International Volunteering & Careers
Volunteer in Middle East or North Africa - MENA
SUMMARY: Want to volunteer abroad in the Middle East or North Africa (MENA)? The Syrian refugee crisis has captured world attention. We get many people who want to volunteer in the Middle East to help. We have many fascinating volunteer abroad programs in Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Morocco. Volunteer with Syrian refugees by helping in the schools they launched. Or volunteer in Lebanon in our micro-finance program; in psycho-social peace building program; in clinic or mobile medical or education units; teach English; work in communications department; or work in community centers with youth or elders teaching yoga! Or volunteer in Jordan working with women or youth; or in our new environmental programs. We also get many requests to volunteer in Israel – Palestine: we would love to have your help in our peace building program. Or volunteer in Morocco with extraordinary organization doing international development: work in women’s or youth empowerment; agriculture; or education. Nahn bihajtk!
Syrian Refugees: Lebanon & Jordan
In the Arab Spring of 2011, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya & Yemen overthrew repressive leaders. But it backfired in Syria. Assad killed protesters, launching a brutal civil war. 400,000 have been killed in Syria. Over 4.7 million have fled. 1 out of 4 people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee. 1 out of 7 in Jordan.
Many would say that this is The Crisis of our Time. We get many requests from people all over the world wanting to help.
The kind of help needed is so varied, that we have broken it apart by skills below.
Volunteer Abroad Working with Refugee Kids
JORDAN: work with Syrian refugee kids. Jordan hosts refugees from many countries: Yemen, Iraq, Palestine, Somalia and Sudan so work with refugee kids from many countries.
Who is needed?
~ Art & music therapists. + Ordinary people that can lead art, music, singing & creative activities.
~ Yoga teachers (not need to be certified) – most important is your ability to engage kids!
~ Sports coaches or players that can lead sports activities – soccer or sport you love
~ They are very open to “creatives” – people that will enrich their kids & help with healing
~ So mime, clowning, dance… They also would like help teaching computers
~ It is helpful if you can speak Arabic but not a deal breaker
PALESTINE: We get requests to work in Palestine. Here it is! Work in after school enrichment program: teach English, computers, dance, drama, music, sports or anything that you are passionate about that you think the kids would love. One man taught astronomy; another circus.
Volunteer Abroad in Education & Teaching English
If you want to work with Syrian refugees, then one of our best placements is working in the schools started by the SYRIAN REFUGEES IN LEBANON. I have never seen kids so excited about learning!
Who is needed?
~ They want their teachers & kids to learn English. You do not need special qualifications.
~ Physics & Science majors, mechanical engineers to help in electricity, inventions & robotics programs
~ Artists, Art & Graphic Design majors to teach in their exciting art & graphic design program
~ IT & computer geeks to teach skills to their kids
~ Experienced teachers & Education majors to build the skills of their primary & secondary teachers
JORDAN: Early Childhood Education & Disability program would like experienced Interventionists, Occupational & Physical Therapists, Social Workers & Psychologists who can build their staff’s skills.
Volunteer Abroad in Social Work, Psychology or Art Therapy
LEBANON: work in peace building program that believes psychological healing is first step.
~ Need psychologists, counselors, social workers, art & music therapist, yoga
LEBANON, SYRIAN refugees: need psychologists & social workers to help set up psycho-social support
LEBANON: art therapists wanted to work with Syrian refugee kids
LEBANON: work in community centers with youth or seniors. The “elders” were very active & engaged.
~ Need activities leaders: cooking, outings, ceramics, singing, yoga – no special qualifications needed
JORDAN: work in community development organization on youth & women empowerment
~ Need youth workers & early childhood education
~ People to work with women – no special qualifications – though emphasis economic empowerment.
Volunteer Abroad in Business, Micro-finance & Economic Development
LEBANON: Micro-finance MFI is very sophisticated. Help with operations, auditing, risk management.
Work with Palestinian & Syrian refugees, plus Lebanese women.
Need Arabic to help out in field. English or French suffices at headquarters
JORDAN: Economic Empowerment of Women. Train women in small business skills & entrepreneurship.
