Work and Travel in Djibouti
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN DJIBOUTI FOR TRAVELLERS
Djibouti is a tiny country on the Horn of Africa. Bordered by Eritrea and Somalia, this is one of the poorest countries in the world. This is in spite of the peace and tranquillity that has swept across the country in recent years. That means there area huge number of volunteer opportunities in Djibouti for anyone who wants to make a difference in the country.
But work and travel in Djibouti isn’t easy so this is definitely not a country for the faint of heart. For the adventurous soul, however, this is the only travel guide to Djibouti (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/djibouti) that you need to read.
1. Improve Sanitation Conditions in Djibouti
Work in Djibouti and your skills will be most needed in improving sanitation conditions in many areas of the country. The reason life expectancy is so low is the normal facilities we take for granted simply aren’t available here.
International organisations work to provide these conditions. These include installing proper bathroom facilities, ensuring there’s a constant supply of clean water, and offering lessons on how to prevent localised diseases.
Your help will be highly valued, especially if you’re good at DIY. These programmes tend to be long-term, however, so you’ll often receive training on the job when you arrive.
2. Protect Marine Life on the Coast in Djibouti
Much is made up of Djibouti’s connection to the sea as it’s one of the few areas of serious economic activity in the country.
The Horn of Africa is a unique area for marine life because you have Africa on one side of the channel and Saudi Arabia on the other. As well as a major trading tunnel, there’s wide array of wildlife in the area. You can help conserve this wildlife by joining a wildlife conservation group.
You’ll be supporting scientists in their research, cleaning up the rubbish along the coastline, and learning about the marine life as you work and travel in Djibouti.
3. Help Setup Businesses in Djibouti
Another area of international aid is in helping the locals to start their own businesses and providing microfinancing for their programmes.
There’s nothing better than helping locals making themselves self-sufficient. You don’t need to be a business guru to work in Djibouti in this area. Anyone who’s computer literate will be in demand.
You’ll be helping them to get online and helping them with the basics, such as tracking their expenses and their income.
This will bring you closer to the local people and make you feel as if you’re making a real difference as you travel in Djibouti.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR DJIBOUTI
There’s only one nationality that can enter Djibouti without a visa. This is Singapore. Everyone else will require a visa of some kind (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/djibouti/entry-requirements).
There’s a visa-on-arrival facility (http://www.wordtravels.com/), but we wouldn’t recommend using this. It’s entirely up to the discretion of the border official on the day as to how long they will give you and whether they allow you to enter at all. The visa-on-arrival can be issued for one month, three months, or six months. However, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the stay you want.
Instead, we recommend using the eVisa system (https://www.evisa.gouv.dj/#/). This was released to the public in February 2018 with the intention of eventually replacing the visa-on-arrival system. As of October 2018, both of these systems are in operation at the same time.
The one downside of the eVisa system is the maximum validity for one of them is 31 days. For longer stays, you will need to visit a Djiboutian embassy.
Some traveller reports state that applying at the embassy isn’t as bureaucratic or as difficult as other African countries in the region.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN DJIBOUTI
Djibouti has a hot and dry climate with two distinct seasons. From April onwards, expect to experience the dry season. This is the hottest part of the year, but it’s largely tempered in the coastal regions by the winds blowing in from the sea.
During spring, we recommend this is the time to head to the coast. It’s an ideal time to participate in wildlife conservation. It’s wise to arrive in spring for these jobs as most of them are long-term appointments that demand a minimum of three months of your time.
We should mention that the time when rainfall hits depends on where you are. In the interior of the country, the rain lasts from May until October. For this reason, we recommend staying on the coast.
Due to Djibouti only having two distinct seasons, we recommend that you refer back to the previous section for more information on the best seasonal skills during ‘Spring’.
The rainfall on the coast appears in November and the cool season lasts from November until April. This is the perfect time to travel in Djibouti because you don’t need to worry about already flooded areas of the country.
In autumn you should go out into the rural communities and help with improving the sanitation conditions there. You can also involve yourself in construction. Smaller villages always require help with building dwellings, constructing wells, and more.
Another option for work in Djibouti is helping people build their businesses. You can also help improve the computer literacy of the locals as part of that.
There are no seasonal skills required in winter. Refer back to the previous ‘Autumn’ section to find out more about what you can do as you work and travel in Djibouti in winter.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN DJIBOUTI
If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities in Djibouti you have nothing to worry about because this is a safe, stable country. Just use basic common sense to get around the country. The organisation you work with will be able to support you in adjusting to the local culture.
Tourists are few here so expect to have a lot of curious looks and a lot of interesting interactions with the locals.
Do you want to work and travel in Djibouti?
- Edited on Oct 31 2018 by Marichka