Through our partner NGO in Ethiopia, we at Love Volunteers are seeking volunteers right now. Opportunities in a variety of fields constantly arise, each aimed at making a palpable difference to people’s lives in a country which suffered decades of famine, war and other disasters. Volunteering in Ethiopian projects includes working with children in orphanages, schools and in medical programs. Ethiopia volunteers live with local Ethiopian host families for the duration of their placement.
Taking the step of volunteering overseas, especially in such a challenging environment, is something you will look back on with pride and with a greater understanding of humanity and its problems. Volunteers in Ethiopia come from many walks of life and are all ages. You may be considering volunteering in Ethopia during a gap-year before studies, as a new graduate or while between jobs. What you will gain is a firsthand experience of being with and helping people in a country ravaged by poverty and in need of urgent assistance.
Ethiopia is an awe-inspiring country with a dramatic history. The efforts of volunteers are never wasted and indeed have a measurable impact on those individuals and families most affected by poverty. In Ethiopia, you could be engaged on projects helping children in orphanages, working in schools or on medical programs.
Past volunteers in Ethiopia have broadened their outlook on life. Inevitably, there will be a re-assessment of your values as a result of your time spent as a volunteer. The experience is bound to leave you better equipped to face future challenges in your life. While there, you may well feel frustrated at times, and possibly overwhelmed by the challenges, but you can rest assured that you are making a difference.
Lying in the east of Africa, Ethiopia’s vistas and landscapes are immensely dramatic. Here, you will find the Simien Mountains and the Bale Mountains, both of which have wildlife that can be viewed nowhere else in the world. In contrast, there is the Danakil Depression to the north, where the hostile terrain offers that chance for extreme adventure. For more info about traveling in Ethiopia get a copy of Lonely Planet's Ethiopia and Eritrea Guide.
Start and Duration
Volunteers in Ethiopia can choose from short term or long term stays, and can start on any day of the year. Programs are flexible; however, two weeks is the recommended minimum stay, and is also the minimum in terms of the program fees that will be charged.
The minimum age requirement is 18. Volunteers should be able to speak English to at least an intermediate level. In some cases, younger volunteers accompanied by an adult may be accepted.
The Ethiopia volunteer programs are open to volunteers from all walks of life; those who are retired are welcome, as well as students, those on a career break, or at a crossroads in terms of career decisions. Apply Now!
Project Descriptions for Ethiopia
The program fees that Love Volunteers charges are on behalf of our local partners. These fees are used in the developing country to accommodate, feed and support volunteers, while running projects that directly benefit local communities.
Fees for volunteer programs in Ethiopia start at US$400 (€309) for two weeks, which includes accommodation, food, an airport pick-up, orientation and 24/7 in-country support.
|Volunteer period [weeks]||1||2||3||4||6|
|Teaching and working with children||-||US$400||US$500||US$600||US$800|
|Volunteer period [weeks]||8||12||16||20||24|
|Teaching and working with children||US$1000||US$1400||US$1800||US$2200||US$2600|
Other volunteers periods available. Please, contact LoveVolunteers for pricing of other periods.
A Love Volunteers registration fee of US$235 is charged in addition to the program fees and covers any placements you undertake for twelve months from the start of your first placement. The fee is refundable if you choose not to volunteer more than three months prior to the start of your initial placement. This fee ensures 24/7 pre- and post-placement support from Love Volunteers, checking and vetting of local organisations, a comprehensive information pack, as well as administration and marketing costs.
All transaction costs pertaining to online, bank or wire transfers are additional to the program fee and must be covered by the volunteer.
Food and Accommodation
You will stay in a volunteer guest house during your placement in Ethiopia. Some locals who work on the programs will live there, along with coordinators and other volunteers. This is a great way to be immersed in the local culture, and is an opportunity to meet people who may become lifelong friends. There is a house mother who will provide you with breakfast and dinner during the week and three meals per day if you remain at your accommodation during weekends.
The traditional bread – Injera – resembles a sourdough pancake. The main dish is often a spicy stew – known as wat – containing meat and vegetables. No pork is consumed, as most Ethiopians, being Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, Muslims or Jews, are forbidden from eating pork. An ingredient known as enset, sometimes called the ‘false banana plant’ is used in Gurage dishes where it is often ground up and made into another type of bread. Volunteers in Ethiopia have the privilege of savouring these and other local specialities in the homes of ordinary local people.
Lunch can be taken at small cafes or restaurants near your volunteer project where you can sample more local food at an affordable price.
The format of the orientation depends on your arrival time. Most volunteers tend to arrive in the evening. In this case, the orientation begins the following day with a talk at the volunteer house or local restaurant about the country, security, transport, the project and local health issues.
You will be taken to the local town and shown around places of interest such as supermarkets, internet cafes and restaurants. You are also given time to change money, buy bottled water, snacks and so on. If time allows, you will be taken to the project and have your project orientation the same day.
If you arrive in the morning, you may have orientation later that day, if you are not too tired.
A Typical Week
The structure of the week varies for different projects, but we aim to be flexible. Provided some notice is given, we will try to accommodate your plans. That said, a typical week volunteering in Ethiopia looks something like this:
Weekdays: At about 7.30am you'll have breakfast which is provided by the 'house mother'. At 8-8.30am you will make your way to the project to start at about 9am. Here you'll meet local staff who will explain your tasks for the day. Breaks throughout the day vary, as do finish times which are generally between 3pm and 5pm.
In the afternoon you are free to socialize or perhaps take a trip to the shops or visit a cafe or restaurant. Alternatively, if you like you can continue helping out on your project.
Weekends: Volunteering in Ethiopia during the weekends is possible, you may like to visit orphanages where the children will be delighted to be entertained. Otherwise, this is your time to relax, perhaps just chilling at home or you could arrange to explore the local town or travel further afield. Extended weekends can be arranged to allow for safari trips, but remember our local team need plenty of notice.
About the Country
With a population of around 77 million, Ethiopia in East Africa is bordered by Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti to the east and Kenya and Sudan to the west. Enjoying a mild climate, only the lowland areas to the far western, eastern and southern parts of the country experience temperatures much above 30°C.
Ethiopia has a fascinating history. Recent wars and famines have taken their toll, but much of Ethiopia’s historic legacy remains intact, parts of the country seeming unchanged since medieval times. This includes the World Heritage site of Lalibela, a remote and ancient town with eleven churches carved from rock, mysterious grottoes and hidden passageways. Here Christian ceremonies take place exactly as they did 1000 years ago. Visitors often travel to the rural town of Aksum, believed by Ethiopians to be the home of the Ark of the Covenant. The country’s south-west corner is worth exploring; dwelling here are several of the most intriguing tribes in Africa.
Travelling in Ethiopia, a poor and partly war-damaged country, is demanding, both physically and mentally. However, if you are willing to take the rough with the smooth, then the experience can be highly rewarding.
Current advice strongly suggests avoiding the Eritrean border area as well as the borders with Somalia, Kenya and Sudan. Do not consider, traveling by road across these frontiers.
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Thank you, this was a truly life changing experience. I can't wait for my next opportunity to volunteer.