Volunteer in Tanzania
At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 5 meaningful project options
- Program is based in Arusha with placements located in rural and urban communities
- Accommodation is in either a volunteer house or homestay
- Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Program fees from $270 for 1 week
- Between 30 and 60 volunteers start in Tanzania each month
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in Tanzania to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Tanzania will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Tanzania with your new-found friends.
The IVHQ Tanzania volunteer program is based in Arusha and has volunteer placements located in rural and urban Tanzanian communities and villages. As this project is based in Arusha, volunteers will need to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha Regional Airport (if traveling to the program by air).
Volunteer programs begin on the 1st and 15th of each month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for period ranging from 1 week to 16 weeks.
Volunteers on the Teaching project in Tanzania work in English-medium schools, government schools or orphanage schools, where the presence of volunteers is beneficial in opening the minds and broadening the horizons of the students, along with exposing them to native spoken English. Children in Tanzania love to attend school, often starting as young as 3 years old, and wherever possible, children hope to stay in school until at least 14 years old, as education is highly valued in Tanzanian society. Teaching volunteers work by themselves or alongside local teachers and other volunteers, teaching subjects such as, English, Math, Science, Social Studies (Geography and History), Art and Physical Education. There can be between 30 and 80 children in each class and volunteers are required to assist the local teachers with daily lessons, providing one-on-one attention to the students and sometimes relieving the teacher of a class or two per day. English-medium schools run throughout the year and have holidays for the entire months of April, August and December. Government schools have holidays for the entire months of June and December. These schools also take week-long holidays during Easter and September. Orphanage schools do not have set holiday schedules, but take shorter breaks of 1 to 2 weeks at different times of the year. During school holidays, volunteers can take a break, travel, engage in tourist activities such as safari, take tutorials for senior students, or volunteer at another placement. As each school-type has holidays at different times, there is Teaching work available for volunteers throughout the year. There is also an opportunity for volunteers to work in a special needs school in Arusha with around 25 students, aged between 3 and 25 years old. Volunteers at this school work with students with a range of mental and physical disabilities, such as autism and Down’s syndrome. These students require a great deal of attention and support in their studies and if you have experience in working with special needs children, or are interested in volunteering at the school, please make a note in your application. As volunteers work with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training, like a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course. Visit our Online TEFL course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.
Healthcare is neither easily accessible nor affordable for many Tanzanians in rural villages and poor urban areas. Volunteers on the Medical project help to provide care in these areas and work alongside local medical professionals, gaining an understanding of the healthcare system in Tanzania. Volunteers work in medical clinics and hospitals and are placed according to previous experience and training. Some hospitals and clinics include departments, such as Laboratory Testing, Pharmacy, Maternity and Family Planning, Radiology and Ultrasound, and volunteers who have an interest in any of these areas should let us know. The key attributes for a successful Medical volunteer are initiative, enthusiasm and readiness to work in basic facilities with limited resources. It is important volunteers have realistic expectations with regards to the activities they will be involved in on the Medical project. Volunteers generally shadow local doctors and provide basic patient care, as procedures must comply with the Tanzania Healthcare System and most volunteers cannot communicate directly with patients due to language barriers. Volunteers need to understand that a key role on this project is simple observation and it is unlikely that you will be involved in operations or independent tasks. Volunteers on this project must be fully qualified doctors and nurses, or have completed at least 2 years of nursing or medical school, in order to participate. Fully qualified Paramedics, EMTs, CNA’s and other qualified healthcare professionals are also welcome to join the Medical project in Tanzania, however it is important to note that volunteers are placed within a general practice clinic or hospital, rather than working within their specialized areas. All medical placements require a one off placement fee of US$80 regardless of your placement duration. This fee goes directly to the medical center where you are placed and is payable in Tanzania directly to the local team.
Due to the high rate of HIV/AIDS and other illnesses prevalent in Sub-Saharan African countries, there are a large number of children left orphaned in Tanzania. In addition, there are many children who have been abandoned by their parents, as they are unable to provide for them. Given the family-oriented culture of Tanzania, orphaned and abandoned children tend to be taken in by extended family or neighbors, however these children put a considerable strain on the families who take them in and they are often sent to orphanages for certain hours of the day to receive education, interaction and food. The children do not usually live at these orphanages and are only there for a few hours each day. Volunteers on this project are often required to teach the children basic English and Math. In addition to teaching, volunteers are also required to assist with the general running of the orphanage and daily chores. Volunteer tasks include teaching, cooking, cleaning, farm work, caring for children and babies, and assisting with feeding programs.
Many people who are known to be suffering from HIV/AIDS in Tanzania can find it difficult to gain employment and ultimately provide for their households. This project offers volunteers the opportunity to provide assistance to women living with HIV/AIDS, supporting them in becoming more self- sufficient. Volunteers assist the women in crafting Maasai beaded art, leather goods, clothes, and other crafts, which they can then sell in order to earn an income. Volunteers also help to market these items to tourists who are visiting Arusha. In addition, this project provides volunteers with the opportunity to assist with teaching English to the women as well as basic crop farming as part of an agriculture project aiming to assist the women to become self-sufficient. Other volunteer duties may include helping prepare lunch for the women, providing care for children who accompany their mothers to the project site, and providing assistance to maintain the site grounds.
