What is the Best Country to Volunteer in?

Where to Volunteer?

Some people don’t really care where they volunteer, its more about the other factors – experience, the role, impact etc. If this is the case for you, then you should aim to find a good “market”, understand what is going on.

Market analysis of the NGO are produced by USAID ( pronounced by those in the know as US A.I.D not US AID) called the CSO Sustainability Indexes one analysis forNGOs in Africa and one for NGOs in Eastern Europe .

In 2012 CSO will extend to cover Middle East and North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

These indexes cover registered NGOs in each country. This includes both International and local. The local NGO sector in some countries can be deceiving as in Pakistan- whee every corner shop owner seems to have one, this data like any data coming out of developing countries should be taken with some salt. However, some questions to consider before targeting a country should be asked, and trends identify that inform your approach.


Note that that the “scores” should not be too heavily weighted n your decisions. As with many of these indices a “score” only reflects the authors general conclusion is arbitrary  and is put there to enable very dissimilar situations to be compared, allowing apples to be compared to oranges. Nice but not necessarily “meaningful”.

Are NGOs getting bigger or smaller?

Like in the “real world”, there are likely to be less job opportunities in a country in an  “NGO Recession”. aim for countries in or optimally entering into a strong growth phase where there will be less people on the ground looking for work.

What is the history?

Use the problems that an NGO is probably facing – understand the issues and the historical reaction in the country to those issues (e.g. corruption, drought, conflict).  Tailor the package you offer to the local situation.

What are the issues?

Identify the problems NGOs are having in a  country and ask yourself what are they likely to need in terms of Human Resources (ie. volunteers)? What could I offer? Do I have or could I easily create a “competitive advantage” over other candidates to fulfill this need.