Work and Travel in Benin
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN BENIN FOR TRAVELLERS
Benin is a tiny country on the West African coast. When most people go to Africa, they don’t consider work and travel in Benin. It wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that the majority of Westerners have never heard of Benin.
But as a former colony of the British Empire, it was a wonder for science and understanding the early history of the region. There’s also a long tradition of a unique form of voodoo here, which attracts a lot of archaeologists and other academics.
So what’s on offer if you decide to travel in Benin? Take a look at our travel guide to Benin to find out more (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/benin).
1. Improve Health and Hygiene in Benin
Like most poorer countries, work in Benin is about making a lasting difference. There are lots of positions in the healthcare field in Benin.
A lot of them do require professional experience, but there’s also the chance to work in backpacker jobs in Benin by choosing a local healthcare centre or participating in health education classes.
You’ll find healthcare positions everywhere from the cities to the rural areas.
2. Help in Business in Benin
Are you looking to get some real business experience on your CV before you enter the world of work?
Then working in this sector in Benin could be a huge help. Aiding local people with their businesses, such as helping them get online and using social media, can be a way to give them an income away from the usual low-income jobs.
There’s a real drive to help the Beninese modernise and advance so they can control their futures. You could be part of that story when you work and travel in Benin.
3. Support the Technology Boom in Benin
Unlike other parts of Africa, Benin is the type of country with a low computer literacy rate. Empower the local people by helping to improve these computer literacy rate.
It’s one of the excellent volunteer opportunities in Benin because you don’t need to have any qualifications. It’s enough to simply know how to use a computer.
This is also a way of getting to know the local Beninese, which an ordinary tourist wouldn’t have the chance to do.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR BENIN
The only countries that are able to enter Benin without a visa are all African countries (http://www.vsi-visa.com/en/benin/visa/visa-benin) plus Haiti and Hong Kong. Everyone else will need to get an e-visa in advance.
Thankfully, Benin has modernised its visa system (http://www.beninembassy.jp/en/data/Benin_Visa_Information_English.pdf), so the usual system of acquiring visas from the embassy for African countries doesn’t apply here.
The e-visa follows a simple system whereby you can apply for a single entry 30-day visa or a multiple entry 90-day visa (https://ambabenin.dk/evisas/). This applies to every country in the world, other than the ones mentioned above.
We recommend applying for the multiple entry 90-day visa. That way you can make the most of work and travel in Benin and easily travel to the countries around it.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN BENIN
Benin sees part of spring being hot and humid, with the other part being the main rainy season, which begins from April.
If you decide to work in Benin in spring, we recommend opting for an indoor job in anticipation of the rainy season. Construction and conservation work aren’t advised as it can be easy to get isolated by the heavy rains. Despite average rainfall being lower than other parts of West Africa, Benin still sees many remote regions cut off during the height of the rainy season.
Summer sees hot and humid temperatures again from late July until late September. It’s the worst time to travel in Benin because of this.
The only demand for volunteers at this time of year may involve computer literacy jobs or working in business in the major towns and cities. Some healthcare jobs are still available, but you should continue to avoid the rural areas at this time of year.
Summer is a good time of year for anyone who holds a TEFL qualification. Many Africans want to get better at English, so they can better their economic situations. Although jobs are not as available as in other countries, English teachers can find work in local schools and through private families.
Some of these jobs do come with a salary, but that’s rare and the salaries are not significant.
With another hot season in autumn, this is a good time to get out into the rural villages and help with development there.
You could find yourself working on a farm, to help with the main harvest/planting seasons. It could also be something like constructing a well in a remote village, so people have regular access to clean, safe water. The possibilities are endless.
The best part is backpackers shouldn’t need any qualifications to take on these volunteer positions in Benin.
The winter time in Benin is one of the best times of year to be in the country because the weather is hot without being unbearable.
It also gives you the chance to take on any of the aforementioned backpacking jobs. They’re all available during the winter and it’s when Benin accepts the majority of its backpackers.
Refer back to the previous sections for more information on the various options available.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN BENIN
It’s interesting to hear about the most common concerns regarding Benin. Although it’s known for voodoo, this is not something you should be worried about. Voodoo is largely a thing of the past and foreigners are not seen as a threat. You shouldn’t find yourself in danger here. Benin is one of the safer countries in West Africa for tourists.
You will elicit a lot of curiosity during your stay here. Visitors to Benin are rare, particularly backpackers. The majority of foreigners are working with major international organizations. So be prepared to get a lot of attention as you travel in Benin.
Do you have the strength to enter the unknown and work and travel in Benin?
- Edited on Sep 20 2018 by Mariia