Starting daysStarting days are Monday to Friday all year around except December and Ramadan
Minimum Requirements3 weeks and longer subject to visa requirements. A minimum age of 18 years old and older. Studying, experienced in or qualified in the Counselling, Social Work, Psychology or related fields. Or able to do sign language and help with disabilities.
Cost£1000 for 3 weeks and £280 for each additional week
What is includedMeeting you at the airport in Zanzibar on arrival, airport transfers to and from the airport, shared accommodation at the volunteer house, registration and application of visa if needed, pre-departure admin and support, orientation and induction, in-country staff with 24/7 support, three meals a day (Monday to Friday), drinking water at the volunteer house, WIFI at the volunteer house, transfer to and from the school you are placed and any additional running costs.
What is not includedFlights, visas costs, comprehensive travel insurance, spending money, weekend transport, recreational activities, vaccinations if needed, laundry and additional food when not at the volunteer house.
Best forCareer breakers, students or qualified professionals wanting to gain practical experience in a different country or even those interested in the related fields for their future studies.
  • Social Work Experience addictions programme in Zanzibar
  • Social Work Experience
  • Social work Experience disabilities programme
  • Social Work Experience
  • Volunteer with disabled children

Project description

With our Social Work Experience there are three areas that those keen, studying or qualified in Social Work, Counselling, Psychology or related fields can get involved in to assist on the ground with local Zanzibari professionals and supervisors. Volunteers can choose one of these three categories, depending on their interests, knowledge and skills:

  • Disability Programme
  • Addictions programme
  • HIV/AIDS programme

Disability programme

Children and teenagers with disabilities are facing many challenges in Zanzibar and struggle to do tasks that ordinary people do, as well as gaining an education and navigating a complicated health care system. The prevalence of disabilities in Zanzibar is significant, with estimates suggesting that around 10% of the population may have some form of disability. These disabilities can be physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental health related.

Children with disabilities in Zanzibar often face barriers to accessing education. Limited resources, lack of specialized support services, and stigma contribute to low enrolment and high dropout rates among children with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities in Zanzibar may face challenges in accessing healthcare services. Physical barriers, lack of specialized care, and social stigma can hinder their ability to receive proper medical treatment and support. Added to that people with disabilities in Zanzibar encounter difficulties in accessing employment opportunities and participating fully in the workforce., inaccessible workplaces, and lack of skills training programs contribute to high unemployment rates among individuals with disabilities. Stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities persist in Zanzibar, leading to social exclusion and marginalization. Negative attitudes towards disabilities can impact individuals’ self-esteem and quality of life.
This Social Work Experience programme is designed to enable changes for the lives of those with disabilities by promoting disabled children’s rights, opportunities, decision making and access to the full benefits of our society.
The Social Work Experience is providing this opportunity for volunteers and interns who are willing to spend time with children with disabilities, as well as providing health care, teaching sign language, etc.
Aim: to help change the lives of those with disabilities such as speech impediment, deafness, problems with legs, or multiple disabilities.
Role of the volunteer: taking care of the children at the centre, teaching them sign language, and basic hygiene, feeding them, playing with them, help the staff in day-to-day work and other administrative tasks, design an education curriculum that would help these children grasp some subjects, etc.
Aimed at: Those studying or qualified in Psychology, Psychiatry, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Teaching with a focus on hearing impairments or the blind, or those who know sign language and are experienced in supporting those with disabilities.

Addictions programme

Zanzibar has a high use of drugs in east Africa, and many drugs addicted people are in treatment and rehabilitation centres known as “sober houses” around the island. The Social Work Experience project welcomes interns and volunteers to come to Zanzibar and help those trying to recover from drugs as well as giving an opportunity to interns and volunteers who want to conduct research and gain practical experience in dealing with these social issues in a foreign country.

Zanzibar’s strategic location along major drug trafficking routes, particularly in the Indian Ocean, makes it susceptible to the influx of illicit drugs. The island’s proximity to drug-producing regions and its porous borders contribute to the availability of drugs within the region. Young people in Zanzibar are particularly vulnerable to drug addiction. Factors such as unemployment, poverty, lack of educational opportunities, and social marginalization make them more susceptible to drug use as a coping mechanism or as a means of escape.

