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Medical Volunteer Program in Zambia - Livingstone

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.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
  • Affordable fees from AU$786 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

Key information

Improve access to quality healthcare
Based in clinics
Dormitory-style volunteer​ ​house
Volunteers aged 18+
Fully hosted experience from AU$786 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 16 weeks
Discover the breathtaking Victoria Falls
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

This project is open to fully qualified doctors and nurses, as well as students in nursing or medical school. You’ll need plenty of initiative and enthusiasm, and be ready to volunteer in basic facilities with limited resources.
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$8 for a round trip.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Good mental and physical health is key to sustainable development and building healthy and happy communities. Now more than ever, we must increase access to free healthcare and health education across the globe to achieve an acceptable standard of living and wellbeing for all.

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

Volunteer requirements

  • 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.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

JG
Jessica Gibbons
20 Sep 2023

I’ve gained self confidence pushing myself out of my comfort zone as well as memories that will last a lifetime! I’ve made an impact to many children’s lives and a positive impact to my self confidence! My advice would be to go for it, it’ll be the best thing you’ll do! There will be some hard days but you get through them with support, make the most of the good times and get your self out there with all the adventures that are around you!

...
CL
Cecilia Leung
19 Jul 2023

The highlight of my experience was meeting people with kind hearts from different parts of the world. I was able to feel the pure happiness from people who might not be as privileged, but still able to bring a smile every day. Being hesitant about volunteering is stopping yourself from bringing an impact on the world.

...
MB
Mark Brown
14 Jun 2023

The local staff was incredibly encouraging, supportive, and enthusiastic to hear about how my experience was every day. The guesthouse staff were all so respectful and inquisitive about my project here. Even my taxi driver was stellar and supportive. I always felt safe, well fed, and taken care of. The staff at the clinic was exceptional. They were ready to teach me anything I wanted to know, and were eager to see me deliver babies. I felt like they were wanting me to do more than I was comfortable with, but in a very good way, and they were supportive all along. I never felt alone; I never felt like I had to figure something out for myself. It was a nurturing and challenging environment. Being able to debrief a situation with the nursing staff and learn from the experience to be better prepared for the next similar situation was enormously helpful for my instruction. They did this without being judgemental or condescending; in fact they were some of the best teachers I've ever had.

In terms of meals and accommodation, I had plenty of space to myself. The accommodations were great! The chef there was excellent. I don't have any food restrictions, but they were ready to adapt if I needed them to. I did not go hungry! They were always ready to feed me and the food was delicious. The chef there was excellent. The benefits of the experience in hindsight will far outweigh the fears you have now.

...
FB
Felicia Buchanan
29 Nov 2022

The program guide and all the materials provided on the website were comprehensive and very helpful. The local team were phenomenal hosts and all the workers at the house were super friendly. This was a life-changing experience! I did not know what to expect with this being my first time traveling outside of the US. I was pleasantly surprised with how comfortable it was. The cooks were excellent! They gave me an opportunity to try local cuisine while also providing familiar foods. It's very hard to pick one favorite moment because there were so many. The other volunteers and I bonded like a family. We created a WhatsApp group to keep in touch, share pics, and have opportunities to get together for activities. We worked hard and played hard together! It was unsettling at first when it took a while for me to get a local SIM card and gain internet access. Not being able to surf the web, and chat with family and friends often as I would have liked gave me an excellent opportunity for reflection. I learned a great deal but mainly how to slow down and take in each moment. If this is something that is in your heart to do, go for it!

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SB
Sarah Buzon
18 Aug 2022

I had more autonomy at the clinic than I thought I would have, which is amazing, the medical staff is really involved and want us to learn, experience and practice as much as we can. Probably when I witnessed my first delivery was the best moment of my program, what a moment! I absolutely loved being at the clinic, every department was really welcoming. The volunteer house is really amazing! The rooms are clean and the sanitary accommodations are well kept. The food is prepared with love and most of all, the staff is always welcoming, smiling, and ready for a chat and you really bond with them into day-to-day life. Don't hesitate a second. If you can financially, this is an experience that will make you grow as a person, mature, make meet lifelong friends, and will be unforgettable!

