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Medical Volunteering in Tanzania - Arusha

Medical Volunteering in Tanzania - Arusha

Want to be a Medical volunteer in Tanzania? International Volunteer HQ’s Medical project is an exciting opportunity for volunteers to help improve access to healthcare for low-income communities in Arusha. Volunteers gain medical experience by shadowing local professionals at either a clinic or hospital and may also be able to take part in medical outreach campaigns in local villages.

Highlights:
  • Programs start on the 1st and 15th of every month
  • Affordable fees from $345 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Help provide and take healthcare to the people who need it the most

  • See Tanzania’s stunning landscapes and unmatched wildlife

  • Stay near Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s biggest mountain

Key information

Improve access to quality healthcare
Based in clinics and hospitals
Volunteer house or homestay
Volunteers aged 18+
Fully hosted experience from $345 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 16 weeks
Add on a Maasai village tour
Up to 6 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Qualified professionals or volunteers who are in their third or subsequent year of medical or nursing school. Paramedics, EMTs and CNAs are also welcome, however it’s important to note that you’ll be volunteering in a general practice clinic or hospital, rather than working within your field.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

In many poor communities in Tanzania, healthcare is not easily accessible or affordable. The Medical volunteer project aims to change that by placing volunteers in medical facilities that serve vulnerable people.

As a Medical volunteer you’ll work in health centers and both governmental and private hospitals based in Arusha city, primarily shadowing local medical professionals and assisting with daily duties. Local regulations and language barriers mean volunteers are unable to perform independent tasks; however, you can observe healthcare in action in a developing country and help where permitted. Your placement will be determined by local medical professionals based on your previous experience and training.

Work can be hands-on depending on placement, the need at the time and your medical experience and education. Some hands-on work might include assisting with surgery or delivery, HIV testing, stitching, wound care and other basic medical care.

Please see below a list of departments where medical volunteers can work on rotation or stick with one, depending on the need at the time :

  • Out Patient Department (OPD)
  • In Patient Department (IPD)
  • Family Planning
  • Laboratory
  • Dental
  • Ophthalmology
  • Pharmacy
  • Labour and delivery
  • Antenatal
  • Midwifery
  • Minor Theatre
  • Major Operation
  • Tuberculosis Department
  • HIV Department

You shouldn’t expect all placements to offer all the above departments, however, if you have any preferences with regard to the work you are helping out with, please feel free to note it in your application. The local team will take this on board as best as they can, although it’s important to be flexible as we cannot guarantee that you will work on your chosen department.

You may also be able to take part in Medical Outreach campaigns twice a week. Campaigns take place in local villages, delivering basic medical care which is not often available. On the day, volunteers are transported to either a community group that has been organised to offer free medical support or they will visit a number of homes in a rural area nearby Arusha to assess patients. They are escorted and assisted by a registered nurse, a social worker and a local team staff member for translation purposes.

These campaigns are fully arranged and funded by volunteers, and you’re welcome to reach out to your Program Manager for more information about these.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Good mental and physical health is key to sustainable development and building healthy and happy communities. Now more than ever, we must increase access to free healthcare and health education across the globe to achieve an acceptable standard of living and wellbeing for all.

Why do Medical volunteering in Arusha with IVHQ?

As a healthcare volunteer in Tanzania you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving access to healthcare for low-income communities
  • Learning about a medical system in a developing country
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining medical experience
  • Immersing yourself in Tanzanian culture
  • Discovering Africa’s incredible wildlife

Volunteer requirements

  • To join the Medical project in Tanzania you will need to be in your third or subsequent year of medical or nursing school, or a qualified professional. CNAs, paramedics and fully qualified EMTs are also be eligible to take part.
  • Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.
  • All volunteers are required to speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

AV
Anna Vermeire
16 Jan 2024

The guidance from IVHQ was incredibly good. I had never undertaken a long and distant journey before this international volunteering experience, which caused some stress in terms of arranging a passport, visa, insurance, and so on. However, I could turn to the organization with all my questions, and I received prompt responses. This made the preparation process very smooth, significantly enhancing the overall experience. The itinerary and checklist available on the IVHQ website were also valuable resources, providing excellent guidance.

The local team in Tanzania provided us with excellent support. They gave us necessary explanations, guided us for as long as we needed, and checked in on our well-being at regular intervals. They were always in good spirits and created a warm atmosphere, making me feel at home.

I love that the local mothers prepare traditional dishes for us. It enhances the overall experience, and despite being different from Western cuisine, I enjoyed most of the meals. They put in a tremendous effort for the volunteers.

It is not easy to make a contribution. On the one hand, there is the language barrier, and on the other hand, it takes some time to gain the trust of the healthcare professionals in the hospital. However, this improved after some time. I feel that I made a meaningful contribution and this gave me a sense of fulfilment.

Through this experience, I have gained various skills on a personal level, such as increased independence, appreciation, the ability to put things into perspective, and much more. On a professional level, I have learned to think critically and clinically. It was an incredible experience for which I am very grateful. I was regularly confronted with poverty and other distressing situations, which has increased my appreciation and gratitude for my home. I have immense respect for the people and culture in Tanzania; it is an incredibly beautiful country. To those who are hesitant about doing this, I would say, "just do it." It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that contributes to your personal growth.

