Medical Volunteer Program in Zambia - Livingstone
Ready to get your scrubs on and be a Medical volunteer in Zambia? International Volunteer HQ’s Medical project is an exciting opportunity for volunteers to assist in clinics in low-income communities in Zambia that aim to make healthcare more accessible and affordable. Volunteers will shadow qualified doctors and nurses and gain hands-on experience by helping with a range of appropriate medical tasks. Local staff benefit from the extra help as well as the cross-cultural exchange of ideas and practices that comes from the involvement of international volunteers.
- Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
- Affordable fees from AU$528 for 1 week
- Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
- Get practical experience helping people with health issues in disadvantaged communities
- Discover Zambia's breathtaking beauty and abundant wildlife
- Stay with other volunteers near the buzzing town of Livingstone
Who is this program suited to?
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
For people who live in low-income communities in Zambia, healthcare is neither accessible nor affordable. There have traditionally been very few medical clinics in these communities, but this is starting to change. More and more clinics are beginning to open, and now they need medical staff and volunteers to help them provide quality healthcare.
As a Medical volunteer in Zambia, you’ll shadow and assist local medical professionals, gaining an understanding of the local healthcare system and helping to provide care. Language barriers and local laws mean volunteer work needs to be supervised at all times, and the clinic you’re placed in will depend on your level of expertise and experience. Volunteer duties will also vary depending on these factors, but can include:
- Checking and updating patient files
- Taking and recording vitals
- Wound care
- Pre and post-natal work
Most clinics are located 4 to 7 miles away from the volunteer house and volunteers walk, bike or use local taxis to commute, taxis cost approximately AU$7 for a round trip.
Why do Medical volunteering in Livingstone with IVHQ?
When you volunteer in healthcare in Zambia you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Supporting clinics to provide healthcare in low-income communities
- Improving access to affordable medical care and treatment
- Observing the medical system of a developing country
- Gaining medical experience
- Immersing yourself in Zambia’s culture
- Discovering Africa’s incredible wildlife
- To join the Medical project in Zambia volunteers must be medical or nursing students, or qualified professionals. Volunteers who work in other medical professions may also be eligible.
- Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.
- All volunteers are required to speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.
On the Medical project in Zambia it is possible to assist in a range of medical fields. If you have an interest in any of these areas, please mention that in your application, though your placement is ultimately decided by the Zambian Ministry of Health so we can’t guarantee you’ll be volunteering in your preferred department. Specialties include:
- Gynecology and family planning
- Laboratory testing
”Being part of the medical program in Zambia was a wonderful experience! I grew as person and learned a lot. The contact with the locals, the patients and the children was wonderful. They taught me a lot about strength, joy and faith, despite all the trouble they face every day. The staff in the house were amazing, always helping us, always available and frie...ndly. Livingstone is one really peaceful city with friendly people, nice places to visit, and it is also a cheap city. I will miss Zambia, and Zambian people.” read more
Read reviews from Medical volunteers in LivingstoneSee more reviews
The IVHQ Zambia volunteer program is based in the laid-back tourist town of Livingstone, named after the famous colonial explorer who was thought to be the first European to see and name the nearby Victoria Falls. Set in the southern edge of Zambia, Livingstone borders Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls - the world’s biggest and most breathtaking waterfall. The area is lush with national parks, abundant wildlife and the Zambezi River which provides an exciting array of outdoor activities for adventurous volunteers.
Volunteer placements are located in Livingstone and surrounding rural areas. On the Rural Teaching project, volunteers are placed and accommodated in the Makumba village, which is located 40 miles from Livingstone.
Arrival and orientation
The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month, and volunteers need to arrive in Livingstone on the Sunday before orientation. After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) in Livingstone. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Livingstone. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are travelling in Zambia prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Livingstone on the day before your program orientation.
Orientation is hosted by our Zambia team at the volunteer house in Livingstone. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Zambia – an introduction to Zambia, culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.
Volunteer schedule example
On your first day of volunteering (the day after your orientation), you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.
Weekdays - A typical volunteer day is as follows:
|7:00 AM||Breakfast at the volunteer house|
|8:00 AM||Volunteers travel to their placements to join local placement staff and begin work on their project.|
|1:00 PM||Work at the placement usually breaks for lunch. Most volunteers will receive a packed lunch. After lunch, volunteers continue with their volunteer work.|
|3:00/4:00 PM||Work at the placement usually ends and volunteers return to the volunteer house or spend their free time as they wish.|
|7:00 PM||Dinner at the volunteer house.|
During the weekend, volunteers in Zambia have an endless list of activities to join. The area’s major attraction, Victoria Falls, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. In addition to the wealth of nearby national parks, nature lovers have the opportunity to experience a range of safaris and tours in Zambia, as well as in other neighboring countries, such as Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Thrill seekers are also well catered to in Zambia, with an abundance of activities, such as bungee jumping, devil’s pool, white water rafting, abseiling, gorge swinging, zip-lining and microlight flights. Within Livingstone itself, a range of restaurants, curio markets and various cultural activities offer a lot to take in for those wish to stay around town.
