Working in community development is perhaps one of the most in-demand, challenging, and diverse volunteer opportunities available on a global scale today. What could be more rewarding than immersing oneself in a new culture and empowering communities by helping them achieve the awareness necessary to have greater control over their environment? Community development breaks down into many different categories, but is generally defined as social groups of people working together towards a common goal to build a stronger community.

Photo credits: Possible Health.

Education: Although teaching English is the most popular subject in teach abroad programs, it isn't the only available option. There are opportunities to teach sports, music, health and computer literacy. Teaching abroad isn't necessarily limited to children either. There are lots of organizations out there who target people of all ages who will benefit from learning new skills. Previous experience in teaching is helpful, but for many programs all you need is vivacity and dedication.

Energy and Environmental Sustainability: Whether you have a background in engineering and natural resource management, or even just a passion for conservation, there are endless opportunities built around assisting communities in saving what they have and making the best use of it. Educating developing communities about renewable resources and sustainability will provide infinite opportunities for growth and conservation. There is a huge call for the spread of this information and a wealth of opportunity to achieve real change in this sphere, especially in developing and rebuilding countries.

Medical and Healthcare: Compassionate healthcare is always needed, especially in poverty-stricken countries who do not have the resources, man power or technology to combat widespread illness and disease. There are many choices out there for those interested in contributing their time and skill, whether it be in healthcare education, HIV/AIDS awareness, or disabled care, for all levels of interest and experience.

Women's Rights: Gender discrimination is a serious issue in all corners of the world, even even in your home country. But for some, it is a matter of basic human rights that are being violently neglected. Serious issues include and are not limited to the sex trade, lack of educational access, honor killings, and worse. Helping to empower women through education and healthcare are small, yet huge steps to helping equality become a reality.

Africa: Africa marks the top of the list as needing the most help in every channel. Limited access to education and healthcare effects all those below the poverty line. You can volunteer for human right's in Ghana, work in HIV/AIDS prevention in Kenya, become a medical volunteer in Tanzania, or even teach a range of subjects to children in Ethiopia. There is nothing you can't volunteer for in Africa. With over four million people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa today (and that's after a significant decline over the past decade), it's apparent there's still a lot of work to do out there.

Southeast Asia: As one of the major global centers of child trafficking, the empowerment of education goes a long way in Southeast Asia. Migrant workers of Southeast Asian countries often end up in forced labor, indebted servitude and sex trafficking while simply trying to find a better life for their families. Teaching abroad in SE Asia can help provide more opportunities for children and families throughout the region. Also, as an up and coming locale for ecotourism, there are plenty of chances to make an environmental difference in a place that can benefit greatly from your assistance.

South Asia: The rights of women and children are a central focus in South Asia, and are addressed by promoting sustainable livelihoods. Vocational and general education is one of the best ways to assist in giving confidence and hope to those who need it the most.

Anywhere, really: Asia and Africa definitely are up there, but there is a need for community development in every corner of this world. Whether you're rebuilding in Haiti, empowering women in the Middle East, or teaching in the orphanages of Peru, the opportunities are truly endless. You don't need to travel far to make a difference in this world. You only need to discover what you have to offer, and offer it. The rest falls into place.

  • UBELONG: A highly-rated organization with an excellent immersion program that specializes in local development projects.
  • Volunteers For Peace: With a diverse array of programs and destinations to choose from, and equally high ratings, Volunteers For Peace is a great organization to make that difference with.
  • Global Vision International: Dedicated to community development, GVI works from the ground up, helping communities build toward a better future with construction and conservation projects.
  • Developing World Connections: Similar in its mission, DWC works with volunteers and communities towards a more sustainable world. You can volunteer as a student or a team leader, giving you the ability to grow in a multitude of ways.
  • International Volunteer Headquarters: Affordable and widespread, IVHQ offers the global volunteer a plethora of options on where to go and what to do.

Contributed by Lynnea Aponte

Featured Programs

Community Development Programs Abroad

Displaying 211 - 225 of 1870 programs
Global Work & Travel
Namaste Nepal | Community Development & Orphanage Care in Nepal
Nepal
10 •2 reviews

Home of the world's highest peaks, and deepest canyons. Nepal is a...

Global Work & Travel
Tanzania Community Volunteering | The Ultimate Volunteer & Travel in Tanzania
Tanzania
9.33 •3 reviews

Anyone can see Africa, it takes someone special to live Africa. To...

Pod Volunteer
Pod Volunteer | Charity Volunteering in Ghana
Ghana
9.25 •4 reviews

Volunteers in Ghana become part of the award winning charity's life...

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)
Help, Connect, Grow & Be Inspired in Fiji. Non-Profit Org & Charity 30 Years
Fiji
9.42 •19 reviews

As a tourist, there is a side to Fiji you've probably never seen...

Richmond Vale Academy
Fighting Alongside the Poor in South America and Caribbean
Multiple Countries
8.91 •11 reviews

Study & Action Program: With this 10-month program, we join hands with...

ME to WE
India: Volunteer in the Land of Flavour and Color
India
10 •3 reviews

For ME to WE (at the time Free the Children), South Asia is where it...

ME to WE
Me to We Ecuador: A Natural and Environmental Discovery
Ecuador
8.4 •5 reviews

• Volunteer abroad and help build a school for children who have...

Oyster Worldwide
Volunteer with kids in South Africa
South Africa
10 •1 review

A fantastic project giving you the opportunity to gain valuable and...

Global Dental Relief
Global Dental Relief: Public Health Dentistry with Kids in Nepal
Nepal
10 •4 reviews

You don't have to be a dentist to volunteer! On our Nepal clinic, you...

One World Center
10-Month: Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the Poor
Multiple Countries
9.4 •5 reviews

This is a volunteer abroad program on global poverty and sustainable...

The Small Things
Early Childhood Education Volunteer in Tanzania
Tanzania
9.69 •16 reviews

In order to provide chance, not charity, for the children and families...

JAKERA Adventure
Learn Spanish & Volunteer - Costa Rica - 1,2 or 4 Weeks
Costa Rica
9.5 •2 reviews

Learn Spanish & Volunteer in Santa Teresa – a jungle surf camp hidden...

231 reviews
Ecuaexperience- Clinical Shadowing for Pre-Health Students
EcuaExperience: Pre-Medical and Volunteer Programs
Ecuador
9.72 •231 reviews

Help, Learn and Discover is a student-driven volunteer organization...

Global Dental Relief
Global Dental Relief: Public Health Dentistry with Kids in India
India
10 •2 reviews

You don't have to be a dentist to volunteer! Our India clinic will...

Tru Experience Travel
TRU Experience Travel: Volunteer Projects in Multiple Locations
Multiple Countries
9.8 •5 reviews

Tru Experience Travel have some of the most amazing volunteer...

What People Are Saying

My daughter wanted a Spanish immersion program and the environmental sustainability focus of the Amigos PZ program caught her eye. As a parent, the 5 month training leading up to departure was key to...

Costa Rica Beach

I travelled to Greece in June 2018 and had the best two weeks of my life. Despite a rocky start of being refused boarding onto the airplane, from the moment I landed I felt both welcome and...

Sunset enjoyed from the beach

Volunteering in Germany is the least likely thing I would expect to be doing after 5 months of lockdown due to the coronavirus, but I'm so glad I did. I did conversational English lessons with Syrian...

Sarah receiving her certificate

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