Karibu means welcome in Swahili, and that's exactly how you'll feel when you volunteer in Tanzania. This country is rich with a vibrant culture, stunning scenery, and warm-hearted people. Volunteering requires no prior experience and is a great way to be immersed in a new culture.
Each year, thousands of people just like you embark on a life-changing journey to volunteer their time in a place that is completely different than what they are used to. In Tanzania you will get a chance to live like a local and make a difference in someone's life. Take the first step and discover the many opportunities that are available in Tanzania.
Take a couple weeks or a couple months to give something back and learn a lot in the process. No matter the amount of time, the benefits to both you and the local community are priceless.
Culture and Living in Tanzania
There are so many new and exciting things to explore in Tanzania, and here are some links to get you started. It's never too early to start researching and learning about this amazing country. Don't forget to also check out the Go Overseas guide to volunteering in Tanzania!
- Tanzania.go.tz is the government website for Tanzania.
- Lonely Planet's Tanzania page includes country information.
- The Tanzania BBC country profile and related news articles.
- The Tanzanian Embassy information on languages, music, and food.
- Culture Crossing is a great place to find out about some basic cultural dos and don'ts.
- Swahili Onine will teach you all about how closely the Swahili language is connected to culture in Tanzania.
It's important to be aware of what's going on in your volunteer destination. Besides learning about any big political and cultural events and stories, you may learn something interesting about the local culture.
- The Daily News is one of the leading, authoritative news sources for Tanzania. The Daily News is part of the Tanzania Standard Newspapers Limited group owned by the government. Their sections focus on business, sports, features, as well as editorial pieces.
- The Citizen is known as Tanzania's leading English-language news source with up-to-date coverage of politics, business, sports, entertainment, jobs, and more.
Activities and Excursions
Depending on the location you choose and what you are looking for, there are all sorts of once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be found in Tanzania. Each weekend, you can take time to explore the surrounding area. Some volunteers also include a week or two extra in their travel plans to explore the country. Going on a safari, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, taking a hot air balloon over the savannah, or relaxing on the white sand beaches of Zanzibar, are just a couple of the travel dreams that can come true here.
- Tanzania Tourist Board is the official website of Tanzania.
- Tanzanian Odyssey offers information about travel before or after your volunteer placement.
- Tanzania Cultural Tourism: Learn about the local tribes and even arrange to visit a community.
- Climb Mount Kilimanjaro: Information about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and lots of other information about Tanzania too.
- Fair Travel: A fair trade travel option for making your Tanzania experience positive for you and the local communities.
- African Budget Safaris: For the budget traveler and animal lover.
- Trip Advisor's list of attractions and things to do in Tanzania.
Fundraising, Grants and Scholarships
Let's face it, volunteering can be an expensive undertaking, mostly because of the flights to remote locations. Some program fees can also be expensive because you are basically paying for your room and board, much of which can support the local communities by creating jobs. It doesn't have to be expensive though, and many organizations, businesses, and individuals would be thrilled to help fund your trip.
- Go Fund Me where you can set up a free site and use your social network to help fundraise.
- FinAid lists many federal grant and scholarship opportunities.
- Do Something has many scholarships, grants, and awards for students 25 years and younger.
- United Planet also had some specific grant opportunities.
Learn the Language
The main language in Tanzania is Swahili, but English is also widely spoken. Many volunteer programs will have language classes built into the orientation, but if you are looking for something more before you leave, check out the following sites.
- Pick up some phrases from Surface Languages.
- Try My Language Exchange to practice with someone on a chat.
- Learn more about the Swahili language at BBC.
- Some free language resources from Innovative Language and My Languages for free videos and audio downloads.
Traveling to most African countries requires a great deal of preparation, including the right vaccinations. Requirements can change, so it's best to go to a reputable source like the Center for Disease Control (CDC). For up-to-date visa requirements you should visit both the U.S. State Department and Tanzania Embassy websites. Visa requirements for volunteers are different than a typical tourist visa, so be sure to get information up front from the volunteer organization you are traveling with. They will be able to point you in the right direction and help you secure any necessary permits required upon arrival. Though required, travel insurance is often not included in the program fees. However, there are many options, so shop around.
- U.S. Department of State provides country information and visa requirements.
- Specific information on visa requirements from the Tanzanian Embassy. The Center for Disease Control provides safety information and tips for how to prepare for your trip.
- Travel Guard: information about travel insurance
- World Nomads: more travel insurance information.
- Insure My Trip: great website to compare the travel insurance rates of multiple companies at once with may plan options.
From teaching English, working in an orphanage, helping wildlife, or helping AIDS patients, each volunteer organization offers something a little bit different. In addition to a variety of placements, there are many location options to suit any traveler. Beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, and bustling cities, can all be found in Tanzania, so keep that in mind when choosing where you would like to volunteer. Some organizations offer homestays, while others have a home base where groups of volunteers stay.
Here is some more information about a couple of the most popular volunteer placement locations and just some of the possibilities for volunteering in Tanzania. (Find even more volunteer options in Tanzania here.)
- Cross-Cultural Solutions focuses on four different volunteer projects in Kilimanjaro. You can sign up to volunteer to care for infants and children, support children's education, care for the elderly, or help those affected by AIDS.
- Global Leadership Adventures (GLA) offers construction volunteer projects at local schools and orphanages in Moshi. You can also choose to teach the children at the volunteer sites.
- IVHQ volunteer programs include teaching, orphanage work, and medical volunteering.
- Projects Abroad offers a wide variety of volunteer options. Volunteers live with local homestay families and get the chance experience the beauty of Tanzania and its parks.
- Volunteering Solutions has three different projects in Arusha: healthcare, orphanage work, and teaching English.
- Love Volunteers lets volunteers become part of the local community during their project. Volunteers can choose from working with children, teaching, working with HIV and widows, and various work at community centers.
- Support for International Change (SIC) lets volunteers help to run HIV awareness campaigns to make a difference where it matters most.
Other Locations (Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Kilomeni)
- Teaching and Community Development with Kaya Volunteer
- The Global Citizens program is located in a remote village between Moshi and Dar es Salaam, but they offer limited departure dates.
- Global Crossroad has a variety of programs in Moshi and Arusha. Choose a long-term trip or a short-term summer trip to volunteer with women, healthcare, and more.
- Frontier combines volunteer work with vacation in multiple locations focusing on community development and conservation across Tanzania.
- ELI Abroad offers opportunities to volunteer in Arusha on an HIV support program and in Dar es Salaam for women's empowerment.
- Teaching with United Planet in Dar es Salaam is a wonderful experience. Choose from a variety of subjects to teach like math, sciences, history, English, and more.
- Volunteer Basecamp offers a wide variety of interesting volunteer options from grant writing to public health.
- World Unite Placement opportunities in both Moshi and Zanzibar.
- Art in Tanzania Art in Tanzania works exclusively in this country and provides many different opportunities for all experience levels.
- IFRE Volunteers programs in Arusha and Moshi focus on women's development.
- Youth Challenge International (YCI) offers highly-rated volunteer programs in Zanzibar with small team of volunteers.
Choosing to volunteer in Tanzania is a big decision, but armed with the right information, the heart to do something good, and the thirst for adventure, Tanzania is the perfect choice for both the experienced and first time volunteers.