Volunteer Abroad for Women’s Empowerment & Girls’ Education
If you’re ready to effect worldwide change, one of the greatest ways you can make a difference is by volunteering for women’s empowerment and girls’ education. Despite making up 50% of the world's population, millions of women and girls around the world continue to be marginalized and regulated to an inferior standing in their communities, depriving them the ability to reach their full potential and maximize their contributions to society.
When you volunteer for a cause, do you want to see immediate change? Are you hoping to help build a house in a week, refurbish a classroom, or dig a new well for clean water? If so, then this may not be the opportunity for you.
If you’re ready to effect worldwide change that may not manifest for months - or years - then read on.
The challenge is to change centuries of oppression, one mind at a time. It starts when you acknowledge that we all need to work towards women’s empowerment and girls’ education, not just in our own communities, but on a global level. Gender inequality is an insidious problem, and it affects more than just women; it impacts their families, from one generation to the next.
Imagine that your mother and her mother could not read, could not buy healthy food, or was denied basic health care. This is something women encounter every day in developing countries - in addition to physical and sexual abuse, or even being sold into slavery. It’s difficult to imagine if you live in an affluent country, where laws and different cultural norms promise you some level of gender equality.
But women can do more to help their families and their communities, and in the process break the cycle of poverty. The solution is education. Education not only exterminates inequality, it leads to economic and social development (which you can learn much more about in our recent article on volunteering for education abroad).
How can you help? Here are a few ways that you can make a difference for girls and women worldwide:
Volunteering with an NGO that teaches women about their legal rights.
Working with an international volunteer organization like Global Vision International that focused that provides opportunities on teaching English, computer literacy, and other skills to help women and girls build better futures for themselves, and earn an income to support their family.
Providing medical care, family planning support, and counseling in a women’s health clinic.
Helping women build small businesses - whether you’re teaching them financial literacy, business development, or even helping with teaching arts and crafts for income generation (basket weaving, jewelry-making, sewing, and more).
Ready to make a difference? Read on to learn about just a few of the many ways you can help women and girls build better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is an excellent organization that partners with NGOs to offer impactful and affordable volunteer travel opportunities all over the world. IVHQ volunteer abroad programs start from only $180 per week, and in the nine years since its founding, more than 60,000 volunteers have traveled with IVHQ.
If you want to help build women up who have been torn down their whole lives, then teaching in Uganda with IVHQ is the opportunity for you. Women of Uganda commonly face discrimination, lower social status, lack of economic self-sufficiency, and a great risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, meaning they need help and support from volunteers like you.
IVHQ’s Uganda volunteer program works closely with centers throughout the country to support underserved women develop and carry out income generation activities. Over the long term, these women will be able to support themselves and create better futures for their families. The centers you’ll work with provide financial and educational guidance, with entrepreneurship and group activities including basket weaving, sewing, tailoring, and jewelry-making. As a volunteer, you’ll educate women on financial management strategies and provide counseling on vocational skills and self-esteem. During your stay in Uganda, you’ll live in dormitory-style housing with fellow volunteers, and will have three meals per day provided by a local cook. This program can last anywhere from one to 24 weeks, with your first week starting at just $270. For more information about IVHQ’s women’s empowerment program in Uganda, please click here.
You also may want to check out IVHQ’s women’s education program in Kenya, where you’ll support women affected by HIV/AIDS. Through this program, you’ll work with a care center that provides counseling, guidance, and childcare if needed, allowing women to pursue income-generating projects, further education, and training in skills needed to pull their families out of poverty. To sign up, you won’t need a formal background in teaching or HIV/AIDS support, but IVHQ recommends that you prepare for your arrival by learning about issues women commonly face in Kenya, as well as some of the ongoing solutions to those issues. This program starts from one week at just $270 - to learn more and to sign up, click here.
To explore IVHQ’s other volunteer programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and beyond, visit: www.volunteerhq.org.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM KAYLA
Because it was my first time travelling alone I was worried to go for too long in case I didn't like it, so I only went for 1 week and arranged some tours for a few extra days. I WISH I STAYED LONGER! I read this countless times when reading reviews but didn't listen! Just do it! You meet so many people I was never alone! There were other volunteers and workers at the airport to pick me up, and there was 8 other volunteers in my homestay, all of whom travelled solo! You meet people in your home stay and so many volunteers that travelled alone that are all in the same boat as you!
