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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (FAQ)
Do you only offer volunteer work?
No we don't! We also offer cultural workshops (djembé, kora, batik, african cooking & dancing), language courses (French and Wolof), trips and host family & hostel arrangements. More information about these programmes is available in the Detailed Program Description of each programme on the programme page of this website. Most of our participants (about 75%) are volunteers who combine volunteer work with another programme, that's why most questions in this FAQ are volunteer related.
What happens after I sent my application form?
We will confirm receipt of your application by email. You will be sent a packing list in order to prepare your stay in Senegal. At least six weeks later you will receive all your placement details (host family and work site description) Once we received your arrival details (including dates, flight itinerary, etc) you will be sent your personal itinerary. You have to pay your programme fee upon arrival in Dakar. If you cancel your enrolment after having received your placement details, (you will be informed about your placement before your receive your placement details!) you will be asked to cover the administrative costs (60 EUROS) we made by processing your application. .
I am sure of a placement?
SENEVOLU will always be able to find a placement according your interests. But we ask some flexibility. For some NGO’s you have to apply several months in advance to obtain a position. If we don’t succeed to obtain a position for you in a particular NGO, we will find a similar position within another NGO. We ask you to apply at least 6 weeks before your arrival in order to find you a good placement..
Can I come with a friend or with a group?
We allow people to come with a friend or even in group and we will try to place you in the same host family.
I am only 17 years old can I participate in one of your programs?
Unfortunately we will not be able to place you if you are less than 18 years old. However there some exceptions: if you are accompanied by (one of) your parents or if you are part of a (scouts)-youth group.
Will there be other volunteers and where do they come from?
Our volunteers come from all over the world: USA, Japan, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. You will certainly not be alone there. If you prefer to work together with other volunteers from other nationalities, you can stipulate this in your application form, but in this case we ask some flexibility. Volunteers also have the possibility to join a 3 weeks French language course or to participate in one of SENEVOLU’s workshops and excursions (organised depending demands).
Who do you work with?
SENEVOLU has worked with university students, families, youth groups and other organisations to arrange meaningful intercultural experiences. SENEVOLU also cooperates with international key organisations it the field of responsible tourism such as Responsibletravel.com and Worldsurface.com. In Senegal we built up a partnership with numerous schools, NGO’s, artists, etc.
ADo I need to speak/understand French or Wolof?
Yes! Senegal is a former French colony and French is the official language. Therefore basic French skills are necessary. Knowledge of Wolof isn't mandatory but will help you interact with the population. You also have the possibility to join a 3 weeks French or Wolof language course before starting to work in your project.
What are the living conditions of my placement?
The living conditions of the placement depend on the area. One should not expect luxurious accommodations here in Senegal. However all our placements have running water, electricity, a bathroom, etc. You will be placed within a family setting with your own room. Our host families are well respected in society, and mostly experienced with international volunteers. Some members of the host families may speak French, few English.
Why do I have to pay to volunteer?
SENEVOLU maintains one central office in Senegal's capital Dakar and needs a reasonable fee for its service to finance office space, computers, internet, supplies and staff. Furthermore, SENEVOLU supports micro-business projects in the fields of art, commerce and fashion. Our aim is to promote community tourism & community development and therefore we ask you a fair participation fee. The cost of our programmes is stipulated in the Detailed Program Description of each programme. For more information about costs, do not hesitate to contact us by email email@example.com
Will there be other participants present during the orientation period?
We offer all our volunteers a short and individual orientation programme about the project they will join, their host family, working conditions, the use of public transport, etc. Volunteers also have the possibility to join a 3 weeks French language course or to participate in one of SENEVOLU's workshops and excursions (organised depending demand). .
Are their any special items that I should bring that I may not have thought of?
You will receive a complete packing list once you are enrolled in the programme. .
Can I schedule my own volunteer service for the dates that interest me?
Yes! Our programmes are available all year long. We however need to receive your enrolment and flight details at least 6 weeks before your arrival in Senegal.
How will I get to the SENEVOLU headquarters from the airport?
here is nothing to worry about. One of our staff members will be waiting for you at the airport terminal. He will be holding a poster with your name and photo on it. Please do not forget to send your detailed flight itinerary in time! To facilitate your airport pickup, we ask you to attach a passport photo (JPEG format for emails) to you application form..
Can you help me to book a cheap flight ticket?
Your flight ticket isn’t included in the programme fee, you have to book a ticket yourself. Airlines such as ALITALIA and TAP AIR PORTUGAL offer the cheapest tickets. A useful site to find a cheap ticket is http://www.flights.com
Will I have time to explore Dakar during the orientation period?
During the 5 days orientation period you will visit several places of interest in Dakar and you will make a trip to Goree island with the Slave House.
How much extra money should I bring?
SENEVOLU manages food and accommodation for its volunteers from the first to the last day so there won't be need of much extra money (during the orientation period only bed & breakfast!). You may need some extra money if you plan on taking part in one of our workshops or trips or in activities outside the organisation or if you just want to buy some souvenirs.
Will I have access to communications such as e-mail and telephone?
In Dakar, as well as in other Senegalese cities, there are many places in which you can make an international phone call or access the internet. All this information will be given during your orientation period. .
What Vaccinations will I need for Senegal?
We recommend the following vaccinations: meningitis, hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Polio and diphtheria. We suggest you to consult your doctor well at least 6 weeks before before leaving. .
Do I need a visa to enter Senegal?
Please inquire at your embassy whether you need a visa to enter Senegal. Citizens of the EU, Japan, Canada, the USA and a few african countries are exempt from applying for a visa for a stay which does not exceed three months (90 days). Citizens of all other countries must apply for a visa. All foreign nationals who wish to remain in Senegal for longer than three months must also apply for a visa. SENEVOLU will be able to assist you with visa extensions.
Is Senegal a safe country?
Senegal is a poor country, however unlike many developing countries Senegal is quite safe. There are sometimes incidents with pickpockets in the centre of Dakar. However, crime in other parts of Senegal is rare. The most theft-resistant way is to carry identification, money and other valuables is in a necklace pouch tucked under your shirt. Senegal receives more than 700,000 visitors per year.