Frequently Asked Questions

AYPAD Information

Can I use PayPal to make a donation?

No, but we use other ways. See visit our donations page on the website to see your options.

Can I donate money for a certain item or project?

Yes!  If there is a cause that you are passionate about, we can make sure your funds go to this cause.  For example, if you want to sponsor one child for a year, or if you want to buy a certain number of computers for a school, we can arrange that. You are also welcome to donate to our general fund. We assure you that your donation will be put to good use. To make a financial donation kindly visit our donations page.

Can I send materials for donation?

Yes, donations from within Sierra Leone are very much recommended but in most cases, we prefer that you do not send material donations from abroad except specialized items or machines. The cost of shipping these items, as well as the fees that must be paid to customs, makes sending items impractical.  Additionally, by sending money, your donation will have a double impact of supporting our cause as well as the local economy.

AYPAD Memberships

How do I become a member of AYPAD?

It is so simple to become a member of AYPAD, you can either download our membership form from our website, or you can contact us for further information.

How does my NGO or CBO become a member of a Country Chapter?

You can send a request of affiliation to our specific country chapter, or you can contact us directly always filling the form on our website.

Does AYPAD charge a membership fee?

Yes, we charge a minimum membership fee of one dollar a month, so a total of 12 dollars. Members that pay their membership dues have the opportunity to attend training, seminar, national and international conferences on behalf of the organization.

How do I become a board member of AYPAD?

Board members are randomly selected by the general membership of the organization. Also your moral and financial contribution towards the development of the organization counts greatly.

Volunteering and Internships

Do I have to be a professional to participate?

No, you don’t. Most projects only require that you are currently pursuing a high/college/university education.  Some positions do require specific skills and related experience so check the appropriate volunteer or internship page.

Can we volunteer and/or intern as a group?

Yes! Groups usually have discounts due to the reduced cost that comes with airport transfers and orientation. However, this is usually related with a group of 5 and more.

Which areas do you have volunteering and internship placements?

Our placements are mostly in the Western area of Sierra Leone. However, due to our nationwide and international network, volunteers can work in different countries where we operate. Please check out our country chapters in the website.

Can I select a location where I want to Volunteer and/or Intern?

Yes, as long as we offer placements there.

Can I volunteer and/or intern at any time of the year?

Yes, you can intern or volunteer at any time of the year. However, teaching placements are normally based on the school calendar in Sierra Leone.  Please contact us for more information.

What does a typical volunteer day look like?

A volunteer or intern will start work at 8.30am in their assigned institution/community. You will either be able to walk to your placement or can easily take a local transport to get there quickly and cheaply.  Work as your schedule provides.  Eat lunch around noon at the workplace or a nearby restaurant or street vendor. Return to work until 3.30pm. The number of working hours ranges from 4-6 hours per day; though the schedule is flexible to suit your needs. After working hours, you can plan how to use the remaining of the day. You are always welcome to help with other community projects, including planning health programs, sports and games with the school children, or just relax and enjoy some free time. At about 5-6.00pm supper is served, and you will have warm friendship from colleagues at work and town folk to keep you company, show you around and immerse you into the culture. Our staff are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality. You may also wish to spend your free time with other international volunteers in the area. Weekends are for your free time. AYPAD staff members will be more than happy to show you around the local area or visit places such as the beach, the capital city, historic sites, and national amusement centers, etc. You may also wish to travel independently or with other volunteers to different parts of the country or other neighboring countries.

For how long can I volunteer?

Volunteer placement is for any length of time between 2 weeks to 1 year (renewable). Once here you can decide to stay for more than the stipulated time of your placement. We can help with renewal of your visa.

Can I do online volunteering?

Yes, you can also volunteer online. You can contact us at [email protected] for available online volunteer opportunities or you can also apply through the following link:

Medical Information

What shots do I need to take?

Your health and well-being is very important to us, so be sure to take the necessary precautions before you arrive. A pre-requisite for all visitors to our countries of operation is the YELLOW FEVER inoculation. The vaccination must be taken at least 10 days before your trip. Other vaccinations are also recommended, such as Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Dengue Fever, Tetanus, Schistosomiasis, Diphtheria and Polio; your doctor will give you the necessary information. Remember that some of these vaccinations are free in public/state hospitals, but if you are short on time, then you can also obtain them from your nearest travel clinics. It is essential that you speak with a registered doctor on advice about what immunizations that are necessary. Prepare in advance of your trip. To keep up to date with Africa’s travel concerns please click here

Do I need malaria treatment?

