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.