Africa is that top-of-the-list continent that deserves a swarming of volunteers. Despite the fact that a number of countries in Africa today pride in strong economies, several of them still have a spread of overcrowded cities, slums and poor rural areas. This disadvantage comes with a range of social issues. Even though many Africans are interested in learning the English language, many of their resource centres or schools do not have enough resources and a big portion of the local populace is poor to afford school. Therefore many are unable to attend to Education, or receive good quality medical service because of poverty. It is in these cases that volunteers are a necessity. Because they can provide English Language teaching and improved medical services in addition to several other social services to those who are unable to pay for them.
Why Volunteer in Africa?
To begin with, there is no reward greater than being able to share your skills and knowledge with the less fortunate. It is also to your advantage to do your training from Africa because of the valuable experience that will enrich your resume especially if you hope to do development work on an international level in your later years.
Is It Safe To Volunteer In Africa?
Africa usually is an intimidating place to visit for some people because of its vast size, has some very rough climatic conditions as well as the fiercest animals in the world in addition to being very diverse. However you should not be afraid to visit Africa since the situation is not as bad as you might think. In fact, Africa is among the greatest places to carry out volunteer work in the world. It is not as insecure as you might have been told or think.
Why are people scared to visit the African continent?
Majority of the information that people have about Africa is as a result of how it is portrayed in the media. However, news coverage about Africa majorly shows the difficulties that people are going through and totally ignore the bright side of Africa, which depicts the image that there is continuous suffering in these African countries. The undesirable one sided coverage has created the belief that Africa as continent is a huge expanse of land characterized by poverty, disease, famine as well as conflict but this is not the reality!
When we go down to Africa in reality, it is a continent comprised of 54 different countries. There are not any two countries that are identical and almost every aspect ranging from resources, security, culture to safety are unique differing from one country to another.
If you are contemplating your security while volunteering in any African country or another place in the world, you need to consider the circumstances and environment. It is very significant for you to be informed about whether it is secure to visit the particular countries that you want to travel to during a particular period. Find out if there are any travel warnings for the country you are considering traveling to at the time.
A number of African countries totally challenge the existing stereotypes such as if you want to know whether Ghana is a secure country for you to volunteer, you will be shocked to discover that it has about 2 murders per 100,000 people according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s international homicide statistics database and yet the Bahamas has 28 homicides per 100,000 people.
What it is actually like to volunteer in Africa?
There are a number of opportunities to volunteer in Africa and have a long lasting effect. Majority of the volunteer highlighted regions are precisely picked out to fill the gaps and needs in the communities as well as to work toward realizing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
There are a number of projects to volunteer in Africa such as lending a helping hand in local education centers, animals, contributing toward gender equality initiatives among others.
Generally, every one that volunteers in Africa has a unique experience depending on the country as well as the project you worked on. But there are a number of things you can anticipate in if you want to volunteer in Africa.
Some places can be distant and remote in addition to being difficult. You may need to make some lifestyle changes and adapt to repeated power outages, cold water as well as basic living conditions. When volunteering in Africa, you will need to focus a little bit more on a number of health risks like contaminated tap-water and malaria.
If you are planning to volunteer in Africa, you can visit your physician and update your vaccinations, get some medical advice in addition to your volunteer program provider ensuring that you can receive medical attention overseas if the need arises.
Why Do People Volunteer in Africa?
Generally, people volunteer in Africa to assist in making the world a better place to live in. Many International volunteers travel all the way into this continent to as to play their role in bettering the live of the local people especially those that are not very privileged.
Secondly, other people choose to volunteer in Africa so as to acquire first-hand information plus experience about the native people living in the countries they will be visiting. so rather than enjoying a couple of days lazing on beautiful beaches and luxury hotels, you can decide to work hand in hand with the native people who cannot afford to spend a night at such lavish places. That way, you will get to actually learn and understand what their life is really like; how they survive and what they do. believe me you, a lavish all-inclusive holiday can never be in any way matched up to the worth and experience of volunteering in Africa; this is rather an experience that you won’t only learn from but also change the way you look at life as a whole.
