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
GoEco began in 2006 and has placed more than 17,000 volunteers abroad. GoEco offers more than 150 community, environmental, and wildlife initiatives around the world, including volunteer opportunities in Ethiopia. In recognition of their ethical service projects, they’ve even been mentioned in publications such as The Guardian and USA Today.
If you want to volunteer in Ethiopia, put GoEco at the top of your list. They’re very reputable and have numerous great volunteer programs in Ethiopia.
Want to teach in Ethiopia? Check out GoEco’s English teaching program in Bahir Dar. Provide valuable education to poor families and help children realize their potential. As an English teacher in Ethiopia, you’ll gain practical experience as you teach the youth a language skill that can open up economic opportunities. Also, Bahir Dar is located near Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile River and a gorgeous body of water. Enjoy the scenery during free time! Find out more about being a teaching volunteer in Ethiopia here.
Want to build schools in Ethiopia? Then sign up for GoEco’s community development program in Bahir Dar. Build, beautify, and renovate schools that serve impoverished families in the area. Your work will give the children a better learning environment. During the program, there will be plenty of time for cultural exchange and to make lasting connections with locals. So, are you ready to get your hands dirty and build schools? Get all the details about being a construction volunteer in Ethiopia here.
Wish to learn more about Ethiopian culture? Join GoEco’s Culture Week in Bahir Dar before you volunteer in Ethiopia on another project. During the culture week, you’ll enjoy a traditional coffee ceremony, take a cooking class, learn some Amharic phrases, visit ancient churches, study history, and more. The culture week is a wonderful way to learn about the country and make friends with locals and other travelers. To find out more, click here!
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.
Ready to Volunteer in Ethiopia?
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.
Lara V. · Guest Writer
Lara V. is a guest writer for Volunteer Forever.