Looking for a fun and fulfilling opportunity to help young people and immerse yourself in a fascinating culture? Link Ethiopia runs one of the best value volunteering schemes around. Whether you’re taking a gap year, a career break, or just want a holiday that’s out of the ordinary, volunteering in Ethiopia is the experience of a lifetime.
Why should I volunteer with Link Ethiopia?
Experience of a Lifetime
You will make new friends, have the chance to experience a beautiful and unique country, overcome challenges and see the difference you have made in the lives of young Ethiopians. Our volunteer placements are tailored for professionals and students, and can be adapted for people with special experience.
Link Ethiopia’s support
You will be supported from the moment you sign up by our friendly and knowledgeable UK and Ethiopia teams, who will work closely with you to set up a volunteering placement that is right for you. We offer help and advice in advance of your placement and on arrival, you will work closely with our programme staff and receive constant in-country support as well as email and telephone contact to our UK office.
English Skills Needed
In Ethiopia, teaching is done in local languages at elementary school but then from the beginning of secondary school this changes to English. Many students struggle to bridge the language gap, and by providing a unique chance for pupils to practice their English with someone who speaks it as a first language, you will build their confidence and abilities, enabling them to succeed in the classroom.
Through your teaching of young children and teenagers, they will develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to achieve at school, and make the most of their talents. Your support for our programme staff means they can achieve activities more efficiently and correspond better with our sponsors.
Our volunteer schemes are completely non-profit. A portion of your volunteering will fund our work in communities in Ethiopia, and so your volunteering placement will have an impact long after you return home! To find out more about the work your volunteering funds visit Our Impact.
Value for Money
We pride ourselves on offering the best value for money volunteering experience in Ethiopia, and our prices start at £560 depending on how long you will volunteer for. Included are airport pickups, your accommodation, meals, and the support of our dedicated volunteering team.
Frequently asked questions
Volunteer placements last a month and are designed to meet our programme needs in Ethiopia and be adaptable to the interest of people who volunteer with us. Volunteers will work with the after-school club helping to teach our supported children after school, and with the Sponsorship team, accompanying our staff on home visits to sponsored families and assisting to write up reports for their sponsors.
If you have a particular profession or skill set (such as being a trained nurse or doctor, photography skills or business management experience) that you feel would be of value outside of the normal volunteer role please do contact us to tell us. We can consider setting up a bespoke placement to make the most of your skills.
Your time will be split between the after-school club and supporting the sponsorship team. In the after-school club you will do lessons and one-to-one homework support with the kids, assisted by the Youth Worker, mainly in spoken and read English.
You will also help the Sponsorship team by accompanying them on home visits to sponsored families and ensuring the correct translation of annual updates and historical reports.
Volunteer placements are based in our Gondar office. Gondar is a city and formerly the country’s capital. It has both ancient castles to visit and modern amenities for your comfort. Transport, Wi-Fi and restaurants are all easy to find within walking distance of the town-centre.
Accommodation is included in the volunteer package and you will be based an easily walkable distance from the town centre ‘piassa’ and from the office.
We are here at every step to ensure you have an amazing time in Ethiopia. You will receive:
- Good, clean accommodation
- Airport pickups
- Lots of help and advice in advance of your placement and on arrival
- Support arranging international and internal flights
- In-country business visa application on your behalf
- The constant support and guidance of our full-time Ethiopian staff in our two Ethiopian offices
- Email or telephone contact with our UK office to support and advise as necessary
You can download a pdf with more information about how the Volunteer Ethiopia placement works and what happens next. Click here for an introduction to our Volunteer Ethiopia placement.
If you would like to apply to volunteer in Ethiopia, you can fill out the form at the bottom of this page. You can always contact our team directly for answers, or just a chat – email [email protected] or call us on 0208 617 3393.
Once your placement is confirmed we will send you a full induction pack with more information about planning for you travel and living in Gondar. If you’re based in London, you will be invited to come and meet the team here, and we will be available up to and through out your trip for any questions.
• We’re local – both in the UK and Ethiopia are offices are small and teams are made up of people from the communities that our projects support. This means that you’ll never end up doing anonymous admin work in the corner of a large office.
• We’re experienced – we’ve been hosting volunteers for over 20 years – it’s part of our mission to share cultural understanding between countries! So we really appreciate you joining us in achieving this. Our staff are well-versed in the experiences and potential problems of being a volunteer abroad and will be ready to help you with anything!
• We’re friendly – our office is also the site of the after-school club and Playgroup so expect to see children running around! Most of our staff have been involved with us for many years, if not since we started, and all levels of the organisation are considered family.
