Volunteer in Africa

Experience extraordinary diversity and community.

From the dramatic clash of oceans in Cape Town to the singular jungles of Madagascar and the lush landscapes of Ghana, Africa offers some of the world’s best adventures, as well as significant opportunities to contribute to the global fight against inequality.


Participate in sustainable initiatives while volunteering in Africa

From the breathtaking landscapes of South Africa to the vibrant shores of Ghana and the beautiful beaches of Madagascar, GVI offers a range of transformative opportunities for volunteering in Africa. Throughout your volunteer journey, you’ll also have the chance to experience the rich languages, traditions, architecture and history of the countries we work in.

When you choose to volunteer in Africa with GVI, you’ll contribute to ethical hands-on work that makes a tangible difference in the communities we work with. By partnering with local organisations and gaining deep insight into the pressing needs on the ground, you can rest assured knowing your contribution will have a lasting impact even after your volunteering period ends.

Types of volunteer work offered by GVI in Africa

Whether you’re passionate about supporting local women’s empowerment initiatives, teaching English in schools, promoting global health practices, fostering skills development through sports, or exploring other community-focused initiatives, we offer a range of diverse programs tailored to your interests.

  • Early childhood education – Use storytelling and structured play to aid in the development of numeracy and literacy skills in young children.
  • Women’s empowerment – Participate in workshops that further the development of essential skills, making a direct and lasting impact.
  • Gender equality – Contribute to initiatives such as skills training, enabling women to start their own businesses and gain financial independence.
  • Public health – Promote health awareness and well-being through interactive workshops and engaging events.
  • Teaching – Assist local teachers with lesson planning, classroom management, tutoring, and designing extra-curricular activities for students.
  • Justice, equity, diversity and inclusion – Play a part in promoting equity and inclusion through progressive teaching methods, raising awareness about existing inequities, and assisting with effective solutions.
  •  Sports – Make a positive impact by using the power of sports to encourage teamwork, personal growth, and create positive social change.

Many of these programs are available in multiple locations. Visit our locations tab to discover activities in a specific hub.

Our programs

Education & Childhood Development in Ghana
Madagascar Volunteer English Teaching
Gender Equality for Girls in Ghana
Public Health Education in Ghana
Community Development Internship in Ghana
Gender Equality Volunteering in Madagascar
Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Volunteering in Ghana
Gender Equality & Health Education in Ghana
Research Fellowship
Teaching Research Fellowship in Madagascar
Gender Equality Internship in Madagascar
Teaching & Education Development Internship in Ghana
Global Health Internship in South Africa
Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Internship in Ghana
Gender Equality & Health Education Internship in Ghana
Sports in South Africa
English Teaching Internship in Madagascar
Gender Equality for Girls Internship in Ghana
Climate & Environmental Education in Ghana
Women’s Empowerment Internship in South Africa
Volunteer Public Health Project in South Africa
Early Childhood Development in South Africa
Volunteer with Children in South Africa
Women’s Empowerment Project in Cape Town
Professional Apprenticeship
Teaching and Community Development Apprenticeship in South Africa
Teaching Internship in South Africa
Community Development Internship in South Africa
Volunteer Teaching in South Africa
Included in your program, at no extra cost

Make the most of our unique programs with these exclusively curated local adventure and wellness experiences.

Offered once a month, expand your adventure with GVI Experiences. These are just some of the activities offered on your program!
Take Malagasy lessons
Explore the cascades of Nosy Be
Visit a sacred Baobab tree
Snorkel in a marine wonderland
Sunset from Mont Passot
Sleepover in Lokobe National Park
Participate in a cultural food exchange
Join an evening of West African dance and drumming

You can join an African volunteer program in three very diverse, very beautiful locations: 

  • Ghana
  • South Africa
  • Madagascar

Volunteer in Ghana

If you choose this route for your volunteer work in Africa, you will travel to our community hub in Kokrobite, near Ghana’s capital city of Accra. Whether it’s the sun on your shoulders after a surf as you snack on sweet plantains, the cheerful jazz flowing from open doorways, or the friendliest people on the continent greeting you with a heartfelt “akwaaba”, your time in Ghana will be defined by bright morning skies, a rich heritage, diverse cultures, and the varied landscapes of sun-soaked beaches and tropical forests.

