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Volunteer in Uganda

Volunteer in Uganda with International Volunteer HQ! IVHQ has established a brand new volunteer program in Uganda, offering a wide range of volunteer abroad projects, including Teaching, Childcare, Sports Education, Medical, Special Needs, Construction and Renovation and HIV/AIDS Work.
Map of Uganda
Capital: 
Kampala
Population: 
36.35 million
Official languages: 
Swahili, English
Currency: 
Ugandan Shilling (UGX)
Time zone: 
EAT (UTC+3:00)
Weather and climate: 
Uganda lies on the equator and enjoys an equatorial climate, which provides plenty of sunshine. This is balanced well by the relatively high altitude across most of the country. Uganda has warm days throughout the year with slightly cooler temperatures at night and in the mornings. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 19°C (66.2°F) to 27°C (80.6°F) and is rarely below 17°C (62.6°F) or above 29°C (84.2°F). The long rain season occurs from April to June and the short rain season occurs from October to December. The rainfall is sometimes heavy but often falls in the evenings or early mornings, leaving sunny days. The period from November to March is often very dry, the hottest period is from January to March and coldest months are June and July.

LOCATION OF UGANDA VOLUNTEER ABROAD PROGRAM

The program is based in the town of Kitende, which is located 15 kilometers from the capital city of Kampala. Volunteer orientation and general administration is carried out in Kitende by our Uganda partner organization. Volunteer placements are located in and around the capital city of Kampala. Possible placement locations include, but are not limited to, Kampala, Kijjansi, Kitende, Bwebajja and Rubaga.

START AND DURATION OF UGANDA VOLUNTEER ABROAD PROGRAM

The volunteer program begins on the first and third Monday of each month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks.

UGANDA VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS

Volunteers must be 18 years or older on the volunteer program start date, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ partner staff on arrival in Uganda. Volunteers on the Medical project must have completed at least 2 years of nursing or medical school in order to participate on the volunteer project. Medical volunteers must provide evidence of their qualifications to the local staff in order to facilitate their placement in a local clinic. 

HOW MANY OTHER VOLUNTEERS WILL THERE BE?

Between 10 and 30 volunteers start on our volunteer programs in Uganda each month. What does this mean for you? More people to socialize with and travel with, more people to meet from different cultures, more people to volunteer with, more projects to work on, more staff support, better infrastructure for volunteers and lower fees!

UGANDA VOLUNTEER ABROAD REVIEWS

"I had an absolutely amazing time in Uganda! I was placed in Engari, a small village without electricity or running water. It was a huge shock at first but I'm happy to say that I survived (and I actually adjusted quite quickly!). Our coordinator Farida was incredible! She was there to answer all our questions and give us advice at any time. I felt like she truly cared about me and my experience. Not only did I have to learn to live in a completely different environment to what I was used to, I had constant contact with the locals which made the experience that much better. Thank you so much for everything you do. IVHQ is an amazing organisation and I loved every second of my trip!" - Camilla Raywood (Teaching Volunteer in Uganda)

Visit our Volunteer Abroad Reviews page to read more reviews from IVHQ Volunteers in Uganda.

Uganda volunteer project descriptions

Teaching

The objective of the Teaching project in Uganda is to contribute to the development of under-resourced local schools and provide opportunities for Ugandans from disadvantaged backgrounds to receive a quality education. Teaching in a Ugandan school is a truly humbling experience, although the students have experienced tough upbringings, they are extremely polite, cheerful and eager to learn. The presence of mzungu (western) volunteers is always a great novelty for the children too. Volunteers are placed in nursery, primary or secondary schools, where they work alongside local teachers. Typical subjects include English, Math, Sports, Science, History, Music and Social Studies. Depending on the school in which volunteers are placed, students can range in age from 3 to 20 years old. Schools in Uganda run for three terms per year and the Teaching project will not operate during the school holiday periods. The school holidays for 2014 are as follows: 26 April to 18 May, 9 August to 7 September, 6 December to 1 February. During these periods, volunteers will switch to another available project. Volunteers do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate on this project, however IVHQ offers volunteers with the opportunity to upskill for their Teaching projects by gaining an internationally recognized TEFL certification. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn more.

Childcare

Uganda has an extremely high number of children living in poverty and many of these vulnerable children have lost one or both of their parents as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Volunteers in the Childcare project in Uganda are placed in day care centers, nursery schools and kindergartens to assist local staff in the day to day running of these centers. All of these centers are extremely under resourced and volunteers play a key role in ensuring they operate effectively. Volunteer activities vary across the different centers, however typical tasks include, educational activities and basic teaching of English, Math, Health/Hygiene, Reading and Writing. Other activities include play therapy and games, dancing, singing, arts and crafts, as well as assisting with feeding and daily chores.

