Volunteer Jobs with NGOs
Volunteering abroad opens a world of possibilities. Most, if not all, organizations seeking volunteers are not-for-profits (called NGOs outside of the U.S.). These organizations run with limited funding and staff and rely on volunteer support to maintain their day-to-day operations. More and more, 3rd-party placement and coordination organizations will be responsible for screening and placing volunteers, who will then be integrated into a local NGO.
It may be possible to get internships abroad with foreign corporations throughout the world. Learn about interning in that section of JobMonkey.
How Volunteers are Placed
While it is possible for any business (for- or not-for-profit) to request volunteers, volunteers traveling to Latin America are most often placed with NGOs that are filling a need in an impoverished community. Quite often, volunteers fill-in gaps in staffing for under-funded institutions such as schools, community centers or children’s homes. Volunteers in these placements generally serves as teachers, caregivers or assistants, based on their skills and the needs of the organization. There are a few NGOs designed specifically to receive volunteers, who work with local organizations to start their own educational or recreational projects serving a number of children in a variety of institutions.
Volunteers working in health care are often placed in hospitals, clinics or community center health programs, and responsibilities include everything from assisting nurses in their day to day work to distributing health care supplies to the community.
These placements are ideal for those already in field (there is a high demand for licensed doctors, nurses and other professionals in extremely impoverished areas) or looking to gain experience before enrolling for an advanced health-related degree.
For the environmentally conscious, many organizations specialize in restoring coastlines and rainforests, and use volunteers to help in clean-up and rebuilding strategies. There are many organizations in Central America and around the Amazon which are devoted to the rescue and rehabilitation of animals, as well as flora and fauna.
Regardless on the field or specialization of your host organization, most NGOs working with limited funding will involve their volunteers in fundraising and publicity efforts. These areas are invaluable to the sustainability of any organization. Volunteers are relied upon to spread the message of their organization, and often to serve as representatives of their cause both in their host country and at home.