Numerous NGOs work in Eswatini (Swaziland) to help the most vulnerable in society – helping people to help themselves rather than simply providing handouts. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has resulted in orphans and vulnerable children now accounting for an estimated 15% of the country’s population. There are many ways for visitors to become actively involved during their trip as a volunteer, to help the people of Eswatini or work on environmental projects to help conserve the natural world.
All Out Africa is an Eswatini organisation well well known for their volunteer projects across southern Africa, offering a variety of social volunteer projects and sports volunteer projects that make a real difference to local communities as well as conservation volunteer projects in Eswatini and on the Mozambique coast.
All Out have social projects operating in Eswatini, Mozambique and in South Africa (Cape Town). These social projects work with vulnerable children to promote an early childhood education which they believe is the foundation for alleviating poverty in rural areas. Eswatini is in a biodiversity hotspot, in the top 2% globally. This is why All Out’s conservation projects in Mbuluzi Game Reserve are so important for conservation efforts that are implemented world wide. Their Savannah Research centre (SRC) focuses on population growth encroaching on indigenous savannahs and how this effects animal behaviour. A few species of bats and beetles new to the scientific community have been identified at the SRC and each year it hosts hundreds of students from all over the world who join to study biodiversity and ecology. All Out also have a Marine Research Centre in Mozambique which focuses on sustainable marine tourism conservation. The 2 research centres have together have had work published in over 60 publications.
Additional opportunities for sports volunteer projects are available particularly through the organisation SKRUM, which uses rugby to help with the education and personal development of young people around the country.
Alongside being a volunteer with organisations, there are a number of Community Tourism projects across Eswatini that were established by seed funds from the European Commission and Eswatini Government, but are now maintained by community members. Communities are empowered through the development process to assume responsibility for sustainability. Eswatini is proud of its many community projects that give visitors to the country an opportunity to have unique experiences such as exploring the peoples and customs of the bushveld and savannah or wondering at the great rock buttresses of the Sibebe and the Lubombo Mountains, among much, much more. Supporting these projects as a visitor or guest is valuable ‘hand up’ in itself, but within these projects, there are also opportunities for volunteers to get involved and make a real difference to their success.
Even visitors not taking a ‘hands-on’ approach as a volunteer can feel assured that the country’s tourist industry actively supports both local communities and wildlife & environmental conservation projects, so the ‘tourism dollar’ is one well spent in Eswatini.