As a landlocked country in the south of Africa, Zimbabwe is a country full of biodiversity. It is home to one of Africa’s most beautiful attractions—Victoria Falls, one of the biggest and most beautiful waterfalls in the world.
For those looking for a place to volunteer without extreme weather conditions, Zimbabwe is a perfect choice as the climate is tropical yet moderate, mostly due to the mountain ranges in the east. The biodiversity Zimbabwe offers—whether in flora and fauna or animal species—is also sure to provide you with an experience you will never forget!
Why You Should Help
Despite the beauty and diversity Zimbabwe has to offer, the country faces many critical issues today, particularly poverty and environmental degradation, which go hand-in-hand. As poverty and the population of Zimbabwe have grown, deforestation has taken told, diminishing the quality of soil around the country.
Energy and electricity have become scarce, especially because recent hyperinflation has prevented Zimbabwe from purchasing power from nearby countries, so the need for firewood has further diminished any efforts to preserve forestry. Poaching has also become a major issue, continuing the process of diversity degradation.
In relation to the problems caused by loss of biodiversity, Zimbabwe is also facing economic and food crises, which is described by many international communities as a humanitarian crisis. On top of drought and hunger, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other public health concerns also affect a great population of the country, and the life expectancy is one of the lowest in the world.
Zimbabwe is a beautiful country full of wonderful people that need the help of service minded individuals dedicated to assisting in sustainable development. If you’re interested in volunteering in Zimbabwe, check out a couple of your options below!
Founded in 2005, GoEco is dedicated to creating international ecological projects in the realm of volunteer tourism. GoEco’s mission is to promote ecological and humanitarian programs around the world in their efforts toward sustainable development. This organization recognizes the importance of providing volunteer tourism opportunities that allow rewarding experiences for all those involved in the process—through this, cultural understandings and the international community will grow.
GoEco is proud to offer several volunteer opportunities in Zimbabwe, particularly in the Victoria Falls area. Volunteers assist with some of the most endangered animals in the world, such as lions, chimpanzees, and cheetahs, as well as making a positive impact on the natural diversity of the area. Programs include Lion Rehabilitation and Conservation, Lions and Orphaned Elephants, and the African Wildlife Orphanage, and Orphanage and Teaching and Medical Projects.
Typical tasks of volunteers working with animals include handling, feeding, and caring for the animals and their environments, as well as organizing community events and environmental education programs. Other projects typically have volunteers caring for and teaching children. Volunteers must be in good health.
Interested in working with GoEco in a different country? Other projects include the Israeli Coral Reef Conservation, South Africa Tiger and Lion Park, Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation, China Giant Panda Center, Spain Eco-friendly Hospitality, and many others in all regions around the world!
For more information, check out: www.goeco.org
Mother Africa is a nonprofit organization in Zimbabwe that recognizes there is no quick fix to solving the problems affecting the African continent today, and takes a bottom-up approach to providing a better future for those who live there.
Mother Africa recognizes that women are a key factor to development, willing to make sacrifices for their families and providing an education for their children. Today, Mother Africa seeks volunteers from around the world—particularly young teachers, medical students, gap year students, recent graduates, and retired professionals who are looking for a volunteer experience that is sure to be both impactful and gratifying.
Mother Africa offers three distinct opportunities for potential volunteers:
Cultural and Community Initiative Volunteer Program
Volunteers provide assistance in rural villages to improve the quality of life of children through providing better education and health facilities. Volunteers typically take part in the building process as well as organizing food and health programs that help develop self-sufficiency, and assisting in feeding and preparation/distribution of food to children in the area.
Other projects include working with orphans, including those infected with HIV/AIDS, through home maintenance, feeding and playing with children, assisting in teaching, gardening, and more.
Finally, volunteers can assist in the Matopos Cultural Heritage Initiative, in exploring the Matobo Hills (a World Heritage site that is greatly underexplored), searching for items of archeological or ancient world importance, recording locations of importance, inventories and depictions of artifacts found, and possibly assisting in an archeological dig!
Wildlife Research and Conservation Volunteer Program
Many of volunteer responsibilities in this program include assistance in research projects, particularly in tracking wildlife species’ nomadic habits—including where animals live, nest, eat, and so on, in an effort to better inform the local government and developers of where damage to wildlife will be the greatest.
Other projects include education programs for youth about wildlife and the importance of conservation, and soon to come—vulture feeding research and other wildlife initiatives!
Combination Community and Conservation Volunteer Program
Volunteers are able to take on both programs, giving them the benefits of working with both the people and the wildlife in the areas in which they serve.
For more information, check out www.mother-africa.org.
Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.