About the Program
This amazing program in the village of Mwandi supplies the most vulnerable in society with a safe place in which to raise their families. The majority of people in the village live in mud huts which are not built well enough to withstand the weather conditions. During the rainy season the homes deteriorate considerably and eventually the walls and grass roof give in and the hut collapses. Due to limited resources in the community and as most of the local people live on less than $1.00 per day they do not have the materials or financial resources to repair or rebuild their homes. Love Volunteers have partnered with an organisation in Zambia to provide housing to those in great need. There is a long list of families who desperately need a new home. Over 140 homes have already been completed which house over 800 orphans and their caregivers. However, there are many other families on the list, mainly people with disabilities, grandparents caring for their orphaned grandchildren, or those who are abandoned or neglected by their extended families. Volunteers are needed to support the efforts of the local organization and family members who also contribute their time to the construction of their house. The United Nations states that everyone has the right to adequate housing, and this project aims to deliver this fundamental right to impoverished Zambians.
Goals of this Project:
- Provide quality housing to impoverished and disadvantaged Zambians
- Provide safe, healthy homes to enable families to live happier, healthier lives
- Improve the future prospects of some of Zambia’s most impoverished people, and help them to break the poverty cycle
- Expose volunteers and locals to new cultures
How You Can Help
Volunteers play an essential role in this program, supplying a willing workforce to help the benefiting family and program staff build the homes. Program staff are onsite to supervise the construction of each home. Volunteers will help construct homes in three basic sizes, determined by the size and needs of the family. At this time all the houses are traditional mud houses with metal sheet roofing. In the future there are plans to construct basic brick houses and prefab concrete houses which are much stronger and can last up to up to fifty years. Although some construction experience would be advantageous it is not a requirement for this program. Volunteers can help in many areas and will be assigned tasks based on their ability. Working outdoors can be hard so volunteers need to be physically fit, have a positive attitude and a genuine willingness to help. Volunteers will gain a huge amount from helping the disadvantaged into a safe and healthy home, from the pleasure of ‘doing good’, to construction experience and a wonderful cultural experience.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Help the benefiting family build their home
- Assist with construction tasks
- Work under the direction of local program staff
- Liaise with local program staff and local families
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to have a tangible and lasting impact on the lives of families and communities facing extreme poverty in Zambia. This 'hands-on' project is ideally suited to those volunteers with some knowledge and experience in construction or any of the building trades, however the project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by your local project leader. Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, be fit and active, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
Mwandi is a very traditional Lozi village and was not part of Zambia until its independence in 1964. The residents have retained their customs and are very happy, gentle people. Mwandi is not a “tourist village” it is the real thing, therefore be prepared for a very cultural/traditional experience. They may not have much, but they always have a smile for you! You will be welcomed into the community on your first Sunday, at the United Church of Zambia service. The service is quite different from western church services; there is lots of great singing and past volunteers have found it to be very enjoyable.
Two hours away, the historic town of Livingstone is now becoming known as the ‘Adventure Centre’ of Southern Africa, with various adrenaline sports, unmatched scenery of breath-taking proportions, and many other leisure options for outdoor lovers.
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every FRIDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Upon arrival in Zambia, volunteers will be collected at Livingstone Airport by a representative of the local project team and driven to Mwandi (approximately 2 hours away). If your flight arrives after 3 pm volunteers will need to spend the night in Livingstone and then be collected in the morning where they are delivered safely to the Volunteer House. Here volunteers will receive a full orientation to help them settle in, find out about their volunteering placement, the local surroundings and meet their fellow volunteers. A representative from the local team will fill them in on local and regional customs, traveling, rules and recommendations, and of course, what to expect from their volunteering experience. This is a great opportunity to get to know the hosts, meet the other volunteers, and ask any last questions they may have.
- Program Arrival Day: FRIDAY
- Program Departure Day: FRIDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, Livingstone, Zambia (CODE: LVI)
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation for this project is provided onsite, in purpose built dormitory- style shared chalets with en suites or within a large canvas safari-style tent.
The safari tents have wooden doors, mosquito netting on the windows, beds and electricity.
Western style bathrooms with flushing toilets and outdoor hot and cold showers are also available.
You will need to provide your own sleeping bag or sleeping bag liner only in the warmer months however mosquito nets and fans are provided. Wifi is not available, but you can purchase a local SIM card in the village, which is a short stroll away. As the local project manager is an American who has spent the last 20 years in Zambia, volunteers in this location have a ready–made source of local information and someone on hand at all times to show them around.
Three meals per day are provided by the onsite cook who generally prepares western food. Breakfast consists of cereals, bread and spreads, coffee and tea. Lunch is usually sandwiches and salads and dinner is usually a hot meal like cottage pie, curry, pot roast and vegetables.
As is common in developing countries, the standard of infrastructure is probably lower than in your home country. You may experience power cuts and interruptions to the water supply but this is part of the challenge and experience of volunteering in a developing country. With a little patience, and a flexible attitude, you will quickly get used to your new surroundings.
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
Safaris and Excursions for Volunteers
During your time in Zambia, why not use the opportunity to explore what this amazing region has to offer! If you're looking for an authentic adventure that takes you ‘off-the-beaten-track’, you can take an excursion directly with our local partner organization. As a Love Volunteer, not only will you get a discounted price, but every time you take a trip with them, a portion of the fee is donated to one of the Zambian development projects!
- Botswana 3-night/4-day Guided Safari Tour - This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit one of Africa's best safari regions and witness first hand many of the iconic African wildlife species. Participants will stay in lodge style accommodations and get to experience some wonderful activities including a 3-hour safari drive through Chobe National Park and a 3-hour river safari. What a way to cap off your volunteering experience in Africa!
Cost: $900pp (twin share room) or $950 (single room) (prices includes all meals, tea and coffee, transport, game drives, river safari, park entry fees, accommodation, ice for your cooler box, water and some snacks)
Interested? Ask us for the full itinerary of this once-in-a-lifetime Safari!