I've heard stories of people not organising anything, just heading over and talking to the locals and finding out where orphanages ect are and approaching them, spending some time with them and then offering to stay and help. sounds really cool!
And of course there are volunteer work schemes out there - has anyone had any exposure to them?
Any other ideas/experiences?
I am going to volunteer in Tanzania coming this May. I arranged it here in Canada, through an organization called the Global Volunteer Network, based out of New Zealand.
You do have to pay to volunteer, but the payment gives you a place to stay, as well as someone cooking your meals 3 times a day, mon-fri. Also there are various programs to volunteer for.
Pricing example: $920 US for 6 weeks
Brilliant, thanks for that Poot, sounds cool!
First you must identify an organization that suits your type of help. E.g a hospital, a local school, childrens home e.t.c
After you have made a choice you put it down on paper then you find a good organization that well fits you.
I think its absurd for people to just volunteer on one front children homes. We have lots of things that people can volunteer to do in Africa.
Many institution are in need of volunteer teachers and Information Technology related volunteers.
Which volunteer organisations you know of organise work in schools teaching?
i hail u folk for taking such a brilliant move.Voluntering is the best help one could offer to world expecially Africa.Well i u want a to do voluntering which is not through an organisation i will recomend Ghana my country,cuz here u have freedom of movement and is very peacefully and security wise.u know when u choose these type of voluntaring u get to interact more with the local people which i suppose is the main reason why people are voluntering.But when is through an orgainsation u tend to interact with the white folks u will be coming with more than even the local peopl.I believe u will bare with me that if it was to interact with same people from your race then u need not embark on your trip.Well if u consider voluntering in Ghana and the way i am advocating then mail me back.
There are lots of companies which provide you with volunteer work in Africa, since you are looking for teaching options I would look into the following companies: Global Vision International (www.gvi.co.uk) - my girlfriend did a volunteer year with them and had awesome time and she met me at the same time (bonus!). My sister suggested World Teach (www.worldteach.org) and Cross Culture Solutions (www.crossculturalsolutions.org) I also found a great article on teaching in Africa by Susan Bauer which you can look up at http://www.transitionsabroad.com/publications/magazine/0501/volunteer_teaching_english_in_africa.shtml
I hope that all helps
Here is a copy and paste, of the advise Petercaise(another member of this site) gave to somebody else, asking a similiar question, to yours.
For volunteering: i have not found an English forum on volunteering travel. I would avoid paid volunteering travel, which seems to be a business by itself. Rather, before your travelling, once you have more or less an itinerary in your mind, contact some of the expats there on the ground (check with http://www.expat-blog.com/en/directory/africa/ ). This is a small but very active blog community with great people. Many of them either work in the aid-world or at least will know people that can help you. So contact those on the ground directly. Don't go through a headquarter in Europe to find short term work (do that only if you want several months of volunteering).
Certainly living on the spot, working, will give you a completely different taste than travelling through, so I would highly advise that...
Thanks everyone thats such great info!