Nonetheless, I won’t fail to mention that some people decide to join Volunteering tours in Africa with a rather hidden motive of having a ‘holiday like’ experience. so as most of the volunteering programs usually include project management, food and accommodation, you will also find a number of organizations where you have to pay so as to volunteer which focus in providing services plus programs that assist you to organize your full volunteering tour during which you may also include a holiday itinerary. Such arrangement normally comprise of part of your schedule in Africa Volunteering and the other time exploring the wonders and attractions of beautiful Africa.
So, is it worth paying to Volunteer in Africa?
Well for the largest number of people, its no doubt that the answer is a big YES! Volunteer programs in Africa can be amazingly rewarding. Having said that, it all goes back to you! Before you decide to pay to volunteer in Africa, speak to various people who have done it before and let them give you their individual experience. Do not forget to also make a comprehensive research by reading online about the different volunteering options available in Africa before you zero down to your final choice. Another important thing to contemplate about is the significance and motive of your volunteering, weigh this in comparison to the financial price tag attached to the program and see whether it’s really worth the money.
Once you make up your mind and decide to go ahead with the volunteering program, you will find people that are like-minded with you and then before long you will be working together for a common good. The tour will give you a chance to have an experience you would never have got and most rewarding of all will be the fulfilling thought that you will be helping to better lives of very many people thus saving the world. Trust me, there isn’t enough money, or measurable values that can pay for such a life changing encounter and experience in Africa.
Top Most Popular Volunteer Activities in Africa
There are a number of volunteer opportunities throughout the Africa therefore selecting a suitable one for you could be more challenging than choosing a place to volunteer. It is very significant to choose the suitable type of volunteering for you so that you can have a great experience. We have highlighted the best ways or activities you can engage in during your Volunteer Safari in Africa.
Working with children – Childcare Programs
Volunteering with children is one of the common volunteering experiences in developing and developed countries. The childcare field usually does not have enough people to help with the children in addition to assisting in meeting the every day needs of the kids and execute the chores needed to uphold a household that has kids. Childcare volunteering projects include day care as well as youth development since you will be interacting with a number of children who were raised from disadvantaged homes, who might have lost their parents or who have no guardians.
In case you want to work with these children, you need to have love for children as well as the willingness to look after them. You should get ready to take care of them emotionally as well as physically with chores such as teaching basic life skills, organizing special activities as well as changing diapers. Volunteering to take care of children is not an easy task since the kids that you might work with might have been raised badly, lagging in development or be facing emotional issues from their past. You will need to be composed in order to be able to do a great job.
Childcare projects would be great for you if you studied psychology, education, community development, family and child development or social work. Since the children are generally fragile, childcare would not be a good choice for you if you have no training and also if you are not going to volunteer for a relatively long period of time.
Women’s rights, health and welfare
Volunteering to help women is also gaining momentum since groups that concentrate on supporting women are starting to set up numerous volunteer programs. Like the placements in community building, women’s health, welfare & rights volunteering usually takes place in villages or in protective shelters.
Majority of the women volunteers interact with volunteer programs to get to know more about life skills for example starting up their own money activities. The women in these rural areas could be victims of domestic violence and so volunteers could be needed to help these women work through the trauma they have gone through and teaching them coping mechanisms as well as equipping them with skills to restore their self confidence.
Community building – Community based programs
Community building usually includes engaging with adults especially those surviving on grassroots organizations and residing in villages. The major focus of community-based volunteering is to assist specific groups of set up a consistent source of income, equip them with entrepreneurial skills, and create oneness in addition to building community spaces. Community building projects commonly occur in the village setting.
Some of the activities that you will do include conducting health or medical missions, building structures as well as holding seminars or workshops. Your volunteering experience will solely depend on the organization that you will work with. Apart from the local community leaders and other members of the community, you could also collaborate with architects, NGOs officials, researchers in order to synchronize development projects.
It is another field of volunteering that is very common. It involves volunteers working with students of different age groups as well as backgrounds. Volunteers could work with out-of-school youth, adults or orphans and teach them a variety of different subjects ranging from art, disease prevention, English or life skills.
Teaching as a volunteer is different from the professional teaching jobs. While volunteering, the environment you teach in is flexible such as clinics, rural community centers, academic institutions as well as orphanages. Whereas volunteering abroad might not translate into academic credit, international teaching can boost your resume particularly if you choose to take on a career in education.
