Volunteering Opportunities in Uganda

As a short-term or long-term volunteer in Uganda, you would responsibly assist and gain experience in healthcare, childcare, recreational activities or community development while immersing yourself in local cultures.

Why Volunteer In Uganda?

 

Uganda or “the pearl of Africa” is known for its striking physical features, safe and peaceful state, and as a bird watcher’s paradise.

Unfortunately, it’s also been ranked as one of the 20 poorest countries in the world, and the majority of the population lives under the poverty line. This can be clearly seen in the lack of fundamental infrastructures such as education, healthcare, clean running water and waste management.

Our programs in some selected needy communities in Mukono district would give you the opportunity to share some of your skills, experience or knowledge to help others as you soak yourself in the local cultures and explore the country.

Volunteer Projects In Uganda

 

Caregiving – Orphanage

Duties

As a volunteer in one of the orphanages, you could show some love and tender care for the kids; help out with feeding, bathing, cleaning, homework, treating minor wounds, entertaining, etc.; engage the kids in recreational activities such as games, music, dance, or sports; educate the kids on important issues such as personal hygiene, self-esteem, and moral behaviors.

Why?

This program creates an opportunity for volunteers who love working with children in a fun and educative way. The primary focus of the orphanages is to provide care, education, feeding, clothing, and a shelter that children can call home. The children are typically between ages 3-16 and have either been abandoned or orphaned.

These homes are the work of selfless locals who out of love and compassion are doing all they can to keep unfortunate kids out of the streets and give them hope and aspiration into the future. The homes are most often in need of local and international support in many capacities such as administrative work, general help, fundraising, or new creative ideas to continue helping the kids.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Orphanages.

Season

All year round.

Healthcare – Rural Health – HIV/AIDS Awareness – Sanitation

Duties

You may assist the local healthcare team, depending on your experience or interest, with organizing health workshops about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention and Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT); improving sanitation and quality of drinking water in the villages. This includes clearing drinking wells, building dry racks, and digging latrines, as well as educating on how to have a healthy life style; providing consultation and treatment to patients; performing diagnostic testing.

Why?

For many Ugandans in the rural areas, it is not easy to have access to proper healthcare or to be able to afford it. HIV/AIDS, malaria, childhood illnesses such as measles, parasitic diseases and malnutrition are still a major threat to a lot of rural communities.  As a contribution, we have teamed up with our partner organization on the ground to support the work of  rural community health centres, clinics, hospitals and medical teams running mobile dental or general medical clinics through volunteering. Individuals or group medical professionals, medical students or pre-med students with interests to share experiences, help others or gain experience providing health services in a rural  setting are always welcome to work alongside their fellow local counterparts at a medical facility or reach out educating rural folks on health related issues.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors. Provide an original or certified copy of required qualifications (medical degree or transcript), medical professionals only.

Possible Workplaces

Community health centres, clinics, hospitals, and mobile dental or general medical clinics.

Season

All year round.

Recreational Activities – Music, Dance, Drama, Sports

Duties

A volunteer participating in this program may assist and/or coach sporting activities; introduce new dance moves, drama performances, music skills, sports techniques, or games; assist with organizing competitions and shows.

Why?

Owing to the lack of adequate recreational opportunities available to kids and young adults in some villages, often times the young people engage in social vices during their free time which, in the long run, have a negative effect on their lives or on the community as a whole.

This exciting and educative program helps create a fun and healthy lifestyle amongst local children/youth to enable them to make a productive use of their free time. The program also emphasizes mutual respect, fair play, as well as building self-esteem, trust, teamwork, friendship and leadership. The main target groups, children and youth, benefit greatly from the program through activities such as organized soccer and volleyball practices and competitions, as well as music, dance and drama lessons and performances.

The program is very popular and has already made a big difference in the communities.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Community centres.

Season

All year round.

Community Development – Education – Teaching ESL To Locals

Duties

Volunteers’ duties include leading English language classes, focusing on conversational English, preparing lesson plans, training volunteers who might join the program later on, being a student yourself and learning about local cultures in Uganda.

Why?

Even though English is widely taught and spoken in Uganda, local organizations, teachers and students have a great interest in learning English from native speakers to enable them to familiarize themselves with proper pronunciation and to understand western expressions better.

One of the unique aspects of these classes is the incorporation of cultural exchange, meaning locals get to learn about the diverse cultural backgrounds and customs of volunteers while enriching the volunteers’ own understanding of the local culture.

If you have TEFL/TESL certification or previous teaching experience to manage English classes, then this is the perfect opportunity for you. If not, no worries, we have teamed up with Off2Class to guide you so that you can participate in this program with ease and gain valuable experience.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Community centres.

Season

All year round.

Community Development – Education – School Murals

Duties

Paint inspiring/fun murals on walls/gates of schools and/or community centres.

Why?

If you have a talent for visual arts, then this is the project for you! By painting murals, you can create a brighter, more colourful and interesting learning environment for kids. You’ll be able to inspire and engage students in important themes concerning general youth development and healthy lifestyles. Depending on the needs and desires of the schools, themes range from recycling and proper hand-washing techniques to promoting school spirit. These projects are a fun way for volunteers to engage in the community and leave behind an image that has a lasting impact.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Community centres and public schools.

Season

All year round.