Medical

With the aim of increasing access to quality healthcare in Uganda, volunteers on the Medical project are placed within local clinics and medical centers which are incredibly under resourced and under staffed. These clinics and medical centers encompass a wide range of medical fields and offer in and out-patient services, tending to a high volume of patients each day. Volunteers must be fully qualified doctors and nurses, or have completed at least 2 years of nursing or medical school in order to participate on the project. Volunteers work as assistants alongside local doctors and nurses and the tasks undertaken are dependent on their level of experience and qualifications. Possible areas of work include, Maternity, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Laboratory, Pharmacy, Cancer Screening, Family Planning, Immunizations, General Medicine, Gynecology, Dentistry and HIV/AIDS. Medical volunteers who are specialized in particular areas are encouraged to provide these details to IVHQ, when applying, to assist the local staff in placing you where you will be most effective, however volunteers do need to be flexible and willing to work within other areas as needed. Once registered into the program, all medical volunteers are required to provide a copy of their qualifications and certificates to our local team in Uganda in order for an adequate medical placement to be arranged. If you are still a student then a copy of your transcript will suffice. These must be received by our local team at least two weeks prior to your arrival in Uganda.

Sports Education

Ugandan children are incredibly enthusiastic and love learning new sports! The Sports Education project in Uganda provides these children with a range of activities and sports to participate in and volunteers are placed in primary or secondary schools to assist with Physical Education classes and other sports activities. Volunteers generally follow the school curriculum and teach the topics scheduled for that term, however volunteers are also welcome to introduce new sports, if they bring or purchase the required resources and equipment. Volunteers do not need previous teaching or coaching experience to participate on this project, however it is important to note that volunteers may be required to teach other classes during the school day. Volunteers on this project also have the opportunity to work in a local street children placement, which runs most Wednesday afternoons and takes children (predominantly teenage boys) off the streets, encouraging them to become involved in sports activities. While football/soccer is the most common sport in Uganda, the children also welcome the introduction of new sports. As the Sports Education project is predominantly run in schools, the project will not operate fully during the school holiday periods and volunteers will therefore need to supplement their work with another project available during these periods. The school holidays for 2014 are as follows: 26 April to 18 May, 9 August to 7 September, 6 December to 1 February.

Special Needs

In Uganda, there are increasing numbers of children born with either mental or physical disabilities, as well as young people and adults who become disabled through the course of their lives. Volunteers on the Special Needs project in Uganda are placed in day schools for individuals with special needs, or in a special needs treatment center, handling both in and out-patients. Volunteers work as teacher aids, assisting with vocational training, providing care and playing games with individuals during their free time. Volunteers on this project do not need to have previous experience or training, as they work closely with local staff, however adequately trained volunteers can occasionally assist with speech and occupational therapies, physiotherapy, social work, orthotics, prosthetics and wheelchair making. Volunteers who are specialized in particular areas are encouraged to provide these details to IVHQ, upon applying, to assist the local staff in placing you where you will be most effective, however volunteers do need to be flexible and willing to work within other areas as needed.

Construction and Renovation

Many Ugandan communities are in great need of new infrastructure, as well as improvements and maintenance to existing structures. Volunteers on the Construction and Renovation project assist with construction work and improvements to medical centers, childcare centers and schools within the local communities. Volunteer tasks can include, but are not limited to, building, renovating, painting, landscaping and bricklaying. Volunteers do not need prior building experience to participate on this project, as they work alongside a local foreman to complete the work, but skilled workers are very welcome. New construction and renovation projects develop based on community need, so volunteers can expect to work on different projects in different locations during their time in Uganda. The Construction and Renovation project has a surcharge of US$49 per week for supervision and materials, which will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you after you apply.

HIV/AIDS Work

In Uganda, about 7.2 percent of the population is living with HIV/AIDS, this amounts to around 1.4 million people, including an estimated 190,000 children. In an effort to assist and provide care to these individuals, a variety of initiatives have been established throughout Uganda, however much more help is needed, especially in regards to education and awareness surrounding HIV/AIDS. Volunteers on the HIV/AIDS project assist on empowerment programs providing counseling to patients, hygiene education and nutrition programs. The nutrition program includes teaching patients how to grow different crops, to ensure that they can have a nutritional diet and continue to live a healthy life. Volunteers also work with health workers in the local villages to carry out community outreach programs. While each program will have a specific purpose, the overriding aim is to highlight the importance of HIV/AIDS education and awareness among all ages, through classes on hygiene and how to prevent transmission. Volunteers who are medically qualified, with training in phlebotomy, will have the opportunity to work alongside local medical staff, assisting them in a variety of tasks including taking blood samples and testing for HIV/AIDS. Volunteers are not required to be medically qualified in order to participate on most aspects of the HIV/AIDS project, however medical tasks, including testing, will only be available to medical professionals or those with the appropriate training.

