Volunteering as an English Teacher in Zanzibar will not only help you to shape the future of these kids, but it'll also sharpen your skills and abilities. The Teaching English Volunteer Program is a great opportunity for volunteers looking for international work experience in the education sector.
Under this project, volunteers are usually placed in different schools - nursery, primary or secondary, to teach basic English lessons to the local students. Zanzibar, being a part of Tanzania, isn't a much-developed region and derives most of its income from tourism. Hence, the knowledge of English is essential.
The schools, under this project, lack the basic infrastructure and inappropriate curriculum. Due to administrative issues like short staffing, proper education is not imparted to the students. All these schools are in need of good educators who can also take care of them and guide them for a better future. English and Maths are the two main subjects that need to be taught. The teachers themselves need help with English speaking and mostly converse in the local language. The classrooms are big and the facilities are extremely basic.
You can make a difference here by supporting the schools, the teachers and the principals, not only by offering assistance in teaching English but also by adding bigger goals to their lives. And this will help you to learn a lot about life as well!
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the time of joining the project. Participants should have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment. Volunteers need to be flexible, open-minded and have a passion for working with children. You should also be proactive and have an ability to take initiative All volunteers must provide a clean criminal background check report prior to joining the program.
Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities
- Being a volunteer, you'll get to work alongside the English teachers and current staff in leading the classes in improving the pronunciation and conversational skills.
- Make daily plans and keep the class engaged. Apart from English, also teach the basics of Maths to the kids.
- Focus on the weaker kids, and see how you can help them out. Keep a tab on the growth of your students.
- Help in improving the vocabulary of the students. Prepare test sheets for regular assessments.
- The best would be to focus on interactive sessions and activity-based learning methods.
- Involve the students in 'out-of-the-class' activities, so that they can gain more practical knowledge.
- Ask the teachers/principals, in case they need any sort of assistance.
Volunteer Work Schedule
As a volunteer for the English Teaching Program in Zanzibar, Tanzania, your general schedule would be:
- Sunday - Arrival at the destination (Zanzibar)
- Monday - An orientation session will be conducted by the local coordinator, covering the major topics such as safety, culture, language, places to visit, behavior, food, and other suggestions for things to do in Zanzibar.
- Tuesday to Friday - Volunteer work at the placement.
- Weekends - Free to explore the city.
- Breakfast - 07:00 am onwards.
- Working hours at the placement - 08:30 am to 01:00 pm.
- Lunch - 01:00 pm to 02:45 pm (volunteer work post-lunch depends on the requirement)
- Dinner - 07:00 pm onwards.
The same work schedule continues from the second week onwards (Monday - Friday).
Note: Please note, the schedule may vary depending on the project the volunteer is participating on. Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim and can have a significant impact on any participant who happens to volunteer during the time of Ramadan. The participant schedule shall vary during this time of the year.
Find a beautiful abode away from home in Zanzibar. Volunteering Solutions ensures that our volunteers get the “at home” atmosphere while volunteering.
As Zanzibar is semi-autonomous and part of Tanzania you can fly straight to Zanzibar (over Nairobi, Kilimanjaro or other international airports) or fly to Dar es Salaam. If you fly to Dar es Salaam you need to take a cab to the ferry to Zanzibar, where you can buy a ticket for the relaxing 40-minute boat ride to the island. It is very important that we know about your travel arrangements so the coordinators can be ready for you to arrive. Upon arrival at either the airport or ferry terminus, you will be welcomed by the coordinator who will show you around and take you to your accommodation.
Most volunteers use the daladalas, which have specific routes from your accommodation to Stone Town and onto other destinations. It can be time-consuming but also a great start of the day to experience transport the local way; life stock and big mamas all squeezed into a small minibus. In the first two days, the coordinator will take you to your project and pick you up, but after that, you will need to do it by yourself.
The daladala is very cheap and runs often so fit in and do things like a local!
All volunteers are given an orientation about their project and the location by the local coordinator.
Accommodation is offered with host families in the safe area of Mbwemi just outside Stone Town and close to the airport. You can expect to share a room with other volunteers. We typically use 3-4 host families in the area for our volunteers to stay.
Two of the host families are located next to each other with a local bar within walking distance.
When we receive larger groups of volunteers they are accommodated in our volunteer house. The volunteer house is a fairly large Zanzibar home with a living room/dining room, as well as the kitchen. It accommodates up to 8 volunteers in 2 different rooms and 2 bathrooms. The house has a garden with a secure wall and gate to make sure you are as safe as possible.
Bedding is provided in the form of sheets, but bring a towel for personal use. Mosquito nets are not provided so you can bring one if you choose to. If you don’t have enough space in your suitcase; it is cheap to buy things locally.
The accommodation can be basic, standards are very different in Zanzibar then back home most probably, and showers do not have hot water, but the weather is hot enough to shower cold!
Within easy reach, you will find the main road with food stalls to buy fresh juices, Mandazi (local doughnuts) and any other basic needs. Zanzibar has the most amazing fruit selection and you will find yourself spoiled with the availability and affordability of fruit on the island. Within 20 minutes walk you can find 2 popular bars with fast internet and supermarket with some imported (and expensive) goodies to treat yourself every now and then.
Meals are provided 3 times a day by your host. Meals are based on local ingredients and will include meat, chicken, seafood and vegetarian dishes, as well as the favorite ‘chipsi’ (fries) and pancakes. Breakfast will generally consist of tea and coffee, toast, jam and peanut butter with some fruit while lunches and dinners are cooked meals which you can eat after work and at your own preferred time.
During your Free Time
Volunteers will have a lot of free time during the weekend. During weekdays too, your evenings would be free. Some of the activities that you can get involved in during your free time in Zanzibar.
