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Volunteer in Ethiopia: Teaching, Medical, Childcare, Journalism

Volunteer Forever - Lara V.
By Lara V.
Guest Writer
Volunteer Forever - Volunteer in Ethiopia

Are you a history buff with a heart? You may want to visit the place where some of the world’s oldest civilizations made their home: many of the oldest human remains on Earth have been uncovered in Ethiopia, a country in the Horn of Africa, where one of the world’s most ancient alphabets is also still in use. A country rich in history and one of the only nations in Africa to escape colonization, Ethiopia welcomes visitors who seek to learn about their culture and give back to the communities that welcome them.

If you’re interested in volunteering in Ethiopia, you’re bound to have a lot of questions. Here is what you need to know about embarking on a volunteer program to Ethiopia, as well as some of the organizations that can connect you to a meaningful volunteer experience!

Know Before You Go

Ethiopia has an abundance of natural gifts (it’s the birthplace of the coffee bean) and boasts more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other African country. Yet, despite its many attributes, the country does not have a history of prioritizing education. While many adults are literate in Ethiopia, in recent years the Ethiopian government has only earmarked 4 percent of its budget for education. This opens a tremendous opportunity for foreigners looking to lend a hand. About 85 percent of the labor force works in agriculture, but Ethiopia is also a leader in hydropower, so learning blue-collar or language skills is still useful. Teaching locals English and computer skills open up new employment opportunities and can prepare young people for higher education.

Ethiopia has three main climate zones: tropical, subtropical and cool. The country has four distinct seasons. If you volunteer in Ethiopia over the summer, you can expect a lot of rain. In the fall, locals will be harvesting and come winter, the weather cools down and becomes drier. Springtime in Ethiopia brings the occasional rain shower, and in May you’ll experience the hottest temperatures of the world.

Recommended Volunteer Programs in Ethiopia


Volunteer Forever - Volunteer in Ethiopia

Frontier’s volunteer opportunities in Ethiopia are focused on helping people gain access to education and other community development initiatives. In the Ethiopia Teaching and Community Project, volunteers will get TEFL training as a part of the program and go on to teach everything from computer skills to music. You will get to work directly with educators in Gondar, interacting with small groups of young people. Some of the most vital skills you’ll teach in this program are basic computer skills, such as Microsoft Excel. You’ll teach Monday through Thursday and participate in other community projects on Friday.

Frontier also has a program called Ethiopia Sports Coaching and Teaching. On this project, which lasts at least two weeks, you will help young people in and out of the classroom. While you may be asked to teach English during the school day, you’ll also be tasked with coaching and supervising sports activities after the last bell rings.

Projects Abroad

Volunteer Forever - Volunteer in Ethiopia

Projects Abroad offers volunteering opportunities in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. You’ll have the chance to stay in a unique homestay, which enriches your experience in Ethiopia and will help you better understand the local culture. Volunteer projects with this organization are divided into three categories that, collectively, allow anyone to have the chance to participate.

Projects for all ages: Some of the opportunities in Ethiopia through Projects Abroad can accommodate volunteers ranging from teens to retirees. You can teach French, become a physical education instructor or work for a local newspaper. If you’re looking for a project where you’ll meet volunteers with varying life experience, one of these programs may be the right fit.

High school programs: Other volunteer projects cater to young people who want to spend spring break or summer vacation in service. The Care and Community program gives high-schoolers the chance to work in a care center, where tasks include doing art with children and helping renovate buildings.

Volunteer opportunities for professionals: If you already have a specialized skill set, consider one of the programs geared toward professionals. Volunteer in Ethiopia as a science teacher or intern in a medical facility where you’ll treat people affected by TB, HIV and more.

Ready to Travel?

Ready to embark on a memorable experience? When you’re a volunteer in Ethiopia, you will not only have the chance to meet incredible people and learn about a new culture, but you’ll give back to the community. Whether you want to teach children English or get your hands dirty renovating buildings, there is an opportunity for you. Get in touch with one of these organizations today, and soon the wheels will be in motion for your once-in-a-lifetime experience in Ethiopia.