We support our local partners’ community initiatives which includes hygiene and sanitation education, sustainable environmental projects and gender equality programs. We also work in local schools to support and advance curriculum-based education.

Find out more about our Africa volunteer work in Ghana:

Volunteer in South Africa 

Join us on the southernmost tip of Africa in vibrant, iconic Cape Town, South Africa. Considered one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and one of its most naturally beautiful and culturally diverse, this African volunteering experience is a unique opportunity to fuse purpose and passion for community development with all the pleasures and perks of living in a major African metropolis. 

In South Africa, GVI’s community volunteers work alongside community partners offering assistance in areas where the community has identified a specific need. The end goal is self-empowerment and sustainable development. Your volunteer work in South Africa can be focused on: 

Volunteer in Madagascar 

If you’re looking for something beyond the tropical beaches of Ghana or the well-worn streets of Cape Town, South Africa, you might want to spend your African volunteer experience, gap year or volunteer holiday, on the other side of this varied continent – in the warm waters and fragrant air of Madagascar.

Our Madagascar-based community development programs are truly one-of-a-kind, once-in-life-time experiences. Live and work in a community perched on the edge on one of the planet’s most biodiverse islands, Nosy Be. Sometimes referred to as the eighth continent, Madagascar is known for its spice trade, rugged natural beauty, and the unique flora and fauna found there – including the lemur, a primate species found nowhere else on earth. 

Our community projects in Madagascar are focused on teaching and gender equality.

Program types

Many African countries have a history of environmental, social and economic challenges. Addressing the issues that are relevant to these communities is at the heart of sustainable community development volunteer work in Africa. 

All our volunteer programs in Africa are community-led – meaning our project goals are driven by the local community’s needs and priorities – and are committed to sustainability, equality and justice at all times. A sustainable approach to development also means supporting local communities with efficient use of resources and cultivation of local expertise, contributing directly to employability and economic empowerment. We always aim to be part of improving the quality of life for people in the communities we engage with – through inclusive engagement, quality education, equal access and raising awareness.

In Africa, you can choose to focus your volunteer work on any of the following: 

Women’s empowerment volunteer work in Africa

The history of gender inequality in Africa is complex and vast, and like many other places across the world, inequality is systemic and omnipresent. Many women across the continent still have a lower average annual income than men, are less likely to own land or property, are often forced to abandon their education due to pregnancy or poverty, and are more likely to work in jobs requiring manual labour. 

Our women’s empowerment volunteer programs in Africa have succeeded when women can access the tools they need to take control of their lives. These tools include equal opportunity in education, gainful employment and access to effective public health information. Through combined efforts with local community groups, you’ll empower women and girls to challenge traditional gender disparities in communities in Ghana, South Africa or Madagascar by providing access to social, educational and public health support.

It’s been proven time and time again by community development organisations across the globe that a good education leads to better personal fulfilment, economic opportunity and healthier, more prosperous communities. As the saying goes, knowledge is power: economic, political and personal power. No wonder the United Nations has made quality education one of its primary sustainable development goals. 

The aim of our teaching volunteer work in Africa is to work with local community organisations, leaders and governments to assist local schools and community programs in providing all community members with access to educational opportunities that will empower them and their communities, and facilitate a broader transfer of skills and knowledge throughout the community and across the generational and gender divide. 

As a teaching volunteer in Africa, you will have the opportunity to master not only technical teaching skills but also transferable skills like teamwork, organisation and leadership, as well as cross cultural communication.

