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Volunteer and Intern in Ethiopia

Map of volunteer project destination in Ethiopia, Africa
Volunteer Ethiopia Volunteers put together arts & crafts for a presentation for children A traditional Ethiopian ceremony A Care volunteer hugs a child at an orphanage in Ethiopia Volunteer busy making coffee in Ethiopia, Africa
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  • Location: Addis Ababa
  • Accommodation: Host families
  • Local languages: Amharic
Country Info

Ethiopia, in Eastern Africa, is a destination where Projects Abroad volunteers can make a huge difference in the lives of the needy. Our volunteer projects and internships in Ethiopia are available for anyone interested in volunteering in the developing world, including those on a gap year, career break, or volunteer vacation.

It is impossible to think of Ethiopia and not recall the haunting images of famine from past decades. With the unpredictable rains, a lack of food in the dry northern areas of the country will undoubtedly occur again. With an increased international presence and early warning indicators in place, famine on the scale of previous disasters should become an increasingly distant memory. However, this region of Africa still needs much support and it is a great location for anyone wishing to help by doing some international volunteer work.

Ethiopia is the size of France and Spain combined, so most first time visitors are amazed by the variety of lush landscapes and spectacular scenery the country offers. From the fertile countryside and multi-coloured lakes of the Rift Valley to the rocky backdrop of the world renowned Lalibela churches or the dramatic snow-capped peaks of the rugged Simien Mountains, most of Ethiopia is nothing like the parched and barren land that comes to mind from news reports.

Our international volunteering opportunities are located in schools teaching English and a variety of other subjects and extra-curricular activities, or on childcare projects in orphanages and care homes. Volunteers interested in gaining international work experience can also take part in various internship programs.

Where You Will Live in Ethiopia with Projects Abroad

A group of Projects Abroad volunteers take a picture in Ethiopia, Africa

Projects Abroad Ethiopia is based in the capital city of Addis Ababa. Some of Addis Ababa is quite developed, although there has been no urban planning, so huts and shanty areas are mixed in with modern high-rise buildings. The main residential areas are low-rise, corrugated iron shanty districts.

Much of the population outside Addis relies on subsistence agriculture and food security is low, although there is a high improvement from the last two decades. Despite some recent economic progress in urban areas, Ethiopia is still very much a developing country.

Addis Ababa is a rapidly growing city that combines elements of old and new Ethiopia. Located in the centre of the country at an altitude of 2400m, Addis is the third highest capital city in the world and has a pleasant, temperate climate with warm days and cool nights.

Projects Abroad volunteers live with local host families during their time abroad, guaranteeing that they’ll experience another lesser-known aspect of Ethiopia – its friendly and welcoming people.

Travel and Sightseeing Opportunities in Ethiopia

On the weekends, you can take time off from your volunteer work to explore Addis Ababa and you will not be disappointed. It’s fascinating to see the mud huts basking in the shadows of lavish high-rise hotels. Priests in traditional dress hurry along the streets alongside suited businessmen chatting on cell phones, avoiding the passing donkeys and speeding Land Rovers.

A farm in Ethiopia.

The choice of entertainment is equally varied with plenty of activities to choose from. You can spend hours exploring the Merkato, one of the largest markets in Africa, visit a tej beat – a traditional local bar – or catch the latest Hollywood blockbuster at a movie theater. Addis Ababa is also home to some of the best museums in Africa as well as great restaurants, serving some of the most highly seasoned food anywhere on the African continent. Popular traditional Ethiopian specialties include the stew-like wat and the staple spongy bread, injera.

At the end of your international volunteer experience, you can take the opportunity to travel to Lalibela, a place of pilgrimage with churches hewn straight out of the bedrock, located 2630m above sea level. Although Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s main visitor attractions, it still remains very isolated and you’ll feel like you’ve travelled back many centuries.

Independent travel in Ethiopia is hugely rewarding, even though the infrastructure of the country is fairly basic. You’ll get used to the curiosity that you attract as a visitor and you’ll make many warm and genuine friends here.

Projects for All Ages in Ethiopia

High School Specials for Teens in Ethiopia

Projects for professionals available in Ethiopia

Most recent blogs from Ethiopia

First week is finished :)

Hi everybody!My first week in Ethiopia an the first few days in the Orphanage are already over and everything is just so different to everything I know and I just have to get used to everything.For me it is a great experience to live with a host family, because I am able to get to know the culture and ...

Blog 9: Weer terug naar Nederland.

Dan is het opeens al heel snel dinsdag. Een dag waar ik tegenop heb gekeken en naar uit heb gekeken. Het is een heel dubbel gevoel, want eigenlijk wil ik hier niet weg omdat ik het goed naar mijn zin heb en aan de andere kant wil ik ook terug naar Nederland om mijn vriendje, familie en vriendinnen ...

One more week

This is my last week in Addis. Things have grown comfortable and I am sad to be leaving so soon. I have done many wonderful things here such as visiting a cultural restaurant, the market Meccato, mount toto, and a church. I have made many new friends from Ethiopia, but also from all over the world. I ...

Adjusting to my temporary home

I have now been in Addis for a whole week and survived! I am not going to lie.. Travelling across the world, leaving my family and friends, coming to a strange place with different people, places, foods, and language is the hardest thing I have ever done BUT that being said it is also the most rewarding. ...

I have arrived!!

well it is officially, I am in Ethiopia. I think I might be in shock or too tired to react to whats happening right now. First of all, just before we landed in Addis Ababa I saw the most glorious sunrise from above the clouds. I don't think I have seen anything so breathtaking! It looked like the ocean, ...

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