Work and Travel in Sierra Leone
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN SIERRA LEONE FOR TRAVELLERS
Sierra Leone is known for being one of the poorest countries in the world. But this Western African country enjoys some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. So it still attracts a limited number of tourists.
If you want to work and travel in Sierra Leone, you’ll find lots of positions based on your skills. The local people here are in desperate need of help just to survive. So if you want to travel in Sierra Leone and make a difference, you’re in the right place.
Read our travel guide to Sierra Leone to find out exactly what you can do in this country.
1. Join an Organic Farm in Sierra Leone
As you travel to Sierra Leone, you’ll soon see that the food supply is a constant problem. Charities are not just trying to allow locals to farm free from violence. They’re giving them modern advancements in farming. One such project is organic farming.
These volunteering opportunities in Sierra Leone will involve working with local farmers to bring the latest machinery and farming techniques.
Organic, sustainable farming will leave locals less at the mercy of climate change and more able to grow a successful crop year after year.
2. Provide Educational Support in Sierra Leone
Education is one thing that’s lacking in Sierra Leone. There’s always a need for volunteers who want to either aid teachers or teach children directly.
It’s also possible to find work building the schools and implementing new technology, such as computers and tablets. There are so many options available to you when it comes to offering educational support.
It all depends on your skills and where you want to work. You can work in the highly urbanized areas like Freetown, or in the quiet countryside.
3. Offer Business Mentoring in Sierra Leone
When you work in Sierra Leone you’ll discover that so many projects are almost entirely focused on providing the things that are necessary for survival. But some charities are concentrating on the things that can allow local people to become more self-sufficient and to break the cycle of poverty.
They focus on supporting businesses in the basics. This could involve simply showing locals how to use a computer and how they can bring tech into their businesses.
You don’t need to be a professional business person to help in this area. All you have to do is to know some basics and be willing to work on a deeper level with the local people.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR SIERRA LEONE
Sierra Leone suffers from what West Africa suffers: the process of foreigners getting through immigration. Unfortunately, the only countries that are entitled to travel in Sierra Leone without a visa are other West African countries.
Places like Uganda and the United Arab Emirates are entitled to a visa-on-arrival. It’s widely thought that the agreement with the UAE is a pilot test for expanding the visa-on-arrival program. The Sierra Leone authorities confirmed as such in March 2019, when they announced that they wanted to offer visas-on-arrival to more nations.
They didn’t elaborate what this would mean, only saying they also intended on bringing in electronic visas to simplify the process.
However, as of this writing, you will still need to visit an embassy and obtain a visa so you can work and travel in Sierra Leone.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN SIERRA LEONE
When you look into the volunteering opportunities in Sierra Leone you need to take into account the fact that the weather can change drastically. For most of the spring, you’ll discover that the rainy season begins to strengthen. The rainy season can be torrential in the country, so accessing the more rural areas can become a problem.
Remember, Sierra Leone has one of the least developed transport infrastructures in the world. Dirt roads are common outside cities.
During spring, we recommend sticking to the urbanised areas. Working in Freetown with impoverished people is the best option. You can work directly in the slums with charities or decide to move into the educational sector.
Another option in spring is to work with local businesses. This will allow you to make connections with real locals as you travel in Sierra Leone.
The summer season is much the same as the spring. The rainy season often intensifies throughout summer. You should refer back to the ‘Spring’ section for further information on some of the available work in Sierra Leone in summer.
The autumn is a mixture of the rainy season and the dry season. Officially, the rainy season ends in November, but the torrential rains tend to ease off a month or so in advance.
At this time of year, you may want to consider working on a farm. This will take you to the more isolated areas of the country. You’ll get the chance to live with the locals and to find out more about the culture. Expect the work to be difficult, though.
Another option in the dry season is to work in the conservation industry. Sierra Leone is home to hundreds of unique species of bird. Since 1989, conservation groups have launched campaigns to protect these birds.
This sort of work will not only involve protecting the birds but also protecting the tropical coastlines that make up their homes.
The winter season is a continuation of the dry season, until April. Look back at the previous section for more information on winter work in Sierra Leone.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN SIERRA LEONE
Sierra Leone is often seen as an impoverished, dangerous country. Whilst the first part is true, thousands of volunteers work and travel in Sierra Leone every year and don’t experience problems. The traditional culture of this area reigns supreme here, so expect to integrate yourself into this culture. It’s an aspect the locals are extremely proud of.
We also recommend that you prepare yourself for the culture shock you may encounter. Voluntourism is common here. The locals appreciate it. But if you’re going to have a better time without problems, you need to be willing to adjust and adapt more than you’d expect to in another country.
Are you ready to take up the volunteering opportunities in Sierra Leone?