Volunteer in Zambia
At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 5 meaningful project options
- Projects based in and around Livingstone
- Accommodation in a dormitory-style volunteer house
- Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Program fees from US$270 for 1 week (approximately AU$335)
- Between 5 and 15 volunteers start in Zambia each month
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organisation in Zambia to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Zambia will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organisations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travellers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Zambia with your new-found friends.
The IVHQ Zambia volunteer program is based in the laid-back tourist town of Livingstone, Zambia. Volunteers are required to fly into Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI), which is a 12 to 14 hour flight from most major airports in Australia. Volunteer placements are located in Livingstone and surrounding rural areas.
Volunteers can begin the IVHQ Zambia volunteer program on the first and third Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 16 weeks. The first day of your volunteer program will be orientation, after which you will begin your volunteer placement.
The aim of the Teaching project is to provide assistance to local schools in Zambia who are in need of volunteer support. Due to Zambia’s rapidly growing population and shortage of government funding and teachers, local communities have informally developed ‘community schools’ to serve the need for education. A number of these schools offer reduced fees or free admission to students in need, many of whom are orphaned or living with elderly family members, who cannot afford school fees. Some community schools eventually become ‘government schools’ which receive some limited government funding, however these schools continue to struggle, as student numbers increase annually. As these schools depend heavily on the involvement of local volunteers, the ratio of students to teachers can be as high as 60 students to 1 teacher.
If you are someone who is an aspiring teacher or have a genuine passion for education and helping out wherever possible, this is a great project for you.
As a Teaching volunteer in Zambia, you will work in community or government schools, or community centres. You will work alongside local teachers, peer teach with other volunteers or serve as tutors for slow or struggling learners. The project is heavily focused on teaching English, however there are also opportunities to teach a range of other subjects, such as Math and Science. You can also assist with extracurricular activities, including sports, music, dance, art, gardening and nutrition programs. Exams and assessments will be written towards the end of each term and teaching work can therefore be limited during these periods. During these times, you may be asked to supervise exams, assist with marking exams, report writing or class planning for the next year. Due to the great demand for teachers and support staff, you may find yourself working full days, in many capacities at your placement.
Teaching volunteers in Zambia also have the option to request a unique cultural experience and teach at a rural community school which is located approximately 1 hour from Livingstone. If you wish to work at this rural placement, you can arrange this with the local team once you have registered for the Zambia program.
As you will be volunteering with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, you do not need to be a qualified or experienced teacher to participate. However, we encourage you to come prepared by completing some relevant training.Visit our Online TEFL course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognised TEFL certification at a discounted rate.
As a volunteer on the Kindergarten project in Zambia, you will provide extra assistance within pre-schools, nursery schools or day care centres with children aged from 2-7 years old. With a significant portion of children living under the poverty line in Zambia, many of these vulnerable children suffer from poor hygiene, inadequate education, insufficient food and little healthcare. Individualised attention and a focus on early development and education are crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty in Zambia.
This project is well suited to volunteers who love working with younger children and have a passion for education, as Zambian children are passionate about learning.
When volunteering on this project, you can expect to teach basic English and Math to children from the local communities. Your support in the classroom will assist the children in developing their confidence which will in turn support their future education. You are welcome to bring your creative ideas to the classroom to help stimulate the children’s learning. These ideas can be discussed with the local team in Zambia. In addition to teaching, your tasks may include mentoring, helping with homework, preparing meals, cleaning, helping with the general running of the home centre and interacting with the children through games, singing, dancing, sports, and arts and crafts.
This project is open to to all volunteers who love working with children, and prior childcare experience is not required to participate as you will volunteer with the support of our placement staff.
As a Medical volunteer in Zambia, you will be working alongside local medical professionals in Zambia, gaining an understanding of the local healthcare system and helping to provide medical care in low-income Zambian communities where healthcare is neither easily accessible or affordable.
If you are someone who is studying or qualified in the Medical or Healthcare field, and have plenty of initiative, enthusiasm and readiness to work in basic facilities with limited resources, this project is for you.