SYRIANS: need help marketing their kids’ amazing inventions to raise money for the Syrian schools
~ Need Business, Finance, Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship
~ Need Accounting, Auditing, Risk Management & Data Analysis
~ Also want Human Resources; Communication; eCommerce & someone to make mobile app
Volunteer Abroad in International Humanitarian Work
Is your career goal to work abroad in humanitarian work?
We find a growing number of people that are native speakers of Arabic or are studying very hard so that they can enter international development work in the Middle East.
We have several placements that give you great experience in international aid work:
help with project management; grant writing; work in refugee, health or education departments; communications; and coordination meetings with the UN.
Who is needed?
~ People studying International Development or International Social Work
or who hope to work abroad in humanitarian work
~ Very helpful to be fluent in Arabic but Lebanon is more flexible
Volunteer Abroad in Nursing, Medical, Physical Therapy, Dental Assistant, Medical Records
JORDAN clinics serve Syrian, Iraqi & Palestinian refugees. 80% of beneficiaries in Lebanon are Syrian.
LEBANON has clinics and mobile medical units that serve informal Syrian refugee camps.
Both Jordanian & Lebanese orgs need people to support (vs replace) their medical/ nursing staff
(You would need medical or nursing license to do many procedures.)
Who is needed?
~ Doctors & medical students; Nurse Practitioners, Physical Therapists
~ Nurses & nursing students help with vitals & triage
~ Speech therapist requested. + Dental assistant & hygienists.
~ Lab techs, ultrasound, mammographers
~ Medical records & medical social workers to match services to UNHCR (refugee) funding
Volunteer Abroad in the Empowerment of Women
JORDAN: This is one of the most exciting & advanced women’s empowerment programs that we know of in the MENA region. Come help with women’s economic empowerment; shift in attitudes about women’s roles; political participation;; and sexual and reproductive health. Men welcome!
Who is needed?
~ People with strong entrepreneurial and small business skills to train women
~ Plumbers, electricians and construction to teach women the trades
~ People who can teach computers & smart phones so women can market & sell their products
~ Women’s & Gender Studies majors & grads to help with attitude shifts
~ People to teach & foster leadership skills & encourage political participation
~ People who can train in sexual & reproductive health. We need you!
Peace Building in Palestine/ Israel
The conflict between ISRAEL & PALESTINE? Israelis say Palestinians are terrorists. Palestinians say that they have been occupied for decades and yearn for the right to return to the land that was once theirs. Expansion of Israeli settlements makes a “two state solution” – where Palestine & Israel would live peacefully side by side – almost impossible. Come help!
Come help educate the wider world about what is going on in the Middle East.
~ Strong writing, editing & journalism skills helpful
~ Middle East Studies + History, & Political Science students & graduates
~ People with a passion for peace building & conflict transformation
Why not more volunteer opportunities in Israel?
There is fascinating work going on in Israel so why have we not offered more opportunities there? I talked with micro-finance, environmental, desalination and services to Horn of Africa refugees organizations. They all told me the same thing Argentina and Chile told us: “We don’t need help.” Additionally, Israel is so, so expensive, we could never arrange frugal accommodation and meals for our volunteers.
Volunteer Abroad in Water & Solar Engineering. Architecture & Housing Rights
Israel/ Palestine is fraught with political fault lines. Discuss with Ann whether your political beliefs match the place where your skills are needed.
PALESTINIANS are often without water or electricity. Come help!
Who is needed?
~ Water & environmental engineers; hydrologists, people who can lay pipe
~ Experienced & aspiring solar engineers; photovoltaic electricians
~ Architects & housing rights activists to teach people their rights & how to navigate rules.
This is huge in Israel & Palestine so both Hebrew & Arabic helpful.
Volunteer Abroad in Public Administration, Staff & Organizational Development
Cutting edge organization in JORDAN has a long laundry list of the many staff skills that they want to strengthen:
advocacy; grant writing; communications & social media; strategic planning; strengthening team all over the Kingdom; quality assurance; professional writing and report writing; focus groups & needs assessment; SPSS; Monitoring & Evaluation.
Refugee program in JORDAN would like experienced people to help with managerial mentoring, M&E, grant proposals & project design.