- Visit the old forts, museums and beautiful streets of Stone Town
- Eat all the seafood you can at Forodhani Gardens in the evening
- Go on a spice tour to see how cloves, nutmeg and much more are grown
- Go swimming in crystal clear water
- Snorkel or dive to some of the most beautiful reefs of the world.
- Relax and live the island lifestyle!
Please Note: -An application fee of $199 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of £149 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of $259 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of €169 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
What are you Paying for?
- 24 hrs Assistance and support from Staff
- Personal collection upon arrival at airport or ferry.
- First day introduction at the project and surroundings.
- Accommodation (shared rooms)
- Meals (3 meals a day)
- Guidance and supervision during your stay
- Offer of tours and outings in the weekends (extra costs can apply)
- Travel & Medical Insurance (Available at an extra cost)
- Certificate Of Completion (Upon Request)
What's NOT included?
- Air tickets
- Own drinks and luxury items
- Transport on the island with local taxis, bicycle or private transport
FAQ's Application and Program Details
As we have limited spots available in our programs and we serve on first come first basis, it is recommended that potential volunteers book their programs well in advance to get confirmed placements. You can book your slot by filling the application form online and pay the application fee .You can pay your program fee later and also, in installments, however, the complete payment should be made 45 days prior the start of the program. If you are volunteering in a group, you can also fill a group application form.
The minimum age requirement for the programs in Zanzibar is 18 years.
Volunteers joining the medical volunteer project must be either Pre-Medical, Medical or Nursing students or possess other qualifications related to medical and nursing field such as CNA or EMT. Medical professionals such as doctors and nurses are also welcome to join this program.
Volunteers need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment.
The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
The participant must be in good health.
We encourage our participants to volunteer in a group. We take special care in providing you a placement and also customize your itinerary to make sure you get exactly what you are looking for. Also, we can design special group programs for groups of 5 or more. Our programs are designed to be safe, affordable and offer a great group volunteering experience to the volunteers.
In our experience of more than 12+ years we have enabled and facilitated volunteer program placements for student groups- college groups, university groups, high school groups, group of families, group of couples as well as groups of colleagues.
Yes, we will provide you with the Certificate after successful completion of your program. The certificate is provided on request.
For our returning volunteers, $50 discount is provided for the application fee for their next Vol Sol program.
Flights and Visa
Recommended airlines to fly into Zanzibar are Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airways, Fly Dubai, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and KLM. There are good connections from European and Middle Eastern countries to fly into Zanzibar.
Health and Safety
Some pointers for the project:
Ensure that you are modestly dressed.
If you are diving or snorkeling, you may be tempted to collect some shells from Zanzibar's many coral reefs. Please do not, as this kills entire reefs, the devastating effects of which can be seen in the well-trodden areas of the East African coast. Although there are shell sellers, you are asked not to buy shells from them, as it simply encourages this harmful industry.
Zanzibar is an amazingly photogenic place but if you want to take photographs of people, please ask for their permission first, out of respect for them.
If you are not Muslim, do not enter any of Zanzibar's mosques.
Keep in mind that your safety comes with your own behavior and looking for your personal items. Lock your room if possible, give valuables to the coordinators to keep for you and be aware of your surroundings.
Zanzibar is alluring to many different tourists and many women from the west will find their African lovers here. Be aware of the smooth talking beach boys that you will encounter and can organize everything for ‘free’ for you or very cheap, there usually is a price to pay somewhere down the line.
We recommend these basic vaccinations for your safety:
Hepatitis A and B
Accommodation and Living
Your program coordinator will take you to your placement and introduce you to everyone after giving you a basic orientation about the program, city, culture etc.You will be briefed about the local transportation and also about your transfers to the project every day from the accommodation.
Volunteers in the medical and teaching project are provided accommodation with host families in the safe area of Mbwemi just outside Stone Town and close to the airport. You can expect to share a room with other volunteers. We typically use 3-4 host families in the area for our volunteers to stay.Meals are provided 3 times a day by your host
For volunteers in the turtle project, there are two different accommodations available in Nungwi for your Sea Turtle project. The first accommodation is located directly on the project site in Nungwi where the house has several 4-bed rooms with private bathrooms. The outdoor dining area is under a large coconut canopy right on the turtle project. You can also use an open fitness room, which is located directly on the property. About 30 volunteers can be accommodated here.
The second accommodation is about a 5-minute walk from the project site, and about 8 volunteers can be accommodated here. The volunteers are accommodated in 2-bed rooms with bathrooms. There is a kitchen, a living room, and an outdoor area with a garden and terrace. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the volunteers have the opportunity to eat with all the other participants under the large coconut roof and sit together comfortably.
Volunteers in the Football project stay in volunteer house accommodations in Kwerekwe district of Zanzibar Town or in Chuini.
Visit the old forts, museums and beautiful streets of Stone Town.
Eat the seafood you can at Forodhani Gardens in the evening.
Go on a spice tour to see how cloves, nutmeg and much more are grown.
Go swimming in crystal clear water.
Snorkel or dive in some of the beautiful reefs of the world.
Relax and enjoy the island!
Your program fee covers your accommodation, airport pick-up, orientation, pre-departure information, and in-country staff support. You will need to cover your personal expenses, such as traveling, telephone, the internet, shopping, sightseeing, return airport drop, weekend tours etc. However, you should carry around $50 - $60 per week for your basic personal expenses, such as water, local transport, phone etc.You will also need to pay for Work Permit as it is mandatory to take while volunteering in Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Connect with Past Volunteers
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the Meet a Volunteer section on our website.