How to volunteer in Africa ?

You are seduced by the idea of volunteering in Africa but you don’t know where to start in your research? 

This article is for you. You who wish to try the adventure but who still have some hesitations. You who wish to have more information about the organization as well as some practical advice for a successful volunteering project in Africa.

I decided to write this article because when I started looking for information about volunteering in Africa, I didn’t find all the information I needed. 

I volunteered in Africa for few months and so I wanted to write this article for all those looking for more information to volunteer in Africa. 

Why volunteering in Africa?

Volunteering in Africa is a personal choice. There are many reasons to volunteer in Africa. So I am not going to be able to mention all these reasons, but some choose to volunteer to take a break from their daily lives, others to refocus on the essential things in life, others simply to be able to give a little of their time while travelling and discovering a new country and a new culture.

Why choosing Africa to volunteer ?

Africa is one of the cradles of humanity. It is a continent extremely rich in culture, traditions, people and landscapes. 

Many of the countries in Africa are still poor and undeveloped. There are still many villages that do not have access to running water or drinking water. Also, education in this part of the world is not very developed. Many children are unable to access education. 

So there are so many projects in the humanitarian field to participate in in Africa.

Volunteering in Africa

How to choose your volunteering project in Africa?

When searching for information on Internet to volunteer in Africa, you have probably come across many websites of associations and organizations praising the merits of their own association and trying to get you to go with them. But did you really have the impression that you were finding objective information?

Not really!

Indeed, there are few « objective » sites to help us find the volunteering project that suits us best. 

With my small experience as a volunteer in Africa, I therefore decided to list the criteria and important elements to be taken into account when choosing your volunteering project in Africa.

Choosing a volunteering project in Africa: setting a budget

Above all, be aware that volunteering in Africa can be very expensive depending on the organization you are travelling with. But you can also find cheap or even free volunteering projects.

Indeed, you can find a volunteering project that can cost you more than 3 000€ for 2 weeks and others that can cost 500€ for 1 month. 

It is therefore important to first set a range for your budget. 

We will see in more detail how much a volunteering project in Africa costs later in the article.

Choosing a volunteering project in Africa: targeting an area of intervention

It is then important to determine the field of intervention of the project in which you wish to participate. Indeed, there are many different areas of humanitarian work. 

This is important to choose because it will help you target the organization or association you will be leaving with. 

Among the domains, there are education, health, construction, ecology and the environment, etc. 

This choice is made according to your preferences. Instead, focus on the area that is most important to you. 

Choosing a volunteering project in Africa: choosing the right organization

The choice of the organization with which to volunteer in Africa is very important. 

I advise you to take your time to make the right choice.

For this reason, I recommend that you find out about the different organizations that allow you to volunteer in Africa in the field of intervention you have chosen. 

The choice of the organization will be based on your convictions, seriousness and interest in the organization. 

Choose an organization with which you share convictions. Find the organization you trust. Check the seriousness of the organization. Find out as much as you can about it.

Feel free to contact people who have left with the same organization to get feedback on the organization. 

Choosing a volunteering project in Africa: choosing a country

The choice of country remains important because you do not want to volunteer in a country you do not want to go to. 

So find out more about the country, health, safety and tourism in the country to make the most of this experience. 

The choice of country is, in my opinion, less important than the choice of the project in which you will participate, but it is still very important. 

Choosing a volunteering project in Africa: the choice of the volunteering project

The choice of the project in which you will participate is very important. This project should motivate you, so choose this humanitarian project carefully. 

On this project will depend your enchantment or not of your volunteering project. 

Choose a project that suits you and speaks to you that you are in tune with. 

Feel free to contact former volunteers who have left on this same project during their volunteering project in Africa. 

Find out about the living conditions on site, the place of the project, the missions etc.

However, I think it is still interesting to keep a surprise effect and not to expect too much before leaving to keep some surprise and mystery until you arrive. Also, it will prevent you from being disappointed if it does not happen as for the previous volunteer who told you about his experience. 

How much does a volunteering project in Africa cost?

As I explained earlier, the price of a volunteering project in Africa can vary considerably depending on the organization you decide to go through. 

Indeed, some private organizations, such as companies, charge exorbitant prices yet approach 4 000€ for only 2 weeks of volunteering. The price varies according to the countries and missions in particular. 

Other organizations allow you to leave for less than 1 000€ for 2 weeks to a month. 