Conservation of Wildlife and Marine life
This is probably one of the greatest forms of volunteering in Africa. Wildlife and marine conservation is highly sought after by volunteers because they are daring. People that volunteer in these projects usually move to rare places that have unique species and also usually reside by the beach or in magnificent places.
Instead of looking after people and communities, wildlife conservation programs concentrate on looking after wild animals both in the water and in the wild. Your activities will involve rescuing animals, assisting researchers in different aspects of their studies in addition to surveying wildlife and marine reserves. A few wildlife and marine volunteer programs involve diving lessons or certification so that you can be trained on how to tour the sea too.
Public health awareness
Public health awareness is common in countries especially where health issues are prevalent a thing that is characteristic of the majority of the countries in Africa. Health education projects usually put volunteers in areas that are afflicted with numerous health problems like HIV/AIDS, where volunteers are required to train the people on prevention of the disease in addition to teaching the natives on how to prevail over the disease and the different ways to stop it from spreading.
When you volunteer in a public health awareness project, activities that you will take part in include supplying feedings to the locals, conducting seminars, assisting in health related work as well as providing treatment. This form of volunteering overseas is suitable for people that want to start medical related careers or are already health care professionals.
Multi country volunteering
Multi country volunteering is one of the best types of volunteering since you get to travel a lot to different places during the program. During these volunteer projects, volunteers settle in the different countries and carry out distinct projects in the different places.
If you love touring and travelling, this volunteering program is ideal for you to apply for. It can be very exhausting however it is a great experience and you will be very fulfilled after the program is over.
Safety Tips for Volunteering To Africa
Despite where you choose to volunteer overseas, there are a number of threats involved. While volunteering in Africa, you need to follow the instructions provided by your volunteer organization in order to be safe. We have outlined a number of tips that will be helpful in case you are considering volunteering in Africa:
Carry Out a Comprehensive Research and Remain Informed At All Times
Ensure that you gather as much information as possible about the countries you will be travelling to so that you can be aware of the probable risks. This is a great way to get ready to travel to Africa. One of the upsides about volunteering is the fact that you get to do it with a number of other people. Before your departure from your home country, you will meet with one of our personal support coordinators who will give you some advice as well as guidance.
Once you reach any of our volunteer field bases, you will receive thorough health and safety education such as the different ways in which to behave in the country as well as any particular security issues that you need to know about.
Ensure that you get an appropriate Travel insurance Cover
There are a variety of insurance companies that provide an international health insurance package precisely tailored for volunteer program members. This insurance package will cover any medical emergencies or evacuations which is very important in case you want to travel overseas. Ensure that you carry out enough research so that you can make an informed decision on the appropriate insurance cover.
Do Not Show-Off Your Valuables
Ensure that while you travel, your valuables such as laptops, cameras or mobile phones are not flaunted since this can invite thieves or opportunists. You are generally advised to leave these valuables at your accommodation facilities in order to avoid the risk of them getting stolen.
Adopt and Blend into Your New Environment
Try your hardest to fit in as this will make you less prone to theft from con artists. Try out the traditional styles of dressing as this can be an excellent way to express respect for the culture of the local people.
In case the need to get help arises, know where to get it from
Ensure that you have emergency contacts for example the contact information for your country’s embassy available. You might not need to use this information however it is important to be aware of where you can get help if the need arises.
Such situations include even the basic scenarios like if you need to see a physician, possessing a local contact can enable you see one quickly. Assisting you reach local doctors is among the many ways that your local coordinator could help you.
Choose an ethical volunteering company in order to be safe
If you want to feel comfortable and confident while taking a volunteering trip to Africa, you need to select your program provider critically. An authentic volunteering company can never put you in harm’s way on purpose.
Thorough reporting, in-depth audits in addition to local monitoring of the various government updates make sure that we have best security standards. Right now, different organizations are running volunteering projects in some part of Africa in countries like Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Zambia as well as Seychelles.
They provide you with a personal support coordinator who will provide you with all the necessary information you need to have before you depart in addition to our field staff who provide you with safety as well as emergency training. You can relax knowing you chose the best program provider.
