Volunteering in Africa
In Africa there are a large number of aid projects for international volunteering because it is unfortunately the poorest continent in the world. It is no coincidence that there are many opportunities for volunteering in all areas – education, social affairs, nature conservation or animal protection. While you are contributing to development aid in your favorite project, you also have the option of polishing your French or English skills, depending on the location, under very simple living conditions or with comfort, almost according to Central European standards. During your free time, you can discover the exciting African wildlife or immerse yourself in the culture of the black continent.
Volunteer projects in
5 good reasons for volunteering in Africa
- Help on the poorest continent in the world
- Develop language skills – English and French
- Volunteering with children, animals, marginalized groups – great variety of projects
- For hard-boiled and comfort lovers – living conditions for every mood
- Africa’s unique wildlife – in the wildlife project or during leisure
Do volunteering where you need it most
Many associate the word poverty with Africa as the poorest continent in the world. The world development index is calculated from the average per capita income, level of education and life expectancy, according to which 22 out of 24 countries with low levels of development are located on this continent. Many public institutions, charities or associations are correspondingly destitute. It is therefore particularly useful to make a contribution to development aid and to support the black continent with volunteer work.
Speak French or English in the volunteer project
A great advantage of volunteering in Africa is the opportunity to improve your language skills. Due to their sometimes very long colonial history, European languages still belong to the official languages in many African countries and are spoken by large sections of the population. Volunteers either have a project in French-speaking countries, such as Togo, Senegal or Madagascar, or in the English-speaking part of Africa, for example in Ghana or Tanzania.
Volunteering in all areas of action
You could say that every pot has its lid here, because the variety of projects is very pronounced in Africa. If you like working with people, you can help in the social area, for example, and support an aid project with street children, in daycare centers, with marginalized groups or with the disabled.
However, we generally advise against projects with orphans in Africa for reasons that we explain in our blog post “That’s why we don’t have orphanage projects”. In many cases, the children in these institutions are only pseudo orphans. In some countries like Ghana or Uganda 90% have at least one living parent! If you volunteer to help in orphanages, you are unfortunately more likely to support a business model than the children. Even in the best case, the optimal development of the youngest in orphanages is very disturbed. Instead, support projects and organizations that encourage children to stay in a family association – not only by volunteering, but also by donating.
There is also the possibility to teach English, French or sport, to get involved in nature conservation or to do a wildlife project.
Not only for the hard-boiled – different living standards also in Africa
Volunteering in Africa does not necessarily mean giving up electricity and running warm water. After all, it is an entire continent on which, in addition to very poor regions, there are also comparatively wealthy states and social classes. In countries of the Maghreb, for example in Morocco, the living conditions of the middle class are quite similar to ours, just like in South Africa. In many other countries with lower average income, for example in Gambia, or Kenya Malawi, the volunteers have to be content with considerably simpler living conditions. A warm shower can sometimes become a luxury or the rationalization of electricity can influence the rhythm of life.
Try to realistically estimate how much comfort you need and choose the destination country accordingly. Especially if you are volunteering abroad for the first time, you should not overestimate your adaptability. And the support of volunteers is needed everywhere, even where the standard of living is somewhat higher.
Discover the exciting wildlife of Africa with volunteering
There are many volunteer projects in the area of wildlife, because Africa is rich in species. Volunteers who have always had the desire to watch the Big 5 – that is elephant, lion, leopard, rhinoceros and buffalo – have the opportunity here. Being active as a game ranger, maintaining and maintaining a reserve, supporting zookeepers in their work are just a few examples of possible work content in the wildlife area. Volunteers can discover the exciting wildlife of Africa not only in the project, but also in their free time, for example during a safari in one of the numerous national parks.
Immerse yourself in African culture
Volunteering abroad enables you to get to know the target country in a way that you are often denied as a tourist, because through your work on site, volunteers have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of Africa: Tuk tuk driving, a few scraps of Swahili on volunteer projects in Kenya or snap up Uganda, cook typical Ghanaian food like Foufou and Kenkey yourself.
Photos courtesy of Karmalaya and Oyster.
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