Malaria is, unfortunately, present in Africa, so be sure to bring preventive medication that your health professionals deem necessary. There are three common options for malarial pills, Lariam, Doxycycline and Malarone. These vary in price and side effects, ask your doctor for more details. It is advisable for volunteers and interns to bring a suitable supply of malaria drugs to last the duration of their stay. We strongly advise that you purchase enough supply in your home country before you leave. Your room of stay will be protected from mosquitoes, although we advise that you bring mosquito repellent for the evenings. A mosquito net is optional, and can be purchased cheaply upon arrival. You should let us know of any doubt you have concerning health issues and we will help you by providing you with the necessary information.

Are there any other diseases that I should be aware of in Africa?

There are two other diseases you should be aware of and speak to your doctor about: Dengue Fever and Schistosomiasis. However it is important to keep up to date with Sierra Leone’s travel concerns please click here

Travel and Culture Information

Do I need a visa?

All of the countries of operation of AYPAD need to have a valid passport or travel document which should not expire within the next 6 months. Visa is needed in most countries if you are European, American or Asian, whilst for African passports will depend on the country of operation.

Do I need travel insurance?

It is always important to protect yourself when travelling, although travel insurance is not required, some health insurance companies do not cover travelling abroad, so it’s a good idea to check and otherwise obtain appropriate travel insurance before travelling abroad. Make sure that it covers you for all eventualities, including emergency medical evacuation, whilst in Sierra Leone. Prices will vary according to the provider and extent of coverage, so you will have to decide which plan is right for you.

What happens when I arrive in my volunteer place?

Prior to your departure, you will be sent an email containing instructions on how to meet an AYPAD representative at the airport without difficulty. He/she will take you to your accommodation and provide you with anything you might need.

What do I pack on my trip?

All of this information will be in your pre-departure handbook that you will receive on acceptance on your placement.

Who pays for my air ticket?

Airfare to and from country of placement will be paid by the volunteer/intern, as well as visas, vaccinations and travel insurance.

Who pays for my travel from airport to AYPAD site?

The transportation from Sierra Leone Airport to AYPAD site will be organized by AYPAD but paid by the volunteer.

What language is spoken?

The countries of operation are mainly English and French, and each of them have different local dialects.

What variety of foods can be found?

You can find all sort of foods in all countries, although you need to have in mind that local products are way cheaper than imported ones. For example, yam, cassava, plantain, etc. will be easier to find anywhere, and less expensive than let us say potatoes, broccoli, etc.

Can you give me an idea of the cost of living?

Cost of living depends on individual choice and lifestyle! On a general budget we advise that you come with an additional US$30-60 a week to cater for your personal needs such as lunch, phone credit, transportation, snacks, entertainment, drinks, excursions if preferred and any other things you may wish to buy.

AYPAD Work Site

What services can be found in the project site of AYPAD?

You will find office space, computers to access internet, hospitals, schools, shops and local restaurants.

Do AYPAD provide accommodation?

AYPAD will provide your accommodation with a host family.

What is the accommodation like?

In a host family, you will be assigned to your own bedroom with a lock, flush toilets and bath in most of the towns.  In the rural areas, you will have to manage with a pit toilet & bath. You will not always have running water but there will be clean washing water to bathe and shower in. A mosquito net can be quite helpful. You will be living in a host family house and become a member of that family, which gives you the opportunity to learn their culture, learn a new language, and virtually do everything with them. Host families are carefully selected and are very caring and friendly.

Is there ready access to Internet?

Yes, there are a number of internet cafés spread around town and you may have a café close to your house. An hour browsing is for $0.50. The speed is not very fast but can be used to all browsing or projects you want to do. Volunteers can also get a mobile internet modem which is easy to buy and use everywhere in the country of destination for $35. Particularly in Sierra Leone we also have access to internet in AYPAD office, which can be used anytime needed.

What should I bring for my project?

You will be sent a detailed handbook containing what to bring for the project support. This is normally based on the kind of project or program selected or your project choice. You may also decide to make any material or financial donations.

Other Program Information:



Minimum Length:

 2 weeks

Maximum Length:

 1 year

Program Dates:

 Available year-round
Start and End dates are flexible


 Monday to Friday, 8am – 3pm (Weekends free for all volunteers)


 Host Family


 Host Family/Restaurant

Age Range:

 18-60 years

Language Requirement:


Do you charge a program fee?

Yes, we do charge a program fee to cover the cost of living for the volunteer and ensure a better experience for you.

Program Fee:

Period of Volunteering/Internships

Average daily cost involved

Total Cost

First Month (4 weeks)

$13 USD

$400 USD

Additional weeks after 1st month

$12 USD

$90 USD

Program Fee Inclusion:
The program fee cost stated above covers the following services rendered by this organization to you. The first month is more as it incurs extra one-time costs, such as the airport transfers and the orientation transportation and tours on the first three days of arrival.

