What You Need to Know About Volunteering in Tanzania

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Volunteering abroad is a life changing experience which will give you new perspectives of the world, make you more compassionate and teach you how to be happier through giving. Tanzania is a great country to choose if you are volunteering for the first time. It is one of Africa’s most politically stable countries though has a poor economy, with more than 50% of its population living below the poverty line. Tanzania is also a place of diverse landscape, being blessed with Mount Kilimanjaro, stunning national parks, extraordinary wildlife as well as stunning white beaches. Volunteering in Tanzania is an amazing way of giving whilst enjoying everything that the country has to offer, in your free time. By doing volunteer work in Tanzania you can benefit from reduced rates on safaris and excursions.

 

About Volunteering in Tanzania

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I have researched this article by spending a week with the volunteers from Hostel Hoff in Moshi, over the winter holidays. I’ve visited some of their projects and observed what it means to volunteer in Tanzania. Before I arrived in the country, I didn’t know much about the volunteering opportunities in Tanzania or what it actually meant to be a volunteer. We all know that there are so many websites out there that advertise volunteer work in Tanzania, which end up charging you an arm and a leg for bringing you to Africa. On the other hand, I also know people who went to Africa to volunteer over summer, through their schools, and did nothing but visit, with very few interactions with the locals.

First of all, you should know that volunteering in Tanzania means that you will spend a minimum of one month in the country. At Hostel Hoff, you don’t pay to volunteer, you only pay for your accommodation, which is 21$/month. This includes breakfast, dinner and laundry. There are quite a few volunteer programs that Hostel Hoff runs in Moshi, so no matter what skills you have, you will find something suitable for you. What I loved about Hostel Hoff was the family atmosphere among the volunteers. No matter which programs they are assigned to, the evenings are always spent together, either in the garden playing games or listening to music, or at the nearby terrace chatting and enjoying a local Kilimanjaro beer.

During the weekends, when volunteers have free time, the hostel offers many trips to the local attractions, at a much cheaper price than you will find anywhere else in town.

Volunteering in Tanzania means working with children, teaching, helping in hospitals, but also enjoying this beautiful country by visiting it.

 

How to Volunteer in Tanzania

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Once you decide that you want to volunteer in Tanzania, it’s time to search for a trusted company that will help you have a great experience and keep you safe at all times.

One of the most important questions that you should ask yourself when you choose a program to volunteer in Tanzania with is where are your money going to and what will you role be, how are you going to help during your time in the country?

There are many international agencies that will charge you thousands of dollars for a few weeks of volunteering in Tanzania. Agencies that spend some of that money on themselves. If you pay any money to do volunteer work in Tanzania make sure that your contribution is helping the local projects, not someone’s pockets in a big office in London or New York! Make sure that you pay for your own flights to go to Tanzania – most of the times an included plane ticket will be highly overpriced.

 

What Skills You Need to Volunteer in Tanzania

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You can find volunteer opportunities in Tanzania that don’t require a lot of skills or previous experience. As long as you are enthusiastic, patient, and are willing to learn, you will have a wonderful experience volunteering in Tanzania.

There are programs for every type of person, it doesn’t matter if you are 19 and just finishing high school, or if you are already a trained professional, midway though your life.

 

Volunteer Programs in Tanzania:

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There are many volunteer programs in Tanzania, depending on your skills. In the section below I will talk about the programs run by Hostel Hoff, because this is where I’ve researched about how to volunteer in Tanzania.

 

Education:

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If you choose a volunteer program in education in Tanzania you will be assisting teachers in their classroom and also help children make the transition from studying in Swahili to English. In Tanzania, children study the primary school in Swahili and the secondary school in English. It is a hard transition for them, if they haven’t spoken English before.

Hostel Hoff does not run teaching programs for public schools. They encourage however extracurricular activities such as drama, arts, farming, hygiene or skill developing. Volunteers can also offer one to one tutoring for children who struggle in school.

In schools belonging to orphanages, volunteers can teach children English and develop their own vocational classes such as singing, dancing, drawing or any other creative educational activity.

 

Youth Development:

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Volunteering in a youth development project in Tanzania is so rewarding on so many different levels. Usually you will work with marginalized and vulnerable children who have had a difficult start in life: they are street children, abandoned orphans or even children who have committed crimes to provide themselves with food.

Your role is to work closely with the children, helping them with homework, playing with them, guide and inspire them towards a normal life. The street centres are usually providing food and shelter for the children, whilst the social workers are trying to find solutions to their problems an reunite them with their family – if they have one.

You can support these children in so many ways! Whilst I visited the Msmaria Centre for Street Children in Moshi, one of the volunteers organised a football match. He got approval to go with the children to a football field and ran training sessions every day. The boys were so excited and looked forward to the big game day.

Another volunteer helped in the kitchen, with breakfast. As it was holiday, another volunteer decided to clean the classroom. Immediately a handful of children came in and helped with sweeping the floor or tidying up the books.

