African Impact
95% Rating
(92 Reviews)

African Impact

African Impact is a multi-award winning volunteer travel organisation which runs and manages meaningful and responsible volunteer experiences and internship programs throughout Africa. The organisation was founded in 2004 in Zimbabwe, and since then has grown into the Africa leaders in volunteer tourism, having facilitated over 12,000 volunteers and interns in 12 countries across the continent.

We’re proud to offer fun, safe and structured placements where volunteers understand their contribution to responsible projects run in partnership with local communities and conservation efforts. Our journey so far has been both inspiring and humbling and we will keep pushing the horizons of what volunteering can achieve.

Most Recent Program Reviews

- Tanzania 2017
Naomi
Female
22 years old
Australia
Other

My experience as a volunteer with African Impact - Moshi, Kilimanjaro

10/10

Truly inspiring, life changing & challenging experience. Incredibly grateful to have worked with wonderful staff & volunteers. Met loving, enthusiastic & joyful students which made classes so much fun & rewarding. Living in Moshi was by far the best cultural experience I've had yet. The people, animals, music, energy, food, gratitude, strength, adventure & love. Had the pleasure to teach English to the Masai tribal men & local primary school kids (who were the cutest!) . As well as teach business skills to the tailors in town. Thankyou African impact for an incredible trip, I didn’t want to leave x .

Can’t wait to come back next year!

Lizzie
Female

Medical volunteer

10/10

I absolutely loved the month I spent in Zambia with AI. I was on the medical project and the home-based care which we did most mornings was really interesting, and getting to see people in their homes was definitely a highlight. When we revisited people we were able to see an improvement as a result of the advice, medication and clinic referrals that we gave so it was very rewarding. The afternoon projects were varied and fun - I go to have a go at teaching, farming, sports and after-school games all of which I really enjoyed! The staff team are amazingly enthusiastic and friendly, and they make sure that everything runs smoothly. Livingstone is also a great place to be in terms of the free weekends we had - I got to go on safari, go to Victoria Falls, go on a walk to find rhinos, camp on a boat overnight, feed elephants at the Elephant Cafe and lots more! I made some great friends and was amazed at how much we were able to genuinely help in the communities around Livingstone - I would 100% recommend this project to anyone!

group photo
Inger-lise
Female

Amazing experience!

9/10

I don't even know where to begin. It's been 6 weeks since I came home and I still miss it every single day. I volunteered in the orphanage in the morning and at GAPA in the afternoons. The atmosphere in Khayelitscha is so special and makes the experience incredible. The smiles of the children are worth everything and unforgettable. The African Impact team makes you feel so welcome, not only by providing so much information that you know the house like your own in day, but also by always being there for a chat. I would recommend volunteering for everyone wanting to make a change, big or small. You also get to know so many people from all around the world and get to make so many memories at projects or in the weekends.

How can this program be improved?

There's not a single thing I would change, African Impact provides such good projects and really makes sure you are able to be a part of a change.

Default avatar
Isabel
Female
20 years old
Fort Collins, CO
Colorado State University

Best exposure to the medical field I have ever encountered

10/10

Upon arriving in Zambia, I was immediately thrusted into the best exposure and training in the medical field I had ever encountered as an American pre-medical student. I never expected to have opportunities to weigh babies, assist nurses with taking vitals and preparing vaccines, clean wounds from HIV fungal infections and leprosy, and even shadow doctors in a different country on the other side of the globe.

If you are searching for a way to gain exposure to healthcare, see clinical cases in real life, and find the confidence within that you can succeed as a doctor, a nurse, a physical therapist, etc., this program is for you!

How can this program be improved?

I would love to have full days working in healthcare, rather than just half days, but it was also helpful sometimes to have the afternoon off from "work" in the healthcare field and just to play with kids!

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Sherin
Female
34 years old
Stockholm

Unreliable organizations

3/10

The program is enjoyable for youth who wish to get in contact with the local population. The staff is generally nice and between 20 and 30 years of age. They are helpful as long as you don't question the planning or the project in general. The project is based on teaching English and strengthen the grammar skills of the local students. That is a good thought, but unfortunately you teach something else than the project organisation claims. I asked in advance for a work plan since I did not feel very confident when it comes to English grammar and the staff replied that I shouldn't worry and that we would plan upon arrival. One week before the project start date I got an unegotiable schedule stating that I was going to paint walls, pick litter on the beach and teach English 1,5 hours a day, (since it was Ramadan. Normally it is 3 hours. Some of the activities are the same even when it’s not Ramadan), I was also informed that I would take part in weekly lesson planning together with other volunteers.

