Volunteering in Africa is becoming an increasingly popular choice for those who want to experience new and exciting landscapes and cultures but also possess the desire to encompass the altruistic aspect within their trip. For many people these days, it is not enough to simply embark on a self-fulfilling adventure; there is the want and need to give something back in a small, but important, way to communities requiring support.
A gap year expedition is known as one of the ways to meet these criteria, and there are many great options out there for the independent traveller. Volunteer programmes have many different benefits and offer opportunities related to social care, the environment and education. For carefree and adventurous souls, there is a wealth of choices available at the touch of a button.
Perhaps often not considered by many, however, is the notion of doing a group volunteering expedition to Africa, not only providing the opportunity to experience an entirely new culture and make a difference in deprived communities, but allowing one to do so as part of a group of friends, family members, social contacts or colleagues.
Embarking on such an adventure as part of a group means that there is always someone there to enjoy the highs and share the lows with; support that should not be underestimated and that might not be available on an independent trip. Volunteer trips to Africa almost unreservedly come with many associated emotions and to have someone to experience these with can be both uplifting and comforting. The beauty of volunteering trips is that they take people out of their comfort zone and challenge their perceptions, often changing long-held views and ideas. Incredible bonding can happen through going on such a powerful journey together with others.
So much can be achieved from a group volunteering trip and this is another reason to consider this type of experience. Independent travellers can have a small, albeit important, impact through their work; be it providing teaching assistance, helping to build vital structures or carrying out valuable environmental research. Conversely, a group can make a potentially more significant impact during a short period of time. For example, with the right planning and funds, a group of volunteers with a collective aim can build an entire classroom within the space of 10-14 days, literally changing lives by delivering opportunities for tens of children. The feeling of pride and achievement alongside the learning that takes place throughout the experience can be very special.
Group volunteering trips allow people to travel at any point in their lives. No longer do people have to fit in with the norm of taking a gap year to go on an experience of this sort. Students are being given greater opportunities and may have the chance to go to Africa as part of a school expedition, broadening their horizons for the future. Conversely, more mature individuals may decide that such a trip warrants some annual leave from their job to go with friends or family on a life-changing adventure. With team bonding being an important factor in volunteering trips, they provide a great option for employers looking to increase staff retention and improve team morale.
Expectations and behaviours around the subject are changing and people are focusing on the benefits of such an amazing adventure rather than any perceived obstacles. So, if you are considering a volunteering journey to the incredible continent of Africa and are wondering how to go about it, why not explore the idea of turning it into a group experience and making it even more special? With others to relive the memories with long after it’s ended, the achievement and impact will stay with you long-term and ensure a bond that cannot be broken with your fellow travellers…