Senegal

Love Volunteers has joined forces with a partner NGO in Senegal offering placements on projects such as working with children in orphanages and schools, as well as medical programs.Having suffered years of famine and other disasters, Senegal is a country which greatly needs the support provided by volunteers, either on short or longer term stays. It is a great location for anyone wishing to help by doing overseas voluntary work in Senegal. Your efforts here will have a direct impact on the lives of people affected by political upheaval, diseases such as HIV and poverty.Volunteering in Senegal enables the participant the chance to be immersed in an unfamiliar location where the volunteer’s help is urgently needed. Whether you are a gap-year student, a new graduate or between employments, you will find that the country of Senegal presents stimulating challenges. There is work to be done in providing relief to individuals, families and especially children whose prospects have been limited by poverty.In addition to this, volunteering in Senegal will broaden your experience and you will almost certainly grow as a person as a result. When you volunteer in Senegal, your skills and preferences will be taken into account before a final decision is made regarding the location and project best suited to you.Ideal for those who already speak French, volunteering in Senegal has the advantage of helping people who want to improve their French language skills. Located in Africa’s far western bulge, and bordered by Mauritania, Mali and Guinea, Senegal is a coastal country, flanking the Atlantic. It surrounds the small country of Gambia on three sides.

For more info about Senegal check Lonely Planet and Wikitravel.

Program Snapshot

Senegal is a great location for volunteers who want to lend a hand in a French speaking environment. Programs are available in teaching, childcare and medical work. Your efforts are very much needed by the local communities.
Location: 
Dakar, Senegal
Age: 
18 years +
Minimum Stay: 
2 weeks
When to apply: 
Book early.
Airport Pickup: 
Included, between 8am - 10pm. Programs begin on every day.
Costs: 
LV registration fees plus program fees from US$400 for two weeks.
Accommodation: 
Volunteer house or homestay. Breakfast and dinner provided.
Working hours: 
9am until 4pm - Monday to Friday.
Language: 
Good English.

Start & Duration

Volunteers in Senegal can commit themselves to short or long term periods, though ideally not less than two weeks, since two weeks’ program fees are the minimum than can be charged. A great advantage is that placements in Senegal can start on any day of the year. Volunteers whose flights arrive after 10pm are asked to stay at a local hotel and be met the following morning by our co-ordinator. We can recommend local hotels that offer airport pick-ups.

Food and Accommodation

Volunteers electing to go to Senegal have the advantage of staying with local Senegalese host families for the duration of their stay. Accommodation of this sort provides a unique opportunity to experience first hand what life is like for the ordinary people of the country, while gaining an insight into customs and values. Another benefit is having members of the host family on hand to offer help and to introduce you to the local area.Your host family will provide you with breakfast and dinner (and with three meals if you are at your accommodation during weekends). On working day, lunch can be taken at small inexpensive cafes or restaurants close to your volunteer project serving local food.The cuisine typical of Senegal resembles that of other French-speaking North African countries, the staple starches being couscous and rice. Thiou a la Wande is a bouillabaisse eaten in the Dakar area. Thiéboudienne is the national dish and is made from marinated fish which is cooked along with selected vegetables in a tomato paste. Around the Casamance area, you may find yassa, a chicken dish which is cooked with lemon and onions. Predominantly a Muslim country, Senegal cuisine does not include pork. Desserts tend to be very sweet and may feature bananas, raisins, almonds and peanuts.Mint tea, popular throughout North Africa as a digestif is a great favourite in Senegal, as is Toufam, a sweet yogurt drink. Alcohol is available in Senegal, including palm wine.

A typical week

For those teaching English, the working week runs from Monday to Saturday, with most classes given in the afternoon, while mornings can be spent on preparation and meetings with staff.

Volunteers in Senegal have the evenings free when they might enjoy eating dinner with their host family or spending time with other volunteers.

To gain a full weekend for travel and/or sightseeing (and depending on the length of the individual volunteer’s program), some flexibility is possible as regards taking a Saturday off.

About the Country

Senegal in North-West Africa is a semi-tropical land: sunny and warm for most of the year. There are rainy and dry seasons, the latter running from December to April. A distinguishing feature of Senegal is the dazzlingly colourful attire worn both by women and men.Much of the country is low-lying, consisting of sandy plains near the coast, semi-desert to the north-west and semi-desert, and in the centre and parts of the south, open savannah. There is a lush forest, the Casamance. Senegal's general flatness is relieved by the presence of the Futa Jallon Hills, which reach 1,600 feet at their highest point.There are four main rivers. Dakar, the capital, on a jutting peninsula reaching into the sea, offers non-stop buzz. This contrasts with the Île de Gorée, a tranquil spot or with the architecturally interesting Saint-Louis - West Africa’s first French settlement. Both of these are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.The beaches, especially at Yoff and N’Gor, are famed for their sandiness. Some resorts are rather over-developed, but elsewhere on the coast can be found attractive fishing villages where you can go boating in a wooden pirogue and spot flamingos and kingfishers.Apply now! Or check out the FAQ or contact page for more information.

Volunteer Requirements

Love Volunteers in Senegal invites individuals, couples, families, students, researchers, and groups to take part in its programs. Volunteers in Senegal should be at least 18 year old should speak English and French to at least an intermediate level. Younger volunteers may be accepted if accompanied by an adult.Volunteers in Senegal from all countries, backgrounds and experience are welcome to participate in programs in Senegal. All have a contribution to make and each can benefit from encountering a different culture. Apply Now!