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EC
Ethan Crow
13 Jul 2022

My entire trip was just outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed my days in the clinics providing care and forming relationships with the other staff when it was slow. After spending the mornings at the clinic I had so many great afternoons playing soccer with the neighborhood kids. The best weekend excursion I did was hanging over the edge of Victoria Falls at Angels Pool. I learned so much from the clinics I worked at on how they provide care and the differences between health care in the US and Zambia. It was neat to learn how their treatment and prevention plans vary to adapt to their culture and environment. I learned new procedures and had the opportunity to grow my skills. I was super excited at first when I started planning the trip and then some of the unknowns started getting to me before I left. I left to drive to the airport just hoping when I landed in Zambia I would have a ride from the airport and by the time I left after three weeks I felt like I was going to have to be dragged back to the airport because I didn't want to leave. I would say to anyone hesitant to take the first step and to just come prepared to serve and keep an open mind for the new culture you will step into. If you come for the right reasons with the right attitude, you will be blow away by impact the trip will have on you and those around you.

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To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit
Volunteer Abroad in Zambia with IVHQ

Location

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

First Day

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.
12:30 PM Work at the placement usually ends for the day and volunteers return to the volunteer house for lunch.
1:30 PM After lunch, volunteers may spend their free time as they wish or if they are looking for extra volunteering hours, there are alternatives available such as working at a homework club.
7:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer house.

Weekends

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 from Livingstone town centre.​ 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.​

Upgrade to a private room with ensuite for the duration of your time on the program for only US$55 (approximately AU$89) 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$56) 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.

Meals

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.

Pricing

  • USD
Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week AU$786 Equivalent to AU$112/day
2 weeks AU$1030 Equivalent to AU$74/day
3 weeks AU$1322 Equivalent to AU$63/day
4 weeks AU$1533 Equivalent to AU$55/day
5 weeks AU$1760 Equivalent to AU$50/day
6 weeks AU$1971 Equivalent to AU$47/day
8 weeks AU$2392 Equivalent to AU$43/day
10 weeks AU$2814 Equivalent to AU$40/day
12 weeks AU$3236 Equivalent to AU$39/day
16 weeks AU$4079 Equivalent to AU$36/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$533) 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.
  • Volunteers ​staying for longer than 4 weeks ​will need to budget an extra US$400​ (approximately) to ​obtain a temporary work permit​ ​from Zambia Immigration in order to stay up to 90 days.
  • 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$400​ (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$100 per week to be sufficient for expenses.

Free-time experiences & tours in Zambia

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Zambia! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Zambia program.

Chobe Camping Safari (2 days, 1 night)
Chobe Camping Safari (2 days, 1 night)

A memorable 2 day safari experience at the Chobe National Park, Botswana, known for its huge elephant herds.

AU$592
Rhino Game Drive
Rhino Game Drive

Experience Mosi-Oa-Tunya guided game drives, home of most of Zambia’s white rhino population.

AU$210
Bungee Jump Victoria Falls
Bungee Jump Victoria Falls

Enjoy a scenic bungee jump off the Victoria Falls Bridge, located in Mosi Otunya Park.

AU$292
Chobe Camping Safari (2 days, 1 night)
Chobe Camping Safari (2 days, 1 night)

A memorable 2 day safari experience at the Chobe National Park, Botswana, known for its huge elephant herds.

AU$592
Rhino Game Drive
Rhino Game Drive

Experience Mosi-Oa-Tunya guided game drives, home of most of Zambia’s white rhino population.

AU$210
Bungee Jump Victoria Falls
Bungee Jump Victoria Falls

Enjoy a scenic bungee jump off the Victoria Falls Bridge, located in Mosi Otunya Park.

AU$292

Check what's required to visit Zambia

Safety and support with IVHQ

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.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital Lusaka
Population 17.86 million
Languages English, Nyanja, Lozi, Tonga
Currency Zambian Kwacha (ZMW)
Time zone UTC+02:00

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.

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How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
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Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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