Overall best experience I have ever had, hope that I can have the chance to try another program with IVHQ!
Founded in Peru in 2003, Maximo Nivel offers volunteer and intern abroad programs, TEFL certification, study abroad placements, and Spanish language programs in Peru, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. 25,000 travelers have taken part in Maximo Nivel’s affordable programs, which start from just $595 for one week abroad. Among the many educational and career-building opportunities provided by Maximo Nivel are internships in human rights, education, and much more to help you build better lives for girls and women in need. You also can customize your intern abroad placement to make the greatest impact and learn the most you can from your work.
If you’re passionate about human rights, Maximo Nivel may have the perfect internship for you: based in Peru, Costa Rica, or Guatemala, this internship invites you to work with a community organization, government agency, or an NGO to promote change through social justice and empowerment. As an intern, you’ll assist with community outreach, education, research, and fundraising while immersing yourself in your community and learning about politics, religion, gender, and ethnicity in your host country. To sign up, you must be able to stay at least four weeks in-country, and you must be enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s program in social work, international development, or a related field. You also must have intermediate Spanish language ability - though if you need to boost your Spanish skills before starting, Maximo Nivel has an online Spanish class and a Native Spanish Program to help prepare you for your internship. Click here to learn more.
Maximo Nivel also offers an excellent education internship in each of its three locations in Latin America, where you’ll gain classroom experience and teach a variety of subjects to students of all ages. You can choose to work with early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school students, and you’ll be placed alongside a local teacher who will help guide you and boost your leadership and teaching skills. As an intern, you’ll have the wonderful opportunity observe classroom instruction and management, help with planning and conducting lessons, learn about Latin American culture, and much more. This internship lasts four weeks or longer, and is open to students in bachelor’s or master’s programs in education, secondary education, or a related field. Click here to learn more about Maximo Nivel’s education internship.
If you want to volunteer with children, Maximo Nivel has an amazing program in Latin America where you can make a positive difference in the lives of children who suffer from poverty, homelessness, lack of education, or abuse. In this volunteer abroad program, you’ll travel to Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru to work side-by-side with local staff to support some of the country’s neediest children through educational programs, emotional support, sports programs, games, hygiene, homework assistance, and much more. You can stay one week or longer, and can expect to volunteer for three to four hours each week day. Learn more about volunteering with children here.
Global Vision International (GVI) is another amazing organization you should check out if you want to travel the world and make a difference. Since 1998, GVI has sent more than 2,000 volunteers abroad on a wide number of projects ranging from construction, to teaching, to environmental conservation, and much more. GVI’s award-winning volunteer and intern abroad programs are perfect for travelers of all backgrounds, whether you want to travel to Africa, Asia, Latin America, or beyond.
Right now, GVI is offering an opportunity to volunteer in India for two weeks to three months, with a focus on women’s empowerment and child care. Females account for two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population, and while overall literacy rates have grown in recent decades, there are still countless young girls not receiving the education they need to build better lives for themselves as they reach adulthood.
By taking part in this volunteer abroad program, you’ll help women overcome poverty and unemployment by providing them with an education, job training, and health care - which in turn decreases infant mortality rates, encourages children to stay in school, boosts income levels, and helps to break the cycle of poverty. This is especially important in India, where women face stark inequalities such as gender-specific abortions, spousal abuse, being married at an early age, and being denied an education by their families. Through your support as a volunteer, you can give women a voice, turn social stigmas around, and make a great difference in the lives of women, girls, and the communities in which they live.
During your time in India, GVI will provide you with dormitory-style housing with other volunteers close to the center of Kerala. You’ll work Monday through Friday each week, and you can expect to take part in several different projects depending on your program’s requirements and the needs of the women you’ll work with - a few projects include providing one-on-one lessons in a school, hosting income workshops, and assisting with health presentations. The cost for this program starts at $1,700 for your first two weeks abroad. To learn more about GVI’s women’s empowerment program in India, click here.
If you want to visit Africa, GVI’s women’s empowerment opportunity in Cape Town, South Africa may be the perfect fit. Through this program, you’ll join fellow like-minded volunteers to help make sure women in this region are given equal access to education and economic development opportunities. In smaller towns and more traditional, conservative areas of this region, women are at a disadvantage in schools and in the workplace - holding only 16% of senior management roles. GVI and volunteers like you contribute to women’s and girls’ development through health care, education, and income generation initiatives.