Outside, another volunteer was guiding another group of children to draw Christmas cards.

 

Orphanages:

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There are many orphanages around Moshi which are taking in children whose parents have died or abandoned them. Unfortunately, Tanzania is a country were HIV is still a big concern, with 4.6% of the adult population living with the disease. This affects children directly, many of them losing their parents to the illness. The orphanages in Moshi are doing the best they can to support children, but they have limited resources and are usually small and family run.

You can make a difference in the lives of these children when you choose to volunteer in an orphanage. Depending on the age of the children, in the morning they will go to school. You will help them with homework, English lessons, playtime activities and meals preparation. When the children are at school you can help with the household chores such as cleaning, prepare food or gardening.

There are no skills needed to volunteer in an orphanage, except for lots of love. Children are extremely happy to have volunteers playing with them. It is heart-warming seeing children as young as 4-5 years old being able to speak in English.

 

Healthcare:

The healthcare system in Tanzania suffers from a medical professionals shortage, with many dispensaries not having any skilled health worker. There is less than 1 doctor/nurse for each 10,000 people. Only 20% of the people in Tanzania have medical insurance. With diseases such as HIV, malaria, dengue fever, diphtheria and hepatitis, there is always need for extra help in the local hospitals.

If you have medical training, volunteering in the healthcare system in Tanzania can be a very good idea. There is always need for doctors, nurses, lab technicians and midwives. Volunteers in a medical clinic in Tanzania are expected to assist doctors and nurses with task such as consults, treating minor injuries, distributing medicine, maternity counselling, and advising patients on healthy lifestyles.

There is a need for volunteers to work in centres for special needs children as well. Experience in working with children with disabilities is preferred, especially if you are trained as a physiotherapist.  You will be mostly playing with the children, help them to read and write, help them exercise and assist with their meals.

 

Women Empowerment:

Tanzania is a patriarch country in which women are considered to be subservient to their husbands. In many rural areas women are discriminated and even oppressed. Not being able to have access to education and marrying at a very young age, women’s role in the Tanzanian society is to stay at home, take care of the household and the children. Without education, it is very hard for women to even dream at having dreams.

The women empowerment volunteer projects that Hostel Hoff runs are focusing on helping women by offering them free access to education and the training needed to set up small businesses. Many women who benefited from these programs have managed to create their own source of income by tailoring, creating and selling bracelets, bookkeeping, even entrepreneurship.

Volunteering in a women empowerment project would require you to stay in Moshi for at least 3 months and be a very good communicator. You will help women find their own voice and realise their potential but also help promoting gender equality in the local communities.

 

Other Projects:

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If you don’t think that the projects above are suitable for you, there are other things you can help with in Tanzania. Projects focusing on sustainability are getting more popular in Tanzania. One of the orphanages supported by Hostel Hoff has cultivated their land and grows its own vegetables. Another project focuses on planting trees in an area which has been deforested. Sometimes there is need for help with painting, repairing, refurbishing the buildings of the orphanages or centres for children.

 

Disclaimer: Please note that this article was written after ground research in Moshi, with the help of Hostel Hoff who kindly hosted me for a week and provided me with access to their volunteering programs. This is not a sponsored post. All the opinions in this article are my own and I would not recommend anything that I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself doing or think it was a great place to visit.

Some of the links one this website are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on the link and do a purchase, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. This helps me keep my website running and continue to share my traveling knowledge with you. I thank you for booking your flights or hotels using the links on my website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

 

 

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Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.

40 Comments

  1. Fantastic, fantastic, post. I love that you have highlighted the skills needed. And I am happy that you found a great volunteer set up. I remember being in Borneo and meeting a couple of young women whose parents had paid a fortune for them to volunteer. Not a great deal of it went to the right place. I love this post, it’s heart warming. Pinned to my Africa Travel board for later.

  2. Joanna, Wonderful story of your volunteer work in Tanzania. Few years ago, I was working with an UK Based organization (Christian Engineers in Development-CED), it was planned of exposure visit of Tanzania and Uganda, explore the work of CED in Tanzania and Uganda but due to some other natural disasters in my region I could not go there. Your story is very much inspiring… again I will try to go as a volunteer there and explore the life of Tanzania.

  3. Have you done a lot of volunteering abroad? Do you stay in touch with the people you meet after you come home? Sounds like a great experience.

    1. This is truly an amazing story, dear. Volunteering is cloae to my heart, too. That’s why this triggers me more to help ♥️

  4. This is such a lovely thing to be able to do. I would love to have the energy and health to be able to volunteer in such places.

  5. This would be a wonderful thing to do. I will keep it in mind if I ever travel that far. I am glad there are women empowerment movements!

