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Families and Friends planning to have vacations in Africa at the same time interested in meaningful involvement with local communities, conservation, cultural, environmental, children, or women efforts can benefit from this package. Western culture differs in many ways from African way of living, this has become an excellent way for families to give exposure to their children the global perspective of life. Friends enjoy sharing experiences together, volunteering work in Africa is the best way to experience local cultures, areas, wildlife and learn some new skills at the same time. We will be glad to create a customized and personalized itinerary to suit your family or group and make you have fun.
Upon your arrival to the country of destination one of our country respresentative or coordinator will meet you and your family at the airport or port of arrival. Most of the times you will see your name of the sign, we encourage you to wear your Baobab Volunteer T-Shirt that there will be no confusion!. Make sure to send your the detailed itinerary and if possible your photo or family picture ahead of time and notify us of any changes, delays or flight cancellation so alternative arrangements can be made accordingly.
East African countries are generally warmer than Southern African, we suggest that you check your weather forecast ahead of time before arrival. Make sure you have both tropical and temperate clothing because some areas are cooler than others. Desert nights in the Kalahari may be very cold while day time is Dar-es-Salaam are generally hot and humid. In cases where volunteers would like to participate in safaris and excursions then camping equipment would be preferable things such as sleeping bags, flashlight (battery touch), camping mattress etc.
Mobile phones are a major means of communication in most countries, its relatively easy to secure your own mobile handset with local sim cad line for temporary use. We strongly suggest that the use of internet for fast and convenient communication, internet cafes are available in most big cities. Other means of communication include Post offices, couriers such as DHL, EMS and others if you need to receive or ship packages during your stay.
Its encouraged to bring either brand new or used gift items especially for projects in the orphanages, items like toys, shoes, clothes etc are highly appreciated. For home stay we also encourage courteous giving only as a token of appreciation but its not required.
Every country uses some what a different currency, they may be all designated as shillings or dollars but most of the time they differ greatly in value. Most airports have places to exchange currency, ATM machines can be found in hotels, malls, and banks. We encourage volunteers to only change money at these designated locations and not with individuals (black market). American Dollars and Pound Sterling are common currencies that are widely accepted but one should not exactly the current exchance rate. We advise that volunteers should have these currency most of the times especially in Eastern African countries.
Most of Volunteers prefer to stay of the “Volunteer Houses” since hotels, bread & breakfast or guesthouses can be expensive for volunteers stayig for longer periods of time, home stay programs allows volunteers to live with a local family and experience real African traditional lifestyle. The volunteer houses are large, Western-style house with TV, showers and sanitary facilities, and most of times shared with other volunteers.
Safety and Security
The house is normally safe and secure, with a security guard and a large gate, however, with the home stays, we give that family money from your fee for support, food and boarding. It is exciting to stay with a family; that way you will learn the African way of life, meet local people, eat local food and engage in local customs and traditions. Living is basic but all the home stays have power, water and accommodate volunteers in homes but more so in their lives. We have assessed all homes for basic needs to make your stay comfortable enough, you may stay with other volunteers in the same home or alone depending on the size of your group. Typically, home stay can accommodate up to 6 volunteers while hostels can accommodate more. Do not worry about staying in a home stay—we would not place you somewhere that is unsafe. While bedding is provided it is recommended that volunteers bring their own sleeping bag and towels for any trips away. Home stays are located in the towns and cities closer to the project sites but sometimes they may be 20-30 minute drive from the township.
Food and Meals
In the volunteer house or hostels, there is a cook who fixes meals for the volunteers, meanwhile in homes stay you will normally eat what the family eats. Regardless of the tribe or culture your host family be assured that they will give you a good African treat and meals will be relatively varied. Most African foods have background story attached to them, make sure to ask each dish associated occasion. Bottled water is readily available in all African countries and volunteers need not to worry about bringing their own water supply!. Depending on the African country you are volunteering, breakfasts generally consist of a cup of tea or coffee, bread or traditionally made cake, toast, fruit and deep fried dough. A typical lunch can include meat and vegetables with rice, sandwiches and fruit while dinner usually sees traditional food such as ugali and chapatti accompany the meat and vegetables. Breakfast is taken in the morning, then, lunch, which is served at about 1 pm (or you can take a packed lunch if you wish to eat at your project) and then dinner/supper served at 6 or 7pm or sometime later. Volunteers with special special dietary needs are accommodated by let us know ahead of time. Please dot not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but also as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible and courteous.
- Volunteering Teaching of disadvantaged and vulnerable children in the rural areas schools, orphanages and secondary schools. Opportunities for more technical and advanced skill transfer can be made ahead of times to be able to teach at high schools, vocational or university level. Mission oriented volunteers can also have advantage of ministering to church groups like women, youth, children and special groups like business men and women.
- Volunteering with both domesticated or wildlife animals, children and communities in Africa. Volunteers will have opportunity to work with local veterinarians, captivity centers, wildlife management and conservation organizations and community based development organizations that further the sustainable utilization of natural resources and community awareness projects.
- Learn new skills and take in knowledge about other parts of the world. Volunteers can be attached to a specialty group of professionals such as architects, engineers, pharmacists, mechanics etc to learn new skills and experience how things are done in different parts of the world. Prior arrangements of this kind of volunteer work is required in order to make proper arrangements with local professionals.
