Voluntary work in Colombia

Information & guidance about volunteering projects in Colombia

Featuring soaring Andean summits, stunning Caribbean coast and intriguing Amazonian jungle, Colombia is a diverse landscape that offers a range of volunteering opportunities as a result of its tumultuous past. A mixture of extraordinary culture still visible thanks to a wealth of ancient civilizations left behind a fascinating spread of archaeological sites, combined with the opportunity for outdoor adventure with the chance to dive, climb, raft, trek and soar depending on your mood, means there is never the option to be bored in the South American destination.

Where to volunteer in Colombia

Bogota, Colombia’s capital, is a great place for voluntary work in Colombia as the third largest capital city in South America, and an awe-inspiring mixture of preserved colonial buildings that now house museums, restaurants, hotels and bars, mixed in amongst 300-year-old houses, churches and convents. Heavy workloads mean voluntary work in Bogota in the form of assistance with childcare and care of the elderly is appreciated immensely by the locals. A rise in population, drug abuse and high unemployment rate has produced a rise in homelessness, which volunteers can help assist in the form of community development. Understaffed Colombian schools welcome teaching volunteers with open arms, so those interested in teaching English have plenty of opportunities in Bogota.

Cartagena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site offering culturally rich and meaningful voluntary work in Colombia opportunities. Boasting colonial architecture, the port city provides a beautiful backdrop for volunteer projects including environmental projects, healthcare initiatives, teaching placements and childcare. Santa Marta provides a coastal paradise and serene landscapes to undertake voluntary work in Colombia that differs from other locations; projects may include agricultural or fishing activities in the oldest surviving city in Colombia. Distanced from the bustling busy cities, Santa Marta allows volunteers to preserve national assets, or get involved in education and healthcare movements to help improve the living standards of local communities.

Volunteering projects in Colombia

Following the launch of a universal health care system in 2012, many Colombians are still deprived of medical assistance and voluntary work in Colombia can involve contributing to public health efforts by working to eradicate malnutrition in children or treatment of diseases. Volunteers can help with access to medical treatments or choose to educate the community about healthcare.

Education is another highly required type of voluntary work in Colombia; underprivileged communities are still struggling with access to educational opportunities, so teaching volunteer will often find themselves in rural areas where the quantity of teachers and resources are limited. It is compulsory for students to attend school, but as some schools do not offer secondary opportunities meaning students do not have the opportunity to complete their studies. Volunteers can teach English or other subjects such as mathematics, science, sports or art to educate students living in low-income communities and provide them with lessons they would otherwise not have access to.

Voluntary work in Colombia can also come in the form of community projects helping vulnerable members of the community and improving the welfare of the locals. Community volunteer projects in Colombia require flexibility, sensitivity, and patience, as those who volunteer in Colombia will find they are forever impacted by their volunteer work and the people they help serve through community projects.