Would you like to do some volunteer work in Africa at a relative cost coupled with taking strolls under the beautiful evening sunsets? This can all be achieved if you go ahead and take a look at our different tips on the ways in which to volunteer in Africa at a friendly cost.
Why are there very few ‘free’ volunteer-in programs in Africa?
If you went online and looked up “how to volunteer for free on the African continent”, you will be shocked by the minimum number of volunteer programs that will turn up. Here are some reasons why.
The burden of resources rests squarely on the communities. Majority of the African countries are regarded as developing which implies that the gaps and needs in local communities are many which does not leave much for sponsoring volunteers. If you want to volunteer in Africa, you should ensure that you help close the gaps and needs instead of increasing them.
The greatest volunteer programs are run using volunteer fees. Good volunteer programs with a reliable track record need funds to operate. The expenses involved with most Africa volunteer programs’ include the host families as well as from staff take-home pay to rent for volunteer accommodation. The excellent volunteer programs should work towards reducing the financial load on the local community. This can be done since most of the costs are footed by the fees paid by volunteers engaging in such program.
Traveling to Africa is another expense. This makes it difficult to volunteer in Africa without any pay. If you are travelling from the Middle East or Europe, your airfare is less costly than from people travelling from other places. There are not many airlines which travel directly to Africa which increases the cost of tickets.
Carrying some cash with you is very important and mandatory. It is the number one rule when you travel not only to Africa but anywhere abroad to volunteer. It is very vital to have some extra cash set aside in case of an emergency or if you need to purchase a few essentials.
9 Best ways of reducing costs on a volunteering trip in Africa
Are you prepared to volunteer at a reasonable cost in Africa? What do you think about combining the whole thing with evening strolls beneath the beautiful sunsets of Africa? You will have to reconsider if you assumed all of that great stuff was unattainable. If you want to discover more on our best trips on volunteering at a low cost in Africa, Read on:
- Sign up for exchange Programs
Are your skills valuable enough to be applied in any country on the African continent? An exchange program is one of the ways you could really lower your costs of volunteering in an African country. The Exchange programs compare and contrast your abilities with the local organization necessities. In return for your work, they fund a large portion of the volunteer fees that you are charged and perhaps even offer you a minor allowance. Your passion will be for a worthy cause if your skills involve first aid, life guarding or different exceptional abilities. Go research on the internet about volunteer work that is paid in Africa and check out what exchanges surface.
- Look for Scholarships
Do you wish to volunteer overseas in Africa and yet you are a student? Then we advise you to spare some time and talk with your academic mentor. Your mentor will be able to avail you with information on the possible financial assistance needed to cover the volunteer fees in Africa. Targeting for scholarships that are intended for students in particular fields, humanitarian causes as well as targeted for student travel are what you should focus on because these will expand the odds of you being chosen. The best alternative good place to begin your research is through making a google search. In fact you might be lucky to come across a number of volunteer programs in Africa which offer student scholarships.
- Organize a Fundraising
The mere thought of requesting for money from other people is quite uncomfortable. Fundraising is nevertheless an honest way of finding money in regards to reducing the costs of volunteering in countries on the African continent. How do you then persuade people to contribute to help you achieve your dreams of volunteering in Africa? To your family, friends and other possible donors, present to them your honest interests and cause for wanting to carry out voluntary activities in Africa. Host a great fundraiser thereafter and modestly inform all the people that you know about how you desire to do voluntary work in Africa and how they can be of help. You can then add on by telling them how rare it is for one to decide to leave one day for Africa to go volunteer. People will be touched by your passion to go for a noble reason in Africa.
- Plan ahead before your tour
Advanced planning is another excellent way of cutting back some of the volunteer costs in Africa. Planning in advance (ahead) offers you plenty of time to look for cheap and honest African volunteer programs. You will probably not get good offers if you do your research in a hurry. You should start planning immediately by employing the different online tools and weighing programs alongside one another.
Set flight Flight alerts; this is another important reason for planning in advance if you want to volunteer overseas in Africa immediately. You will be in an advantageous position and be able to grab flight ticket deals if you make them at an earlier time. Do not for whatever reason try at the last moment to get on the African volunteering program at a reduced cost. There is no way that would happen so you have to find time to research comprehensively and spare as much money as you possibly can. If your plan is smart, you will be able to spend less money in Africa while volunteering.
