Establish Sustainable Tourism

Tourism is growing in South Omo, but the locals don't always see the benefits. Help develop tourist experiences that are respectful of the community.

About the Program

Tourism is really growing in the South Omo, but sadly, the locals rarely benefit from it. On the other side of the coin, the industry is not developing in a way that satisfies the tourist. Most tourists do not experience true Hamar culture and they are also not afforded the time to make genuine connections with Hamar individuals, in fact, they barely scratch the surface. It is however, very obvious why intrepid travelers would want to venture to this part of the world – to witness some of Africa’s last remaining tribes. Our goal is to localize the value chain of tourism and to put Hamar and the Omo Valley on the map as a sustainable tourism destination that’s creating real benefits for the local population.

The culture here is truly fascinating and there is an awful lot to learn, beyond the better known bull jumping tradition. There are a lot of proud locals whom would love to share their stories, culture and traditions, yet there’s currently no mechanism that allows them to do this. Tourists arrive with very little opportunity to really understand the culture and to explore the stunning place; it’s often a two day, in and out photo opportunity that can be somewhat voyeuristic, rather than educational. Our dream is to see an ethical sector develop before it’s too late, with local people genuinely taking the lead and understanding how to create an unforgettable experience for tourists.

The Hamar Tribe

This is a remarkable volunteering opportunity for adventurous and pioneering individuals to join us in remote southern Ethiopia. It is home to one of the last truly authentic tribes in Africa – the Hamar - a dream for many. 

Through this program you will work directly with the Hamar Tribe, helping them look past today towards a more secure future, all within their own cultural boundaries. Far from any city, within Africa’s Great Rift Valley, you will live and work amongst the Hamar – an experience that few people ever get the opportunity to do. 

Our volunteer programs in Ethiopia are entirely bespoke, matched to your individual skills, abilities and interests, yet always prioritizing long-term development and conservation goals. You’ll be part of a small and super passionate local and international team. If you join us you’ll be part of something new, unexplored and groundbreaking as we’re one of very few NGOs that has ever ventured this far south in Ethiopia. You’ll be offered a great level of autonomy throughout your project. In return, we ask for self-motivation, initiative, flexibility, enthusiasm and support for our capacity-building approach.

Long-term goals

The long-term goal of our program here is to empower the Hamar community, helping them achieve their own ambitions, within respected cultural boundaries, and to work towards conserving the last remaining wildlife in Ethiopia's Mago National Park. We work at the grassroots level, listening closely to community needs and ambitions. We don't give handouts, we want to help the Hamar to help themselves through powerful, capacity raising activities.

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Suitable for


Typical day

You will be working from Monday to Friday including the following activities.
  • Involved in in-depth, preliminary community research;
  • Archiving cultural heritage, which is currently largely unknown and unwritten;
  • Exploring and designing ethical and authentic activities within willing Hamar communities;
  • Training local Hamar guides to deliver great experiences to international tourists;
  • Teaching hospitality to a group of women running a Hamar-inspired café;
  • Designing an online marketing strategy that will help to put Hamar on the map;
  • Mentoring a tourism club to improve their management, admin, finance and operations;
  • Developing partnerships with tour operators and hotels to help the community become direct suppliers of local products; or
  • Helping the craft makers to develop, diversify and market their souvenirs. 

You do not need to be a tourism expert, there are a wide range of roles that will suit people from different backgrounds and with different experience. 

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
Required Documents
Pre-trip organisation questionnaire
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
This project is really diverse and we need a range of individuals with different skills and experience to make it a success.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Any questions? Just ask. We at Big Beyond are happy to help you.

Free-time activities

There are some great activities to do in your spare time, especially if you love being outdoors. You could take a walk along the dry riverbed of the local Kaskey River; go on bush walks; explore the distant mountains that are, as of yet, somewhat unexplored; take a trip to Mago National Park, or do some animal spotting a bit closer to home (countless birds and colobos monkeys are easy to spot); have a game of volleyball or badminton with the local Hamar guys; or take it easy back at camp with the magnificent views for company. You need to be more creative in the evenings for entertainment, but the vast African sky full of stars can mesmerise you for hours as you sit by the campfire.
Further afield, there are 14 other distinct tribes that you can visit. Even further than that, the rest of Ethiopia is just as unexplored as a tourist destination, but boasts great diversity - the mountainous North, the lush and tropical West and the dry and deserted, Muslim East. Not forgetting the capital, Addis Ababa, that has a great restaurant and bar scene and some fab museums. Activities are not included in the programme fee but we will help make arrangements for you in advance of your trip.



What's included?
A creative and totally unique high-impact volunteer programme - Your personal email and phone guru to help you prepare - Pre-departure destination handbook - Airport transfers: on arrival and departure - Detailed in-country orientation programme, including basic language and cultural immersion - Local project transport where necessary - Decent full-board accommodation in a shared volunteer house - Three organic veggie meals a day - Bottled drinking water, fresh hand-roasted coffee and tea available all day - Fresh local fruit available at all times - All housekeeping and laundry done for you - Local mobile phone SIM card (including pre-cut SIMs for unlocked Smart phones) - Free internet (unfortunately slow and unreliable in this part of the world, be warned!) - Big Beyond team T-shirt - Daily project support, guidance and translators when needed - 24/7 emergency support from professional in-country teams - Head office support with CRB checks and visa applications (HQ South Africa) - Optional and on-demand free time activity facilitation - Travel advice and bookings for any weekends away
Programme administration - Contribution to project costs - A life-long membership to the Big Beyond Tribe
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Airport Pickup

You will organize your transport from Addis Ababa airport to your hotel and to the domestic airport for your internal flight. Once you get to Arba Minch, one of our friendly Big Beyond team members will pick you up from the airport and take you to a hotel in the town center. You will spend one night in this beautiful lakeside town and then embark on the stunning 6 hour bus journey through the Omo Valley, the following day. You'll be accompanied at all times. Get a window seat, sit back & relax.


We have two site locations - one community-owned Hamar camp where you’ll have your own en-suite room, or you’ll be sharing, depending on availability. The other location is a campsite in a Hamar village where we have our own private area. You’ll be in a furnished tent (with mattress) and Big Beyond will provide mobile facilities for these occasions including tents, bedding, shower, toilet and cooking facilities. It's simpler that you might be used to, but we promise we'll make you feel at home!

Bedroom (Single) Camping
Food & Beverages

You’ll be fully catered for with three meals a day, plus water, tea and coffee. We provide a menu with a mix of international dishes (curries, scrambled eggs or pasta) and some Ethiopian food (injera and rich vegetable or meat stews). Be prepared, we are remote, many ingredients are hard to source and there’s no refrigeration, so expect a less varied diet that’s mostly vegetarian, with protein coming from eggs and pulses.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
Costs (Prices in USD)
3 weeks (min. stay)
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
8 weeks
10 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)

You can volunteer at the project site in Turmi/Ethiopia between 3 weeks and 24 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Big Beyond will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
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 Big Beyond during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Ethiopia

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Ethiopia. Please check the visa regulations for Ethiopia.
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Ethiopia.

What's next?

The nearest airport is Bole International (ADD) in Addis Ababa. We assist you to find cheap flights to Ethiopia.
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 Ethiopia provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Ethiopia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Ethiopia.
Turmi, Turmi, Ethiopia

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