particular interest in eye care, public health, global healthcare, and social enterpriseis  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 founderJennifer 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, 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, Kumasi and Tamale. 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 2022.

This section reflects the most recent scope of work for students who deployed in the last few years to Ghana-Accra, Kumasi and Tamale. This scope of work may change based on the needs of the organization at the time of student arrival and/or due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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; and village outreach programs near Kumasi and Tamale in a two or 3 week rotation. 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.

Housing & Lodging Information:

While in Accra, students live in the Maple Leaf Hotel.  When in Kumasi or or Tamale, 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:
*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.


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May 2022

Graduate Summer Institute for Engaged Research and Teaching
Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 12:00am to Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 11:45pm

June 2022

ND Explores STEM: Healthcare
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September 2022

Pathways Out of Poverty: Venture Creation and Contemporary Europe
Wednesday, September 7, 2022 - 11:00am to 1:00pm