A variety of drugs are prevalent in Zanzibar, including heroin, cocaine, and various synthetic drugs. Heroin, in particular, is a significant concern and has a high addiction rate among users. Drug addiction has serious health consequences including increased risk of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis due to needle sharing among drug users that inject. Additionally, drug overdoses are not uncommon.

Drug addiction has profound social and economic impacts on individuals, families, and communities in Zanzibar. It can lead to broken families, loss of livelihoods, and increased crime rates, including drug-related crimes such as theft and violence on an island that is already struggling with social-economic issues.

Stigma surrounding drug addiction remains a significant barrier to seeking help and support. Individuals struggling with addiction often face ostracization and discrimination, which can exacerbate their problems and deter them from seeking treatment.
Goal: to help young people trying to end the use of drugs and addiction

Role of the volunteer:  providing counselling and therapy services, explaining the effects of being drug addicted, assisting with mental health and positive behavioural support, providing civil educations, etc

Aimed at: Those studying or qualified in Social Work, Sociology, Psychology, Research, Health Studies, and other related fields.

HIV/AIDS programme

Communities in Zanzibar have little education on HIV/AIDS. This programme designed to support HIV/AIDS education including the detailed information about prevention of infection, how and where to get confidentially tested on the island, education and information on how to live and cope with HIV.

The main modes of HIV transmission in Zanzibar include unprotected sexual intercourse, mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding, and, to a lesser extent, injection drug use and male-to-male sexual contact.

Certain populations are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection in Zanzibar, including sex workers, people who inject drugs, and mobile populations such as truck drivers and migrant workers.

Gender disparities exist in HIV prevalence and vulnerability in Zanzibar, with women and girls disproportionately affected by the epidemic. Sociocultural factors, including gender-based violence, limited access to education and economic opportunities, and unequal power dynamics in sexual relationships, contribute to women’s increased risk of HIV infection.

Zanzibar has implemented various strategies to prevent and control HIV/AIDS, including promoting condom use, expanding access to HIV testing and counselling services, providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV-positive individuals, and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Despite progress in HIV prevention and treatment efforts, Zanzibar faces several challenges in combating the epidemic. These include limited healthcare infrastructure and resources, stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, low levels of HIV awareness and risk perception among certain population groups, and barriers to accessing HIV services, particularly among marginalized populations.

Addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic includes key strategies like scaling up HIV testing and treatment services, addressing underlying social and structural determinants of HIV vulnerability, and promoting human rights-based approaches to HIV prevention and care.

Goal: To prevent new infections from taking place and to improve the quality of life for HIV positive people.

Role of the volunteer: engaging in local communities, providing HIV/AIDS education, providing counselling to families and those affected by HIV/AIDS, participating in behavioural change campaign, testing people for HIV/AIDS, etc.

The participant will help educate people about HIV for example what HIV and AIDS is, how it is transmitted, and how people can protect themselves from infection, teaching people how to put this information to use and act on it practically – how to get and use condoms, how to suggest and practice safer sex, how to prevent infection in a medical environment or when injecting drugs.

Aimed at: Those studying or qualified in Social Work, Sociology, Psychology, Researchers, Health Studies, Counselling, Psychiatry and other related fields.

Typical Day

This is a rough schedule depending on which of the three areas you will be assisting with.

06h30- wake up, have a quick shower and help yourself to breakfast to give you energy for the day ahead.

07h30- leave the volunteer accommodation for your chosen programme

08h00- arrive at your programme to start the day.

14h00- finish your volunteer duties for the day and head back to the volunteer accommodation.

14h30- arrive back at the volunteer accommodation and help yourself to a late lunch. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon with a good book, take a beach swim, stroll the maze of alleys in Stone town or visit a local market. Or just catch up on your laundry.

19h00 – Dinner time and a chance to watch a little TV and catch up with the other volunteers and coordinators how their day was.

Please be aware though as you are in Africa, things might run at a slight slower pace than what you are used too.

  • Social Work Experince volunteer accommodation
  • volunteer bedroom
  • volunteer in zanzibar
  • volunteer bathroom
  • Stone Town
  • Jaws Corner Stone Town


The Social Work Experience volunteer accommodation is in a house in Malindi on the outskirts of Stone Town. It has free Wi-Fi that volunteers are able to use, and the office of the local team is also located within the same building. It is well situated allowing easy access to all the various project sites- and not too far from the beach. Travel time from the volunteer house to project sites is therefore a maximum of 30 minutes’ drive.

