Have you chosen to volunteer abroad in Africa? Awesome! Now, are you ready? At African Impact, it’s our passion to help match people with the right volunteer projects, so we wanted to share some tips to help you choose how best to make an impact on this amazing continent.
1. Be Confident in Your Decision
Africa is an amazingly diverse place with many different regions providing many different experiences. For example, you could be volunteering in a rural village in Ethiopia, totally immersed in the tribal way of life, or based in a cosmopolitan city like Cape Town, helping disadvantaged urban communities. Each has its undeniable appeals and it is up to you to decide what exactly you want to achieve and experience during your stay. You should push yourself, but be realistic about what type of environment will suit you best.
2. Think practically!
Ask lots of questions about what you need to bring and what kind of conditions you can expect. For instance, do you need to bring protective clothing or a warm jacket (it’s not always hot in Africa – in fact it can get very cold!)?
3. Make Sure Your Project is Sustainable
Make sure the projects you’re looking at are run in a sustainable way. Ask questions about how they ensure volunteer work is maximized to make the biggest impact. Ask what the project has achieved in the past and how this is measured. Great projects do great things!
4. Have Some Fun!
Make sure to enjoy yourself and keep some time to travel. Research what there is to do in the area and how you can spend some time, pre or post-volunteering, seeing more of this amazing continent.
5. Make Sure Your Program is Safe
African Impact is serious about the protection of children on our projects and, obviously, of our younger volunteers. As a result, all volunteers are required to undergo a police check. Not all volunteer organizations require this, but the best certainly do.
6. Immerse Yourself
To make the most out of your African volunteer adventure, do some research into the history, culture, wildlife and people of the place you are visiting. Learn a few phrases in the local language and do some research into why sustainable development is so important. The more you put in, the more you get out!
About African Impact: African Impact runs 100 volunteer and internship projects in East and Southern Africa and has hosted over 15,000 volunteers. A leader in coordinating volunteer projects in Africa, African Impact takes pride in offering fun, safe, and sustainable projects throughout the continent.