Guest post by @BorderJumping
If you have a personal story, volunteer resources, tips and advice you’d like to share for Do Good Thursday, please email me at email@example.com.
Our Journey began in October 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — when we left to visit nearly every country in Africa. At every stop we are meeting with farmers, community organizers, labor activists/leaders, unions, non-governmental organization (NGOs), the funding and donor communities, and local press
All we hear about Africa in the United States are stories about conflict, famine, disease, HIV/AIDS, and hunger. The news tends to be so negative that it desensitizes people from the problems, makes people feel powerless, hardens us from doing something about it, and even scares them from visiting Africa (beyond a packaged tour safari).
Our goal is to highlight the stories of hope and success on the ground in Africa. We are visiting and profiling projects and innovations that are working (in sustainable ways) to alleviate hunger and poverty and spotlight things that are working on the ground that could be replicated or scaled up. We blog everyday on our personal site called BorderJumpers.
We want to highlight some ways for travelers to see Africa while helping cool initiatives on the ground by volunteering.
Here are 15 interesting options for you to consider (thousands more are out there….):
1. If you are looking for something next summer and curious about Madagascar – we fell in love with the capital city Antanarivo – you might want to check out Reef Doctor. You can get free diving training and certification and conduct hands-on marine research, all while working with local fishing communities in the third largest coral reef system in the world.
2. If you are looking for a study abroad, WorldTeach runs a terrific semester program in Namibia. You can teach a number of different courses for elementary and high school children, including English, math, science and computer studies. At the end of the experience, make sure to hang out in Africa a bit longer by taking the Intercape bus company to Cape Town for winter break.
3. SIT Study Abroad offers a program called “Social Pluralism and Development” based in Cameroon’s political capital, Yaoundé.You will stay with a family for five weeks and spend a couple of weeks living in a northern village, with additional visits to western and coastal Cameroon. With more than 200 ethnic groups, local languages and dialects in the country, the program explores development theories, gender, art and cultural expression, and history.
4. Carpe Diem Education program integrates travel, volunteer work, and academic studies. In Uganda, you will live in the village of Junja working with an NGO that is building school houses in Uganda and then move to another village working with an interfaith coffee cooperative learning to grow and pick fair trade coffee. In Tanzania you will work with a health clinic as a volunteer with a medical NGO, while studying Swahili. Afterwards you head on a four day safari in through Tarangire National Park.
5. The Rhythm of West Africa Semester organized by Where There Be Dragons begins in Thies, Senegal, where you spend five weeks in a town about an hour from the capital city of Dakar. Students will meet with various NGO, taken intensive French lessons, attend guest lectures, and volunteer with local schools. The program continues as students hike overland into Guinea, visiting villages and integrating themselves in rural life and concludes with a three week home stay and volunteer project in rural areas of Senegal.
6. Doane College offers a really neat program for those looking to really jet-set across Africa — seeing, studying, and volunteering in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Swaziland, South Africa and Lesotho.
For a Volunteer Vacation…
7. Africa Impact offers a wide variety of ways to volunteer such as conservation work in Swaziland, chimpanzee and wildlife care in Zambia, pre-school orphan teaching in Mozambique, HIV/AIDS awareness in South Africa, and lion rehabilitation in Zimbabwe.
8. Volunteering in Africa has programs in Ghana that include volunteer work in the area of orphanage assistance, teaching, health care, journalism. You can participate for 1 to 26 weeks and volunteer ages run from 16 to 70.
9. Marine Conservation offers a program in Seychelles where spend your time scuba diving upon the amazing reef while providing much needed data to local organizations and government.
10. The Center for Cultural Interchange offers projects in Benin that enable you to work at a center for troubled youth, at a hospital, participate in a social action project, or to teach at a nursery school in a community village.
11. The Global Volunteer Network places people in Uganda working on an organic farming project. Volunteers work along side Ugandans digging and maintaining demonstration gardens. Activities include raised bed and double-dug farming to best utilize soil and make planting, harvesting, and fertilizing easier.
12. GapYearForGrownUps offers some terrific short and long term volunteer projects in twelve African countries. Some of the types of volunteering include animal conservation, child development, mentoring youth, teaching reading and writing, and wildlife research. Programs last from a couple of days to several months.
13. Cross-Cultural Solutions provides a program in Tanzania for boomers who are 50-plus working side-by-side with local people on community-led initiatives. Programs last from 1-12 weeks.
14. At Global Volunteers volunteers teach conversational English and other basic subjects, caring for at risk youth, assisting with health care, building schools and community facilities and much more. About 50 percent of volunteers are older adults, drawn primarily from the U.S. and Canada.
15. Earthwatch Institute, is an international nonprofit organization with volunteer field researchers engaged in scientific and social science research around the world. With a strong emphasis on sustainability, it presently supports about 140 projects in 48 countries, including Africa. Forty percent of participants are older adults.
BorderJumpers began in October 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — when Bernard Pollack and Danielle Nierenberg began a journey to visit nearly every country in Africa. At every stop they are meeting with farmers, community organizers, labor activists/leaders, unions, non-governmental organization (NGOs), the funding and donor communities, and local press. Follow them on @BoarderJumping, @WorldWatchag (Dani) or @BernardPollack (Bernie) for the latest update.