Throughout this program, you’ll stay with two to three other volunteers in a shared house in Gordon’s Bay, and work Monday to Friday each week. Your tasks will vary depending on the needs of the program, but can include education in literacy, rights, and life skills; hosting workshops on income generation; and teaching girls at local schools. This program starts from two weeks at $2,090 and includes airport pickup, staff support, housing, orientation, project training, and much more. To learn more about volunteering in South Africa with GVI, click here.
For more information about GVI’s volunteer programs around the world, visit: www.gviusa.com.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM LIZ
I spent the majority of my time volunteering with GVI in Kenya with a huge grin across my face, and for good reason.... I will always remember my time there as two of my happiest months. I took myself right out of my comfort zone and found that I was capable of things I would never have imagined.
GVI's projects are a great opportunity to make a difference where it is truly needed. Volunteer life is also so much more than that - you have the chance to truly experience a country and culture and try things you would never have thought of. I can't recommend it enough.
If you want to look at another organization providing lots of volunteer and intern abroad opportunities worldwide, Love Volunteers should be at the top of your list. With more than 30 countries represented in their offerings, Love Volunteers places thousands of travelers on meaningful programs focusing on education, child care, community development, and so much more, every year.
Right now, Love Volunteers is offering a women’s empowerment program in Jaipur, India with a goal of assisting girls and young women improve their literacy and technology skills, which in turn can help boost their self-confidence and future employment prospects. India is a male-dominated society, and as a result, many girls are left behind in their ability to become literate or even develop other fundamental skills. As a volunteer, you’ll help with teaching English - including listening and conversational skills - as well as teaching computer skills, world history and cultures, healthy habits and personal hygiene, and more. This program starts from four weeks at $620, and you’re encouraged to stay longer to gain the most from your volunteer placement in India.
If you’d rather travel to Africa, you may be interested in this women’s empowerment program in Mombasa, Kenya, where you’ll work alongside volunteers and staff to help 300 women in the community whose families have been affected by HIV/AIDS. Through this program, you’ll focus on helping the women develop self-confidence and skills to support their families, including gardening, farming, jewelry-making, and more. You’ll conduct home visits, assist with fieldwork, and accompanying women on trips to the hospital or clinic. This program starts from one week at $230, and as with Love Volunteers’ other placements overseas, you’re invited to stay longer.
To learn more about Love Volunteers’ many opportunities to travel and make a difference abroad, visit: www.lovevolunteers.org.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM TRACY
I was very happy when I found Love Volunteers. Not only do they have programs all over the world, they are also economical! I took a bit of a risk when signing up to go to Zambia as there weren't any reviews of LV volunteers there. That being said, it was the best decision ever!
If you want the real Africa, go to Zambia. If you want to truly contribute to the local community, volunteer with Love Volunteers. All the money you pay (except admin fee) goes to the local NGO, which in turns buys material for volunteers, hosts you, feeds you, and employs locals!
I couldn't have hoped for a better experience. Thank you to the LV team, the NGO, and the local Zambians!
Volunteering Solutions is another amazing organization you should check out. With volunteer abroad programs spanning 25 countries, Volunteering Solutions has ample opportunity for you to pursue adventure, immerse yourself in a new culture, and do some great work for a community in need.
One program you should check out invites you to improve women’s lives in Morocco. The country has put in place efforts to improve women’s lives economically and politically, but many still cope with abuse and live in poverty. Through your volunteer placement, you’ll work alongside a local NGO to help with teaching, women’s rights awareness, reproductive health education, land rights education, domestic violence coping, and more to help Moroccan women assert their rights and live their best lives. In addition to your main placement, you’ll be able to help with side projects such as IT support, teaching women different skills (such as sewing, painting, and IT), providing counseling, and teaching healthy diet habits.
To apply, you must have some knowledge of Arabic or French, and you’re welcome to take language courses throughout your travels. During your stay in Morocco, you can live with a host family for a more immersive experience in your community, or you can stay with fellow volunteers in a shared house. This year, Volunteering Solutions is offering several different start dates for this program, with an option to stay four to eight weeks. The trip cost ranges from $990 to $1,830, including 24-hour support, pre-departure information, airport pickup, orientation, housing, meals, and Internet access. For more information on Volunteering Solutions’ women’s empowerment program in Morocco, click here.