VOLUNTEER ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS

Volunteers are accommodated in dormitory-style volunteer houses in the Kitende area, approximately 45 minutes outside of Kampala City. Each volunteer house accommodates up to 10 volunteers and volunteers can expect to share a bedroom with two to four other volunteers of the same gender. The volunteer houses are safe and secure in a quiet area. The bathrooms in the homes have western toilets and showers. There is electricity and running water, however it is common for power or water to occasionally be cut off in Uganda. Bedding is provided and volunteers will need to bring their own towels. There are staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week, however volunteers are required to keep their rooms and common areas tidy. It is recommended that volunteers bring their own mosquito net, however these can be purchased once in Uganda, if you do not have much room in your luggage.

Volunteers are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), prepared by an on-site local cook. If you wish to snack or eat outside of meal times, this will be at your own cost and there are local shops within the villages where you can purchase snacks. Breakfast generally includes tea, eggs, bread and fruit. For lunch and dinner, there is a revolving menu of local dishes, which include typical Ugandan stews (beef, chicken, pork, goat, fish and vegetable), beans, rice, chapatti, groundnuts and vegetables. Starchy foods such as white bread, white rice, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, matoke (boiled green bananas), and cassava are dietary staples. The tropical climate of Uganda also contributes to a healthy choice of seasonal fruits, including bananas, watermelon, papayas, mangos, jackfruit, and pineapples. Bottled drinking water is readily available in Uganda and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 per week for this. 

If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know well in advance of your program so our local team can make arrangements for you. We do, however need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but also as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.

VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION

Orientation is hosted by our Uganda team at the volunteer base in Kitende. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Uganda – Introduction to Uganda, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Language Basics (Luganda), Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing. 

VOLUNTEER WEEK 

First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays: Volunteers work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day. A typical schedule is as follows:

7.00 AM – Breakfast at the volunteer house, prepared by the local cook.

7.30 AM – Volunteers travel to their placements either by taxi or by walking. Start time and daily workload depends on the project that the individual volunteer is participating on. 

1.00 PM – Volunteers break for lunch. Volunteers either travel back to the volunteer house or eat a packed lunch at their placement. After lunch, volunteers continue with their volunteer work (where applicable).

3.00 PM - 4.00 PM – Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to return to the volunteer house, plan for the following day’s activities or use their free time as they wish.

7.00 PM – Dinner at the volunteer house, prepared by a local cook.

Please note, this schedule will vary depending on the particular project the volunteer is participating on. 

VOLUNTEER WEEKENDS

There is no shortage of things to do in Kampala or further afield in Uganda, so volunteers can fill their free time with safaris, adventurous activities, markets or simply exploring parts of the local town. Uganda is a popular tourist location for gorilla trekking as well as game safaris and bird-watching. There are beautiful national parks and great opportunities for adventure activities such as white water rafting. Volunteers staying for longer durations, or who wish to travel before or after their program, can visit areas further afield in Uganda and neighboring countries such as Kenya and Tanzania.

See our Uganda Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Uganda!

Continent: 
Uganda Volunteer Fees: 
Volunteer periodProgram fee US$
1 Week270
2 Weeks370
3 Weeks470
4 Weeks550
5 Weeks645
6 Weeks 740
8 Weeks930
10 Weeks1130
12 Weeks1330
16 Weeks1600
20 Weeks1950
24 Weeks2320

To convert these prices to your local currency click here.
Please note: All programs attract a Registration Fee of $279 USD on top of the Program Fee.
The Construction and Renovation project has a surcharge of US$49 per week for supervision and materials, which will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you after you apply.

What do my fees pay for?

Registration Fee (refundable if you choose not to go*) – ongoing support from IVHQ staff, program marketing costs, information pack, administration costs, IVHQ Fund, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with volunteers.
Program Fee – airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

What additional costs will I have?

Visa, flightstravel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, transfer back to airport at conclusion of program, souvenirs, spending money (volunteers in Uganda generally find US$30 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses).

* - Terms and conditions do apply.