Why Volunteer in Africa?
Volunteering in Africa allows you to really challenge yourself, experience a whole new culture and live a different way of life. Above all however, volunteering in Africa allows you the opportunity to make a real difference to communities that appreciate the hard work you put in. Volunteers that go to Africa often come back with a whole new perspective and better appreciation for what they have. Not only this but volunteers return having made exceptional friends and enjoyed incredible experiences. Volunteering in Africa is a challenge, a privilege and an opportunity to develop a community and yourself.
What type of placement can I do?
Many placements offered by Lattitude Global Volunteering are teaching placements. The reason for this is the desire for education throughout Africa. Young people from Europe are fortunate enough to have had a decent education and sharing this with communities eager to learn is a real privilege and exceptionally rewarding.
Although the placements are nearly always classed as ‘education’ or ‘teaching‘ placements, there is always a large portion that will involve community work. Teaching in Africa is not like in the UK where a teacher may go home and forget the day. Many of our placements involve being part of the community. Being part of activities, projects and sporting events of the whole village or town and volunteers are always encouraged to take the initiative and get involved in the many areas of community life. The majority of placements volunteering in Africa will see volunteers living with host families who embrace the volunteer as part of their family and community
Lattitude Global Volunteering also has conservation placements in Africa, currently these are running in Malawi. The conservation placements vary according to what is needed by host communities and that volunteers can be a part of responsibly and without the risk of displacing a local workforce. Conservation placements may involve clearing scrubland, working on a bee farm and forest maintenance, Lattitude are always looking to expand these placements however and new project are always of interest, so do enquire for more information
Why should I volunteer for at least several months?
When it comes to volunteering there is a lot of discussion over what is and is not productive. Lattitude Global Volunteering strongly believe that in order to contribute positively and benefit from the experience (well beyond simply ticking the ‘volunteer’ box on your CV), volunteers should be committed to the outcomes of the placement. This means that volunteers should expect to be in a placement long enough to get to know a community. In the realms of teaching, volunteers should look to be a part of school life for the minimum of one term. In reality very little teaching can be achieved in a matter of weeks. It is also well know that it can take a while to adjust to a new set of surroundings, especially when a culture can be as different as it is in some countries in Africa, therefore to ensure our volunteers experience the country and culture as a volunteer (and not as a tourist) we expect our volunteers to be in their placement for several months.
Furthermore, as a charity, we only charge a fee to recoup the cost of running a placement, this fee is a one off charge and so the longer you are out there for the better value for money you will receive. Unlike many for-profit companies, we encourage long placements. However you will see many organisations charge by the week as this is better for their profit margins, opposed to the community or volunteer.
Conservation placements are also of a decent length; this currently promotes a better relationship between all on the projects including of course the local workers involved. However we are in talks with some local projects to see if there are any shorter term, hands on projects that volunteers could be part of throughout the summer holidays,. Please get in touch for more information.
So where can you go in Africa:
Situated on the coast of West Africa, Ghana is a country full of beautiful beaches, lush vegetation and the world’s largest artificial lake – Lake Volta! Although a stable country, many Ghanaians live in poverty, giving volunteers the chance to really make a difference.
Malawi is a beautiful country bordering Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia. The people are extremely welcoming and although Malawi is not on the tourist map, the Mulanje Mountains and Lake Malawi attract adventure seekers from around the world.
Few countries have changed politically as much as South Africa in recent years. It is a diverse and beautiful country, from the Kruger National Park to the stunning Kalahari Desert.