You can join a teaching volunteer program in Ghana, South Africa or Madagascar

Volunteer with children in Africa 

Volunteer projects in Africa that are focused on early childhood development provide children in the early developmental stage with a foundation to excel later in life, and give them an opportunity to succeed that they may not otherwise have had. You have the opportunity to contribute towards a positive long-term impact in the lives of children in Africa and help improve their access to future employment opportunities. You can do this by: 

  • Assisting teachers at local schools with carefully crafted lessons designed to make learning as fun and engaging as possible, and to support both the fine and gross motor development of young learners. 
  • Utilising your theoretical learnings to implement specific foundational perspectives, including teaching concepts such as number sense, number concept, number development, spatial orientation and spatial insight, among others.
  • Helping young students develop to their full potential by providing extra-curricular games and activities that support their educational and personal development. 

The ethics of volunteer work with children

The well-being of children is sacred and we take our responsibility to the children and the communities we work with extremely seriously. We have put in place robust ethical guardrails across all our programs where volunteers might come into contact with children. These include: 

  • A strict and regularly updated child and vulnerable adult protection policy
  • A rejection of orphanage volunteering. Read our stance on orphanage volunteering for more information. 
  • A robust background check process for all staff and volunteers who join one of our childhood development or teaching volunteer programs in Africa. 
  • On-site child protection training is provided to all participants once they arrive in their host country. 
  • Support forChildSafe, a global child protection initiative. 

Public health 

Although overall world health statistics show positive progress towards global well-being and life expectancy, income and various factors of inequality still influence a country’s overall health.

Personal hygiene, access to clean sanitation, access to information and education materials about reproductive health, and awareness about infectious diseases and chronic health risks of often taken for granted in regions that have a robust public health system, but in communities where this isn’t the case, education and awareness around these issues is a vital community service that provides essential resources.  

Make a vital difference when you join a public health volunteering program in Africa, and assist communities in Ghana or South Africa across a broad range of public and community health concerns. 

Safety & ethics

Your safety 

GVI offers volunteer programs in Africa that provide a safe and supportive experience no matter the circumstances. Not only does GVI promise you support before, during and after your volunteer experience, we also have comprehensive health and safety policies that cover all the bases. These ensure that participant health and safety is maintained during all volunteer activities, and while volunteers are on base. 

For those under the age of 18 who choose to volunteer in Africa, our parent info pack can fill your guardians in on what GVI’s volunteer programs in Africa are all about, and how your health and safety are prioritised throughout your volunteer experience.

We take every precaution to make sure our participants can live and work safely, no matter where they are in the world. We have trained support staff on hand 24 hours a day to ensure that all participants across all our programs are well taken care of.

Read more about our health and safety protocols

You can also speak directly to one of our enrolment officers or alumni, who can answer any and all questions you might have about life on a GVI base. 

Our ethics 

Across all our work in education, women’s empowerment, public health and childhood development volunteer programs, our actions are guided by local organisations with roots in the community. These organisations are our partners on the ground who monitor and maintain ethical standards and practices, in an ongoing effort to ensure our work remains inclusive, equitable and just.

All GVI programs and staff are governed by our ten ethical principles and five human empowerment principles and our actions against oppression. Our badge of ethics reflects our pledge to continuously reflect on and improve our policies and practices. 

You can read about the work we’ve done with the help of volunteers like you in our Impact and Ethics Report

GVI is a British Standards 8848 compliant provider.


Who can volunteer in Africa? 

You can! 

Maybe you’re considering a gap year abroad. Maybe you want to contribute to community work while studying. Or you’re keen to get a meaningful summer internship under your belt. Maybe you’re taking a career break and want to give back. Maybe you are looking for a new career, and want to explore an internship in community development. 

Volunteer opportunities are not only a great way to be a part of impactful initiatives, but by joining a GVI volunteer abroad program you’ll also get to experience Africa with a team that’s focused on providing a safe and supportive volunteer experience. This is also a chance for you to grow personally and professionally by taking part in experiences that aren’t always easy to come by back home.

No matter how far you want to go, we can help. 

Do I need to be qualified to volunteer in Africa? 

You don’t! We don’t require any pre-existing qualifications or certifications.

Most of our community development volunteering or internship programs require that you be 18 years or older, but we do also offer especially curated teen volunteer programs

I’m interested. What are the next steps? 

We’d love to have you! You can enquire or apply here.