Volunteering Guinea Bissau! Go Volunteer Africa, the leading and largest volunteer travel organization welcomes you to Guinea Bissau. Guinea-Bissau is a tropical country on West Africa’s Atlantic coast that’s known for national parks and wildlife.
Top Reasons to Apply:
- Make a real difference, this country is REALLY poor
- Experience the real Africa
- You will get to experience the culture in a unique setting
- A lot of the projects are really fun where you will get to work with locals who will welcome you with open arms
- You can also combine experiences
Guinea-Bissau is one of the world’s poorest and most fragile countries. Guinea-Bissau’s Atlantic Ocean coast is composed of the forested, sparsely populated Bijagós archipelago, a protected biosphere reserve of more than 100 islands. Its main island, Bubaque, forms part of the Orango Islands National Park, a habitat for saltwater hippos. On the mainland, the capital, Bissau, is a port with Portuguese colonial buildings in its old city center.
Go Volunteer Africa has volunteer projects in Guinea Bissau in various fields and a wide range of opportunities are available to developmental volunteers who want make a difference in the lives of people in Guinea Bissau. Go Volunteer Africa recruits and places foreign volunteers with community based development projects and schools in Guinea Bissau. Through our volunteer placement program, we aim to build the capacities of local projects and raise awareness around the world about the successes and challenges of life in Guinea Bissau.
GUINEA BISSAU FAST FACTS
Guinea-Bissau, officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa that covers 36,125 square kilometers (13,948 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1,726,000. It borders Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south-east.
Upon independence, declared in 1973 and recognized in 1974, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country’s name to prevent confusion with Guinea (formerly French Guinea). Guinea-Bissau has a history of political instability since independence, and only one elected president (José Mário Vaz) has successfully served a full five-year term. The current president is Umaro Sissoco Embaló, who was elected on 29 December 2019.
- CAPITAL: Bissau
- DAILING CODE: +245
- COUNTRY SIZE: 36,125 sq km
- MONEY: West African CFA franc
- LANGUAGE: Portuguese, Creole
- POPULATION: 1,726,00 (approx)
- OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Guinea Bissau
PEOPLE & CULTURE
The Guinean culture is very colorful, thanks to the people’s diverse ethnic backgrounds. The population is made up of different tribes with distinct languages, social structures and customs, but Guineans are generally very accepting of their differences. Some of the more prominent groups are Fula, Mandinka, Balanta, Papel, Manjaco, and Mancanha, who live in different regions. Much of the remainder of the population is a mix of African and Portuguese descent. There is also a Cape Verdean minority.
Music is a big part of life in Guinea-Bissau. The tradition is connected to polyrhythmic Gumbe genres. The most common instrument is the calabash, which often accompanies rhythmically complex dances. In addition to the Gumbe genre, Tinga and Tina are also popular, along with folk and ceremonial music that are used in various rituals and initiations. Other distinct sounds on the islands include Kussunde, Balanta Brosca, Kundere, and Mandinga djambadon, all of which can be heard throughout the Bijagós Islands.
Until the arrival of other civilizations, most of the local population adhered to animist beliefs. Today, however, the majority practice Islam, followed by Christianity and indigenous religions. Traditions are often practiced with a certain syncretism with conventional African beliefs and practices.
GEOGRAPHY & NATURE
The terrain of Guinea-Bissau is mostly low coastal plain with swamps of Guinean mangroves rising to Guinean forest-savanna mosaic in the east. The lowest point on Guinea-Bissau is at sea level at the Atlantic Ocean. The highest point in Guinea-Bissau is Monte Torin with an elevation of 262 m (860 ft).
Natural resources found in Guinea-Bissau include fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, clay, granite, limestone and unexploited deposits of petroleum. 10.67% of the land is arable and 235.6 square kilometers is irrigated. Natural hazards include a hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze that may reduce visibility during the dry season and brush fires. Severe environmental issues include deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing and overfishing.
Guinea-Bissau’s climate is tropical. This means Guinea-Bissau is warm all year around and there is little temperature fluctuation; it averages 26.3 °C (79.3 °F). The average rainfall for the capital city Bissau is 2,024 millimetres (79.7 in) although this is almost entirely accounted for during the rainy season which falls between June and September/October. From December through April, the country receives very little rainfall.
Why Volunteer in Guinea Bissau?
Guinea-Bissau, suffers from high levels of poverty, economic fragility and a dire lack of medical and nutritional resources, ranking it among the poorest nations in the world. Nationally, nearly 11 percent of households in Guinea-Bissau are food insecure. In certain regions, though, the percentage of food insecure households can reach up to 51 percent.