Accommodation and WiFi
Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory-style volunteer house, approximately 10 minutes outside of Livingstone town. You can expect to share a bedroom and bathroom with 2 to 5 other volunteers of the same gender. The volunteer house has electricity, running water, western bathrooms, and a communal lounge and garden area for relaxing and socializing. It is important to note that power cuts are common in Zambia in times of drought, which in turn affects the running water supply.
If you would like to keep connected during your stay, we recommend bringing an unlocked mobile phone and purchasing a local SIM card when you arrive in Zambia. The local team can assist you with purchasing a SIM card during your program orientation. You can also access WiFi from cafes and restaurants located within walking distance of the volunteer house.
Private rooms can be arranged at an additional cost (see upgrade options below) and are subject to availability. This can be arranged directly through the local team once you have registered for the program. Bed linens are provided and during the hot months, a sheet should be adequate cover in the evenings. During the cooler months, you may wish to bring a sleeping bag for an extra layer of warmth.
Volunteers are also asked to bring their own towels. The volunteer accommodation has a nighttime security guard and is located in a safe area protected by an electric fence. On-site staff clean the accommodation throughout the week, however volunteers are also required to keep their rooms and common areas tidy.
Volunteers who choose to join the Rural Teaching placement are accommodated in a basic homestay with no electricity or running water in the village. The village is around 2 miles from the school and a 1 hour in a car from Livingstone. Volunteers will help with the general running of the home stay, including gardening, moulding bricks, milking cattle, collecting firewood, collecting water from the well, feeding chickens and collecting eggs, harvesting crops, cooking and cleaning.
Accommodation upgrades Upgrade to a private room with ensuite for the duration of your time on the program for only US$55 (approximately AU$78) per week. The local team have both double and twin rooms available, both with en suite bathrooms.
Extra nights of accommodation If you would like to arrive a day earlier than your recommended arrival date, or wish to spend a few extra nights after finishing your program, we can arrange extra nights of accommodation for you for US$35 (approximately AU$50) per person, per night, meals included, subject to availability. If you would like to arrange an upgrade or extra nights of accommodation, just contact your IVHQ Program Manager who will be happy to assist you.
Volunteers are served three meals per day, prepared by an on-site local cook. All meals will be a mix of western and traditional Zambian food.
Breakfast may include fruit, toast, spreads and cereal with tea, coffee and juice. Lunch is usually provided in the volunteer accommodation, although packed lunches of sandwiches and fruit are provided if requested for those who choose to remain at their placement. Dinners will commonly be a combination of meat, starches and vegetables.
The local staff are happy to accommodate special dietary requests (vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, gluten free etc). Please let an IVHQ staff member know of any special dietary requirements in advance, so we can ensure the local staff are prepared for you.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|1 week||AU$528 Equivalent to AU$76/day|
|2 weeks||AU$757 Equivalent to AU$55/day|
|3 weeks||AU$943 Equivalent to AU$45/day|
|4 weeks||AU$1129 Equivalent to AU$41/day|
|5 weeks||AU$1314 Equivalent to AU$38/day|
|6 weeks||AU$1500 Equivalent to AU$36/day|
|8 weeks||AU$1872 Equivalent to AU$34/day|
|10 weeks||AU$2244 Equivalent to AU$33/day|
|12 weeks||AU$2615 Equivalent to AU$32/day|
|16 weeks||AU$3358 Equivalent to AU$30/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteering
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of AU$427 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Please note: Volunteers staying for longer than 4 weeks will need to budget an extra US$620 (subject to exchange rate) to obtain a temporary work permit from Zambian Immigration in order to stay up to 90 days.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Zambia generally find US$50-75 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
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Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Protecting against COVID-19:
Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
Essential country information
|Languages||English, Nyanja, Lozi, Tonga|
|Currency||Zambian Kwacha (ZMW)|
Weather and climate
There are three seasons in Zambia: the dry season (mid-April to August), when temperatures drop at night, but the landscape is green and lush; the hot season (September to mid-November), when the best time to see wildlife as flora is sparse; and, the wet season (mid-November to mid-April), which is ideal for bird-watching.