• We’re making a difference – we help those most in need in the communities we work in, our projects are tested and we know they have an impact – meaning that children can access school and have the materials and support they need to learn there. You will quickly see how vital our work is and how important the impact of our programmes are.
• We’re non-profit – Many volunteer placements are set up through companies that run off profit made from arranging the placement. We set up and run our own placements so you can be sure that all the money that you pay is going towards the actual cost of arranging your placement and to support children in Ethiopia.
You will be based in our office in Gondar where most of our Ethiopian team works. Gondar is a great town to live in, there’s plenty to see, easy access to nearby tourist sights if you want weekend travel, and it’s just the right size to get your bearings and feel at home from the start. We have 15 members of staff working in the Gondar office, from the guards to the Regional Manager, we operate as a family and everyone knows that their role is valuable to the overall mission of our charities.
Marta Bekele, our Sponsorship Manager, will be your supervisor for your placement and your primary contact. She will meet you at the airport, show you to the office and explain the work you will be doing. If you have any problems, she will be more than happy to help you. Marta has a great deal of experience supporting volunteers and will make sure you feel at home, as will the rest of the team, who are all very friendly and well worth getting a coffee with!
A typical day begins at 7 or 8am with breakfast in a local cafe. Volunteers might spend three hours teaching at the after-school club in the morning or afternoon, or both. Classes begin at 10am, you can come into the office at 9am to plan the lesson and prepare resources.
At lunchtime our cooks will prepare a delicious lunch for you followed by traditional coffee. In the afternoon you might be working with the sponsorship team, jumping in a tuk tuk to travel to the house of a sponsored child where you will help to write notes for an annual report as our Sponsorship Coordinator live translates their discussion with the child and the child’s mum or guardian.
The work day finishes at 5.30 and Gondar is a large town offering plenty of ways to relax – you can try Ethiopia’s unique and spicy cuisine at one of the many restaurants, explore the buzzing markets, play football, pool, or learn Ethiopian billiards, watch a film or simply relax with new friends in one of the many cafes.
For weekends, the towns are well positioned for visiting other places in Ethiopia. From Gondar you can explore the monasteries of Lake Tana, delve deep into the catacombs of Lalibela’s churches and trek in the breathtaking Simien Mountains. Gondar is well known for its night life too and you will soon be initiated into traditional dance!
Volunteering abroad provides a unique opportunity to experience another country while making a real difference to community in which you are living. It is a chance to make new friends, apply yourself to new and interesting challenges, and to really immerse yourself in a rich culture. It is an experience that will be remembered for a lifetime.
The placement is also an excellent chance to develop your existing skill set and to bolster your CV. It’s a great way to show your confidence, commitment, interest in social causes, and a willingness to make a difference through your work to potential employers.
Link Ethiopia’s volunteer placements are run entirely on a non-profit basis.
A one month volunteer placement costs £800.
This cost includes:
- Accommodation at a local guesthouse
- Lunch on working days
- Pick up and drop off at Gondar airport
- Gondar town induction and ongoing staff support throughout your placement
- Assistance arranging international and local flights (or we can do this for you)
- Donation to the projects you will be working on
We also welcome volunteers for shorter periods so you can volunteer for 3 weeks (£695) or 2 weeks (£585).
Hear from past volunteers
All our pupils gained massively in their personal confidence, benefiting from the more interactive learning.Ben
Too much for words to describeAmy
The Link staff were excellent. Extremely helpful and easily contactable. A credit to the human race!Sam
I now find it much easier to talk to new people and have also gained good experience about the world around me.Kitty
Bring your skills to Ethiopia
Are you looking to volunteer in Ethiopia but not looking to teach English. Do you have skill that young people or people who work with young people could benefit from and want to immerse yourself in a fascinating culture? At Link Ethiopia we are deeply integrated into the local community and thus have the experience and connections required to facilitate a range of different of volunteering placements. Also if you are a qualified teacher, we can arrange placements that go beyond our regular teaching placements.
Computers are an integral part of our everyday lives and computer literacy is more and more of a necessity to live in the modern world. By giving computer support and training to both teachers and pupils, you will give them skills necessary to flourish in the increasingly sophisticated Ethiopian job market. You don’t need to be an expert in programming, you just need to be able to find your way round a computer, teach basic skills and perhaps repair minor problems.