Poverty in Guinea-Bissau is a widespread issue. In fact, more than two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. Poverty in Guinea-Bissau disproportionately impacts women and children, specifically those between 15 and 25 years of age.
The country faces a high risk of infant mortality. At 4.72 children born per woman, Guinea-Bissau ranks 17th in the world in terms of fertility rates. Similarly, the country has high maternal and total infant mortality rates at 667 deaths per 100,000 live births and 50.4 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively.
Agriculture is a primary, yet relatively unprofitable industry. Guinea-Bissau’s economy heavily depends on agriculture, yet lacks other critical infrastructure. Though the country is rich in unexploited mineral deposits and offshore oil, cashew production constitutes 80% of its exports. In addition, 82% of the labor force works in agriculture, leaving very few development prospects for the industrial and service sectors.
An alarming amount of children suffer from malnutrition. Approximately 27.6% of the country’s children under 5-years-old are stunted, and the country’s low birth weight rate was 21.1% in 2015. A significant portion of adult women also suffers from anemia. Further complicating health conditions is the country’s comparatively high HIV prevalence rate of 3.3%. It also has a low hospital bed density rate of one bed per 1,000 people.
Guinea-Bissau suffers from poor educational outcomes. In particular, illiteracy is strikingly high: nearly 71% of women and 45% of men over 15 years of age are illiterate. Teacher strikes and flooding continuously threatened schools.
Go Volunteer Africa and her development partners in Guinea Bissau continue to work to improve living conditions in many communities. For instance, in an effort to address malnutrition and poor health outcomes among the children of Guinea-Bissau, Go Volunteer Africa has initiated the Guinea Medical Volunteer Mission, working closely with local hospitals and health centres to bring knowledgeable and skilled volunteers to Guinea Bissau.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES IN GUINEA BISSAU
Go Volunteer Africa’s volunteering Guinea Bissau projects are some of the most diverse and rewarding volunteering experiences, providing volunteers an opportunity to get involved with a huge range of activities from healthcare, construction, outreaches and even environmental conservation.
Whether a volunteer is working in a local hospital, youth activities or remote bush tribes, our Guinea volunteer opportunities offers the chance to discover many different aspects of volunteering and make a truly positive impact on the lives of others.
Guinea Bissau volunteering projects can be diverse and it might be a rural community to improve on their healthcare, working with orphans to improve their standard of living, building a community school, or just participate in the community outreaches organized by our coordinators or helping youth with their ventures.
Volunteering Guinea Bissau – Teaching & Education Project: Go Volunteer Africa is currently looking for volunteer teachers who can get involved with a complete range of teaching and development activities in Guinea Bissau. You can help in taking normal classes, assisting the teaching staff, conducting extracurricular activities like clay modeling, painting, drawing, singing, art & drama, dancing, group work, games or other similar activities.
Volunteering Guinea Bissau- Caring for Orphans & Vulnerable children Project: Through Go Volunteer Africa’s caring for orphans and project you can make a lasting difference in these young lives. You can care for children in many ways. Often no special skills are required, as volunteers are needed to spend time playing, reading, exercising and share time with the children.
Volunteering Guinea Bissau – Traditional Farming project: This is a primarily cultural and environmental placement for people who want to experience the lifestyle of rural Guinea Bissau, where the majority of people still farm using traditional methods. This project is very hard work and not for the faint-hearted, but it shows the reality of life in rural Guinea Bissau. This project involves working with local farmers that rely on their land to sustain themselves and their families. Volunteers live with the families and help work the land, feed the animals and make repairs to fields and structures.
Volunteering Guinea Bissau – Medical Care & Healthcare camps: We currently offer two projects for medical volunteers in Guinea Bissau; working in a Government hospital and medical health camps in rural areas. We are looking for medical volunteers who wish to volunteer in Africa, with the option to help in various departments of the hospital. The hospital has various wards and departments including General Medicine, Oncology, Cardio, ICU, Radiology, Surgery, Physiotherapy and Neurology. As a volunteer you will be working alongside the doctors and nurses in whichever departments you choose.
PROJECT LOCATION & SAFETY
Go Volunteer Africa offers volunteer programs in Bafatá and other more remote regions of Guinea Bissau. Bafatá is a town in central Guinea-Bissau along the Gêba River, known as the birthplace of Amílcar Cabral. The town has a population of 22,501 (2008 est). It is the capital of Bafatá Region as well as the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bafatá.