The Animal Welfare project in Tanzania offers volunteers the opportunity to support the welfare of a variety of animals, in a diverse range of settings. The work on this project is divided into three different components and volunteers are required to select the area of work which they would most like to work in. The first option for volunteers is the examination of different types of domestic and wild animals. Volunteers that choose this area of work will be studying animal diseases, taking samples and analysing these using lab equipment. Animals being examined tend to include wild dogs as well as sheep and cows that have been separated from their herd or farm. Volunteers will also assist in comparing the different living conditions for animals in various areas of Arusha to see how the conditions for the animals can be improved. This option involves a large amount of fieldwork in rural areas and therefore volunteers should be prepared to work longer days. The second option for volunteers is assisting with treating animals that require veterinary attention. In addition to treatments at the clinic, volunteers will also assist with home visits to farmers in the community to attend to any animals or livestock that need attention or treatment. Volunteers interested in this option can also assist/observe operations on dogs and cats which take place on Saturday mornings. The final option for volunteers is to assist with serving and treating animals on heat and assisting in the artificial insemination of farm animals. The animals being treated in this process are generally goats and cows to assist local farmers in generating more income. This project provides laboratory services and free visits to farmers based in rural locations, who would otherwise be unable to benefit from this service as they are unable to bring their animals into town. When applying for this project, you will need to note the area of work that you prefer to work in. In order to volunteer on the Animal Welfare project, volunteers must have a background in veterinary care, be studying towards a degree involving animals, or have experience working in a professional setting with animals. All volunteers on the Animal Welfare project are also required to pay a one off placement fee of US$80 regardless of your placement duration. This fee goes directly to the government clinic where you are placed and is payable in Tanzania directly to the local team.
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) in Arusha. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.
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 the volunteer house 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 – Introduction to Tanzania, Tanzanian Customs, Rules and Expectations, Language Lessons (Kiswahili) Safety, Travel Opportunities in Tanzania, 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 socialising.
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: A typical 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.
2.00PM - 5.00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, prepare for the next day or do some shopping and sightseeing.
8.30 PM Dinner at the volunteer house or homestay.
Volunteers in Tanzania are either accommodated in a volunteer house or a homestay with a host family. Volunteers can expect to share a room with 1 to 5 other volunteers of the same gender and volunteer houses can accommodate up to 30 volunteers at one time. Volunteers in homestays can expect to be living with at least 4 other volunteers. Living is basic but the volunteer house and homestays have running water and electricity, however it is important to note that there are often power outages which affect availability of hot water and power. Bedding is provided, however you will need to bring your own towel and toiletries. It is also recommended to bring a sleeping bag for weekends away. In the volunteer house, there is a cook who prepares meals for the volunteers and there is a security guard. The local team are also available on a daily basis during the week for support and via phone over the weekend.
If you would like to keep 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 during your program orientation. You can also access WiFi from cafes and restaurants in Arusha.
Tanzanian cuisine varies across the country, owing to the difference in produce inland and along the coast. The immigration of Khoja Indians has resulted in local dishes influenced by Indian cuisine. Staple foods in Tanzania include rice, ugali (maize porridge), chapatti and coconut milk. Volunteers are served three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Breakfasts generally consist of chai (tea), toast, fruit and mandazzi (deep fried dough). A typical lunch can include meat and vegetables with rice and fruit, while dinner usually sees traditional food, such as ugali and chapatti accompany the meat and vegetables. Meals are served at the accommodation, however a packed lunch can be provided upon request if your placement is due to finish after lunch time. Bottled water is readily available in Tanzania and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 per week for this (2 liters per day). If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know so we can make arrangements for you. However, we 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 as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.
“To say that Tanzania changed my entire life would be the worlds greatest understatement. The country, the people but most of all the children! I guess the reason I chose to volunteer was to help make a difference in these kids lives, but in reality it was them that made a difference in mine. Such a rewarding and life changing experience and I would recommend it to anyone willing to throw themselves into a different culture. My greatest advice would be to go with an open heart and an open mind and I can guarantee you that you’ll come home a different person.” - Nikola Bonacci (Teaching Volunteer in Tanzania)
During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of their local town or Arusha. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to destinations, such as Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Uganda and Kenya, or to embark on a safari.
See our Tanzania Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Tanzania!
|Languages||Swahili and English|
|Currency||Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)|
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 lion around, or to 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. Zanzibar has a warm climate year-round and its coastal resorts are tempered by sea breezes. The island is best avoided during the rain season in April and May.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Tanzania. Additional requirements apply for Medical volunteers, please read the project description below.
Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.