Business and entrepreneurship
Unfortunately, Ethiopia, like many similar countries suffers from high unemployment and underemployment of young people. With a lack of available jobs, many Ethiopians are self-employed. You could provide workshops for senior students to get training in business skills such as budgeting, planning, proposal writing, and thinking about ways to create businesses and livelihood opportunities, to increase their career options.
Visiting a number of schools on a weekly basis, you’ll bring your sporting skills to life by training kids in a variety of sports and games. You could introduce some new sports into the mix – your pupils would love it! So bring your passion and experience of different sports to a whole new level by teaching in our Ethiopian schools. We’ll provide the equipment, and you are sure to leave a lasting gift and have an unforgettable experience.
Working in our offices and Field Research in Ethiopia
Are you an academic interested in carrying out research in Ethiopia, or looking to build a career in International Development? Link Ethiopia may be able to support you. According to the current priorities of the charity we often have the need for field research or project managers to support our in-country staff. If you would be interested in working with us in this way, get in contact and we can discuss if your interests match our needs. If you are looking to carry out research from, or work in, our London offices, our ‘Volunteer in London‘ page might be more useful.
If you are just starting out, or changing the direction of your career, working in an in-country office can be an invaluable experience. Working in our offices will improve your understanding of how development organisations operate on day-to-day basis and and develop your knowledge of the development challenges and opportunities facing Ethiopia. You will have the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals, as well as share your skills and insights. We place specific adverts on Charity Job, however we do also accept unsolicited applications (CV and Cover Letter).
Carry out research
At Link Ethiopia we are always looking into ways to build our knowledge base, however we don’t always have the capacity to carry out the research ourselves. Link Ethiopia can help you access the informants or actors that you want to reach, and offer crucial local insight into the Ethiopian education system. We have worked before with both experienced academics and students and can support you appropriately. Feel free to send us your own research proposals, or if you want to find out more about our current research priorities don’t hesitate to get in contact.
What experience can I gain?
In a programming placement you will be working with one of our regional managers, who both have 5 years of experience with Link Ethiopia, as well as consistently liaising with our London office. Each placement will be different, depending on the skills you are looking to build, and the current priorities at Link Ethiopia. We will be more than happy to provide a reference in the future for your work with Link Ethiopia.
As a researcher this work will obviously fill the entirety or most of your time, and our staff can help facilitate your data collection, as well as offer insight to your research. However if you are looking to build some work experience around your research there are also opportunities to get involved in our programming work.
What have previous roles involved?
Previous research carried out by academics and students includes barriers to female education, an evaluation of our child sponsorship programme and more. Depending on the researcher’s time and focus, researchers have also supported our project work and worked closely with our in-country staff.
Programming placements involve supporting our in-country offices across project research, project design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluating. Previous placements have involved monitoring and evaluating our Libraries and Literacy project, developing our in-country staff’s communication skills, project managing research, and delivering training to Ethiopian teachers. Wherever your skills lie we look to match them with the current needs of the charity.
After interning at the Link Ethiopia London office I did a 5 month programming placement in Ethiopia, focused on monitoring and evaluation. I supported the local teams in a variety of ways, but my main task was to carry out an impact assessment on year 1 of the Libraries and Literacy Project that would be used both for interally improving the programme, and to report back to donors.
I visited several Link Ethiopia schools to assess the improvements in libraries, teachers, and student literacy, and worked closely with both projects and regional managers in Ethiopia, as well as being supported by the London office. I was given important responsibilities and learnt a great amount, not only about international development and education, but also Ethiopian culture and history.
I undertook a small-scale research project into the experiences of children who are part of the Link Ethiopia sponsorship programme and was pleased to be able to shape a research project that addressed their concerns yet drew on my expertise and interests. I visited schools and undertook home interviews with eight young people with their parent or guardian. There are a number of quantitative research projects that address the financial elements of large-scale sponsorship programmes but few listen directly to the voices of those involved.
The study has contributed to my research profile within the context of international development education, but more importantly, it provided a wonderful insight into the lives of children and young people and it will remain an experience that I was privileged to be part of.
During my two months as a research intern in Link Ethiopia’s offices in Gondar I worked on investigating barriers to female education. I processed and analysed quantitative as well as qualitative data collected from students, parents and teachers from Link Ethiopia’s partner schools, observed focus groups and carried out desktop research as well. Working with other interns I produced a written report on the findings to inform the design of Link Ethiopia’s Girls Education project.
The work and responsibility I was given during the internship not only allowed me to develop my research skills but also my ability to work in a team. For me, the consultations, discussions and debates with the Gondar staff, fellow interns and other individuals contributed the most valuable insights into the research area.