When volunteering on the Medical project in Zambia, you will be placed in a medical clinic according to your previous experience and training. It is important to have realistic expectations in regards to the activities that you will be involved in - you will generally shadow medical personnel and provide basic patient care under supervision, as all procedures must comply with the Zambian Medical Council requirements and most volunteers cannot communicate directly with patients due to language barriers. A key role on this project is simple observation and you will not be involved in independent tasks without supervision. Some clinics include areas of Laboratory Testing, Pharmacy, Maternity, Gynecology and Family Planning, Optometry, HIV/AIDS, Nutrition and Pediatrics. If you have an interest in any of these areas, please let us know when applying for the program.
This project is open to fully qualified doctors and nurses, as well as students in nursing or medical school.
Please note that as a Medical volunteer, you must bring proof of relevant qualifications, training or certification with you to Zambia, as well as scrubs of any colour to wear on the project. The Medical project has a one-off surcharge of U$100 (approximately AU$125) for supplies and additional supervision and this will be included in the program fee quoted to you after applying. Most clinics are located 4 to 7 miles away from the volunteer house and volunteers use local taxis to commute, which costs approximately AU$6 for a round trip.
The purpose of this project is to support the provision of basic services at an under-resourced elderly care facility in Zambia. In Zambian culture, it is common for the elderly to move in with their family or extended family when they are unable to independently care for themselves. Unfortunately, some senior citizens face abandonment if they have no family, or if their family is unable to provide for them. This can be due to financial issues, or if the health needs of the elderly are beyond the family’s capability.
This project is well suited to caring and compassionate volunteers who are interested in providing assistance wherever their help is most needed within a elderly care facility.
As an Elderly Care volunteer in Zambia, you will offer support in meals, maintenance, cleaning, gardening, taking elderly to local hospitals or clinics, and providing general care and companionship to the seniors. Your tasks will vary but it is important to note that you must be willing to work independently, and use your initiative. It is important to understand that little structure is established in this environment, however your support is greatly needed. This project is severely under-resourced as the provisions for abandoned seniors are generally provided by social service agents.
This project is open to all volunteers and you are not required to have experience in the field of Elderly Care to participate.
Construction and Renovation
As a volunteer on the Construction and Renovation project in Zambia, you will have the unique opportunity to work alongside local people and help improve the infrastructure within poor communities in Livingstone. This project focuses on the construction and renovation of community centres, toilet facilities and schools.
If you are someone who enjoys being outdoors and has a good level of fitness and a willingness to learn, this is the perfect project for you.
Your tasks may include painting, building, gardening and general maintenance. Projects and volunteer roles will vary from community to community according to the need at the time. You may also have the opportunity to get involved in community development work and if this interests you, you can discuss the option with our local team once you arrive in Zambia.
As you will be volunteering alongside our local team, you do not need to have prior construction or renovation experience to participate on this project. Skilled laborers are highly sought after, so if you have experience please make a note in your application so that our local team can utilise your skills.
Please note that this project has a surcharge of US$49 (approximately AU$60) per week for supervision, materials and the logistics involved in this project. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you when you apply.
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 – Introduction to Zambia, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.
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.
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.
3.30 PM/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.
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 7 other volunteers of the same gender. The volunteer house has electricity, running water, western bathrooms, a communal lounge and a garden area for relaxing and socialising. 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 or matrimonial rooms can be arranged at an additional cost of AU$50 per week 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 in the village, which is around 1 hour from Livingstone.
Volunteers are served three meals per day, prepared by an on-site local cook. All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) 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 comprise of 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.
“My husband and I had a great volunteer experience at the Elderly Care placement in Livingstone. It was very challenging as these are individuals who don’t have any family to care for them and have very little means. The staff and elderly people warmed up to us quickly and even though we learned a handful of Nyanja, communication was not an issue. We shared many laughs and a few tears. We will miss the smiles and characters and hope to return some day. Our advice would be to future volunteers to keep an open mind and your heart will be filled to the brim before you leave.” - Diane Newman (Elderly Care Volunteer in Zambia)
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 neighbouring 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.
See our Zambia Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Zambia!
|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.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Zambia.
Volunteers on the Medical project must be fully qualified doctors or nurses, or be studying nursing or medicine, and must supply proof of relevant qualifications, training or certification.
Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.