- Help uplift the community through building and refurbishment projects and community development programs such as construction of school classrooms, rural medical center (dispensary), kids playgrounds, orphanages, community meeting places etc. Volunteers participate in the community brainstorming sessions for projects that benefit them all.
- Volunteering in the Medical center to help with vaccinations, immunization, treatment, counseling, education and protection of diseases and health care issues! Health education, promotion and wellness is the center of the medical volunteer focus. Volunteers have the opportunity to engage their hands on skills in making a difference in touching peoples life in a unique way.
- Make a real impact in women empowerment, legal aid, advocacy and basic human right issues. We work with Human Rights organizations that aims to provide legal aid and counseling services to poor and disadvantaged women and children. Volunteers have the opportunity to facilitate seminars, workshops, camps and conferences.
- Volunteer with organizations and centers that work with disadvantaged teenage girls. Most of these teen girls have children, the volunteers have an opportunity to provide these girls with a hope for a better future and teach them skills that allow them to become self-supporting and take care of their children.
- Work with project that care for environment, agriculture, permaculture, wetlands and natural resources management. These projects are dedicated to environmental conservation, the populations welfare and community development. Volunteers will work in partnership with local governments, as well as other civil organizations.
- Most of the centers and projects accept internship opportunities for students and participants. Students can earn College or University credits by participation and professional references are produced to indicate the level and extent of volunteer’s involvement in the skill transfer and participation.
- Enjoy cultural tours, adventure trips and safaris
TYPICAL VOLUNTEER SCHEDULE
Day 1: The volunteers will be oriented the route to the project site, introduced to the staff and people at the project you will be working with and taken back to the hostel or home stay.
Monday to Friday: A typical week depends on the project site and activities done, office oriented work may extend to regular hours while labor intensive outside work may not be typical and usually ends early. A typical day may be as follows:
- 07.30AM-08:00 AM Breakfast is been served
- 08.00AM-08:30 AM Volunteer goes to the project site.
- 08:30AM-09:00 AM The volunteer reports at the site for work. There is usually a tea break and a lunch break.
- 12.00PM-04:30 PM Work at the project usually ends. The volunteer at this point is free to visit and see places or do shopping. You may also want to hang out with friends, colleagues or kids up to around 6.00PM.
- 06.30PM Dinner with the host family or other volunteers.
You will be given a detailed duty plan for your work for the entire week ahead of time so you have an idea what to expect and how to make adjustments.
Saturday and Sunday: During the weekend, volunteers have free time to chill and relax, take the opportunity to explore the country and learn more about culture. Whenever there are long weekends volunteers could go on safari or travel further afield to places of interest, your country representative will give you all possible places to have fun and tour. If volunteers wish to work over the weekends they can visit other projects that are active during these times, such projects as orphanages (or other children helping organizations) to spend time simply playing with and entertaining the children.
Tours and Excursions
Baobab Volunteering Services can organize tours, safaris and trekkings at special fees for our volunteers, this is done with separate tour operators that have contract with us to provide subsidized and discounted rates. We have separate information for these experiences for different countries. Detailed rates and fees for each countries experience can be downloaded or emailed, visit Safari for descriptions and special fees.
Our partner Tour Operators arrange for group or individual 3, 5, 7, 10 days camping safari to different parts for volunteers. Campsite are beautiful with spacious tent with beds and have access to toilet and shower, clean drinking water and nice meals. The safari staff includes a professional guide, cook and crew in charge of practical tasks and safety. For more information and arrangements >>Click Here
Baobab Volunteering Services and our partners will always try to give the best experience and service to our volunteers, however, do not expect full first world western living standards and perfectly precise working schedules. It is always a big challenge to live and work in African countries. It demands a lot of understanding, tolerance, courage, some experience and the ability to adapt to the environment. Sometimes, it may be overwhelming, especially for the first timers, adjustments to completely new conditions and have to communicate in a foreign language may be unbearable-do not worry, this is part of the fun!. Most things are not the way you are accustomed to, such as the climate, foods, culture, way of doing thigs, – literally everything is different, probably you are the one now with a weird foreign accent! Hey, most places find foreign accents adorable. During your volunteering time you will learn and find great things that normally a tourist would never see or experience just because you got integrated in the social and cultural fabric. It takes maturity, flexibility, independence and courage to get the positive experience you will never forget; this is an undertaking that is WORTH pursuing and its life transforming.
- All airport pick up and drop off from the project
- Work permit application and arrangements
- Detailed Handbook for Volunteerism
- Country and Project orientation programs including safety briefings
- Full board and lodging stay, which includes all meals a day
- Tour and Game drives (subject to project)
- Assistance from Country coordinators
- Certificate of Participation
What the fee excludes:
- Personal travel insurance for the duration of your placement which must include cover for repatriation
- All transport to the destination (ie flights)
- All items of a personal nature, such as souvenirs, curios, gifts, clothing (work and other)
- Email/internet and telephone calls
- Soft drinks, Medications, and Entertainments
- All visas for border crossings
- Any excursions over and above your planned itinerary