Work and Travel in Liberia
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN LIBERIA FOR TRAVELLERS
Liberia is one of the least visited countries in the whole of Africa. After years of civil war, the country is only just starting to get back on its feet again. The civil war has taken a big toll on the country and you should be aware of that as you travel in Liberia.
Naturally, there are a lot of volunteering opportunities in Liberia for travellers who want to do something different this year.
Our travel guide to Liberia will show you everything you need to know about work and travel in this country(https://www.lonelyplanet.com/liberia).
1. Reconstruct Villages in Liberia
Liberia was destroyed during the civil war, with many villages wiped off the surface of the map. If you want to work in Liberia you should join a charity that’s committed to helping local people rebuild their lives.
Many villages don’t have sufficient means to rebuild, so tin shacks and poorly constructed buildings are commonplace. Charities are working to repair these buildings and to construct new ones.
Anyone who likes to wield tools will be welcome here. The work is hard and the hours are long, but there are few volunteering opportunities in Liberia that are more rewarding.
2. Bring Water Pumps to Liberia
The civil war also did much to stunt progress and to eliminate existing infrastructure. Liberia has worked hard to make sure that its citizens have access to clean water, but in many areas this still isn’t available. You can make a difference by joining charities that are committed to bringing water pumps to the country.
You’ll be helping to install water pumps in villages and making sure that locals know how to use them. By the time you leave you’ll know that they have clean water that will last them for the months and years to come.
3. Promote Education in Liberia
Children are those who have suffered the most during the long years of the civil war. Many teenagers missed out on early years education, for example. Work in Liberia can involve promoting education within the country. You can support children in their education.
You should be a qualified teacher and have some prior experience when it comes to the majority of projects, but there are options for unqualified backpackers.
You may just possess a TEFL qualification and you’ll have the option to help primary school students with their education. Supporting children with reading, writing, and counting will go a long way to providing them with a bright future.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR LIBERIA
Liberia is one of the most difficult countries to visit in the world because its visa policy bars citizens of the majority of countries from entering without first acquiring a visa. The only exceptions to this are typically other West African countries and South Korea. Koreans are able to enter the country for 90 days without acquiring a visa before they travel.
Everyone else must apply for a Liberian visa first. It should be noted that the visa process, at present, is bureaucratic and it can take a long time to get a decision on your application. Most people should expect to get accepted for a visa, though.
You’ll find that the visa system is much easier to deal with if you already have some kind of volunteering position secured.
It should also be noted that an e-visa system is planning to come into force in 2019. However, be aware that most government projects in West Africa tend to be late.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN LIBERIA
The spring is part of the dry season and is one of the most popular times of year to visit the country. The rains typically don’t begin until May or June.
Due to the differences in the dry and wet seasons in spring, we recommend that you stick to the indoor projects. These could involve helping to educate children, assisting doctors within clinics, or spreading health awareness as AIDS remains a big problem here.
The summer season is the main rainy season. The closer you are to the capital of Monrovia and the coastline the heavier the rains are likely to be.
We wouldn’t recommend travel in Liberia during the summer for this reason. The only real voluntary jobs are those in surf camps, where a large international contingent of surfers come to the country.
The peak tourist season begins in autumn. Autumn brings the best weather of the year as it’s the shoulder season. We highly recommend that you choose outdoor projects during autumn.
Working in villages with the reconstruction is a great option during autumn. You may also want to consider other development projects, such as bringing in new technology for farmers and aiding with the bringing in of water pumps.
The winter season comprises the rest of the main tourist season and the shoulder season. The whole country is open to you in winter. Roads are easily passed and practically every possible project is open to you.
However, we recommend that you opt for the outdoor projects if you’re staying for a long time. Outside of the winter season, you’ll find much of the country inaccessible.
Winter is an excellent time for going into rural communities and offering everything from reconstruction help to setting up schools for impoverished children.
Refer back to the other sections for even more information on some of the things you can do in winter.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN LIBERIA
Work and Travel in Liberia is about as away from the beaten track as you can get. With difficult visa requirements and a history of warfare, few tourists venture here. That’s why volunteering opportunities in Liberia are everywhere.
If you want a real challenge, this is the place to be. There’s no inherent hostility towards foreigners, but you still need to be wary and to be on your guard.
Be prepared to have a lot of patience and work with the locals on their time if you want to maximise your experience. This is not a place to be if you’re new to working and travelling.
Do you have the mindset to work and travel in Liberia?