- Focus on your personal budget
It is hardly the time for attractive shoots or luxury travel if you wish to experience volunteering overseas in Africa at a reduced cost. Make sure you reduce your standards if your budget for volunteering in Africa is limited because expensive African lifestyle for example the best game meat in a top notch dining, Afro-contemporary roof and rafter houses quickly become costly.
Eliminate any schedules that are associated with cozy facilities and accommodations because with them comes an unreasonable price tag. It would of course be amazing to have your personal flat with housekeeping but you will have to reduce your costs if you got a basic abode. Brunch in a lodge is far more costly than eating barbequed meat at a public market. An uber to your project for volunteering will be pricier compared to using a boda boda in some countries. It helps you save a lot if your living conditions are similar to those of the locals and not like that of tourists. In addition to that, if you choose the local community, you get to experience all of their cultural practices on a deeper level which plays a big role in African volunteering overseas.
- Go for less expensive destinations
The amount of money you are going to spend will depend on where you choose to volunteer. Less expensive places involve reduced program charges as well as daily expenditures for example transportation plus food. Ghana for example is believed to be the highest priced African country to reside in. A number of websites just last year rated Angola’s Luanda as the priciest city in the world. The exterior of capital cities is where you should volunteer in case you are short of funds. You can alternatively think about volunteering in Zambia, Tanzania and Rwanda as these are the affordable countries in Africa.
- Arrange for small African tours
You may be tempted into going to the neighboring countries for some holidays as you volunteer in Africa. Carefully reflect, do you honestly want to reduce your costs? Your best option is to confine yourself to one country. Register with programs that pay more attention to community events rather than tours which is actually fine and the reason is because you are able to see, do and learn a lot from volunteering within that African country. Avoid feeling like you are missing an opportunity by not touring different countries. This is not the only opportunity to travel to Africa. It is possible to do more touring in Africa when you are able to pay for it. Change your way of thinking about Africa volunteering experiences and relish in the wonderfulness offered by the local community you are in.
- Organize your personal volunteer program
By this we mean you can arrange your personal experience of volunteering in Africa, just you and your preferred organization working in African without any middle men or programs. This eliminates any additional costs that go with volunteer programs that are systematic. You will be able to save lots of cash and this will give you a wide range of responsibility. You are going to have to select and check the type of organization you prefer to volunteer with, and possibly cater for your transportation and accommodation.
You will not have a fixed social media platform which volunteer programs offer unless you are journeying with friends. Look for an educational institution that requires additional teachers and register to volunteer if you think you are right for it. Contact any medical institution with in the country if your interest is in medicine. Reach out in form of email to a regional conservation society if you prefer to volunteer with animals in Africa. In case you obtain an independent mark, you could start your individual volunteer programs in Africa.
- Volunteer as you part-time work
Did it ever cross your mind that you can volunteer while making some additional money? Well of course it is rare to find volunteer work that is paid for in Africa but several volunteers usually have spare time when the project hours are over. Why shouldn’t you then do a bit of digital roaming as an extra job? For example if you volunteered at an area orphanage and your project hours closes off at four o’clock in the evening every day, you can start an online tutor job or do some independent writing for money during some evenings. Before departing your home country, set up your account for PayPal and look for the perfect way to get your cash while in Africa.
NB: Ensure that you do not get an official job within the destination country because you would require a work visa to achieve this. Your status for immigration may restrict you as a volunteer from working formally. The safest path is to hold on to the online jobs.
Best Places to Volunteer in Africa
Africa volunteer programs are spread across the central, northern, western, southern and eastern regions. Work with an African orphanage in Egypt in North Africa or sign up for teaching volunteer programs in West African countries like Nigeria or join wildlife conservation in East African countries like Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. Volunteering in Africa includes several other activities such as medical volunteering, working with Kids, and women’s health and welfare among many other activities and these can be done in all the different countries on the continent.
Below we bring you some of the best countries to Volunteer in while in Africa
If your desire is centered on helping people, then Morocco is the country you need to go to. The streets are lined with children and the orphanages are crowded with them as well. Children born out of wedlock are ignored or rejected, that is why they are many in the streets and orphanages. These children want to feel loved and you can provide that for them as a volunteer. The local women in Casablanca, Tangier and Rabat need to be built economically and socially. The hospitals and clinics also need an extra hand as much as the schools need English teachers.