Volunteering Solutions also is offering a women’s empowerment volunteer and internship program in Bangkok, Thailand, where you can improve the quality of life for women living in Bangkok city. Through this placement, you’ll work with a center that provides emotional support, counseling, and crisis care for women and girls who have been abused or raped. As a volunteer, you can help with English teaching, arts and crafts, self-confidence development, looking after children, escorting girls and young mothers to doctor’s appointments, and much more. During your time in Bangkok, you’ll stay with other volunteers in a shared house with two meals provided each day. To sign up, you must be 20 years old or older, and depending on the type of work you’ll do, you may need to include a resume and letter of recommendation from a medical professional. This program starts from four weeks at $930, and includes 24-hour support, pre-departure information, airport pickup, housing and food, and more. To get more information and to apply for this women’s empowerment program in Thailand, please click here.
To learn more about Volunteering Solutions and the many other impactful opportunities abroad available to you, visit: www.volunteeringsolutions.com.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM MARIANA
I totally enjoyed my placement. The in country coordinator and support staff were great! Always helping and gave us every time a lot of support.
Getting to bond with kids is an amazing experience, to get to spend some time with babies, play with them, take care of them, learning some Swahili, getting deep into Kenya with people, doing, using transport, eating and living like locals is the highlight of my trip.
Based in Asia, IDEX has invited travelers from more than 25 countries globally since 2000 to volunteer in communities in India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Vietnam. IDEX strives to make a difference for underserved populations, and right now, the organization has more than 45 individual projects you can choose from in your adventure abroad.
Alongside many other volunteer opportunities in Asia, IDEX invites you to join other volunteer travelers in making an impact on women’s lives in the community they serve. As a volunteer, you can help with a variety of programs, including:
Leading creative workshops
Assisting with vocational training
Helping with housework and other tasks
Teaching women and girls about their rights in their community
Your work will make a difference for girls and women in India, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, or Vietnam. Through your efforts and the collaboration of other volunteers and NGOs in Asia, women and girls will gain a greater sense of self-worth and purpose, and will be able to better assert their rights at home and in their communities. To learn more about IDEX’s women’s empowerment programs, click here.
For more information about IDEX and volunteering in Asia, visit: www.idexvolunteer.com.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM MARIE
I like knowing that I have done something important, useful and have helped people who need it. The food is good and the staff is nice. In my opinion women's empowerment is the best project here. It's so interesting and the girls are lovely.
Since its inception in the early ‘90s, Projects Abroad has become one of the largest volunteer travel organizations in the world, with more than 600 trained staff members supporting more than 10,000 volunteers every single year. By connecting volunteers with staff and local counterparts on every program, Projects Abroad emphasizes cross-cultural understanding and learning to make a positive impact for communities in need.
With dozens of locations to choose from for your volunteer or intern trip, Projects Abroad has no shortage of excellent opportunities to travel and do good. If you’re passionate about women’s rights, check out this internship in Togo, where students and recent graduates can learn and take part in projects focusing on many different cultural issues, including women’s rights.
During your internship in one of Africa’s poorest countries, you’ll work alongside local staff to improve the standard of living for women, girls, and other individuals living in poverty. You’ll assist the local team with individual cases, awareness projects, and research, and all programs focus on helping Togolese people understand their rights. Your work can include raising awareness of individual rights, creating promotional or educational materials, operating training programs, and more. And because you’ll work with professional organizations, your placement may require more of you than a standard volunteer program - such as meeting deadlines, or representing your organization at meetings and other events.
To apply, you must be able to speak intermediate French, and be able to stay in Togo for at least four weeks. This internship starts from $3,080 and includes housing, food, airport pickup and drop-off, travel and medical insurance, orientation, 24-hour support, pre-departure support, and more. To learn more about how you can make a positive difference for women and others in need in West Africa, click here.
If you’d like to explore any of Projects Abroad’s many other volunteer placements and internships overseas, visit: www.projects-abroad.org.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM JULIA
My host-sisters were incredibly kind, welcoming, friendly, and the best hosts I could've asked for. They brought me everywhere with them, taught me to cook, to use Arabic phrases, how to get through the maze of the medina. They truly made Morocco feel like home and I can't recommend staying with a host family enough.
