A Guide to Volunteering in Swaziland
When thinking about going to volunteer in Africa, many people overlook Swaziland but the options available make this a great option. Local people are friendly and there will be a blend of international participants from all over the world working here making this a unique cultural exchange.
Large international organisations like Peace Corps have been offering placements here for a number of years but there are also charities and NGO's available to apply with.
Accommodation and living conditions in Swaziland can be basic but as long as you are prepared for this you should have an enjoyable experience. We highly recommend going to see wildlife or visiting remote communities in your spare time (view our adventure tours in Swaziland). Try to be open to the local culture and sample the local food, mealie pap (a type of corn/mash porridge), vegetable soup and also rice, lamb and peanut sauce are some of the specials. You can search projects and also organisations above and apply today for a life changing experience.
Location of Projects
There are programs available to join year round throughout the country like Lombamba in the spectacular Ezulwini Valley. Wildlife sanctuarys are also located in Manzini and the capital, Mbabane.
These placements can be very challenging but rewarding. Swaziland has one of the highest rates of HIV and Aids in the world and there are educational outreach programs working within rural communities to try to prevent the spread of the disease. There are also hands on medical projects for professional available.
Volunteering in Swaziland on HIV / Aids programs are extremely rewarding where you can teach locals about the importance of using protection/condoms. You could work at a school, community centre as well as hospitals and on building / construction programs which are very worthwhile.
Building & Construction Programs in Swaziland
There is a lack of funds available in Swaziland to build new structures or improve living conditions but international aid agencies help by investing money and also putting feet on the ground to help people in need. Tasks can include planning areas, digging foundations, painting, cleaning, decorating and more. Don't worry if you have no previous experience like this, experienced staff will be on hand to help.
Volunteer with Animals in Swaziland
There are several places where you can help exotic wildlife in Swaziland including the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary which is a beacon of light when it comes to nature conservation efforts. This country is home to species like rhinos and zebras, hippos and cheetahs - these animals need to be protected from poachers and also human encroachment. Some placements have been set up with research and monitoring in mind, whilst others you will get more hands on contact feeding and rehabilitating wildlife.
Educational Placements in Swaziland
Gain an insight into Swazi culture, lifestyle and traditional dancing on a visit to the Mantenga Cultural Village, and help out with a community volunteer initiative. You will spend two weeks working with orphans and children affected by the AIDS pandemic in local care centres. Youngsters are aged between 3 and 13 years old and your help is needed in a variety of areas such as building, running sports days, teaching the children and assisting on medical projects.
Volunteers who choose to stay at the project for 4 weeks will be able to take part in the following project work:
- Organising sports days
- Organising creative games and craft classes and practical projects
- Giving the youngsters attention and kindness
- Planting a range of crops that can improve the children’s nutrition
- Teaching basic English and Maths
- Arranging stimulating, creative games and craft classes
- Arranging sports days
- Looking after the children at meal times and in the mornings before classes
Medical Volunteering Programs in Swaziland
If you are involved in social development project, you might lend a hand with increasing awareness about the following issues:
- Hygiene and health care issues
- The importance of nutrition and balanced diet
- Precautionary measures against HIV infection
- Importance of breast feeding
- IDD (Iodine Deficiency Disorders) awareness campaign
Free Volunteering Programs in Swaziland
Some international organisations offer structured packages which include flights, accommodation, meals, transfers, training and in-country support. There are also lots of charity and NGO placements available in Swaziland, these are generally free or low cost.