Volunteer in Uganda
At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 7 meaningful project options
- The program is based in the town of Mutungo, which is located 15 kilometers from the capital city of Kampala
- Volunteers are accommodated in a volunteer house
- Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Program fees from $270 for 1 week
- Between 5 and 15 volunteers start in Uganda 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 Uganda to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Uganda 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, organisations 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 Uganda with your new-found friends.
The IVHQ Uganda volunteer program is based in the town of Mutungo, which is located 15 kilometers from the capital city of Kampala. Volunteer projects are located in Kampala, Kijjansi, Mutungo, Bwebajja, Rubaga and other towns within Uganda.
The Uganda 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 has an extremely high number of children living in poverty and many of these children have lost one or both of their parents as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The purpose of the Childcare project is to provide support to under resourced centers that are providing care to children within poor communities.
If you’re someone who loves working with children and is happy to provide support wherever your assistance is most needed, you will be well suited to this project.
As a volunteer on this project, you will work within in day care centers, nursery schools, children’s homes and kindergartens to assist local staff in the day-to-day running of these centers and ensuring they operate effectively.
Activities vary across the different centers with typical tasks including educational activities and basic teaching of English, Math, Health/Hygiene, Reading and Writing. Other activities include play therapy and games, cleaning, reading stories, dancing, singing, arts and crafts, as well as assisting with feeding and daily chores.
As you will be volunteering alongside our local placement staff, you do not need to have previous childcare experience to participate on this project but high energy levels and a willingness to help out wherever your help is most needed is a must.
The aim of this project is to contribute to the development of under-resourced schools and increase opportunities for Ugandan students from disadvantaged backgrounds to receive a quality education. Teaching in Uganda is a rewarding experience and although the students may have experienced tough upbringings, you will discover that they are extremely polite, cheerful and eager to learn.
If you’re someone who is passionate about education, cross-cultural exchange and using creative methods to inspire others to learn, this project is a great option for you.
As a teaching volunteer in Uganda, you will be placed in a nursery, primary or secondary school where you will be working alongside local teachers. Typical subjects taught at the schools include English, Math, Sports, Science, History, Music and Social Studies. Students can range in age from 3 to 20 years old, depending on the school in which you are placed.
As you will be volunteering with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, you do not need to be a qualified or experienced teacher 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.
Please note that schools in Uganda run for 3 terms per year and the Teaching project will not operate during the school holiday periods. During the holidays, volunteers switch to another available project in Uganda, such as Childcare.
School Holidays 2018/2019:
- 7th May - 28th May
- 27th August - 17th September
- 10th December - 4th February
The aim of this project is to increase access to quality healthcare in Uganda, providing support to under-resourced local clinics, medical centers and hospitals. These placements encompass a wide range of medical fields and offer in and out-patient services, supporting a high number of patients each day.
This project is well suited to volunteers who are looking to gain international healthcare experience in placements that are underfunded and under-resourced.
As a Medical volunteer in Uganda, you can expect to work as an assistant alongside local doctors and nurses and undertake tasks that are relevant to your level of experience and qualifications. It is important to be aware that most patients speak very little English so one-to-one interaction with patients is limited. When patients do speak English, you can expect more hands-on work if you are fully qualified.
This project is open to fully qualified doctors and nurses, as well as students who have completed at least 2 years of nursing or medical school. Fully qualified Paramedics, EMTs, CNAs and other healthcare professionals are also welcome to join the Medical project in Uganda. Possible fields of work include Maternity, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Laboratory, Pharmacy, Cancer Screening, Family Planning, Immunizations, De-Worming, General Medicine, Gynecology and HIV/AIDS. There is also the opportunity to participate on community outreach efforts once a week. If you are specialized in a particular field, please provide details in your application form to assist the local team in placing you where you will be most effective. Keep in mind that you will need to be flexible and willing to work within other areas as needed.
Please note that once you have registered on the program, you will need to provide a copy of your qualifications and certificates to our local team in Uganda in order for an adequate medical placement to be arranged. If you are studying, please provide a copy of your academic transcript. These must be received by our local team at least 2 weeks prior to your arrival in Uganda.
The aim of this project is to raise awareness and education around HIV/AIDS in Uganda through delivering classes on personal hygiene and how transmission prevention. In Uganda, around 7.1 percent of the population is living with HIV/AIDS, which amounts to around 1.4 million people. In an effort to provide assistance and care to these individuals, a range of initiatives have been established throughout Uganda, however much more help is needed to increase access to education around HIV/AIDS.
If you’re someone who is passionate about using education as a vehicle to provide support to those living with HIV/AIDS and help prevent the spread of the virus, your support will be greatly appreciated on this project.
As a volunteer on this project, you will assist on programs providing counseling to patients, HIV/AIDS testing, distribution of ARVs, and community outreach programs.
As you will be volunteering alongside our local placement staff, you are not required to be medically qualified in order to participate on most aspects of the HIV/AIDS Support project. Please note that testing via needle pricking and taking small blood samples is only offered to volunteers who are medically qualified, with training in Phlebotomy.
For this project, you are asked to bring medical gloves and alcohol wipes with you to Uganda. You are also encouraged to bring scrubs or a white lab coat to make you identifiable within the community. These items can be purchased in Uganda if preferred.
