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Volunteer Work in Africa

Finding a Volunteer Job in Africa

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One way to look for a volunteer opportunity in Africa is to browse a job site that specialises in volunteer opportunities abroad. If you would rather pick an organization first, I have some personal recommendations of organizations that offer volunteer opportunities in Africa further down the page. For those interested in Voluntourism opportunities or short-term volunteer opportunities in Africa, see my article on "Short-term Volunteering in Africa"

Volunteer Job Sites

  • Idealist.org is one of the best resources for those looking for the opportunity to volunteer in Africa. Listings for volunteer opportunities are listed in their hundreds. There are also some paid job offers listed for Africa.

  • WorkingAbroad.com offers a personalized list of volunteer opportunities to suit your profile. For a fee you can fill out what type of volunteer work you are interested in, where you wish to work and how long you can work for. WorkingAbroad is affiliated to hundreds of organizations some of which are very grassroots based and which you may not otherwise find independently.

  • Transitions Abroad has a good list of volunteer opportunities in Africa with contact information for each organization.

Recommended Volunteer Agencies working in Africa

There are many reasons why people want to volunteer in Africa and it's important you choose an organization that shares your ideals and goals. The volunteer organizations listed below come highly recommended. I have personally known people who have worked for all of the following and have had good experiences:

  • Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is a British based charity organization which recruits professionals for two-year stints throughout Africa. There are a couple of youth programs available for 17-25 year-olds that require a shorter time commitment. VSO is one of Britain's most established and professional charities. While most of their recruits come from the EU, anyone is encouraged to apply. You can search for jobs by skill area.

  • Habitat for Humanity is a US based organization publicly supported by former president Jimmy Carter. Their focus is on providing housing for people throughout the world. Habitat offers paid international positions for 3 year terms. They also offer an international volunteer program which is a 2-3 month commitment where you are expected to cover your own costs.

  • UN Volunteers (UNV). Volunteering for the UN requires you to have a minimum age of 25 and while you can specify the country you would like to work in, they will place you where they need you. The jobs are usually for a 1-2 year time frame and are paid. Working as a UN Volunteer is a good way to get a foot into the wider UN organization if that's where you'd like to have a career.

  • Cross-Cultural Solutions is a non-profit organization headquartered in the US but with several offices around the world. They offer short-term volunteer opportunities to many developing countries including Ghana and Tanzania. Volunteer assignments range from 2-12 weeks and the volunteer pays a fee to join the program. This is a good program for those looking for an alternative to just traveling around. You'll get a great opportunity to live locally and help a community at the same time.

  • Peace Corps volunteers usually spend 2 years working on a project. Only US citizens are able to get a volunteer job with the Peace Corps. Every Peace Corps volunteer gets paid a modest stipend and all travel, in-country training and medical costs are covered. The Peace Corps works in about 30 countries in Africa, so there's plenty of choice.

  • Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). MSF is my personal favorite because they work under the most dangerous circumstances and are often the only ones still working when all others have left the scene. MSF Volunteers are generally expected to be available to work for 9-12 months and often in fairly extreme conditions. MSF offers volunteer missions to health professionals, administrators and logistics staff.

  • African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF). AMREF has over 50 years’ experience in health development in Africa, the headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya. AMREF implements its projects through country programs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Southern Sudan and South Africa. Training and consulting support are provided to an additional 30 African countries. Current job vacancies are listed here, and volunteer flying doctor positions are recruited for here.

Volunteer Work in Africa

Page One: Volunteering in Africa

Page Three: More Volunteer organizations in Africa

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