Work and Travel in Guinea-Bissau
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN GUINEA-BISSAU FOR TRAVELLERS
Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony, which, until the 1970s, lacked its own national identity. It’s an interesting mix of cultures because the area of Guinea-Bissau has been part of a range of empires throughout its history.
Today, it’s an independent nation that’s trying to develop itself and its population. If you want to be a part of this story, work and travel in Guinea-Bissau could be a great option for your next big challenge.
Our travel guide to Guinea-Bissau (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/guinea-bissau) is going to help you understand some of the opportunities available for you here.
1. Bring New Technology to Guinea-Bissau
As you would expect from a country in West Africa, Guinea-Bissau is lacking in development. But international organisations are present and helping to make a difference. There are efforts to bring in new technology to help reduce death rates and to improve quality of life.
For example, you could join a charity that specialises in introducing new water pumps to the country. Another charity may be bringing new computers into the country to help the nation get online.
There are so many different areas you could work in with these charities.
2. Teach English in Guinea-Bissau
Contrary to what a lot of people think before they travel in Guinea-Bissau, French is not the official language. Instead, the main language used is Portuguese. There’s a big appetite for young people to learn English so they can work abroad and tap into Western culture.
Native English speakers will find it easy to secure English teaching jobs. Work in Guinea-Bissau requires long hours and a lot of patience, but as long as you have at least a TEFL qualification you’ll be able to work both in schools and directly with families.
3. Help with Conservation in Guinea-Bissau
Another incredible chance to work and travel in Guinea-Bissau is within the conservation industry. Guinea-Bissau has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the whole of West Africa, including birds and fish. Efforts are being made to help promote biodiversity and conservation within the country.
One of the many options involves helping to revitalise the forests and mangroves of the country, which is where a huge amount of wildlife live.
It helps if you have prior experience, but it’s far from necessary. All you need to do is be willing to learn and be willing to work hard.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR GUINEA-BISSAU
Guinea-Bissau is one of the few countries in West Africa that has a relatively liberal visa policy. If you want to travel in Guinea-Bissau you must have some form of visa (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/guinea-bissau/visas). The only countries where you don’t have to get any form of visa are in West Africa.
Thankfully, the visa you do have to get is not a real visa. Unless you want a special type of long-term visa, you’ll never have to visit an embassy of Guinea-Bissau (http://www.accessgambia.com/information/guinea-bissau-consulate-banjul.html).
Instead, you’ll be able to apply online for a visa-on-arrival (https://www.rgb-visa.com/). This simple e-visa system takes just minutes to complete and you’ll be either approved or rejected within a few days. However, it’s rare for anyone to actually get rejected.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN GUINEA-BISSAU
Guinea-Bissau is an extremely wet country, but the spring season is the tail end of the dry season. That means you’ll be able to access more remote projects if you travel in Guinea-Bissau in spring.
One of the options you’ll have is to work in rural villages. There are a lot of options on the table, including helping to install new facilities, construct new pieces of infrastructure, and helping out on farms. English teachers and those who want to teach basic skills to young children will find that there’s plenty of work to do in these isolated villages.
You should expect to have to deal with the monsoon season throughout the summer. It’s not a good time to travel in Guinea-Bissau, but there are options on the table.
You should stick to the major cities as they have better infrastructure. The rural areas can be difficult to access at this time of year. Consider working in a school or in an orphanage in one of the major cities. These projects are always available and these are your best options during the monsoon rains.
Autumn is much the same in Guinea-Bissau. The monsoon season continues and this is when the rains can cause flooding and mudslides across the country. You should refer back to the ‘Summer’ section for further information on some of the seasonal backpacker skills in demand throughout autumn.
Winter is one of the best times to work in Guinea-Bissau because the dry season begins again. We recommend involving yourself in conservation projects across the country. It’s when the majority of them start up again and you’ll be able to try something different.
Another option is to work on a farm. This could involve helping farmers with new technology or simply helping them out on their land. The start of the dry season is a busy time of year as it’s when many crops begin to be harvested.
Other than that, you can refer back to the ‘Spring’ section for even more information on some of the projects available during the winter season.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN GUINEA-BISSAU
The volunteering opportunities in Guinea-Bissau are more abundant than in some of the other West African countries. However, you do need to be aware of the conditions you’re going to be working in. This is an extremely poor part of the world and you should be aware of the impact you’re making when you take on volunteer projects.
Don’t enter into a project that could be done by a local as there aren’t a lot of jobs in the country. Stick to the things that can’t be done by the locals, such as construction, education, and conservation.
Be aware of your volunteering footprint within the country and you won’t experience any hostility from the locals.
Do you want to go on an adventure with work and travel in Guinea-Bissau?
- Edited on Dec 11 2018 by Marichka