Paid volunteers in Africa
Before the pandemic, volunteer tourism was a growth industry. The annual number of overseas volunteer participants hovered around 10 million. ‘Voluntourists’ spent €1.45 billion on their travels during 2019. While profiles and activities vary, voluntourism is largely made up of young, unskilled and usually white volunteers spending short stays in vulnerable communities.
The book exposes what happens when unqualified volunteers have to deal with situations for which they are not trained, such as the case of a young medical volunteer who collapsed during surgery.
Biddle’s stories suggest that the industry is built with the goal of meeting the needs of volunteers, but not those of communities. The problem is not simply that volunteers are not trained for these activities, but that the entire business appears to be an extension of the colonial mentality and colonial economic and political power structures.
Volunteers to work in Africa
We take care of all the details for you to have a smooth trip. Our staff will be available to help you 24/7 no matter which country you volunteer in. This will allow you to devote all your energy to helping the local communities.
Your safety is our priority. We have procedures in place to ensure that you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our staff is available 24 hours a day to make sure you feel comfortable in your accommodation and program. If you have any problems, they will help you at any time. Find out more about our safety and support strategy.
Even if you are convinced that your intentions are sincere, you need to make sure that the company you are working with has the right values. Volunteerism is a growing industry, which means that organizations are getting rich on the backs of the poverty and hardship of others. Many NGOs are sincerely committed to the welfare of their communities, while others, such as those working with fraudulent orphanages, are not.
It is important to undertake projects that suit your capabilities and not just your desires. For example, a popular activity among volunteers is to construct buildings. These can be houses, libraries, schools or other needed constructions in the community. The problem is that there are many volunteers who have neither the skills nor the experience to do so. As a result, they build unsafe structures that pose a danger to communities.
As Pippa Biddle wrote after her own volunteer experiences, “Our mission at the orphanage was to build a library. It turned out that we, a group of students from a private school, were terrible at the most basic construction, so every night the men would take apart the bricks we had so precariously laid to rebuild the structure so that when we got up, we didn’t know it had been a failure.”
How much does it cost to volunteer in Africa
In emergencies, the UN Refugee Agency is ready to act in less than 72 hours. Once the population is safe, durable solutions are sought so that refugees and displaced persons can return to a normal life.
Hunger and food insecurity are currently the biggest problems in African camps, affecting thousands of refugees who have had to flee their homes to escape wars and conflicts that lead to extreme violence against civilians.
We do this by working to foster social cohesion at the local level and reduce the incidence of sexual and gender-based violence, empowering displaced women in the DRC at the socio-economic level.
We provide Somali, Eritrean, Sudanese and South Sudanese refugees living in Ethiopia with shock food treatments and nutritional products to combat malnutrition. In addition, we provide training to refugees to enable them to take control of their own health and that of other members of their community, thus contributing to the establishment of self-sustaining structures and systems.