Projects Abroad made the experience of heading abroad for an extended period incredibly easy. All my travel logistics, including airport pickup and orientation around the city for my first week, were seamless. The staff in Morocco is incredible and I highly recommend getting to know them: they're native Moroccans who really love getting to know all of us. Take their recommendations for food and nightlife, and invite them to join you! Can't recommend Projects Abroad - and the beautiful craziness that is Morocco - enough.
Founded in the United States, A Broader View is a non-profit organization that invites volunteers to serve in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. And there’s a wide variety of projects you can take on, from teaching, to community development, to medical care, and much more.
Alongside its many other programs worldwide, A Broader View offers several different opportunities for you to empower women and girls worldwide - to get started, take a look at this volunteer program in Tanzania to support teenage mothers and their children. Many of the young women you’ll work with have suffered through forced marriage, human trafficking, poverty, abuse, and lack of education. As a volunteer, you’ll work in a women development center, which offers these women a home to help them get back on their feet. It also provides general education, vocational training, and health education, plus a nursery and primary school for the children. Through this program, you’ll help with a variety of tasks, including:
Income generation, marketing, and fundraising ideas
English and basic computer skills teaching
Helping with basic cooking and tailoring skills development
Child care and education for the children living in the center
If you have professional credentials or if you’re currently enrolled in a medical or nursing program, you can take part in A Broader View’s maternity/midwifery program in Moshi, Tanzania, where you’ll assist with an antenatal clinic, labor and delivery, family planning education, vaccinations, and much more. The women who visit the clinic you’ll work in are provided with family planning counseling, education on caring for their children, and more - plus the clinic’s pediatric department can help care for children up to five years old. In addition to your main projects, you also will take blood samples, run health checks, and conduct home visits, where you may encounter individuals with malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, hypertension, diabetes, diarrhea and vomiting, and skin diseases.
You’re invited to volunteer one week or longer in Tanzania, and you can expect to work eight hours per day, Monday through Friday - with weekends free to explore the area. You’re encouraged to learn basic phrases in Swahili to help you communicate more easily throughout your trip. This program starts from $850 for your first week, and includes housing, meals, airport meet-and-greet, orientation, 24/7 support, and much more.
For more information on the women’s and girls’ empowerment programs available worldwide through A Broader View, please click here. And to find out about the many other volunteer opportunities A Broader View offers, visit: www.abroaderview.org.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM ERIN
Five weeks volunteering was not long enough in Bulenga, Uganda. I had a life changing experience -meeting so many wonderful people both at the orphanage and the house – even strangers on the street. I learned most from the kids and they gave me more than I could teach to them. I will always be thankful for this experience and thank A Broader View for this opportunity. I more than highly recommend volunteers considering volunteering in Africa to come to Bulenga Uganda. You will not regret it!
If you’re looking for a chance to expand your education and build your career, definitely check out Global Nomadic, which offers volunteer and intern abroad placement in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific. Global Nomadic partners with NGOs in each community where it works to provide quality, impactful placements for travelers.
Right now, Global Nomadic is offering a human rights and legal aid internship in Arusha, Tanzania, where you can work closely with lawyers and support staff, assist with consultations, and raise awareness of human rights in Tanzania. For one month or longer, you’ll have the opportunity to support women’s groups, widows, vulnerable children, and orphans and their foster parents at a clinic providing legal services, advice, reconciliation sessions, and much more. And if you have background experience in law or human rights, customized internships and field research opportunities are available in accounting and finance, advocacy, journalism, IT, organization development, and much more.
Throughout your stay in Tanzania, you’ll live in an apartment with other interns and volunteers, and on your weekends, you’re encouraged to visit national parks, hot springs, and other trips Global Nomadic can arrange for you. This program starts from $1,410 for your first month, and includes housing and food, airport pickup, orientation, support, and project activities. To learn more about this internship, please click here.
And to find other volunteer and intern abroad opportunities with Global Nomadic, visit: https://globalnomadic.com.
READY TO TRAVEL?
If you’re ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime - and make a positive, long-lasting impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable populations in the world - click here to sign up for an account on Volunteer Forever and begin planning and fundraising for your travels.
And if you’d like to learn more about the many volunteer, intern, and teach abroad opportunities available to you worldwide, check out these articles!
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