The volunteer house can accommodate up to 15 volunteers at one time with a kitchen, living area and several bedrooms and bathrooms shared with other volunteers.

Bedrooms are shared with two to three other volunteers of the same gender. Married couples can be accommodated too, and single bedrooms are possibly with an upgrade charge. Bed linen and mosquito nets are provided and electric fans for the heat.

Bathrooms are equipped with western style toilets and showers. Volunteers will need to bring their own towels and toiletries. There is a washing machine to do laundry, but you will need to bring your own laundry detergent. Or you can do handwashing.

As the accommodation is a shared living space, all volunteers are expected to help keep the accommodation tidy. To assist with the cooking and cleaning there is a local “mama” who works several days a week. The accommodation also has a sitting room (common room) where volunteers can relax, socialise with other volunteers and the local team as well as watching TV, Netflix or just relaxing on the sofa with a good book. There is a curfew if volunteers go out in the evening to be back before midnight.

As volunteers become familiar with the project site, they are encouraged to use public transport (buses – dala dala) to experience local life.


The Social Work Experience volunteers are provided with three local meals per day during weekdays (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Breakfast is self-serve at the accommodation and includes tea, coffee, fruits, bread (with Nutella and jam), eggs, etc. Lunch and dinner are prepared in the volunteer house. Drinking water is provided.

Your stay will typically include daily breakfast and dinner (although self-catering may be arranged in some instances). Depending on your schedule and the location of your placement, self-served (“raid the refrigerator”) lunches will be available at home or you may want to take a packed lunch. You will eat traditional Zanzibari/Swahili cuisine (simple but healthful foods including fresh fish and chicken, rice-based dishes, chapati and bread, fresh vegetables and fruits and juices). We can accommodate vegetarians if you let us know in advance.

During weekend, volunteers are free to use the kitchen if they wish to cook but they can also go out with or without volunteer coordinators for meals.


We simply love Zanzibar! It has so much to offer from nature, beaches, great food, culture and history! Added to the fact the weather is great and even in rainy season, you get a downpour and then the sun comes out again!

Your arrival and departure airport for the Social Work Experience project, is Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar. You will be met warmly by our representative and taken to the volunteer house during daylight hours. Please wait at the arrivals entrance to be collected by them and do not leave the airport area. 

The airport is approximately a 17-minute drive (8km) from the volunteer house in the Malindi region outside of Stone Town. Airport collection and drop-off days are Monday to Friday with your arrival flight landing any time before 17h00 and your departure flight leaving any time after 10h00. 

If you would like flights outside of these guidelines, please confirm with us so we can make suitable arrangements for your airport transfers if possible.

Most of our Healthcare Experience volunteers and interns can enjoy the opportunity to swim every day and/or take part in the nightly community football games on the beach. Watching the sunset in the evenings (we have some spectacular ones) and visiting the beach at daybreak to watch the fishermen bring in their catch are special pleasures.

Weekends are the perfect time to take in some day trips to visit the turtle sanctuary in the northern parts of the island, take a boat trip to  see the giant Aldabra tortoises on Prison Island, hike Jozani National park to view endangered Red Colobus monkeys, visit the butterfly farm, tour the fragrant spice farms, take traditional dhow boat trips, visit the Freddy Mercury Museum at Mercury House, snorkel one of the hot spots like Mnemba Atoll, visit heritage sites like the old Slave market or House of Wonder or buy spices and other goods at Darajani market. 

Stone Town has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site -for good reason- and wandering through its maze of narrow alleyways, visiting its museums, marketplaces, gardens, coffee and tea houses and wharf is another pleasure and takes you back in time. Not to mention some of the best seafood and traditional local curries can be sampled in the various eating establishments doted around the town or at the night food market at Forodhani Gardens.

There are frequent outdoor musical events in the Old Fort and at various venues in the city and at the local dance clubs. Once a year there is the well-known Dhow Festival that takes place. 

Zanzibar has a wealth of beautiful beaches, world class snorkelling, diving, and fishing, spice farms and numerous other interesting places to visit while you are volunteering…a true African island paradise. 

For more information or to book the Social Work Experience project, either fill in the contact form or please email You might also be interested in our Teaching project in Zanzibar