Work and Travel in Eritrea
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN ERITREA FOR TRAVELLERS
Eritrea is on the Horn of Africa and is known as one of the poorest countries in the world. There’s a reason why travel in Eritrea is so uncommon. There’s a lot of work to be done here, which is why volunteer opportunities in Eritrea are available in abundance.
We should warn you that Eritrea is not for the faint of heart. You’ll witness some of the direst conditions in the world. With relatively poor farmland, a history of constant upheaval, and few natural resources to take advantage of, you have a country that has been in near perpetual turmoil.
If you want a travel experience that’s truly unique, this is the place to be. So here’s our travel guide to Eritrea (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/eritrea) for those who want to make a difference here.
1. Work in an Eye Clinic in Eritrea
Eritrea has one of the highest rates of preventable blindness in the world. Eye clinics are largely provided by international organisations.
By working in one of these clinics you will have the chance to connect with local people and support them through their visits. You don’t need to be a qualified doctor to work here. There are always roles for unqualified people, including basic maintenance work, fundraising, and more.
Through your work in Eritrea, you’ll be helping poor people to see again.
2. Teaching in Schools in Eritrea
As is common with poorer countries, the education system is poor. Many children barely learn to read and write. Whilst you work and travel in Eritrea, consider working in a school.
These are not often state schools but private schools aimed at the poorest in society. You’ll be showing people how to read, write, count, and how to speak English.
You don’t have to have any prior qualifications to provide basic lessons to young children in schools. Your provider will give you all the materials you need.
3. Building Work in Eritrea
Whether it’s a well in a rural village or a new school in an urban area, international organisations are there to act where the government won’t. With so little funding to spare, many public facilities are rundown or they never existed in the first place.
Anyone with a good work ethic is more than welcome to work in Eritrea in this field. You’ll be working with both local people and other international volunteers to leave something that stands the test of time.
It’s a great way to make a difference as you travel in Eritrea.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR ERITREA
If you want to travel in Eritrea you should know that every country in the world, other than Uganda, requires a visa to enter the country (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Eritrea.html).
This is why you see so few travellers in the country because there’s no easy e-visa system to take advantage of. You will need to apply at an Eritrean embassy (http://www.embassyeritrea.org/consular/PDF-docs/Application_for_Entry_Visa_n_Requirements_2016.pdf) and hope you get accepted. Even ordinary tourist visas can take a long time to obtain (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/eritrea/entry-requirements) through the Eritrean embassy.
You should ensure that you’ve already looked into some of the volunteer opportunities in Eritrea. An international organisation will always be able to obtain the relevant paperwork for their volunteers faster. There’s also little chance of being rejected if you have a sponsor already operating in the country.
They will also be able to offer you full visa support.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN ERITREA
The season depends on where you happen to be in the country. During spring, the rainy season begins in June. This is typically found in the western lowlands and the highlands.
We recommend that you move towards the eastern edge of the country during this time of year. You’ll be able to conduct various outdoor construction projects there.
There’s a big need for help on the farms, as most farmers still use traditional methods. Helping to teach proper irrigation techniques and introducing modern machinery are just a couple of the ways international organisations help to support farmers.
In the western half of the country, spring is typically the best time for educational projects and working in the urbanised areas.
The summer season continues the intensification of the rainy season in the west. There are no specific seasonal skills to be found in the summer.
You should refer back to the ‘Spring’ section to find out more about some of the things you can do if you travel in Eritrea in summer.
In the autumn, the seasons essentially reverse from September until November. The rainy season arrives in the east and the dry season begins in the west.
You should head to the west during autumn. There’s a big need for volunteers who want to engage in community engagement projects there. These can include a wide variety of things, such as promoting public health, teaching children, and supporting medical clinics.
The winter is the best time to work and travel in Eritrea because the dry season is present across the country. All the work available in previous sections becomes available across the country in winter.
There’s also the chance to work as part of a homestay. The winter is the traditional harvest season, and so local Eritreans can offer homestay opportunities.
You’ll learn about the culture of the country in exchange for work around the farmstead. The work can include anything from basic maintenance tasks to taking care of children and helping with the harvest.
It’s an incredible opportunity to see this rich culture for yourself.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN ERITREA
Travel in Eritrea isn’t an easy prospect. You’ll find even accomplishing basic tasks difficult because it’s one of the poorest countries in the world with practically no infrastructure available.
You’ll find that the locals will take a great interest in you because foreigners are so rarely found in the country. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys interacting with the locals, this is the country for you to work in during your next adventure.
If you want an experience that will change you for the rest of your life, work and travel in Eritrea is for you.
- Edited on Oct 31 2018 by Marichka