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Elderly Care Volunteer Program in Livingstone - Zambia

In Zambian culture, it’s common for elderly people to move in with their family or extended family when they are unable to 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, and is sadly all too common.

Elderly care facilities help to provide care for people who struggle to find the help they need, and volunteers play an important role in helping these centers to provide their services. However, they can be badly under-resourced, and volunteers help is needed with all matter of general tasks such as caring for the elderly, serving meals, general maintenance, cleaning and gardening.

Elderly Care volunteer in Zambia with IVHQ

Your role will vary but it is important to note that you must be willing to work independently, and use your initiative. Many of the elderly people are ill or disabled, and the best care you can give is help with domestic chores and general companionship. The facilities are generally unstructured, but need support all the same.

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 you’ll be volunteering under the guidance of local staff, you don’t need to have prior experience in caring for the elderly, though it is highly recommended.

Apply now
Apply now
Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $270 for 1 week
  • Volunteer in elderly care facilities for those whose families are unable to care for them

  • Help to provide general care and operational assistance as required

  • Suited to caring and compassionate volunteers

  • Volunteer for up to 5 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Zambia at a glance
  • Projects based in and around the popular tourist town of Livingstone, near the border with Zimbabwe

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a dormitory-style volunteer house

  • Between 5 and 15 volunteers start in Zambia each month

The IVHQ Zambia volunteer program is based in the laid-back tourist town of Livingstone, Zambia. 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.

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 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 traveling 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 socializing.

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 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 or matrimonial rooms can​ ​be arranged at an additional cost of $40 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​ 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.

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)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Zambia here

Zambia

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
1 week $270
2 weeks $410
3 weeks $520
4 weeks $630
5 weeks $740
6 weeks $850
8 weeks $1,070
10 weeks $1,290
12 weeks $1,510
16 weeks $1,950
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • The Construction and Renovation project has a surcharge of US$49 per week for additional supervision and materials. The Medical project has a one-off surcharge of US$100 which goes to the Zambian Ministry of Health for use in the public health sector. The Rural Teaching project has a one-off surcharge of US$200 for the additional transport, supervision and logistics involved in this project.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, transport to and from your placement each day, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Zambia generally find US$50 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
  • Volunteers ​staying for longer than 4 weeks ​will need to budget an extra US$225​ (subject to exchange rate) to ​obtain a temporary work permit​ ​from Zambian Immigration in order to stay up to 90 days.
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • Deals on flights and travel insurance
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals

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.

See our Zambia Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Zambia!

Capital Lusaka
Population 14.08 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.

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this program, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to to learn more.

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.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!