Who is needed?
~ Both students & seasoned professionals in Public Administration; Staff & Organizational Development; Human Resources
~ This is one of the few placements in Jordan where you do not need to be able to speak Arabic. English suffices!
Volunteer Abroad in Morocco: International Development, Agriculture, Education, Women's Empowerment
Work with extraordinary organization. They primarily work in remote, rural areas, but now work all over the country. They use strong participatory model to tackle the challenges: e.g. how to earn a living in remote areas; how to get an education when there is no nearby school. This placement is well suited to people going into international development or international social work but is well suited to many.
Who is needed?
~ International development, community development & Public Administration students & experts
~ Youth & social workers, criminal justice: create alternatives to violent extremism for youth just
getting out of detention – help earn a living & get an education – develop “diversion” program
~ Law students & attorneys to work in legal clinic for sub-Saharan migrants who were fleeing to
Europe and got detained in Morocco; now with no rights & major discrimination
~ Women’s studies students & grads to help with their empowerment workshops & programs
~ Farmers, agriculturalists to help in tree nurseries that generate income in high, dry mountains
~ Monitoring & Evaluation then help with program & project development
~ Have strong writing skills? Write for international publications about their programs & how
they impact violent extremism; girls’ literacy rates, Islamic feminism & more
~ Tutors to work with girls in remote areas where girls have been left out of schooling
Volunteer Abroad in Morocco: Many Choices in capital
When other MENA countries experienced the Arab Spring, MOROCCO did not convulse. Morocco is a monarchy & the king made concessions to the people to avert upheaval. Morocco is a colorful, fascinating country. We have many different choices.
~ Amazing journalism placement where you can get great experience interviewing & writing
~ The empowerment of women: most adult women were not encouraged or allowed to get an education …most are expected to follow their husband’s wishes. Thus radical rabble rousing or feminist ideology is out of step. But if you will come & teach women English then in your conversations, you can discuss their lives, their families and their hopes
~ Micro-finance: Finance & Business majors. Risk management. French is essential.
~ Assist at maternity hospital.
~ Teach English at the secondary level.
Volunteer Abroad in Jordan: Community Development & Youth Empowerment - "Fire in the Belly"
Our most incredible new placements are with dynamic directors: people who have “fire in the belly”. This director, who grew up in Jerash refugee camp, was orphaned and had to drop out of school in 9th grade to earn a living so has created ways to help youth with similar challenges This org also uses participatory model to empower Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi refugee & Jordanian youth.
Who is needed?
~ You do not have to have any special qualifications to work here just a desire to help youth!
~ Help with life skills: problem solving, critical thinking, communication, leadership
~ Teach web design, coding….or art, painting,, theatre….or English or Arabic
~ Entrepreneurs/ small business owners needed to teach how to launch a small business & thrive
~ Skate boarders, musicians, bicycle repair…..figure what would engage these youth & come help!
Volunteer Abroad: Environmental & Conservation
The Middle East has natural and biological wonders that they are now preserving. Wetlands precious to migrating birds are now protected. They are now educating the public about the environment. They cooperate across boundaries regarding water resources, the Jordan River & the Dead Sea.
Who is needed?
~ Biological, botanical, zoological researchers – monitoring animals in bio-reserves
~ Environmental educators to educate the public about flora & fauna & environmental awareness
~ Eco-tourism: this is a new in the Middle East so people with experience in this are precious
~ Environmental journalism: write and issues & success of environmental organizations
~ Organize events & conferences – not need experience but instinct for how to pull it off
~ Photographers & film-makers to document their work; artists to make interpretive signs
~ Researchers & writers can be English speaking
Environmental educators that interface with public must be able to speak Arabic
Apply as far ahead as you can if you want to volunteer in Lebanon or Jordan!
The volunteer coordinators of some of the Lebanese and Jordanian organizations are very busy. Some are big organizations that work all over each country and have staffs of 600. So they do not sit at their computers waiting for volunteer applications to come in. They are busy serving their people. So I must get up at 2am to call them during their business hours and ask them to read my email. In short, turn-around is not usually quick so leave lots & lots of time for communication & coordination with them.
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