Community Outreach & Health Awareness

founded in 2007
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Coordinator | Dayne
Coordinator | Dayne
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.
Join our community volunteer projects and help us to empower local people, make a difference and have fun doing it! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 17+

About the Program

Help us to provide education, social and health support and alleviate poverty in the beautiful township of Knysna. 

Through projects aimed at empowering locals we encourage a sense of pride and create a brighter future for the poorest communities.

This program targets the main areas of concern in the local community: Health, Education and Nutrition, and provides an all round service to the local people. 

Projects include conducting social surveys in the local township, building eco-friendly greenhouses, assisting with afterschool programs, helping at an elderly care centre and running a weekly recycling exchange initiative for children- a full and varied experience! 

You will be able to make a tangible difference to the lives of individuals who have little or no opportunity to improve their access to a decent education or livelihood.

Projects included in the program

Community Survey:

This community volunteer project focuses on an ongoing Community Survey. This survey is aimed at giving us a better understanding of how the local people feel about their community; as well as highlighting issues that our projects are already tackling and areas where we may be able to develop new projects.

Volunteers go house-to-house and conduct questionnaires. The content of the questionnaires varies depending on the current aims of the project.

Through this project we have been able to gain insight into unemployment rates; living conditions and access to services; skills that local people have; projects/classes that locals are interested in; and animal welfare issues.

TB Screening:

Our TB Screening South Africa Project uses a non-invasive questionnaire based method to identify people who are presenting symptoms of TB and refer them to local health clinics.

With the assistance of our volunteers we go house-to-house and conduct a questionnaire – if it is apparent that someone is potentially infected with TB we provide them with a referral letter and advise them to visit a local health clinic for formal testing and treatment where necessary.

House-to-house screening is considered by the World Health Organisation to be a highly effective method for active case finding.

Please note: This project is carried out within the general population – it is not specifically aimed at people with TB and therefore there is no increased risk of contracting TB.

Support for the Elderly:

Volunteer for Elderly residents who live at a care home in Knysna, South Africa. This project is aimed at providing company and support to the residents of a local old age centre.

Our volunteers provide an opportunity for residents to enjoy a range of different programs, including exercise programs, arts and craft activities, group games, story reading, gardening and more! They especially love a game of bingo and making cards for their loved ones.

Through this project we are able to keep the residents mentally and physically active, provide them with emotional support, and provide an opportunity for many hours of fun they otherwise wouldn’t have. Many of the residents do not have family members that visit often. Not only do we help to break up some of the long days but it is a great opportunity for cultural exchange.

Recycling Swop Shop:

Help us run a project teaching kids the value of looking after their community and the concept of using recycling to meet their immediate needs through a recycling exchange incentive scheme. Our swop shop also creates an effective means of cleaning up the local environment.

Local children collect plastic, paper, tins and glass which they bring once a week to the Swop Shop. Their recycling is weighed by EDGE of AFRICA volunteers and depending on the amount and type of recycling the child receives a certain amount of points which they can then spend in the ‘Swop Shop’.

The shop is filled with clothes, toiletries, toys & stationery (and the list goes on!) all donated by Knysna locals and International volunteers. There is no money involved in this scheme and the Recycling Swop Shop is entirely reliant on donations and volunteer participation.

The recycling that is collected through this project is put to good use, for example we use 2 litre plastic bottles to create eco-friendly greenhouses (see our Food Security Project); and we are developing a business empowerment project that will employ local people to create functional products out of “waste” materials!

Food Security:

Our Food Security Project is aimed at providing locals with the assistance and education that they need in order to be able to grow food for themselves and their families.

The current focus of this project is to assist community members in building eco-friendly greenhouses. There has been a constant battle with developing vegetable gardens that are exposed to local animals in the informal areas of our Knysna Community. There is also an on-going problem that 2 L plastic bottles block drainpipes causing many houses and streets to flood. In order to tackle these issues we began constructing greenhouses using a wooden frame (making use of alien wood wherever possible) and rows of 2 litre plastic bottles (collected via our Recycling Swop Shop and through local competitions).