Once on site it turned out that the planning was a mere half hour together with a coordinator without teaching experience or even teacher education. To get more support they suggested I would accompany a volunteer who had been at the project for a longer period of time, but it turned out that the teaching experience of that volunteer only consisted of three weeks being at the site and Ramadan started. I have been working as a support teacher and have some experience of how to help young people with difficulties. I was shocked when I noticed how the volunteer who was supposed to be experienced and a support for me was teaching. A week before exams used’s most of the lesson to tell jokes and teach the students another language than English.

Some other volunteers knew even less grammar than the students and yet when the day of exams had passed, no student had passed the exam. You cannot teach English on that low level, which I discussed with the staff. They stressed that the program gives the locals a chance to learn English when they cannot afford formal education. However, the level of the program was so low that it would not make any considerable difference. And if it will be, it will not be about teaching English its more about to get contact with local people and practicing everyday English. Impact only seemed to fool the locals into thinking that we knew what we were doing. There were two staff members with an 'English as a foreign language' education, but none of them took part in the actual activities. Instead the activities are run by unexperienced and uneducated staff. Nobody I worked with knew how to teach or to solve problems associated with teaching. Many students knew how to take part in simple conversations, but I believe they had learned that from talking to the islands numerous tourists rather than from African Impact's teaching program.

During community project we were painting a school, but the paint started to come of before we had even finished. We cannot have used the best method, so apparently none within the group had the know how. I do not know why a local specialist weren't employed to help us out with this.

When I tried to discuss all these issues with the local staff, they said that there was nothing they could do. But when I discussed with the head office later on, they said the issues would have been solved if I had discussed with the local staff instead. I even asked about how they use my money (since its very expansive and we did not got enough of food every meal and some of teenager had to put back of his food so that would be enough for all), I got a general information as answer. The local staff also pointed out that being there during Ramadan means less teaching and fewer tasks, but other volunteers who had stayed for longer said it was the same before Ramadan had started.

In total, the whole experience seemed to be like youth camp not serious teaching volunteer organisation. My advice check carefully all information you receive. You do not know who really are working in the organisation since there is no site which presents the stuff

Response from African Impact

Dear Sherin,
Thank you very much for your feedback and we appreciate the points that you've raised, however we feel that we need to give further information regarding our activities and structure to give you some context.

You arrived during the Ramadan period where, based on consultation with our community partners, we adjust our program to accommodate the local people who are fasting. This was communicated to you prior to your arrival and as discussed at that time, our planning schedules do change over this period. It is important to be flexible, understanding and appreciative that our work is fully-dependent on the needs of the Jambiani community at that specific time, who were celebrating a very holy holiday.

During Ramadan, we do take part in more refurbishment and clean-up projects as requested by the community, but we do continue to run free informal English classes that are open to anyone in Zanzibar, as well as help with village needs as raised to us in the monthly local government meetings.

Our informal education classes in Jambiani are designed for people who cannot access formal education, to get them to a level where they can participate in standard educational options or obtain jobs in the tourism area, which forms the backbone of Zanzibar's economy. We also accept students who want to supplement their official education in our informal classes.

We do have a very set schedule for these classes because despite these classes being informal, we want them to be as sustainable and structured as possible for the students. We've worked with qualified teachers across our projects to design structures and curricula to ensure we cover the topics needed for future formal education or employment.

The programs are designed so that is easy to understand for both the student and the volunteer coming in to teach. This structure means that even though we have different volunteers coming through, there is a common learning experience for the student and a set curriculum for each class.

We can therefore help our volunteers prepare for class each week during the preparation sessions and ensure they cover all the topics they need to during their time in the class.
If we were to allow people to come in every few weeks and teach what they want in class, unfortunately we feel that this would not be sustainable and not in line with our and the community's aims.

Since our project started, the majority of students who finish our higher classes have gone on to secure further education in Stone Town, the Jambiani Tourism Institute, or secured client facing roles in the tourism industry.

That being said, we do continually work to improve our education programs, and truly do value your feedback. We have been working hard to build a new education centre and look forward to some incredible achievements in 2017.

We have also made a number of changes on our Zanzibar project site to improve our program and invite you to take a read through the material available on our website that addresses important topics such as ‘Where Your Money Goes’ and our Responsible Volunteering Policy.

Thank you again for your feedback Sherin, we do want to ensure that while we not only serve the communities in need, we also ensure our volunteers have a positive experience and have certainly taken your feedback on-board.

The African Impact Team

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