As a volunteer on Sports Education project in Uganda, you will be placed in primary or secondary schools to assist with Physical Education classes and other sporting activities. This project is designed to provide students with personal development and team-building opportunities outside of the classroom in a fun and supportive environment.
This project is well suited to sports enthusiasts who are passionate about supporting the development of children.
When volunteering on this project, you can expect to follow the school curriculum and teach the topics scheduled for that term, however you are also welcome to introduce new sports if you bring or purchase the required resources and equipment. Football (soccer) is the most common sport in Uganda, however the children love learning new sports and you are welcome to share your favorite sports from home. It is important to note that you are required to teach other classes during your placement, such as Math, English, Science or Social Studies (Geography and History). You will be teaching these general classes in the morning and then the sport classes in the evening. There is also a soccer club where you will help teach children from the community who do not attend school, as their carers cannot afford to send them. The volunteer work at the soccer club involves teaching soccer, team-building and other social skills to provide learning opportunities to the children in a safe and supportive environment.
This project is open to all volunteers and prior experience in Sport Education is not required to participate.
Please note that because the Sports Education project is predominantly run in schools, the project will not operate fully during the school holiday periods. Volunteers can still attend the soccer club which still runs over the school holidays and generally has more children attending over these periods. In the schools, the final term of the year focuses less on Physical Education and more on studying other subjects in preparation for the end of year exams. During these times, volunteers will be placed on a holiday project run by our local team, or you can supplement you volunteer work with another project.
School Holidays 2018/2019:
- 5th December - 5th February
- 7th May - 28th May
- 27th August - 17th September
- 10th December - 4th February
Special Needs Care
The aim of this project is to help increase access to care and education for people living with special needs in Uganda.
As a volunteer on this project, you will be working within schools for individuals with special needs, or within a special needs treatment center, providing support to both in and out-patients.
This project is well suited to caring and patient volunteers who are passionate about working with people of all ages and abilities and increasing inclusiveness for people living with special needs.
Your tasks may include working as a teacher aid, assisting with vocational training, providing care and playing games with individuals during their free time.
You are not required to have previous experience or training, as you will work closely with our local staff. Volunteers with adequate training can expect to work more independently in the center and assist with speech and occupational therapy, physiotherapy, education and teaching basic hygiene. If you are specialized in a particular field, please provide these details in your application to assist the local staff in placing you where you will be most effective. Keep in mind that it is important to be flexible and willing to work within other areas as needed. Please note that some placements can require up to an hour of travel time, each way, on public transport.
Women in Uganda can face a range of challenges, including discrimination, low social status, lack of economic self-sufficiency, and greater risk of HIV/AIDS infection.
The aim of the project is to provide support to young women in developing the skills needed to carry out income-generating activities so they can provide for themselves and their families.
If you’re someone who is interested in promoting better opportunities for women in Uganda, this is a rewarding project to support.
As a volunteer on the Women’s Education project, you will work closely with local community centers, providing support to women and their families. You role will be focused on providing mentoring support around management, financing and educational development to increase independence among the women and allow mothers to better support their families. Many of the women’s groups are involved in craft-making through basket weaving, sewing, tailoring and jewelry-making, and the crafts they make are then sold in order to generate income and provide for their families. Volunteers are also encouraged to create educational training materials on topics such as managing finances, vocational skills and building self-esteem.
The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month, and volunteers need to arrive in Entebbe on the Sunday before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Entebbe International Airport (EBB). 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 Mutungo. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in Uganda prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Kampala or Entebbe on the day before your program orientation.
Orientation is hosted by our local team at the volunteer base in Mutungo. 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.
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.
Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory-style volunteer house in the Mutungo area, approximately 45 minutes outside of Kampala City. The volunteer house accommodates up to 40 volunteers and you can expect to share a bedroom with 2 to 4 other volunteers of the same gender. The volunteer house is safe and secure in a quiet area. The bathrooms have western toilets and showers. There is electricity and running water in the volunteer house, however it is common for power or water to occasionally be cut off in Uganda. Bedding is provided and you will just need to bring your own towel. It is recommended that you bring your own mosquito net and these can be purchased in Uganda if you prefer to save space in your luggage. There are staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week, however volunteers are required to keep their rooms and common areas tidy.
WiFi is available at the volunteer house, however the connection can be slow so we recommend bringing an unlocked mobile phone and purchasing a local SIM card when you arrive in Uganda. The local team can assist you with purchasing a SIM card during your program orientation. WiFi is also available at a nearby resort, which is located within 5 minutes of the volunteer house.
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.
“Staying in Uganda was so interesting - being able to experience village life and to explore the towns was fun. It’s beautiful. Going on safari to see hippos, lions, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, and much more was definitely a highlight! But it’s my time at my volunteer placement that made the most impact on me, and will stay with me forever. Seeing the progress the kids with special needs made, and helping the staff to learn and use techniques I had taught them was very moving. I will miss the smiles and the hugs, and the singing!” - Jennifer Abergel (IVHQ Special Needs Care Volunteer in Uganda)
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!
|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.
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 Uganda. Additional requirements apply for Medical volunteers, please read the project description above.
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.