...
AW
Aimee Wall
06 Dec 2023

The local team is filled with such kindhearted and helpful people, I’m going to miss them all. It’s definitely hard at first, especially travelling solo to a completely unfamiliar place, but it was 1000% worth it. You find your footing quite quickly and will meet some of the most amazing people. I feel like I truly discovered myself and my purpose in life. I loved getting fully immersed in the culture and the Tanzanian way of life- I will 100% be back some day.

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EA
Estefani Altamirano
17 Nov 2023

The local team exceeded my expectations and I left with a smile and a good memory from Tanzania. I was so impressed by the efficiency and professionalism of my program coordinators. I would recommend this trip to anyone and definitely plan on doing this same trip next year! I gained lots of knowledge. I learned how to prepare to be a medical provider with limited resources. If anyone is debating whether to do this trip, I would say do it and be prepared to get the experience of a lifetime.

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AD
Alice Deeney
17 Oct 2023

I've received very clear guidance and support from IVHQ. The local team provided amazing support, being always there when you have a question or need them. I felt very safe as everything was so well organised. The food served at the volunteer accommodation was great, with healthy options. No shortage and served on time everyday.

In regards to medical volunteering, I made a positive impact, although it was sad to see the lack of resources and equipment that medical facilities have in Africa. With this experience I gained experience and knowledge of what it’s like to work in an under developed country. I was able to fully immerse myself in the culture and meet lots of beautiful people.

...
GM
Giorgia Mazzola
25 Sep 2023

The local team helped me throughout the two-week journey, making sure everything was perfect and above all that I felt safe inside and outside the facility. The volunteer house was always clean and was located in a very quiet neighbourhood. The rooms were always kept tidy and the bathrooms kept clean. The food cooked by the house mamas was always delicious and plentiful, thanks to this I was able to appreciate local food every day.

I have significantly improved my medical knowledge, my skills in meeting new people but above all seeing and learning about other realities has helped me to get to know myself better. Initially I was very nervous about having to leave alone for another continent, but once I got there it was all downhill, both thanks to the people I met and thanks to the professional local people. It's an experience that I will definitely do again because I think it helped me a lot in dealing with everyday life and at the same time in my own small way I managed to help people who really need it. I would suggest to a hesitant person to find courage in themselves and throw themselves into this beautiful experience because it would be the best gift a person could give to themselves.

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MD
Maartje Den Hollander
02 Aug 2023

The 12 steps preparation helped me a lot with the preparation for my IVHQ trip. Also when I needed help the response came back really fast. In-country, all the mama's and coordinators were amazing! My experience was really impressive but sometimes also shocking to see the differences between Africa and western countries. I did get so much from it and feel so much more thankful for everything that we have.

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To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

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Volunteer Abroad in Tanzania with IVHQ

Location

The IVHQ Tanzania volunteer program is based in Arusha, a small city often used as the base of many safari trips into the Serengeti and other national parks. It’s also near Africa’s highest mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro. Tanzania as a whole is known for its seemingly boundless areas of wilderness where African animals roam, sometimes migrating in vast groups across the plains; and also being the country where the oldest human skull and even older fossils of human ancestors were found.

Despite its many attractions, communities in many parts of Tanzania still lack access to the basic necessities of life. Volunteer projects based in rural and urban areas around Arusha and nearby help to provide better access to healthcare, education and childcare.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins on the 1st and 15th of every month and volunteers need to arrive in Arusha on the day before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Arusha Airport (ARK) in Arusha. Your airport pick-up is included in your program fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Arusha. Your accommodation is covered by your program fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Tanzania prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Arusha on the day before your program orientation. Orientation is hosted by our local team at one of the volunteer houses in Arusha. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date. If your start date falls on a weekend or a public holiday, your orientation will begin on the Monday or day following the public holiday. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Tanzania – an introduction to Tanzania, Tanzanian customs, rules and expectations, language lessons (Kiswahili), safety, travel opportunities in Tanzania, and an introduction to your 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 schedule example

First Day

On the first day of the volunteering placement, you will be escorted to the project by our local staff and introduced to the staff at the project you will be working with.

Weekdays

Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at. A typical volunteer day would be as follows:

7:30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer house or homestay.
8:00 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at.
2:00 - 5:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home for lunch at their accommodation, prepare for the next day or do some shopping and sightseeing.
8:30 PM Dinner at the volunteer house or homestay

Weekends

Tanzania is a wildlife lover’s dream. In your free time you can venture out on a safari and see Africa’s Big 5 - lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhino - as well as the mind-blowing number of other species that call Tanzania home.

In Arusha itself you can find great markets, take a few days to hike up the nearby Mt Meru, or learn about the Maasai and Meru tribes of the area. You can also take take a short flight down to Zanzibar for a weekend of sun and sandy beaches or save some time before or after your program to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers in Tanzania are accommodated in dorm-style volunteer houses or homestays located in Sakina, Arusha. In the volunteer houses, volunteers can expect to share a room with one to ten other volunteers of the same gender; however, the majority of rooms accommodate 4-6 people.

