In many parts of Africa people live in poor conditions, especially in rural settlements. Millions of people experience deprivation of the most basic rights to water, shelter and food. The medical infrastructure in Zimbabwe is very low and often people need to walk long distances to receive medical aid. Our hospitals and medical centres are desperately short of drugs, medical equipment and even health care professionals. This project is implemented in partnership with a local hospital in Victoria Falls to give much-needed help and support to a challenged hospital. Volunteers mainly assist in administrative duties, basic treatment and patient support. They also participate in community health awareness programmes to inform communities of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other common diseases and support the hospital in their Home Based Programmes with HIV infected community members and elderly people.
Victoria Falls Hospital is the District hospital which supports people from Victoria Falls urban (approximately 40 000 people), Victoria Falls rural with approximately 80 000 people. Four rural clinics feed to the district hospital usually through people who are referred for further examination and treatment. Volunteers will likely be occupied throughout their shifts which could be a morning, afternoon shift or overnight shift. As a volunteer, you will have the chance to go through almost all hospital departments for your learning and appreciation of the Zimbabwe healthcare system. Your workplace is merely a 5 minute walk from your accommodation which will make it easy for you to get home during tea breaks or any other times as shall be approved by your supervisor. Volunteers should also understand that there shall be moments they shall be on call and expected to work any time depending on how the hospital gets busy. A positive mindset will benefit those who put effort in trying to understand and probe further. Whichever way, we are sure that you will love working at our hospital as you shall benefit more.
Area of Operation
Afro Edge operates in Hwange District in Matabeleland North Province in Zimbabwe. The organization has projects in Victoria Falls rural and urban. We are accredited to work within Zimbabwe but are currently focused on Matabeleland North Province.
What do we do with Volunteer Funds
Afro Edge contributes a percentage of the funds paid by the volunteers in the projects in which the volunteers are attached to. Most of our projects despite the PSS camps are partly funded by some of our funding partners hence our fairly lower fees. Part of any remaining funds are then used to sustain the projects in the long run although usually all funds are strictly budgeted for specifically projects in which volunteers are attached. Where a project is fully funded by the organization and other external funding partners, volunteers are asked to pay only administration fees. We absolutely run our programme at no profit and are intended to promote intercultural exchange and alleviating the world’s inequalities through volunteerism.
We are a non-political and non-religious non-governmental organization administered by a Board of Trust, made up of highly skilled members of the development community from Zimbabwe and Denmark. We have built skills, capacities and a network of active supporters, and are gaining a solid reputation in our programming. In Victoria Falls, Afro Edge is managed by a qualified team of professionals who have experience in the tourism industry, community psychology and community development work.
Vegetation & Climate
Zimbabwe is a beautiful and stunning country with contrasting landscapes and sceneries. There are a range of mountains known as the Eastern Highlands which form the border between Mozambique, ancient woodlands in the middle of Zimbabwe and even a touch of tropics along the mighty Zambezi River. The countryside of Zimbabwe is dominated by vast tracks of native trees and indigenous species including Mopane, Baobab and Msasa. Huge areas of Zimbabwe are declared as National Parks or Wildlife Sanctuaries that support a great variety of bird and animal life. The country is also home to the “Big Five”, lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino. The country’s climate is dominated by three distinct seasons, the hot season from September to October, the rainy season from November to April and the cool, dry season from June to August. Particularly during the cool and dry season temperatures may drop very low at night. Droughts can be a problem for the whole population and their livestock.
People & Culture
The population of Zimbabwe is friendly, courteous and belongs to different ethnical and cultural groups. There are Shona, Ndebele, Nambya, Tonga and a variety of other tribes which preserve their own traditions, beliefs and languages. Many Zimbabweans mix their native language with the official language English, which becomes a sort of dialect and varies depending on the area the tribes are dominating. Catholicism is the most common and biggest religion throughout Zimbabwe although many people still believe in spiritual doctors, witchcraft and ancestor veneration. The family for most Zimbabweans is very important, the members stay close together, men are the expected leader and the elders are highly respected and treated like a family treasure. Even in times of misery visitors may be surprised by their hospitality and generosity. Dinner is the most important meal of a day, where Zimbabwean families share their food together. Washing hands is a ritual before the meals because Zimbabweans, particularly in the rural areas, eat the food with their hands.
Before you travel to Zimbabwe you should consult your local doctor and ask for necessary vaccinations such as Yellow Fever and Tetanus. We strongly recommend taking Malaria prophylaxes for the entire duration of your stay. Water from the tap is not drinkable even though you may see that many locals do. Boil your water before drinking! The medical infrastructure used to be in very good conditions but through Zimbabwe’s crisis hospitals are understaffed and suffer a shortage of drugs, medical treatment and equipment. If volunteers are on medication we advise them to bring their own medical supplies for the duration of their stay. Malaria and HIV/AIDS are the most widely spread diseases and estimated every third person is HIV positive.
Zimbabwe is a very open-minded and friendly country despite its challenges through the last couple of years. Like in many other African countries mugging and pick pocketing are common so you should not leave your possessions alone. We advise all volunteers to copy important documents and travel papers. Walking after dark should be avoided, not only because of the higher risk of muggings, the danger is also caused by wild animals. However, there are several police officers in mainly in Victoria Falls town positioned to help tourists. Please be informed that it is illegal to photograph governmental offices, airports, military establishments, police or armed force staff members, official residences and embassies without a special permit. The possession of narcotics such as Marijuana and any pornographic material is criminal.
Money & Currency
The national currency in Zimbabwe was the Zimbabwean Dollar but through the immense loss of value, the currency has been replaced by the US Dollar, South African Rand, Botswana’s Pula or any other “hard” currency. The possibility of paying with Credit Card is also available in some parts of the country. It is currently problematic accessing cash from local ATMs. We encourage volunteers to bring with them enough spending money during their stay and further make use of their credit cards.
For most European countries, a visa is required. *All volunteers with a placement of 30 days and below should take a 30 day business visa*. Visa fee will be paid on arrival at the border or the airport. Volunteers with a European Union passport are required to pay 30 US$ single entry for a business visa. Passport holders of United Kingdom of Great Britain are an exception with a payable fee of 55 US$. These fees might change after publications so we advise you to contact the Zimbabwean Embassy in your country to confirm. We recommend that volunteers take double entry visas as you will be tempted to cross over into Botswana or Zambia and other neighbouring countries. It is not possible at this point to acquire a multiple entry visa until further notice. Volunteers with a placement above 30 days are expected to apply for a business visa for the first 30 days upon arrival and a Temporal Employment Permit which cost USD$500.00 for upto 2 years. We encourage you to consider value for money before taking an adventure above 30 days. Maybe 2 months and above is worthy USD$500.00 but it is all entirely upto you.