Bafatá is an important trading centre for the interior regions of Guinea-Bissau. There also is intensive agriculture around the town. The town produces peanuts (groundnuts) for export and livestock for domestic consumption. Bafatá is connected by road with Senegal to the north and the towns of Gabú, Mansabá, and Bambadinca to the east, west, and south, respectively.
Bafatá is noted for its brickmaking. By the 1880s it was an established trading centre for the Portuguese, including peanuts, cattle, hides, textiles, and salt. The town is served by Bafatá Airport, an airstrip, and a regional hospital. There is a hotel and a restaurant that serves Portuguese cuisine. The surrounding forests are noted for their monkey and antelope populations.
ARRIVAL & AIRPORT PICKUP
After you have applied, booked and confirmed your placement, please book your flights to arrive at Osvaldo Vieira International Airport in Bissau. This is the main international airport in Guinea Bissau. A member of staff from our local partner organization will meet you on arrival at Airport. This airport services numerous international carriers. Guinea Bissau has good connections to destinations throughout Europe, the Asia- Pacific region, USA and Africa.
Orientation and Placement will be done the next day. Generally, your volunteer orientation is an overview of the project’s mission, expectations and introduction to the local community and project site. Following your arrival in Guinea Bissau you will be given a presentation by the co-coordinating project team to prepare you for the work you will be doing. Guinea Bissau was colonized by the Portuguese. You can expect local people to be very friendly especially if you learn some basic Portuguese phrases.
GROUP VOLUNTEER TRIPS
Get some friends together or organize a group from your school and embark on this incredible adventure! Discounts are offered on any group of 5+ participants on Guinea Bissau volunteering program.
LONGTERM VOLUNTEER WORK
Please contact us for more information about our long-term volunteer work in Guinea Bissau. We will guide you on the best times of the year, what to pack, and what extra health precautions to keep in mind and all logistics.
Volunteers are provided accommodation in guest houses managed by the local coordinating teams. Three meals a day (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) are provided to the participants from Monday – Sunday. The accommodations are neat and clean. Accommodation is shared amongst volunteers on the ‘same gender sharing’ basis rooms. Wifi internet, warm water is not guaranteed.
The facilities are close to useful amenities like banks, ATM’s, currency exchanges, restaurants, cafes and shopping places. All placements are around 10 – 30 minutes from the accommodation. At some point volunteers might be on the move and hence we suggest also bringing a sleeping mat and sleeping bag/pillow for travel and weekends away on adventures. Bathrooms are usually shared. There is a lounge area for relaxing, reading, or watching movies.
Our program is for anyone eighteen years and above who loves service above self and social experiences with people from all over the world. We also accepts volunteers of 16+ years of age if they are in a group with a guardian or supervisor above 25years. Volunteers under 16 years old are only considered when accompanied by a parent/guardian. There isn’t a maximum age limit, though a reasonable fitness level is necessary. Families are encouraged to apply and are welcome!
ALL Visitors to Guinea-Bissau can obtain a visa on arrival (available to all nationalities and also online in a form of pre-enrolment or at one of the Guinea-Bissau diplomatic missions) unless they come from one of the countries or territories that are visa exempt.
INSURANCE & HEALTH
You’ll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the program. You won’t be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you’re covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave your home to the day you return.
Volunteers in Guinea – Bissau should be sure to receive the proper vaccinations, which include: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, and rabies. Bringing a mosquito net to sleep under is also encouraged. Please Note: Many of the health risks experienced by travelers cannot be prevented by vaccines and other measures need to be taken.
WEEKENDS AND FREE-TIME
Over the weekends or evenings, participants are free to eat out and explore the different delights that Guinea Bissau has to offer. No matter what your interests, there is always something for everyone to enjoy! Tiny Guinea-Bissau, sandwiched between its beefier West African neighbors Senegal and Guinea, is overlooked, little known or at best, prone to mixed press.
It’s true that political instability and violence have dogged the country on and off since it gained independence from Portugal in 1974, although currently it’s peaceful. Nevertheless, this tiny country is creeping onto travel itineraries and handsomely repays the intrepid visitor with vibrant traditions that rival any of its larger neighbors, interesting wildlife and a lively capital whose residents love to party.
HOW TO APPLY
To start the process fill Volunteer application form and submit it for consideration and book your placement. For more information on how to get enrolled for the volunteering experience of a lifetime contact us. Or Give us a call | WhatsApp | Telegram | Viber | Imo at +254-796-786292 to talk to a Program Specialist.