Total Program Fee Includes:
- Pre-Departure Handbook (Details on everything you need to know about your arrival)
- Airport transfers (Pick Up and Drop Off)
- Rent and Accommodation throughout your stay
- Breakfast and Supper throughout your stay
- Utility bills (extra Electricity, Water and Gas)
- Compensation to host family
- Orientation transportation and tours (first three days of arrival to familiarize yourself with the community you serve)
- Day Tour to the capital city
- Continual assistance and contact from members of AYPAD staff
- 24/7 Emergency Support
- Volunteers who prefer to cater for their own meals should let us know and we can make changes to the program fee.

Any other things that I need to know?

Please Note:
Periodic tours to special places like game reserves, waterfalls, natural habitats, zoos, museums, cultural centers and various interesting places in Sierra Leone can be organized for volunteers and interns by AYPAD.

You must inform us of any special needs i.e. allergies, epilepsy, etc. health issues, or medication you are taking at the time of your journey to Sierra Leone. This will allow us to be aware of any special measures to be taken during and before the placement.

On acceptance of your placement, you will receive a pre-departure handbook with all the essential information for preparation of your experience in Sierra Leone.

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you cannot find above or any further information you may require.  We will do our best to make your visit to Sierra Leone to be a secured, meaningful and memorable one.

Child Sponsorship

Help people without a family by acting as a foster father/mother/family/sibling for orphaned or poorer children while AYPAD provide them host family locally in the Communities.

Can I sponsor a child?

Yes, there are two ways to begin providing support for a child in need. You can contact us directly and we will connect you with a child.

How much does a sponsorship cost?

We customize every program to meet the specific needs of the children supported. As a result, sponsorship amounts vary by program. The average AYPAD amount is only $50 per month. The amount will be clearly stated during the Success Story sign-up process.

How is my sponsorship money used in helping my child?

Sponsorship money impacts your child, and in some cases, other children as well! Money is used differently based on the program, of which we have FIVE types:

Basic Needs Sponsorships For Children In Host Families: Your support will be combined with other sponsorships to purchase and provide basic necessities for every child at the home. Funds go toward food, clothing, healthcare, adult care and school needs.

Basic Needs Sponsorships Within A Community: This program helps the poorest families in a community. Your support goes towards food for your child’s family, plus school needs for your child and their siblings.

Primary School Education Sponsorships: Your support will be combined with other sponsorships to pay for education needs at your child’s school. This usually includes a daily feeding program, additional teachers, books, desks, practice tests and other needs.

Secondary School Education Sponsorships: Your support will directly fund Secondary School fees.

Vocational Training Sponsorships: Your support will directly fund vocational training fees.

How do I pay my sponsorship each month?

You can pay through the organization bank account, always specifying the concept (child sponsorship) and the name of the child.

Will I receive letters from my child?

AYPAD makes every effort for you to receive 3-4 letters from your child per year. However, it is important that each sponsor understand there are many challenges that impact the timeliness and frequency of these letters. You can also Skype with your child. If you do not receive a letter from your child, it typically means that they struggle with writing, or their personal situation prevented them from attending our letter-writing days.

How can I communicate with my child?

Writing letters to your child is encouraged. They are always excited to receive them, especially if they include a photo or two! Letters can be sent to our postal address or you can email them to us by contacting us. Some sponsors can also communicate to their child through the AYPAD Skype. This applies to certain communities that have electricity and access to the Internet.

Can I send gifts to my child?

While letters, send photos, stickers or similar items are encouraged.

Can I visit my sponsored child?


How long does a sponsorship last?

There is no time frame on your sponsorship commitment. However, the need for a sponsorship depends on the type of program and the child’s individual situation. An education sponsorship is needed until a child graduates from school, whether it’s Primary School, Secondary School OR Vocational School. A Basic Needs sponsorship for a child is needed for as long as LFFL is supporting the child. A Basic Needs sponsorship within a community is usually limited to 1 year or more. When the needs of your child have been met and support no longer needed, we will notify you. Of course, you can cancel your sponsorship at any time.

What if I discontinue my sponsorship?

You can discontinue your sponsorship at any time by notifying us via email or phone. Once we are notified, we begin the process of finding a new sponsor so your child’s support can continue. The more lead time we receive from you, the easier it will be to find a new sponsor to support your child without interruption. Thanks for your understanding!

What else should I know?

AYPAD works in some very difficult places, with very impoverished children whose challenges are beyond what we will ever experience or understand. Despite the opportunity they receive from our sponsors, children run away, drop out of school, become pregnant, get married, leave without notice or don’t show up to write letters. You should know that your child may leave before they reach the end of their sponsorship. While this happens with less than 10% of our sponsorships, sharing this possibility with you is important. You should also know that most sponsored children know their sponsors by name, pray for them frequently, treasure the letters and pictures received and feel hope and love by being a sponsored child!