Are you looking at making a positive impact and contribute your own quota to a meaningful difference in Nigeria? This can easily be achieved with the best NGOs to volunteer for. Volunteering with a reputable NGO can be the way to go to lend a helping hand to communities in need.
Whether you are passionate about human rights, healthcare, education, or environmental conservation, Nigeria offers a range of NGOs that are striving to make a difference.
In this article, we’ll critically explore the 5 best NGOs to volunteer for in Nigeria, each addressing critical issues and presenting opportunities for you to lend a helping hand. Let’s do this!
5 Best NGOs to Volunteer for in Nigeria
1. Go Volunteer Africa
Go Volunteer Africa is the leading and largest volunteer travel organization in Africa. They stand as one of the best NGOs to volunteer for because they combine community development and fun filled adventures. Go Volunteer Africa is dedicated to projects which support the advancement of education, healthcare and poverty alleviation, with a strong focus on education, agriculture, health, environment and social development. Their initiatives are established through collaboration with host communities, effectively addressing real needs and genuinely making positive impacts to those communities’ lives. Go Volunteer Africa is the first organization to introduce the concept of “volunteer tourism” which means you get to travel and tour across Africa whilst also meeting needs and making impact in communities.
Oxfam is widely recognized as one of the best NGOs to volunteer for in Nigeria. Oxfam has worked to address poverty and inequality in Nigeria since the 1960s. The organization is hinged on 3 pillars of accountable governance, gender justice and just economies. One of the advantages of volunteering with Oxfam is their collaboration with other organizations to achieve greater collective impact. This offers you the chance to connect with fellow volunteers and expand your network.
3. Health Emergency Initiative (HEI)
HEI is a passionate community of people driven by a genuine mission to make impact with the provision of basic healthcare to the poorest community of the society. They partner with over 39 hospitals in Nigeria and looking to partner with minimum of 100 hospitals by the end of 2023. One of the benefits of volunteering with HEI is the training on CPR/First Aid in emergency situations.
4. Nigerian Red Cross Society
According to the Nigerian Red Cross Act of 1960, CAP 324, the Society is recognized by the Government of the Federation as a Voluntary Aid Society, auxiliary to the public authorities. The society is renowned for its humanitarian efforts, disaster response, and health services. The organization offers a platform for volunteers to actively contribute to saving lives and reducing suffering. Volunteers can engage in impactful work that directly benefits their citizens, with a strong focus on emergency response, healthcare initiatives, and community development.
5. Amnesty International Nigeria
Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 10 million people who take injustice personally. They campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. By becoming a volunteer, you can actively contribute to causes that champion justice, equality, and dignity for all individuals. Amnesty International believes that acting in solidarity and compassion with people everywhere can change societies for the better. Volunteering with Amnesty International Nigeria provides you the platform to raise awareness, advocate for change, and collaborate with like-minded individuals.
Up next, let’s glance through activities volunteers can carry out in an NGO.
What can Volunteers do in an NGO?
Volunteers can take on various tasks and responsibilities within an NGO depending on the organization’s mission, goals, and projects. Examples include general administrative duties and office support, grant proposal composition/funding applications, research endeavors, marketing initiatives, fundraising activities, IT assistance, website advancement, and program implementation.
NGOs frequently seek volunteer assistance in administration, so a volunteer’s role can involve orchestrating and overseeing community workshops, conferences, and outreach programs. Your involvement will also be crucial for providing English language support, facilitating networking and communication, fostering organizational growth, and conducting research efforts.
At this point, you might be asking, how can one join a volunteer organization? Come along!
How do I join a Volunteer Organization?
The following are the steps you can take to volunteer in an organization:
1. Determine the causes that matter to you
Choosing to volunteer with an organization that ignites your passion can increase your chance of deriving satisfaction from the experience. Before you embark on a volunteer opportunity, take time out in identifying the causes that genuinely resonate with you. For example, if you are passionate about disability rights, you might find fulfilment volunteering at a special needs center.