Nigeria, a country rich in oil and other minerals, is known as the ‘Giant of Africa’. Even though the country is wealthy, there are many volunteering opportunities and programs. There are opportunities in community development programs, AIDS awareness campaigns, and agricultural work. There are also opportunities in the rural areas of the country where Volunteers can teach sports or the English language to the children there. For Christian volunteers interested in preaching the Gospel across communities in Nigeria, there are opportunities for you to do this.
Sierra Leone, a country bequeathed with natural beauty is scarred with the ruins from the civil war. Its infrastructure needs re- building, there is a bad spread of poverty among her people, and the need to prevent the spread of diseases. All these require international assistance. In Makeni town, there is a centre for the deaf and there are AIDS patients as well as orphans in Freetown who need volunteer work. The locals are in need of health education. Volunteers can also teach the English language and other subjects in the Sierra Leone schools.
Even though Gambia is one of Africa’s smallest countries, it is in need of volunteers. There are many volunteers working in both the urban and rural areas of Gambia because about one third of the Gambian population lives beneath the poverty line. Because of this, the volunteer in Gambia programs and west Africa as a whole Include, education, preventive health care, medicine and human rights.
Also known as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is best known for having the largest number of the endangered Mountain gorillas which can best be seen during the gorilla trekking safaris in Bwindi and Mgahinga National gorilla parks. Cities like Kampala, Kireka with slum areas have several volunteer programmes in healthcare, Education and social welfare. in addition within the rural areas or villages, Volunteers can help build houses, educate the communities in different matters including sanitation. Wildlife Conservation is another aspect that can be looked in while in Uganda
Egypt is fortunate to have the longest river in the world, the River Nile, serving as a major support to the survival of its people. However, today, the ever increasing population is beginning to strain this remarkable resource. The country is limited in valuable suitable land to carry out its farming activities. Also, infrastructure in some parts of the country is poor. Therefore volunteers can work in farming and community development programs. The coastal areas are in need of conservation work; also, there is a need for environmental protection. Volunteers can also teach the English language to both adults and children
Volunteers can choose to go to Botswana. It is uniquely endowed with National Parks, Game reserves and special stones like diamonds. Volunteers can choose to work in Maun, which is the hot bed for tourists, Gabarone, the capital city of Botswana or Serowe which is found in the Eastern part of Botswana. Volunteers can work with children afflicted by the HIV/AIDS virus or in the rehabilitation projects for the local population. They can also help through the programs designed to conserve wildlife.
Mauritius is an Island, situated over 1100 miles from Mozambique. It is the former home of the dodo. Throughout the year, Mauritius is blessed with aquamarine waters, white San beaches, tropical weather and a rich bio-diversity. There is a need for volunteers to help in conserving this natural beauty. Volunteers can help with conserving the beach on La Preneuse beach or conserve the Marine waters on IIe de la Passe.
Ethiopia is a country in the horn of Africa. Formerly, it was the main producer of coffee. Also, rumor has it that the Biblical Ark of the Covenant found it’s home in Ethiopia. The local communities need a hand in Education, community development and health care. Volunteers can offer to help in activities that involve street children, orphans, those affected by civil conflict or those afflicted by HIV/AIDS. The elementary schools also need English teachers.
The Disney cartoon, Lion King was based on the wildlife and Savannah of beautiful Kenya. In this paradise, volunteers can help rescue wild cats. In Mombasa, Nairobi and many other areas, there are volunteer programmes in healthcare, Education and social welfare. In the rural villages, Volunteers can help build houses, educate the communities in matters like sanitation. While at it, they can help clean up these places.
One of the popular destinations for volunteer work in Africa is South Africa. After Apartheid ended in 1994, the country started moving towards development. There are still some places and programs that require International volunteers. Volunteers can work in health education because there are still high rates of HIV/AIDS, fetal-alcohol syndrome as well as tuberculosis. There is also a need for volunteers to work in environmental awareness education, and animal conservation in different wildlife conservations such as Kruger national park.