Work and Travel in Burkina Faso
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN BURKINA FASO FOR TRAVELLERS
Burkina Faso is located in the heart of West Africa. But how many of you have actually heard of Burkina Faso? It’s a stable country with no war and a lot to offer. So if you want to work and travel in Burkina Faso and experience something truly different, this is the place for you.
Our travel guide to Burkina Faso (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/burkina-faso) is going to show you what you need to know about travel in Burkina Faso and some of the opportunities available to you.
1. Health Awareness in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, with little to no working infrastructure. It’s why the AIDS virus has decimated the country in the past.
Many volunteer opportunities in Burkina Faso involve educating the population to make them aware of the virus and what they can do to stop it.
You don’t always need to be a healthcare professional to work in Burkina Faso in this field. It’s just about teaching the basics to a population that has little in the way of access to education.
2. Help Orphans in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso may be peaceful these days, but it wasn’t always like that. With an average life expectancy of 53, many children have been orphaned and have no place to turn.
If you want to work and travel in Burkina Faso, you should consider working in an orphanage. There are orphanages everywhere, from the small towns to the tiny villages in the middle of nowhere.
Just make sure that you don’t choose one of the fake orphanages that demand fees from foreigners to volunteer there.
3. Educate Young People in Burkina Faso
Did you know that only 8% of eligible children attend high school? The reason for this is that young people are typically sent out to work from an early age to support their families. The cost of education is simply too high for the majority of family units.
Charities that are present in the country always appreciate volunteers who can teach young people how to read, write, and speak English.
You can also provide classes in computer literacy to help young entrepreneurs get their businesses online and turn them international.
There’s a real need for education in the country, and you could be part of the vanguard.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR BURKINA FASO
Burkina Faso embodies the West African philosophy of charging extremely high prices for foreigners to come into the country. It’s a source of major revenue for the country. As of this writing, a single-entry visa valid for three months costs around $190 USD (https://bf.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/traveling-burkina-faso/).
The only visa-free countries are those in West Africa, some parts of Central Africa, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
The UK, European Union (EU) countries, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand are able to obtain this visa when they arrive in the country (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/burkina-faso/entry-requirements).
Everyone else, including Russia, China, Mexico, Japan, and South Korea, must apply for a visa in an embassy (https://burkina-usa.org/visa-application/) if they want to travel in Burkina Faso.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN BURKINA FASO
The spring time in Burkina Faso embraces a tropical climate, with hot and humid temperatures during the day and cooler, dryer temperatures at night.
Spring is an excellent time to come to the country as you’re able to traverse the county easily and work in the rural villages. It’s a good season to work in Burkina Faso on construction projects. Poor villages that need wells, houses, and other infrastructure will benefit from your help.
The summer months is the rainy season in the country, as a result of the African monsoon. These summer months can be tricky to manage because different areas of the country experience the rainy season differently.
In the Sahel region in the north, the rainy season is shorter and less intense. This semi-arid climate is closer to the Sahara, so you shouldn’t worry about work and travel in Burkina Faso if you intend on sticking to the rural areas. Flooding isn’t as common.
You should avoid the south, however, as the rains are longer and more intense. If you happen to be in the south, your help is needed in places like Banfora. Education projects, working in orphanages, and renovation work are all popular options during the intense rainy season.
The rainy season is typically over by autumn in the north, but in the south it usually runs until October. This is a good time of year to move to the capital of Ouagadougou.
There’s a lot of poverty in Ouagadougou. Joining a charity and working in the slums can do a lot of good. Many areas of the capital, particularly on the outskirts, are just slums made out of rubbish. Your work in Burkina Faso could make all the difference to these people’s lives.
The winter time is the dry season. Temperatures are hot and it’s easy to wilt in the intense heat. This is one time of year where locals need access to clean water.
Building wells in the rural areas can help them to get that. Dirty water kills thousands every single year, so you’re making life saving changes as you travel in Burkina Faso.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN BURKINA FASO
Most volunteer opportunities in Burkina Faso revolve around specialized work the locals can’t do themselves. And this is the sort of work you should stick to. Remember that you’re working in one of the poorest places in the world. Don’t take a role that you could be easily fulfilled by a local. You’re doing more harm than good by doing that.
On the other hand, you’re going to stand out in Burkina Faso. Few foreigners come to the country. Practically all visitors are either working in industry or volunteering. So you’re going to receive a lot of interest from the locals, especially as you move out of the main towns.
Do you want to work and travel in Burkina Faso?
- Edited on Oct 9 2018 by Marichka