Volunteer’s Guide to Africa

In terms of volunteering, Africa represents the ultimate challenge. AIDS, famine and civil violence continue to ravage this continent so there are many organizations and individuals who are willing to offer their help in reducing mortality rate and poverty.
Many college students and young professionals around the world decide to opt for an African volunteering stage. This gap year in Africa will often turn into a life altering experience: not only are they facing a totally different reality, but they also have the chance to help people in critical situations and get to know their own limits and skills. This volunteer’s guide to Africa could as well turn into a 500 pages tome, but so far I will try to focus on the most important aspects like organizations, destinations, traveling possibilities etc.:

Organizations

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You should know that while some organizations provide a daily allowance for volunteers and in some cases even training and free transportation, there are many other which might require a fee in order to accept you as a volunteer. You don’t necessarily have to perceive the organizations in the second category as scams: Africa needs a lot of money so maybe part of the cost will be donated or will cover your meals, health insurance etc. Organizations like Peace Corps, UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity, Doctors without Borders have a lot of ongoing humanitarian projects in Africa. There are also local organizations as Exit Poverty, World Vision South Africa, Project Kesho and many, many others.

Types of volunteering

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One of the priorities on the African NGO’s agenda is represented by education. Usually, a native speaker of English or college degree holder can easily find a volunteering job as a teacher. Qualified doctors and nurses are also welcome everywhere in Africa. American citizens with a college degree and good references can try some of the many volunteering opportunities offered by Peace Corps. Many of the volunteering work in Africa has to do with fighting AIDS, helping orphans and promoting sustainable development.

Destinations

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Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana or Malawi are some of the most popular destinations when it comes for volunteering. Some of them are heavily stricken by poverty, while others are making serious offers to keep AIDS under control. The more developed countries like South Africa or Kenya might also need help in what concerns organizational know-how, campaigning, human rights or the integration if orphan children.

Traveling opportunities

There will be a lot of travelling opportunities during your volunteering stage, but don’t expect these to be provided by the charity and most important don’t neglect your duties for the sake of traveling. Travel Usually, the majority of the volunteers choose to travel at the end of their stage. Many of them pay for a safari but others might like a beach vacation of a city escape – it’s all a matter of taste.

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