Currently, there are two homestays available, located next to each other. One homestay can accommodate up to 10 volunteers, and the other can accommodate up to 6, with rooms also being separated by gender. Typically, rooms can fit a maximum of 4 people.

Living conditions are basic, but the volunteer houses and homestays have running water and electricity. It’s important to note that there are often power outages, which can affect the availability of hot water and electricity. There are cooks who prepare meals for the volunteers, and each volunteer house has a security guard.

Please be aware that private room upgrades are not available in Tanzania.

If you would like to stay connected during your stay, we recommend bringing an unlocked mobile phone and purchasing a local SIM card when you arrive in Tanzania. The local team can assist you with purchasing a SIM card and data during your program orientation. Additionally, you can access WiFi at cafes and restaurants in Arusha.

If you wish to arrive a day earlier than your recommended arrival date or spend a few extra nights after finishing your program, we can arrange extra nights of accommodation for you at $35 (approximately $35) per person per night, including meals, subject to availability. You will be able to book extra nights via your profile after you register.

Meals

Tanzanian cuisine varies across the country due to differences in produce found inland and along the coast. The immigration of Khoja Indians has influenced local dishes with Indian flavors. Staple foods in Tanzania include rice, ugali (maize porridge), chapatti, and beans. Please keep in mind that rice and beans are significant components of meals in Tanzania, so you can expect to be served these quite often.

Volunteers are provided with three meals a day at the volunteer houses and homestays. Breakfast typically consists of eggs served with pancakes, mandazzi (deep-fried dough balls), or cake, along with plenty of fresh fruit, bread, and a selection of jams and other spreads for toast.

Lunch and dinner usually feature a traditional meat dish (chicken or beef) alongside a vegetable dish, beans, lentils, or cooked vegetables served with rice, pasta, chips, or chapatti.

Meals are served at the accommodations, but lunch boxes with fruits and sandwiches can be provided upon request if your placement is scheduled to finish after lunchtime.

Bottled water is readily available in Tanzania, and volunteers should budget approximately $5 per week for 2 liters a day. Filtered water is also available at the accommodations, and you can choose between purchasing bottled water or using the free filtered water provided in the houses.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please inform us so that the local team can make arrangements for you. They can provide vegetarian meals and options that are dairy and gluten-free; however, please note that vegan, halal, and kosher options are not available. Keep in mind that your eating experience may differ from what you’re accustomed to at home. The local team will do their best to accommodate your needs and ensure volunteers are well taken care of, but it’s essential for volunteers to remain flexible.

Pricing

  • USD
Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $345 Equivalent to $49/day
2 weeks $515 Equivalent to $37/day
3 weeks $740 Equivalent to $35/day
4 weeks $930 Equivalent to $33/day
5 weeks $1,130 Equivalent to $32/day
6 weeks $1,330 Equivalent to $32/day
8 weeks $1,745 Equivalent to $31/day
10 weeks $2,175 Equivalent to $31/day
12 weeks $2,605 Equivalent to $31/day
16 weeks $3,465 Equivalent to $31/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately $329) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Independent volunteers under the age of 18 will have an additional cost of US$80 per week added to their program fee to cover extra logistical support provided by the local team.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Tanzania generally find US$75-100 per week to be sufficient for expenses.

Free-time experiences & tours in Tanzania

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Tanzania! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Tanzania program.

Kifaru Safari
Kifaru Safari

A 2 day safari in Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater where you will have the opportunity to see amazing wildlife in their natural habitat.

$348
Maasai Village Tours
Maasai Village Tours

Gain an authentic insight into the Maasai way of life. Volunteers can choose between half or full day trips.

From $80
Moshi Trips
Moshi Trips

An opportunity to visit Moshi Town, the last village before the Kilimanjaro National Park. Volunteers can choose between 1 or 2 day trips.

From $70
Maasai Village Tours
Maasai Village Tours

Gain an authentic insight into the Maasai way of life. Volunteers can choose between half or full day trips.

From $80
Kifaru Safari
Kifaru Safari

A 2 day safari in Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater where you will have the opportunity to see amazing wildlife in their natural habitat.

$348
Rafiki Safari
Rafiki Safari

A 4 day safari in Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater where you will have the opportunity to see amazing wildlife in their natural habitat.

$680

Check what's required to visit Tanzania

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital Dodoma
Population 58 million
Languages Swahili and English
Currency Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
Time zone UTC+03:00

Weather and climate

Tanzania is hot throughout the year and is humid on the coast and dry on the central plateau. The heavy rains last from March to June and can make unsealed road travel difficult. The hot, dry weather in January and February attracts the most tourists. The best time to visit the Serengeti is from January to March, when the grazers are calving and there are plenty of lions around. Or witness the wildebeest migration to and from Kenya, which occurs at the onset of the dry season and again with the first rains, usually around the beginning of June and mid-November.

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How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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