We have begun by creating greenhouses at local schools, both to assist the schools in providing food for their students and also to serve as prototypes for the wider community. Our long term goal is to assist individuals in creating their own greenhouses and to develop opportunities for food exchange and business empowerment opportunities.

We also run our “Ipana Banye” (“sharing together”) project once a week, where we prepare and distribute nutritious soup. Each week we rotate around different areas of our local community to try to reach as many people as possible.

HIV/AIDS & TB Awareness:

These workshops are aimed at local children aged 12-18 years old and play an important role in the fight against the HIV epidemic.

In Sub-Saharan Africa nearly 1 in 20 adults are living with HIV and this region accounts for 71% of the people living with HIV Worldwide. Around 29.5% of South Africa’s population is infected with HIV.

Through our years of experience of working with children in Knysna’s township areas it has become increasingly apparent that although many of the children have heard about HIV/AIDS, their understanding is very minimal.

Our fun and interactive workshops cover all aspects of HIV/AIDS & TB:

  • How HIV/AIDS works and the facts about transmission
  • The link between HIV/AIDS & TB
  • Prevention
  • HIV testing and treatment
  • Effects of prejudice

In order to assess the effectiveness of our workshops, participating children complete a short quiz before they begin the workshops and the same quiz after they have finished the workshops.

Support Group for Teenagers:

Volunteer with Teenagers through our weekly Support Group. This project is aimed at providing local teenagers with an opportunity to discuss and learn about issues important to them; and to build their self-esteem through positive reinforcement.

This is an 8-part workshop covering the following topics:

  • Bullying
  • Peer Pressure & Gangs
  • Body image, Self-esteem & Puberty
  • Relationships & Sex (2 parts)
  • Effects of alcohol
  • Communication skills
  • Personal Development

As well as discussing these important topics we also encourage the participants to set personal goals and to consider how the choices they make affect their ability to achieve their goals. Many of the children we work with come from backgrounds that aren’t always able to provide the direction that they need to lead the best life possible. We hope that through our workshops we inspire the children we work with to make responsible decisions and be the best they can be!


  • We have some of the most picturesque beaches, lagoons and forests that South Africa has to offer 
  • You will be part of a very close-knit community that will welcome you to the growing volunteer family 
  • Our community is much safer than some of the larger townships in bigger cities, with many friendly locals who know and care about the EDGE of AFRICA volunteers 
  • Knysna town is full of restaurants and coffee shops, as well as a small waterfront with great shops 
  • The area offers every activity you can think of, from beautiful hikes, boat trips, animal experiences and for the more adventurous, is close to the highest bridge bungee jump in the world! 
  • Knysna is only a 4 hour’s drive to Addo National Park; home to the highest concentration of Wild Elephants in the world (we visit Addo approximately once a month and you can join us!) 
  • You can fly into Cape Town, and spend a few days exploring the city before hopping on the Bus and coming to Knysna, seeing more of the Western Cape on your way (this is FREE for all Knysna Volunteers!). 
  • You can combine any of our Knysna programs and have a full, unique volunteering experience

Comfort level


You will have access to all amenities including running water, electricity. Most bankcards work at local banks (VISA, MasterCard, AMEX) AMEX) and you will have access to the Internet. You will also find that you can purchase almost anything at local shops.

Recommended for those who enjoy having access to restaurants and shops as well as daily communication with friends and family at home.

Typical day

Your day will generally begin between 8.30-9.00 and finish 16.00-16.30.  You will usually come back to the lodge for lunch, but if you are out for the day you will be provided with a packed lunch.  You will always be accompanied by an EoA Co-ordinator who will ensure your safety and will make sure you know what you need to do.

This schedule may vary because of your time of arrival and time of year, but a typical week would look like this: 

Saturday - Arrival & Orientation
Sunday -  Free Day 
Monday -  TB Screening/Support Group 
Tuesday - Soup Kitchen/HIV Workshop 
Wednesday - Community Survey/Recycling Swop Shop 
Thursday -  Food Security/HIV Workshop 
Friday - Support for the Elderly/Cultural Activity
Saturday - Optional Excursion 

Free-time activities

When you arrive in Knysna, EDGE of AFRICA has some great opportunities lined up for your stay including: visits to various food and craft markets; Whale & Dolphin boat trips; shark cage diving; wildlife sanctuaries including getting close to various cat, elephant and monkey species; highest bungee jump in the world; canoeing, hiking and climbing; and visits to numerous breath-taking beaches and beautiful rivers.

