Volunteer in Zimbabwe

  • About

    Zimbabwe, located between two rivers in southern Africa, is an amazing destination for any kind of volunteer trip! Full of cultural wonders you won't find anywhere else, Zimbabwe offers the opportunity to learn and give back at the same time. Whether you want to work outdoors with animals or inside a research lab, there are plenty of volunteer options.

  • Program Types

    Wildlife Conservation: Wildlife Conservation: It doesn't come as a surprise that wildlife conservation is the most popular type of volunteering in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's variety of wildlife goes beyond the common "Big 5" - buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino - also including wildlife such as giraffes, zebras, and antelope. These animals can commonly be found on private ranch land or public national parks. Since the Wildlife Conservation Act was put into practice in the 60s, Zimbabwe has been a leader in wildlife conservation management - making it a perfect place to get experience in wildlife conservation and management!

    Healthcare: Volunteers with experience in healthcare and medicine are sorely needed. Since its independence, Zimbabwe has been considered a country with a good public health record. Unfortunately, since the influx of cases of HIV/AIDs in the 90s and their economic crisis in 2000, general public health and the health system itself have been in decline. Whether you're interested in assisting at a local clinic or midwifery, your skills will be of great use in Zimbabwe.

    Education/Youth Development: Just because Zimbabwe's literacy rate is high, doesn't mean the education system and the Zimbabwean youth don't need your support. Many hardworking Zimbabwean teachers lack the resources and support they need. Volunteers can work in classrooms to assist teachers, spend time playing with children in orphanages, or whatever interests you the most.

  • Planning Your Trip
    • Know Before You Go: Here are a few tips to help you fit in with locals as a volunteer in Zimbabwe...Always tip locals, as their livelihoods depend on it. Don't discuss politics and other controversial topics with Zimbabweans as they can be sensitive to your perceptions of their homeland. Although English is an official language of Zimbabwe, locals will appreciate your efforts to learn and understand their culture and language. Practice some common phrases in Shona, the most common local language, before your trip.
    • Best Places to Volunteer: The best place to spend your time volunteering depends on what you're looking for. Southern Zimbabwe has a lot to offer in terms of wildlife and nature. Northern Zimbabwe is more industrialized and is the source of the nation's mineral wealth. Therefore, most volunteer projects take place in the southern parts of Zimbabwe. Lake Kariba and the Lower Zambezi are a bit of an exception though - located in the northern tip of the country, is a popular destination for locals and offer a variety of national parks. Some tourist hot spots to check out in your free time include: Victoria Falls, the Great Zimbabwe ruins, Mana Pools National Park, and the capital city Harare.
    • Health and Safety of Volunteers in Zimbabwe: Security risk for travelers to Zimbabwe has been relatively low since 2009. However, officials expect unpredictable political unrest with the controversial upcoming 2013 elections. This is a great example of how every visiting volunteer should be knowledgeable about the country's current political, economic, and security situations. In most cases, political unrest won't directly affect foreign volunteers but you should always be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Disease, including malaria, cholera, and HIV/AIDs, is prevalent in much of Zimbabwe so make sure to get you are up on your immunizations!
    Contributed by Katie Boyer

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