2. Identify your skills
Many volunteer openings require that individuals possess particular skills. For instance, an animal shelter seeking an administrative volunteer may prefer someone with prior experience. Evaluate the skills you have to determine if there are specific roles that matches your abilities.
3. Create a volunteer resume
Draft a volunteer resume that outlines your past volunteer experiences alongside your skills and areas of interest. This can be highly advantageous when seeking volunteer opportunities. A resume provides the organization an overview of your capabilities, and helps identify the most appropriate volunteer position for you.
4. Establish the length of time for which you intend to volunteer
Determine the number of hours and days per week or month you can dedicate to the role. For instance, if you have a full-time job during regular business hours, you might opt for volunteering only on weekends. On the other hand, if you’re a stay-at-home parent, you could consider a more frequent volunteering schedule. Ensuring your availability aligns with reality prevents overcommitting yourself in your volunteer commitments.
5. Research volunteer opportunities in NGOs
After identifying your interests and availability, you can begin the search for opportunities within your community. Seek advice from friends and family regarding potential volunteer roles that match your preferences. If traditional nonprofit organizations don’t offer the right fit, broaden your search. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your high school or college representatives to inquire about available positions.
6. Consider using a volunteer site
Another way to find local volunteer opportunities is by utilizing volunteer websites. These sites enable you to input your skills, preferences, and availability, and subsequently connect you with opportunities in your vicinity.
7. Get all the relevant details for the volunteer position
Prior to applying for a volunteer position, ensure you have all the relevant details. Familiarize yourself with the tasks you’ll be involved in, the extent of commitment required, and any mandatory training.
8. Apply for the volunteer position
Many volunteer positions require you to submit an application. Even though these applications are usually not as rigorous as those for a job, you should still treat them professionally. In the event that the position entails leadership responsibilities or the handling of sensitive information, get ready for a potential interview.
9. Ask what is expected of volunteers
Ask about the responsibilities and expectations for volunteers to have a clear understanding of your role within the organization. Inquiring about expectations demonstrates your dedication and willingness to contribute in a way that best serves the organization’s goals.
10. Complete any required training
Once you have secured a volunteer role, go ahead to complete any training required of you. While most trainings are brief, certain organizations might require you to possess a certification before commencing your volunteering journey.
11. Begin with a limited commitment
As you set out on your volunteering journey, plan your schedule a month or 2 ahead. This allows you to know if you enjoy your role and the organization before fully committing. Once you are confident you want to continue in this capacity, you can consider giving more of your time to the organization.
12. Be professional
Approach your volunteer commitment as you would a paying job. Be punctual, fulfil your commitments, and be professional throughout your volunteer service. NGOs rely on volunteers for various tasks, so your reliability and professionalism makes a positive impact on the organization.
13. Regularly assess your volunteer experiences
Assess your satisfaction with the volunteer role from time to time. If you find that the position no longer brings you joy, you may want to consider looking out for another volunteer opportunity.
Now, let’s quickly list out the skills required to volunteer in an NGO and how to prepare yourself for volunteering.
What skills do you need to volunteer?
The skills you cultivate through volunteering could also be relevant to your professional career. The skills you need to volunteer are listed as follows:
- Strong work ethic
- Time management
How do I prepare myself for volunteering?
Having learned so much about volunteering in previous headings, the following ways outlines how you can prepare yourself for volunteering:
- Do your research
- Analyze your priorities
- Gain work experience in your field
- Network with people
- Set realisic goals
- Understand your options
- Speak with volunteers
- Consider the logistics
- Find something that aligns with your skills
- Take charge and share your experience
- Be open to change
Volunteering with an NGO in a nation with so many pressing challenges can be a transformative journey. From championing human rights, to empowering unprivileged individuals, to supporting healthcare initiatives, NGOs provide the platforms for volunteers to be catalysts for change.
As volunteers invest their time, skills and knowledge in these NGOs, they create lasting impacts, network, and gain experiences that enrich their lives. Through the power of volunteering, individuals can play a vital role in shaping a more equitable and progressive society.
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