Volunteer Abroad in Africa

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Why you SHOULD Volunteer in Africa

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1726 Volunteer Abroad Programs in Africa

Volunteer in Africa with Cross-Cultural Solutions

Join volunteer programs in Africa offered by Cross-Cultural Solutions. Volunteers can work in local communities located in Morocco, Tanzania, and South Africa. Placement options vary by country, but range from Community Health and Organizational Development to Eco-tourism.

Volunteering Programs with Projects Abroad

Delve into the rich culture and picturesque scenery of Africa while engaging in community service. Projects Abroad is offering international volunteer placements to participants from different areas of the world. Volunteers can choose between African countries such as Tanzania, Morocco, and Ethiopia.

Volunteer in Africa with Frontier

Earn your PADI diving qualification while volunteering in Africa. Volunteers will carry out marine research, work as a safari park guide, or swim with whale sharks. Participants can also opt to work on community projects, teach English in underprivileged communities while earning a TEFL qualification, or work as a sports coach for disadvantaged kids.

Conservation Travel Africa

Conservation Travel Africa was established to provide meaningful and responsible volunteer experiences throughout Southern Africa, focusing on Zimbabwe. We are based in Africa and work in partnership with our volunteer programmes and partners in Southern Africa and with volunteers worldwide.

Program fees from $180! Apply now with IVHQ.

Volunteer in Africa through one of many incredible program opportunities developed by International Volunteer HQ. Volunteers can choose from a range of locations, including Kenya, South Africa, and Ghana. Programs typically last from two weeks to a month.

Global Volunteer Network

With ten program options to choose from, individuals can always find a volunteer opportunity appropriate for their preferences with Global Volunteer Network. Situated in some of Africa's most underprivileged nations, including Ghana, Ethiopia, and Kenya, volunteers are sure to participate in a remarkable community service project. Participants can partake in programs focused on areas such as Ma...

International Student Volunteers

Travel to Africa with International Student Volunteers and choose from an array of available volunteer programs. Choose from helping restore wildlife enclosures and other infrastructure to guiding the youth of South Africa's Cape Town in building a brighter future for themselves and for their country.

Volunteer Work Abroad Opportunities

Help the local communities in Africa with a volunteer program offered by Love Volunteers. Participants can work with children, animals, and out in nature. Worldwide philanthropists can visit different countries including Malawi, Tanzania, and Ethiopia while engaging in outdoor recreational activities. This volunteer placement includes Community Health, Orphanage Assistance, and Wildlife Protec...

GoEco - Volunteer Abroad in Africa

Volunteer in Africa through GoEco. Participants can choose to help preserve wildlife, protect dolphins, or care for orphans. Placements are available in many countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar.

Volunteering Solutions

Volunteering Solutions offers 16 programs across Africa. Participants may choose to care for children in South African orphanages, be involved in English teaching placements in Tanzanian schools, or partake in medical programs in Ghanaian hospitals. They have the chance to immerse in the diverse African way of life.

Volunteer in Cape Town with Connect-123!

Volunteer in South Africa through Connect-123. Meaningful, hands-on projects are available in many different areas, including education, environmental sustainability, health care, human rights, microfinance, and more! Start dates and trip durations are flexible. Give back while experiencing all that this fascinating country has to offer!

Kaya Responsible Travel

Travel across Africa as a volunteer. Kaya Responsible Travel offers volunteer programs that focus on Wildlife Conservation, Ecology, or Child Care. Volunteers may visit countries across the continent, which include Mozambique, Swaziland, and Kenya. Participants fulfill roles at various placement locations, such as wildlife reserves, marine sanctuaries, and childcare facilities. Programs run fro...

Volunteer

The Humanity Exchange has 36 programs in 5 different locations. Programs are offered in Benin, Mexico, Cameroon, Colombia and Ghana. THEX provides affordable placements, and is committed to working in partnership with local communities.