Community Development – Environmental Conservation

Duties

On this project, you’ll be able to assist with expanding existing tree nurseries, organizing additional tree nurseries, organizing tree planting projects in association with local schools, public education in environmental sustainability.

Why?

Uganda has lost a lot of trees over the last couple of decades due to increased urbanization, rapid population growth, and use for cooking.

The Environmental Conservation program aims to develop a greener and healthier place for the next generation. The focus is on educating children and youth about alternative energy, sustainability, and having respect for our planet in the hope that they will make better choices in the future when it comes to their environment. The hope is also that children and youth will feel empowered to inspire and motivate the rest of the country to do the same.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Community centres and public schools.

Season

All year round.

Community Development – Construction

Duties

Some of the things you could help with while being part of the program include molding bricks/blocks; helping with electrical and plumbing; creating a foundation; putting up building walls/roof; mixing mortar, concrete, supplying bricks/blocks or water.

Why?

Whenever there is a call, both skilled and unskilled local people in Uganda voluntarily come together to support their community with a new building project or repair works on clinics, classrooms, libraries or public washrooms funded by the local government,  an NGO, or a philanthropist. It is really unique and fun how the locals boost their mood singing traditional songs while working together.

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty by supporting a worthy cause with either your skills or just general labour, then you may participate and leave a permanent mark on a needy community.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Clinics, classrooms, libraries, or public washrooms.

Season

All year round.

Uganda FAQ

Start Dates

Our start dates are flexible. You are at liberty to chose a date that works for you. We’ll then crosscheck if we have a spot for you at that date.

Duration

We have both short-term and long-term volunteering opportunities, ranging anywhere from 1 week up to 1 year.

Program Locations

We currently have opportunities available in Mukono District, just 27 km east of Kampala, Wakiso, Rakai (Central Uganda), Jinja and Iganga (Eastern Uganda), Fortportal and Kanungu district (around Bwindi community).

When To Apply

To volunteer in Uganda, we don’t have a set deadline for applications. However, we do recommend that you apply at least 2 months before your intended departure date to ensure you have adequate time to prepare for your trip. If you have a spontaneous desire to volunteer, give us a call and we’ll see what we can do.

Visa

• Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your date of entry.

• You can obtain a single entry (3-month visa) or multiple entry (6-month) visa either on arrival at Entebbe airport or in advance.

• You will need a tourist visa for your volunteer program. This can be renewed while in Uganda in case you wish to stay longer. Your in-country coordinator will be more than happy to assist you with it.

• Travellers who are also visiting Rwanda and Kenya may find it more useful to apply for an East Africa cross-border joint visa, which allows entry into all three countries on a single visa.

• Click here for the appropriate foreign embassy or consulate in your country. (select your country, and then select host country)

Vaccinations

Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required. Also make sure your routine vaccines are up to date. Please note, you should also be taking preventative measures for Malaria and Cholera. Please visit your local travel health clinic to discuss this with a professional and which vaccinations are suitable for you. It is recommended you visit the clinic at least 6 weeks before your departure date. Click here to read more regarding travel health.

Orientation

You will be greeted and picked up by the in-country team at the airport. You will be taken to your accommodation, where you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with some local and international volunteers and staff members. You will also have the chance to freshen up and contact home of your safe arrival. The next day, you will receive a welcome pack and a T-shirt, and attend an orientation session that will introduce you to the host organization, project, area, and staff members. You will learn about safety and security, culture shock, customs, basic everyday local language, etc. Work begins either the same day as orientation or the following day, depending on your day of arrival.

Meals And Housing

You will be provided 3 home-cooked meals per day. The following are examples of what you might be provided:

Breakfast: Tea or coffee, porridge, fruit, bread, jam, eggs, French toast, bacon, pancakes, or cereal.
Lunch: Beef, chicken, or fish coupled with potatoes, rice, or beans.
Dinner: Rice, sweet potatoes, soup, fish or fresh beans, greens, etc.

As for housing, you will stay either with a local host family or at a volunteers’ guest house, depending on your placement. You will either have your own room or share a room with other volunteers (2-4 beds per room). You will receive specifics on living arrangements before your departure.

A Typical Day's Schedule

AIAV aims to make your volunteering day in Uganda a combination of valuable voluntary work, sharing of cultural experiences, and free time to loosen up and reflect. The schedules do vary from program to program. The following is a general schedule:

7:30 am Breakfast time at your accommodation.
8:30 am Work begins hand in hand with the local counterparts.
12:30 pm Lunch time on the project site.
1:30 pm Work continues.
4:00 pm Work ends and volunteers return to their accommodation.
7:00 pm Dinner time at your accommodation.

Free Time

The hard work volunteers put in during the week undoubtedly warrants some fun and relaxation in the evenings and on the weekends. During the week, you can enjoy mingling with the locals and observing their ways of living. You can play soccer (football), cards, board games, or just chill out at a bar or go out dancing, getting to know fellow volunteers from around the world. Pub-quiz nights are a quite popular activity for volunteers.

Some key things to see and do in Uganda:

On the weekends, you can participate in day safaris or take a week off to go on a wildlife safari. You could check out the Source of the River Nile, where you could do some white water rafting, bungee jumping, or kayaking. Other recommended tourist attractions are the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre and several national parks and waterfalls. Remember, your in-country coordinator is always available to help you plan safe, educational and cost saving travels.

Click here to learn more.

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