  6. This sounds like an awesome experience! Thank you for walking us through your participation, most sites I have visited are not as detailed about the experience or what is needed. I have always wanted to have volunteer experience in Africa, to help, to learn and get to know more about my heritage.

  7. It’s great to be able to volunteer and help on a personal level. It sounds like there are numerous ways to help.
    My friend was looking to volunteer but I think it was somewhere else. It turned out it was going to be too expensive for her. I didn’t realise it would cost so much. It would be nice if travel firms helped out in these instances.

  8. Gosh this is SO interesting, I love all the great information. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us!

  9. Such an amazing opportunity to volunteer in other countries (as well as our own), perfect for gaining valuable life lessons as well as giving back at the same time.

  10. A really good post Joanna. You have undoubtedly broken down what is required to volunteer in easier digestible chucks.

  11. There was a time in my life when I was mulling over volunteer work, but I never got to it. It has been a buried thought, not until your post. I just might think about it again.

  12. There is so much good that can be done here and you have to admire people that actually step up to do it. With such good intentions, it is a real shame that agencies that facilitate this can sometimes be more profit-orientated for shareholders, rather than channelling most of the money to where it needs to go. Irrespective, it is so good to see people give of themselves to benefit communities that genuine need it. It must be hard sometimes when bonds are developed to realize that this can only be relatively short-lived before new people arrive to take their place. So long as people leave a place a little bit better than when they arrived, it is certainly worthwhile.

  13. Volunteering is something I’ve always been interested in but never got round to doing especially since I had the kids. This is a fascinating read.

  14. Never thought about doing volunteer work but after reading this? I am having 2nd thoughts but still thinking. Thanks for sharing, at least I got some ideas

  15. While I have never had the pleasure of volunteering in Tanzania, I did visit the country in 2013. My husband and I were part of a big fundraising effort for Ovarian Cancer Canada where we collected donations and sponsorships to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, raising both funds and awareness for OCC. While we were there we stayed in the Springlands Hotel and had the opportunity to spend some time in Moshi, including touring one of the local orphanages (where we dropped off a bunch of donated goods that we had brought with us). I would love to return and volunteer in an organization like that one some day.

  16. What a neat experience! With so many different opportunities, there is something anyone could do to spend their time there and learn about Tanzania while also contributing to the community. I had no idea all of this was available!

  17. Thank you for this. I found the people of Tanzania so warm. I also think that volunteering while there is a great thing. . . I know the orphanages of Moshi need visits, pens, stuffed animals. And, of course, the staff and kids will be so grateful.

  18. I have a friend who spent many summers in Tanzania teaching the children about musical instruments. She taught them how to play the violin. It was really fun seeing them discover these instruments for the first time and then amazing to see how much they learned by the end of summer. She encountered many of the experiences you described here.

  19. I have always wanted to do volunteer work in Tanzania. Such a great post, I will plan the volunteering after this lockdown.

  20. This is such an interesting and informative post! Love learning about the same things and how they work in different countries.

  21. Volunteering in Tanzania sounds like a very rewarding experience. I’d love to have the chance to get to know the locals and give back to the community.

  22. What an interesting and really detailed post about volunteering in Tanzania! It would spark anyone’s interest with all these good ideas!

  23. This is a fantastic step by step process for anyone interested in volunteering. What a rewarding experience!

  24. This blog post opened my eyes on many things I was even unconsciously thinking. Some good deeds are not as hard to implement.

  25. Volunteering is my life also. Everywhere I go I see to it that I will conduct a humanitarian work. Thanks for this encouragement to continue do what we do.

  26. This is something I wish I had known before I had kids. I would have made much better use of my twenties. unfortunately now that I have kids and a husband It will have to at least wait until my kids are older.

  27. This seems like an amazing experience. I would love to go volunteer and think this would just be wonderful for anyone to do whenever the world opens up again.

  28. Volunteering sounds pretty exciting. I get to impart my knowledge and skills, and also develop interpersonal relationships. The volunteer program that I would like to try in Tanzania would probably be Women Empowerment. It’s sad that until now they still lack system to encourage women to do their own thing without them being held back. This post is an eye-opener.

  29. Wow, this is a great volunteer program. I have been to most East African Counties but I haven’t been to Tanzania yet. It is on my list, hopefully, I can get to it soon.

  30. This is a lovely post Joanna – I would definitely love to one day be involved in youth development. I love playing, helping with homework and all sorts – we can teach eachother different games! x
    Marina Rosie x

  31. Delightful post and glad to see more people covering African experiences. I have worked and volunteered around Africa too, so really appreciate your points.

  32. I would love to volunteer here. As soon as this pandemic is over I am going to do more research this seems so fulfilling to be apart of.

  33. This is such a lovely thing to be able to do. I wish and would love to have the energy and health to be able to volunteer in such places.

  34. Yes, you’re right volunteering in other places is a life changing experience. If I have a chance I would like to do volunteer in places who really needs help.

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