Nations Less Traveled: Volunteer Opportunities in Africa

Cameroon Nigeria Sierra Leone Togo Zambia Activism
by Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström Apr 13, 2008

Community Health Information Education Forum (C.H.I.E.F) in Nigeria. Photo by Lola Akinmade

Some of the most important volunteer opportunities are found in African countries that are usually overlooked.

While countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa provide volunteer opportunities from community building projects to wildlife conservation, the need for volunteers spreads across the entire continent.

When deciding to donate your time in Africa, consider the following organizations in less popular nations:


Sharing its border with Ghana, Benin, and Burkina Faso, the French-speaking Togolese Republic has an economy based heavily on agriculture. Protecting its natural resources is paramount. If your passion lies in environmental conservation, consider working with Jeunes Volontaires pour L’Environnement.

Jeunes Volonataires facilitates access to and protects natural resources as well as advocates for the rights of farmers. Active projects include its Sustainable Community Development program which focuses on poverty reduction and its Bio-Climate program which focuses on biodiversity, water, and climatic changes.

Volontaire Globalisation

Another volunteer org, Volontaire Globalisation fosters social responsibility through its numerous community-based activities. With “to make poverty history” its mantra, Volontaire Globalisation currently seeks volunteers to participate in its work camp initiatives and to help build community infrastructures in rural regions.

From water pumps for irrigation to high-quality fertilizers and new farming equipment, Young Development is helping provide local farmers with necessary materials and equipment through its “Africa Project” program.

Donations of materials to sustain agricultural development are always welcome.


Gaining the moniker “Africa in Miniature ” for its cultural and geological diversity, Cameroon is bordered by six countries: Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Chad, and Central African Republic, as well as the Atlantic Ocean.

Cameroon Association for the Protection and Education of the Child (CAPEC) works to identify the needs of children and youth while actively engaging parents and communities. CAPEC also works to protect children from exploitation such as sex trafficking and child labor.

Ways you can help are by sponsoring a child or assisting in the building of its school for orphans and underprivileged children.

Navti Foundation

The Navti Foundation located in Bameda continues to strive towards the development of rural communities and is actively seeking “teachers, farmers, managers, social workers, health educators, administrators, laborers, computer students, etc.”

Preserving biodiversity is what Green Cameroon is about. Forest rehabilitation, maritime pollution monitoring, and wildlife protection are just a few campaigns Green Cameroon seeks people to assist with.


English-speaking Zambia situated in Southern Africa is known for its copper mining industry. Mining in Zambia marginally sustains its residents, of whom over 70% live in poverty.


ChildHope-Zambia aims to reduce poverty through childhood education and seeks volunteers to counsel children, teach essential courses, as well as provide teacher training materials.

If you’re into sports, Beyond Sport Inc. provides great opportunities to volunteer through sports-based programs that empower local children.

Its “Global Exchange through Sport” program uses sport to facilitate international cultural exchange programs as a means of promoting community wellness and health.


Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria is an English-speaking West African country known worldwide for its oil and gas industry. A shortage of health workers and medical professionals exists within this densely populated country, and as such, nonprofit organizations operate on a grassroots level to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in addition to training peer educators who in turn educate their communities.

Offering healthy alternatives to harmful socio-cultural practices, Community Health Information Education Forum (C.H.I.E.F) provides primary health care services to children, families, and communities. It also aims to reduce infant morbidity and mortality by establishing primary health care clinics in impoverished communities.

Proposal writing and grant application skills, medical resources, and social welfare experience are just a few of the volunteer needs of this organization.

Sierra Leone

Bordered by Liberia, Guinea, and the Atlantic Ocean, the tiny country of Sierra Leone is a major exporter of minerals and gems. Unemployment remains a problem among its youth and former combatants of a longstanding civil war from which the country recently emerged.

Global Youth Network for Peace and Development (GYNPAD) advocates for the educational needs and vocational skills of youth within the country. The organization focuses on capacity building amongst youth and seeks to empower them with the skills required to be productive members of society.

Volunteers are needed to work with youth through creative community and individual building projects.

Another organization actively working with Sierra Leone’s youth is the Intelligent Quotient Club. Launching a sensitization campaign to promote peace, the Quotient Club needs volunteers to foster its nonviolence programs, social activities, and continually raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Most nonprofit organizations operate on donations and grants. If you can’t volunteer your time, financial and material resource donations are always welcome. Be sure to check out other organizations registered with the Matador community.

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