Please note that with some organizations it is possible to deduct part of the sum of taxes. Indeed, if eligible, it is possible to deduct 66% of the sum of taxes. This is therefore a significant advantage. 

In order to know a little more about it, I advise you to read my article on the organizations with which to volunteer in Africa. 

How to prepare a volunteering project to Africa?

Volunteering in Africa

To make your volunteering experience in Africa a success, it is important to prepare it as little as possible. 

Indeed, for this, a certain number of elements must be taken into consideration before your big departure for your volunteering project in Africa.

Preparing for a volunteering project in Africa: insurance

Depending on the duration of your volunteering project in Africa, you must take out insurance. This insurance should cover you in case of an incident for emergency repatriation etc. To do this, you have several options:

  • Insurance of your credit card: often gold credit cards offer good insurance. However, this insurance often does not cover more than 90 days abroad. Read your insurance contract carefully.
  • Insurance of your personal insurance (MAIF etc.)
  • Special travel insurance: for example you can use Chapka Insurance, ACS, AVI, Allianz Travel, Assur Travel Europ Assistance etc.

Preparing for a volunteering project in Africa: health and vaccines

Vaccine recommendations and requirements differ depending on the country chosen. Also, these recommendations may evolve according to the particular situation of the country. It is therefore advisable to visit the official Pasteur website to find out and make sure you are up to date on the vaccines before volunteering in Africa. I strongly advise you to make an appointment with your doctor before volunteering in Africa to get the advice of a professional. In addition to vaccines, it is advisable to go volunteering in Africa with a first aid kit in case of an incident. 

Preparing for a humanitarian trip to Africa: the visa

Many African countries require a visa before you can travel to the country. Therefore, it is essential to find out in advance whether or not it is necessary to obtain a visa before volunteering in Africa. For this reason, I advise you to visit the official government website for travel advice to find out what to do before volunteering in Africa.

Preparing for a volunteering project in Africa: security

The security and geopolitical situation of the country in which you are going to volunteer is a very important element to find out about. 

Indeed, I advise you to visit the official government website in order to oppose the geopolitical situation of this country. 

Also, don’t hesitate to check out blogs or forums to get an idea of the security and dangers in the country. 

It may be interesting to register on the government’s breadcrumb trail before volunteering in Africa in order to warn of your stay and the duration of this stay if the country ever becomes « risky » etc. Also, by registering on this government site, you will be informed of any changes in your situation.

Preparing for a volunteering in Africa: country information

Before you leave for your volunteering project in Africa, find out about the country.

Indeed, cultivate yourself on the opening of this country to tourism.

What are the tourist activities? What to see? What to do about it? 

Don’t stop there and learn a little bit about the culture and traditions of this country. Indeed, you must prepare yourself a minimum for certain customs that could be totally different from life in your country of origin. 

Be prepared for some changes, especially regarding clothing, religion, attitudes to avoid, etc.

Volunteering in Africa

This will make it easier for you to integrate into a population and culture that may be completely different from yours.

Preparing for a volunteering project in Africa: preparing a budget

It is important to plan a budget for your entire volunteering in Africa. This will allow you to manage your budget to get the most out of this volunteering in Africa.

A range for your budget will be sufficient and will allow you to best organize the activities in which you wish to participate.

Indeed, part of the budget concerns the cost of volunteering in Africa. This prize will normally include accommodation and food during the participation in the volunteering project in Africa. 

To this, you will probably have to add from your pocket all the extras you want to do (tourist activities, etc…).

Of course, you will not need to pay a penny more if you do not travel after or before your participation in the volunteering. 

Preparing for a volunteering project in Africa: preparing the project

Finally, to properly prepare your volunteering project in Africa, it is necessary to prepare the humanitarian project in which you will participate.

This includes course preparations or preparation of course materials if you ever go on a project in education. 

You can also take advantage of this opportunity to bring books or things of all kinds to distribute in the village where you will be going. 

Do not hesitate to discuss with the people supervising you on site in order to better target the needs and achievements of the local association. 

How to volunteer in Africa: conclusion

In conclusion, volunteering in Africa is an extraordinary experience and I can only urge you to try it. 

To choose your volunteering project, find out about the organizations and projects that may be of interest to you. Also, don’t forget to respect the different steps when preparing your volunteering project in Africa in order to make this beautiful experience as successful as possible. 

If you liked this article, I advise you to read my articles on the same theme:

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