ELI-Experiential Learning International

ELI - Experiential Learning International offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities in Africa, ranging from wildlife conservation in Ghana and organic farming in Uganda to teaching orphans in Kenya and Northern Tanzania, and medical outreach in Dar es Salaam. Most volunteering programs include food and accommodations with a host family, and in-country orientation and staff support.

UBELONG

Go on a journey of learning and helping in the Dark Continent with UBELONG. Choose from a wide variety of volunteer opportunities ranging from teaching and caring for orphans in South Africa to providing medical care and assistance to disadvantaged youth in Ghana. Teaching positions require participants to have intermediate proficiency in English.

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Children gather around Royal Seed Home in Ghana.

How to Volunteer Abroad in Africa

Why you SHOULD Volunteer in Africa

Africa is so hot right now. According to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Africa is one of the fastest growing tourism regions of the last decade. Over 56 million international tourists, almost double that of 2000, visited Africa this year. And the UNWTO forecasts this number to exceed 130 million by 2030! Yet, despite this rapid growth of visitors, Africa is still last on the list of popular destinations for general tourists, and it is still common to hear travelers say that they are nervous to visit this vast and mysterious continent. Yet for those interested in international service projects, volunteering in Africa presents a million and one opportunities to volunteer abroad.

Inaccurate Fears

It seems that worries about safety, poverty, and disease are rampant! Lingering stereotypes and exaggerated news stories can make a volunteer trip to Africa seem daunting – even scary.

Media Focus. Unfortunately, bad news is news and journalists often focus on reporting the problems in Africa. But, if every person judged a location based upon news stories, they would probably never travel! The truth is, very little (if any) media coverage is given to positive stories leaving the general public to know very little about the realities of a given region. The media plays a big role in spreading this idea because oftentimes an American’s only exposure to Africa is through the news stories that are printed in the U.S. Journalists tend to focus on the problems and bad news rather than on the good news that comes from Africa.

Violent Crimes. This phenomenon seems to especially hold true for Africa so it is difficult to find well-rounded information. The level of danger and violence in Africa seems to be one of the top misconceptions about the region. The reality is that violent crimes against tourists in Africa are rare. In fact, cities like Accra, Ghana are actually rated as having a better crime index than more popular volunteer abroad destinations, like Rio de Janeiro. This is one of the reasons Ghana is an ideal location for volunteering abroad in Africa, and is especially well known for volunteer opportunities working with children.

Statistically speaking, Rio is generally considered a pretty dangerous city for tourists with widespread street crime. Yet, it is also one of the most visited destinations in the Southern Hemisphere welcoming over 1 million travelers for the 2014 World Cup alone. As long as travelers and volunteers take care while in Brazil, the majority of them will enjoy their time and remain safe.

Health Concerns. Africa is not a country, but an absolutely massive continent spanning over 30 million square meters. To put it in perspective, that makes Africa the second largest continent on earth and as big as China, India, the United States, and most of Europe put together! So, when you do read about danger or disease in Africa, it is important to check out where it is actually occurring on the map.

For instance, the Ebola outbreak, while extremely tragic, is currently isolated to West Africa. Yet, the distance from the Western African country of Sierra Leone to the Southern African country of Botswana is over 620 miles further than the distance from California to New York. A person probably wouldn’t avoid travel to one side of the U.S.A. because of something going on clear across the country right? Why would anything be different when considering the safety of volunteering in Africa?

Instead of discounting a volunteer program in Africa because of unrealistic fears, just do your homework and visit the U.S. State Department website for the most up to date and country-specific safety information. Though, while it is important to be educated about hardships in any region that you decide to volunteer abroad in, it is equally essential to read stories of encouragement and learn about the real characteristics and truths of the country and its people (like those included below).