Orientation

The format of the orientation depends on your arrival time. Most volunteers in Senegal 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 a supermarkets, internet cafes and restaurants. You are also given time to change money, buy bottled water, snacks etc. If time allows, you will be taken to the project and have project orientation the same day.If you arrive in the morning, you may have orientation later that day, if you are not too tired.

Mohammad
Mohammad
Mohammad
Mohammad
Mohammad
Mohammad
UNITED STATES
Senegal

I had a great experience in Senegal. The host organization was great and the staff, especially Binetou, was helpful. The project was also engaging but a bit disorganized. However, the lack of organization was not necessarily bad since it left room for creativity for the volutneer. 

The community center provided essentials for abandoned street children in the crowded slums of Yoff in Dakar. The abandoned children ranged in age from 4 to 16. The center provided a daily lunch along with educational activities like mini-French lessons and arts and crafts. Additionally, the center had a first-aid cupboard that was a hospital for many of the children who were unable to go to see a doctor. Hygiene was also strongly promoted at the center where children were required to take a bath before leaving for the day. Although the bathing areas were basic, they were absolutely crucial in giving the children a place to bathe. Some children also did not have more than one or two pairs of clothes so the center provided detergent and water for cleaning clothes.  The hygiene of some of the street children was appalling and it is hard to even explain how big of a difference the laundry and bath made. Even more difficult to put into words is the way the street children pushed and pulled for their share during lunchtime. 

Reflecting on the services the center provided-food, naptime, laundry, bathing etc.I was moved by the impact of the people who were behind the community center. The work done at the center was heart-warming, necessary, and life changing. The center’s work was not perfect, however, and there were issues of efficiency but the center was definitely an essential part of the community.  The center where I worked was at the forefront of international development and it was able to diplomatically maintain relations with its donors, local community, and Maribos, all in the best interests of serving the abandoned children. I was especially impressed with the center’s Senegalese manager who maintained a positive, sincere attitude. The other volunteers, from Belgium and France, who were at the center for 6 to 9 months impressed me with their compassion, dedication, and kindness. The center for the abandoned was truly a welcoming place that provided so much for those who had so little.

Giorgia
Giorgia
Giorgia
ITALY
Senegal

I want to thank you for the amazing experience i had through Love Volunteers. I truly believe you do an amazing job in cordinating all the programs and staff. My 4 weeks in Senegal just went so fast but i enjoyed every second of it..when i had to leave was sudden and sad..my host family was the nicest ever..i got so attached to them! The project we worked at was amazing. The people working there were between the best i ever had the chance to meet. Those kids were everything to them..it was like a big family! ill never forget the smiles on those kids faces but you know when you leave you ask yourself if you left something into them. i ll take some time to choose my next destination=) I actually cannot wait though! 

Hannah
Hannah
Hannah
Hannah
Hannah
Hannah
UNITED KINGDOM
Senegal

I know everyone says it but seriously it was one of the experiences of my life!! Unforgettable... I worked in an orphanage and a centre for street kids. Loved every minute. Binetou (the coordinator in Senegal) is very friendly, very helpful, always ready to help.

Working With Children

The areas where volunteers are placed in Senegal may include orphanages, nursery schools and community centers. These facilities provide care and support for children aged 0-12 years, and in some cases up to 18 years. Some have been orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS, many have families who can not afford to support them, while others have been taken off the streets or were abandoned at birth. By supporting the overstretched staff in these centres, volunteers in Senegal provide much needed assistance. The volunteer’s contribution can help bring a brighter future for these children. Volunteer opportunities in Senegal include teaching school-age children, counseling, helping to cook, feeding the children, cleaning, and devising and organising fun activities and recreation. Volunteers in Senegal are instrumental is ensuring that the children in their care are well looked after, that they adhere to a routine and carry out their homework.

Teaching Program

Volunteering to teach in Senegal is a rewarding experience. Placements teaching English, sports, ICT skills are available, as well as teaching life skills to individuals with learning difficulties. Typically, the volunteer in Senegal will work with children of between 4 and 17 years of age, attending one of the poorly resourced schools in Senegal. Volunteers are not required to hold a formal teaching qualification or TEFL certificate. After orientation has been completed, the volunteer teacher will be able to teach on his or her own, or, alternatively, may assist local teachers. One significant contribution you will be making is improving the pupils’ spoken English. In some instances, this applies to the teachers too, who benefit greatly from the opportunity to talk with native English speakers. Having good English language skills can lead to a brighter future.

Medical and Health Program

Volunteers are hugely welcome in the health care sector in Senegal where their assistance is required in clinics and hospitals. A wide spectrum of individuals can sign up to medical programs, including qualified medical personnel, medical students and pre-med students.Volunteer placements are tailored, where possible, to the level of experience and the interests of the individual, as well as to the size and type of hospital or clinic best suited to their preferences. Opportunities exist in Nursing, Midwifery, Dentistry, Traditional Medicine and Physiotherapy.Volunteers in Senegal's hospitals get the chance both to observe and assist doctors and nurses directly, which includes accompanying them on their rounds.There will inevitably be a striking contrast between the medical service delivered in developed countries and that of developing countries. Volunteers in Senegal can encounter many medical conditions that have been left untreated over time and are in advanced stages. While this can be harrowing, it can also be instructive.

Indicative costs per program

Volunteer period [weeks]12346
Working with children-US$400US$500US$600US$800
Teaching and assisting in schools-US$400US$500US$600US$800
Medical-US$400US$500US$600US$800
Volunteer period [weeks]812162024
Working with childrenUS$1000US$1400US$1800US$2200US$2600
Teaching and assisting in schoolsUS$1000US$1400US$1800US$2200US$2600
MedicalUS$1000US$1400US$1800US$2200US$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 cancel 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.