There may also be the opportunity for you to participate in an excursion to Addo Elephant National Park. This park offers some of the most spectacular elephant viewing in the world. Addo’s over 500 elephants will delight visitors with their antics. You have the chance of seeing the Big 5 on this trip too!

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 17 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Volunteers need to be caring, motivated and enjoy team work. Good health and average physical fitness are also required. Volunteers also need to be confident with speaking English.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 16:30

What's Included

Services by EDGE of AFRICA

  • All project operating costs, equipment, tools and resources
  • Return Bus Ticket from Cape Town, PE or Johannesburg to Knysna
  • Pick up & drop off from arrival points (George airport or Knysna bus stop)
  • 24/7 emergency support
  • Orientation & Training
  • Accommodation in our Volunteer House
  • 3 Meals a day
  • Project Related Transport
  • Project T-­shirt
  • Dedicated coordinators to assist you daily
  • Project support and feedback sessions throughout your stay
  • Assistance with optional activities and tours
  • Assistance obtaining a local SIM Card for your phone
  • Additional cultural and outdoor activities on Friday afternoons 
  • Free, unlimited Wi­Fi and computer access in the Knysna volunteer house
  • Post­project involvement, and an exclusive return volunteer discount

Airport Pickup at George Airport

You will either need to fly into Johannesburg or Cape Town and catch a connecting flight to GEORGE (GRJ). It is our nearest airport. You can also get the bus from Cape Town or Johannesburg which is a good way to see the area if you have time before your arrival date. If you decide to take the bus, a return bus ticket is included FREE of charge and we can help book this for you.

We are happy to assist with organising your Cape Town or Johannesburg stay including accommodation and tours!

On departure, your project coordinator will transport you to the airport and/ or assist with any further travel arrangements. If you are travelling further through Africa we are more than happy to provide any advice or support in planning your onward journey.

We will provide you with a comprehensive Pre-Travel Advice pack when you confirm your booking with us that will outline all our recommendations for flights, packing and in-country advice.

  • The EDGE of AFRICA lodge is a beautiful Victorian House, perfectly situated on a slope, overlooking the Knysna Lagoon. A place where you can put your feet up and admire the view or take a two minute stroll to town and explore the hotspots of Knysna. 

  • As well as providing a home for our volunteers, our lodge also accommodates other International travellers, so there will be no shortage of new people to meet!

    Facilities Include:

  • Hot Water Showers & Electricity
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Communal Lounge Area with TV/DVD Player
  • Comfortable Dorm Style Sleeping Arrangements
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi and computer access
  • Outdoor braai (barbeque) area 
  • Limited Private & Family Rooms Available on Request.
Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

We provide 3 meals a day. Breakfasts include a choice of cereal, toast, and fruit; Lunches include sandwiches, soup or traditional cuisine; and Evening meals include pasta, curries, stews etc.

We are happy to cater for specific dietary requirements as best we can!

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is George Airport (GRJ) in George. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

2019 Arrival & Departure Dates:

  • January 19th

  • February 2nd

  • February 16th

  • March 2nd

  • March 16th

  • March 30th

  • April 13th

  • April 27th

  • May 11th

  • May 25th

  • June 8th

  • June 22nd

  • July 6th

  • July 20th

  • August 3rd

  • August 17th

  • August 31st

  • September 14th

  • September 28th

  • October 12th

  • October 26th

  • November 9th

  • November 23rd

  • December 7th

  • December 14th*

*Departures only

This program is paused due to COVID-19

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
3 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
15 days (min. stay)
4 weeks
6 weeks
8 weeks
10 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$543 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. EDGE of AFRICA will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with EDGE of AFRICA during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if EDGE of AFRICA cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by EDGE of AFRICA.

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Community Outreach & Health Awareness

Join our community volunteer projects and help us to empower local people, make a difference and have fun doing it!


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