Nigeria is one of West Africa’s crown jewels in which traditions are still respected and coastal cities accommodate to travelers stopping through or settling down. Nigeria is one of the largest economies in Africa, making for an exciting volunteer experience. Volunteering in Nigeria is not as dangerous as the media might suggest. The country suffers from an image of constant civil strife and political instability. To dismiss Nigeria based on those criteria is unjust.Photo credit: Mark Fischer.
Although Nigeria has a relatively strong economy, the state and local governments in rural areas are absent. There are few hospitals and under-staffed clinics. Administering basic vaccines and assisting clinics is a rewarding volunteer activity.
Income inequality, AIDS education, child-care, and other issues hinder community development. Working in small community projects or small-scale industries to build and support a community is a difficult but rewarding and worthwhile experience.
Youth Development & Education
Youth support through education is crucial to prevent the poor from falling into the black hole of poverty. Tutoring or teaching in small, elementary schools is but one way to help promote education.
NGO/NonProfit/Volunteer History: Nigeria has hundreds of NGO organizations in all regions and all fields—entrepreneurial initiatives to poverty reduction to promoting female equality to river sustainability. NGOs are typically understaffed and Nigeria is no different.
Questions to Ask: What’s the best and safest means of commuting around? How will I communicate with community members? What clothing should I wear? What are signs of respect?
Health and Safety of Volunteers in Nigeria
Volunteers in Nigeria should be sure to receive the proper vaccinations, which include: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, polio, yellow fever, meningitis, and rabies. Bringing a mosquito net to sleep under is also encouraged.
When it comes to safety, Nigeria is lacking. Lagos and the Niger delta (where locals and Western oil companies bicker) are two of the most dangerous destinations during the day and the night. Be aware of the prevalence of bribes and crime, especially when you stick out.
Visas for Volunteering in Nigeria
A visa to volunteer in Nigeria requires the following: a valid visa, verification of airline tickets, a bank statement, and a letter of invitation from party in Nigeria