Due to the continuing and evolving situation of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to continue to suspend our trips up until 28th February 2020. The majority of our local teams are now in a position where they are able to reopen the programs on a local level.
With this in mind, we are pleased to announce that we will be beginning a phased re-opening process from March 2021 onwards. These are countries that have opened their borders to international travellers and include Ghana, Morocco, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda,Namibia,South Africa and Tanzania. Participants are encouraged to take advantage of our flexible low cost deposit scheme and begin to make their travel plans with us.
The decision to reopen projects in these destinations is because local health guidelines and border restrictions allow for this. In addition, our local teams have implemented additional health and safety measures for our volunteers. Volunteers will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before flying. Furthermore, participants will need to be flexible and adaptable with their project commitments and abide by any requirements stipulated by each country.
Volunteers should adopt a cautious and common sense approach when booking flights. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged that participants research airline ticket policies in detail. That is to say, booking some kind of flexible ticket with the airline in the case that travel dates need to be deferred.
There are still hurdles for our other destinations to reopen at this moment in time. For example, overseas airports being closed, visas not being issued and potential quarantine processes. However, with recent positive vaccine developments, we are hopeful that most if not all of our destinations will reopen across 2021. Our low cost flexible booking policy allows participants to keep their travel plans fluid without a significant financial commitment. We will continue to monitor the situation and hope to be able to open more programs as the months go on.
When our programs do reopen, participants are going to require a negative COVID-19 test certificate to be provided to our teams on arrival in-country. This is going to need to be issued within 72 hours prior to your initial departure and it does seem like this is going to be provided at the airport immigration service as well. Over time and as more destinations reopen, this will likely transpire into some form of COVID-19 vaccination certificate.
Behind the scenes, we have worked in tandem with our in-country teams to ensure the volunteer setups are kept as safe and clean for volunteers as possible. These steps include but are not limited to:
Naturally, volunteers will need to also take additional personal responsibility for their own health and the safety of others. Examples may include greater physical separation between volunteers in accommodation and placements and social distance enforcements.
Understandably, it is impossible to judge how this global situation will continue to evolve. Vaccination developments give us hope that some sort of normality will return sooner rather than later. Nevertheless, the situation is something we must remain patient with and where Amka Afrika destinations do reopen volunteers will need to follow the local precautions accordingly. We will continue to update our participants on any relevant updates regarding their program as and when they occur.
If you have any concerns about your volunteering program or travel plans, have a read through our advice from the PMGY team and commonly asked questions.
Which countries are available to travel to from March 2021?
On a case-by-case basis, we will be reopening some of our volunteer programs. Local teams in each destination will be well prepared to host international volunteers. Furthermore, our project network in each destination will benefit greatly from the support of volunteers. The volunteer setups in each destination will be kept as clean and safe for volunteers as possible. International participants will need to abide by the relevant requirements and restrictions in each respective country.
The decision to reopen volunteer programs is based on local conditions and updates from local jurisdictions. As we have people join us from all sections of the globe, we have adopted a local approach to reopening our programs. Therefore, each volunteer should consider their own circumstances and then decide if they are able to travel to participate in their program.
Will I need travel insurance for my trip?
It is highly advised that you invest in an appropriate travel insurance policy that will keep you safe in case anything goes wrong overseas. It is important to ensure that the policy covers all of your travel dates. Most of our volunteers experience a smooth ride during their time overseas. However, occasionally things may go wrong. Having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.
It is important to note that if your government is advising against travel to a destination then it may be very difficult for you to obtain a valid travel insurance policy for your trip. Therefore, this is something you should strongly consider when putting your travel plans together.
Do I need to cancel or delay my trip?
Even though the coronavirus is currently a major hot topic in the news around the world, many of the volunteer programs still desperately need your support. Each of the programs and communities you support worldwide appreciate all the support you can give.
For those due to join us up until the 31st January 2020, regrettably, you will need to cancel or delay your trip. To delay your trip, you would not need to decide this new date yet, given the current uncertainty.
For those who are due to join us from the 1st February 2021 onwards, we will review the status of these programs in the coming weeks. There is a chance that some destinations may reopen depending how things develop, but you are welcome to discuss your options with us.
Can I change my travel plans?
For those due to join us up until the 31st January 2020, you will need to cancel or delay your trip. Please get in contact with a Amka Afrika representative to confirm your next steps.
For those due to join us from the 1st February onwards, if you decide to change your travel plans then you can also get in contact with the Amka Afrika team to discuss your options. Amka Afrika offers increased flexibility in regards to any changes that you choose to make due to the coronavirus. You may wish to defer your program dates. As the virus situation is uncertain, you would not need to decide this new date yet. Please contact your Program Manager or the Amka Afrika Team to discuss the options available to you.
If you haven’t yet applied or you haven’t confirmed your place yet by paying your Deposit Fee, then you are welcome to make changes free of charge or give it a bit more time before you make a decision. You can get in contact with the Amka Afrika team again once you feel ready.
What is the refund policy?
The refunds available to you will depend on the reason you are cancelling, the current situation of the coronavirus in your destination and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Amka Afrika offers increased flexibility to our usual Terms & Conditions. This has included adopting the lowest booking deposit possible for new applications whereby there is only a minimal financial commitment for participants to register on our trips.
If local conditions and the decisions of local authorities result in travel restrictions that prevent you from you joining us in your Amka Afrika location, then you have a few options. This is currently applicable for all participants who were due to join Amka Afrika up until the 31st January 2022:
In instances where country specific travel restrictions are in place, airlines may offer a refund or credit voucher, but please check directly as it depends on the specific airline’s policy.
In cases where there are no travel restrictions, the airlines may not be as flexible if they are still running the route, depending on their policy. You may have the option to still use the flight and travel independently, or use the flight as part of your new route to your new destination. Otherwise you can cancel your flight, subject to the airline’s refund policy.
If there are no current changes or travel restrictions in place but you simply decide not to travel, then you are still welcome to change your dates or destination without an Admin Fees involved. You can defer your place on the program to a later date. All of your fees here would be transferred. As the virus situation is uncertain, you would not need to decide this new date yet. Our usual Terms & Conditions would apply if you wish to cancel completely
What will happen about a refund for my flights?
The policy for your flights will depend on the situation and your reason for changing or cancelling. If you have booked your flight through Amka Afrika then we can look into the options for you. If you have booked independently then it is best to contact your airline or travel agent to check their current policies.
In general, if there are travel restrictions for a country then airlines tend to offer flexibility. If there are no travel restrictions and the flight routes are going ahead as normal, then the airlines are not likely to offer flexibility. However please note that this is an unprecedented global situation, so please consult your airline, we cannot guarantee that they will offer a full refund. Instead they could offer a partial refund or future credit. Please understand that the airlines are facing an extremely high demand of enquiries, so it is likely to take weeks or months before we can get a response.
Am I able to defer my trip?
Yes that’s possible! At the moment the Amka Afrika team have allowed flexibility in light of the current situation, waiving the Admin Fee for free. Please take into consideration other costs and changes such as flights, visas and travel insurance. As the virus situation remains uncertain, you would not need to decide this new date yet.
Depending on the situation, the airlines may or may not be flexible with flight changes or cancellations. Please contact your airline or travel agent to check their current policies. If you booked your flights through PMGY then you can contact us for your options.
If there are any updates or changes to our programs, we would endeavor to proactively contact all of the volunteers who may be impacted. We generally work on a ‘no news is good news policy’ so if you don’t hear from us then you can assume everything is running as per normal. You are welcome to contact the Amka Afrika team at any time if you have any further questions on ; email@example.com
Last Updated: 24th November 2022