Volunteer or Intern in Benin, a unique location that may stump your friends' knowledge of geography. International Volunteers offers conservation, agriculture, orphanage, teaching, medical/health, and journalism programs in this small, mainly French-speaking country
The Support Project for the Restoration of Natural Resources (PARRN) is an integrated projectthat works to fight against deforestation in the villages of Kpovié and Tokan in the south of Benin. At Kpovié, the focus is on gardening, reforestation and composting project; while at Tokan, there are activities in rabbit breeding, reforestation and production of animal feed.
In May and June, in both projects, there is a focus on reforestation in particular. Volunteers during this time help in cleaning up sites to be reforested, picketing, planting seedlings of acacia, maintenance of reforested sites. These are great projects to see how conservation iniatives actually function on the ground in Africa, with all of their successes and frustrations.
Youth and Education
ELI works with several schools and orphanages throughout the country of Benin. Interested volunteers and interns have the opportunity to work with a school for children with developmental disabilities teaching lifeskills, a school for the hearing impaired, or various orphanages. Tasks can include everything from English education, to life-skills and job training, to basic physical and occupational therapy. No previous education experience is needed.
The IRA (Initiative pour la Relance de l’Ananas) is an agricultural cooperative which works in the growing and processing of pineapple in pineapple juice. This is a true development cooperative in the locality which uses local labor and job skills training as a method of poverty reduction. Volunteers help in weeding of pineapple cultivation, harvesting pineapple, juice preparation, packaging, bottling, marketing, and other aspects of the running of the cooperative.
The association Vivogbè is a rural women's association in the town of Kpovié. The women work with the processing of palm nuts oil. As with the IRA, this is an excellent opportunity for a marginalized community to develop alternate sources of income. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work with hard working women in the treatment of palm nuts, cooking, grinding, oil extraction, and bottling.
The association of gardeners is specialized in the cultivation of vegetables: cabbage, carrot, lettuce, peppers, tomato, cucumber, and onion. This association employs a large proportion of the population and is a true engine of poverty reduction in the region. Volunteers help by setting up the nursery trees, transplanting, fertilizer application, irrigation, site maintenance, and harvesting.
ELI has partnerships with hospitals and clinics where medical students and health workers can do internship for 3 weeks or more. Volunteers are supervised by a doctor and assist in daily consultations and treatment of patients. Volunteers can observe in the fields of general medicine, surgery, gynecology, maternity, laboratory, physical therapy, ophthalmology, pediatrics, and emergency. This placement is also good for participants interested in becoming familiar with tropical diseases and local practices.
Journalism Internships in Benin
Skilled volunteers or those who are interested in broadcasting (radio, newspapers, or television) and communications can work in a project writing articles, translating articles, making reports, sound and video editing, filming, investigations, and animation. We work with several media outlets throughout Benin. Specific tasks and responsibilities will depend on the media outlet, and the volunteer's experience and education.