Africa’s Economic Boom

The continent is experiencing an economic boom that is lowering poverty rates, increasing GDP, and contributing to huge strides in education and healthcare. Some economists are crediting this boom to African leadership, foreign investment, and improved education for Africa’s brighter future. In fact, the continent has already seen its per capita income double in the last 15 years and life expectancy has increased by one year every three years for the last decade. HIV infection rates and malaria deaths are down more than 20 percent and 25 percent respectively.

So, how can the world help? One of the most effective routes is simple – buy African products and volunteer abroad in Africa!Volunteer programs in Africa are a two for one deal. International volunteers will get to directly support local communities while also helping the overall economy of the country they choose. 

African Culture

Africans top the list of the most friendly and hospitable people in the world! Three of the top ten most tourist friendly countries in the world are found in Africa, which includes Morocco, Burkina Faso, and Senegal; all of the latter countries tend to be the least sought after locations for volunteering in Africa. Most travelers will be met with genuine smiles rather than trouble while volunteering abroad in Africa.

Affordability

Many people think that the only way to travel to Africa is on a budget breaking flight and by joining an uber-luxurious safari. This could not be more wrong! Flight costs to and from Africa greatly vary, and there are a number of countries that you can explore on your own while volunteering in Africa, instead of participating in a guided tour. In fact, many people find that the best way to actually experience the culture and people of this beautiful continent is to stay, travel, volunteer abroad, and eat locally. The good news is that the local way of life is also very affordable.

Best advice? Ditch the high end, budget-breaking safari lodges and instead volunteer abroad in Africa at an amazing nonprofit organization or a wildlife reserve. Both options allow the travelers to more fully immerse themselves in the African culture.

Extraordinary Diversity

Africa is an enormous and diverse place that is full of wonder. A visit to this region is sure to be filled with captivating cultures, dramatic scenery, and astonishing animals.  Africa is made up of 54 countries and offers every kind of landscape a traveler could desire: hot deserts (Kalahari Desert in Botswana), Savanna grasslands, majestic rivers and waterfalls (Zambezi River and Victoria Falls), incredible coastlines and mountains (Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania). In fact, it contains the world’s longest river, The Nile, as well. 

Must Know Tips

Choose your locations wisely. As stated earlier, Africa is a massive continent with many options. Avoid any countries or borders that are known to be dangerous and focus on the places with historically safe reputations, like Ghana, Zambia, or Namibia. And, if you want an extra level of safety, register for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive travel and safety updates and document your trip.

Talk to experts. It is really useful to speak to other people who have volunteered in Africa. First hand accounts will allow you to make educated decisions and chances are you will feel much less nervous after speaking to real people who have already made the trip.

Do a safari - but not JUST A safari. Trekking through the wilderness and game viewing are undoubtedly wonderful African experiences to have during your volunteer abroad trip. Whether you take a high-end luxury tour, excursion with your African volunteer program provider, or a self-led safari, this is often a highlight of any African volunteer experience. But, volunteering in Africa only to go on a safari is not a good plan, it won’t allow you to closely interact with local communities and will therefore limit your overall experience of Africa. Think about doing more!

Volunteer in a responsible way with a grassroots community-driven nonprofit. Volunteering in Africa can be an exceptional learning experience but not all projects are created equal. It is important to approach your volunteer experience in Africa in an ethical way. The best way to do this is to ask your provider detailed questions about where your money will go and how your time will be spent before choosing to volunteer in Africa. Make sure the organization you choose addresses a true need in the community, focuses on sustainability and impact, and actually needs international volunteers.

Convinced that volunteering in Africa, a booming, friendly, affordable, inspiring, and diverse continent, is for you? Check out GoAbroad’s Listings!

Kathryn Pisco

Kathryn Pisco is a social entrepreneur from Chicago with a passion for travel and giving back. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio and attended Cornell University where she received a B.S. in Communications and Business. After years of working in sales, she took a career break with her husband and traveled the world doing a mix of personal travel and volunteer work. She returned from the trip inspired to create her own social venture -Unearth the World- which focuses on service learning and responsibly pairing volunteers with international nonprofits.