Does studying Africa also mean that you care about and want to help in Africa? Most parts of Africa want help in very practical ways, e.g. education, youth, health and “income generation”.
Even if you do not have the practical skills but are interested, NGOabroad may be able to train you and prepare you to help, and many of the practical skills that you impart in Africa are practical skills that will help open career doors later.
EDUCATION: Uganda secondary school
Do you excel in and can teach writing, literature and grammar? Math, Physics, Chemistry and/or Biology? In Uganda, the president skims the money off the top so no money goes to the government schools so the teachers don’t show up. Penniless citizens start schools such as this to meet the need. There are 40-60 students per class, so teachers and/or tutors are urgently needed to give more individual attention to students. If you are not strong in science, you can teach writing. Teach imagination – vs. rote learning – which is subversive in Uganda. The first goal is to see that these youth can get high marks on the National Examination so that they can get a scholarship to Makerere, Uganda’s best university. The second goal is to ignite a passion for learning.
DEMOCRACY BUILDING: Kenya – Constitutional Law, Peace, Human Rights & Democracy Building
This organization was born after the election violence in 2007. The director’s family farm was destroyed in western Kenya and he went to Italy to get a Master’s in Peace Building. He came back and gave peace building workshops all over the country. They now also do workshops on democracy building and civic education. Why is this so important? Most Kenyan human rights activists were jailed and tortured under Moi. When they got out, they worked to change Kenya’s constitution so such abuses could never happen again. In Kenya, as in many parts of Africa, the country melts down at election time, so peace building, human rights, and democracy building are inextricably linked. Come help in their cutting edge work and teach Kenyans about how to forge a durable peace. Ideal for people with interest in constitutional law, human rights and/or dispute resolution.
HUMAN RIGHTS & LAW
1. Human Rights
Work on civic education, training people about their rights; electoral and democracy building –
emphasizing term limits to thwart leaders from becoming despots and Presidents-for-Life;
criminal justice work in the prisons or anti- corruption work (which is a big deal throughout Africa). You must be a graduate (already have your Bachelor’s). Law or Political Science helpful but not required.
2. Cameroon: Legal Literacy
Empower common citizens by teaching them labor, family and inheritance law how legal process works. Throughout most of Africa, women are considered property of their husband. If a husband dies, the wife is dispossessed of the land that feeds her and the children and is inherited by husband’s brother. Thus, inheritance law is crucial human rights issue. Helpful if you aspire to go into law or have background in law.
1. Alternatives to Violence
When our first volunteer came in to launch the domestic violence program, 48 out of 50 men said they beat their wives. “How else do you get them to mind?” Come help teach men, mothers and teachers how to use positive reinforcement, non violent communication and conflict resolution to reduce violent interactions.
2. Women & Literacy
Throughout Africa, most females older than 30 were not allowed an education. Their fathers would say: “I only have enough money for school fees for your brothers; you are just going to be a wife.” Adult and older women yearn to be taught to read and write. It is absolutely thrilling to help with empowering these women in this way.
HEALTH: Ghana & Cameroon: reproductive health & family planning
Melinda Gates will tell you that women all over the world ask her for help in having less children. We are finding the same. Women are figuring out that they would not be so poor or have as many mouths to feed, if they had fewer children. Women/ wives tend to want contraceptives or condoms; it is a harder sell with the husbands.
1. Ghana: Teach at Agricultural Institute
Ghana is one of the drumming-est, most friendly countries in Africa. No teaching experience necessary. What is needed are farmers with a strong background in organic farming, permaculture and/or sustainable agriculture. Mentor in the field and “download” your farming skills. The goal: to be able to feed Africa’s booming population.
2. Cameroon: mentoring in the rural villages
Life is hard for subsistence farmers in the rural villages all over Africa. Did you grow up in a farming community/ family? Can you show them rain water harvesting? Mulching? Enriching the soil? Like Ghana, they yearn to learn organic farming.
1. Ghana: After School Tutoring & Enrichment Program
At the edge of the capital, when father goes out to sea fishing and mom works at the beach drying the fish, many kids skip school. This organization’s staff walk through the neighborhood to draw in the truant kids; to re-engage them in learning through their tutoring and enrichment program. Drumming is very big here!
2. Kenya: mentoring youth
Above mentioned exemplary AIDS orphans program, aims to create the leaders of tomorrow.
Come mentor these kids: work with them on their goals & talents – whether those are athletic, musical or academic. Introduce them to things you are passionate about – whether that is astronomy or capeoira.
3. Ghana, Ashanti empire: soccer
This placement is in the heart of the Ashanti empire (which to some feels like out in the middle of nowhere).Their director launched a soccer program to keep kids out of trouble. If you love soccer come help in soccer crazy Ghana.
HOUSING – ALTERNATIVES TO THE SLUMS
This organization is building decent homes for people living in the slums. With each new home comes a solar panel on the roof for power and bio-gas digester for sewage and cooking fuel. They would like people that can help with social media and getting a word out about this alternative.
FILM & PHOTOGRAPHY
This new program teaches Rwandan, Congolese, Ugandan and/or Sudanese youth and refugees
how to shoot and edit films and photographs. The goal is giving them a voice, letting them tell their own story, and gain valuable technical skills. Some of youth have been hired by TV stations.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP/ SMALL ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT: Cameroon & Uganda
The focus of international development is helping people “generate income.” In Rwanda and with Congolese refugee youth in Uganda and in the remote rural villages of Cameroon, the challenge is helping dream up enterprises that people with few resources can do; and then mentoring and guiding them in the skills necessary to succeed & prosper. It is a fascinating challenge to break entrepreneurship into the basic steps and help people out of poverty.
Micro-finance is still an important ticket out of poverty. The most important part of MF is not the loan but helping micro-entrepreneurs succeed. Rwanda asks for help in Finance, IT (analyzing their database), Marketing or Operations.
The following require strong therapeutic skills so please tell others who have these skills:
Kenya: Sexual Abuse
While physical abuse/ domestic violence is beginning to be addressed throughout the world, sexual abuse is still taboo and unaddressed. This program is an exception for Africa. Experienced in trauma, sexual abuse, gender based violence, EMDR and/or PTSD? People with backgrounds in music, art or dance therapies especially helpful as Freudian based therapies and most talk therapy is very new and foreign in Kenya.
These are volunteer opportunities.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Both students & seasoned professionals are needed.
WHEN TO APPLY
*People are already beginning to apply to volunteer in June, July & August.
First announcements are sent in October or November for those that like to get a leap on their summer plans.
A 2nd, sometimes slightly revised, announcement is sent in January or February.
It is smart to finish application process by March so you have time to prepare to go to another country.
These volunteer programs do not just run in June, July & August – that is simply when the most people can go. Except primary & secondary schools that have school schedules to adhere to, most of our programs run year round.