Volunteering in Ethiopia with Projects Abroad
Ethiopia, in Eastern Africa, is a fascinating place to volunteer abroad, and a destination where our volunteers can make a huge difference. Our voluntary projects in Ethiopia are available for anyone interested in volunteering in the developing world, including those on a gap year, career break or volunteer holiday.
Our volunteering opportunities are located in schools teaching English, or in Care projects in orphanages and care homes. Volunteers also take part in Physiotherapy and Journalism work experience projects. Projects Abroad volunteers live with local host families during their placement, which guarantees that they experience another underrated aspect of Ethiopia - its friendly and welcoming people.
Where we are Based in Ethiopia
Projects Abroad Ethiopia is based in the capital city, Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa is a rapidly growing city that combines elements of old and new Ethiopia. Located in the centre of the country at an altitude of 2400m, Addis is the third highest capital city in the world and has a pleasant, temperate climate with warm days and cool nights.
General Information on Ethiopia
It is impossible to think of Ethiopia and not recall the haunting images of famine from the 1980s and 2000s. With the unpredictable rains, lack of food in the dry northern areas of the country will undoubtedly occur again. However, with an increased international presence and early warning indicators in place, famine on the scale of previous disasters should become an increasingly distant memory. This region of Africa still needs much support, and it is a great location for anyone wishing to help by doing some overseas voluntary work.
Ethiopia is the size of France and Spain combined, and most first-time visitors are amazed by the variety of lush landscapes and spectacular scenery that the country offers. From the fertile countryside and multicoloured lakes of the Rift Valley to the rocky backdrop of the world-renowned Lalibela churches or the dramatic snow-capped peaks of the rugged Simien Mountains, most of Ethiopia is nothing like the parched and barren land that comes to mind from news reports.
Travel and Tourism in Ethiopia
On weekends you can take time off from your volunteer work to explore the attractions of Addis Ababa. You'll find it fascinating to find mud huts basking in the shadows of lavish high-rise hotels. Priests in traditional dress hurry along the streets alongside suited business men chatting on cell phones, avoiding the passing donkeys and speeding Land Rovers.
The choice of entertainment is equally varied, with plenty of activities to choose from. You can spend hours exploring the Merkato, one of the largest markets in Africa, visit a tej beat - a traditional local pub - or catch the latest Hollywood blockbuster at the cinema. Addis Ababa also contains some of the best museums in Africa, as well as good restaurants, serving some of the most highly-seasoned food that you'll get anywhere on the African continent. Popular traditional Ethiopian specialties include the stew-like wat and the staple bread, injera.
At the end of your volunteer placement you can take the opportunity to travel to Lalibela, a place of pilgrimage with churches hewn straight out of the bedrock, located 2630m above sea level. Although Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's main visitor attractions it still remains very isolated and you'll feel like you've travelled back many centuries.
Independent travel in Ethiopia is hugely rewarding, even though the infrastructure of the country is fairly basic. You'll get used to the curiosity that you attract as a Westerner, and you'll make many warm and genuine friends here.
Projects available in Ethiopia
Work in an orphanage, day care centre or kindergarten in Addis Ababa. Your role as a volunteer will include helping feed and dress the children, teaching basic numeracy and playing games.
Take part in an intensive stand-alone Amharic language course or sign up for language tuition alongside your regular placement.