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Volunteer Abroad in Tanzania

Tanzania Program General Information

In Tanzania, many people suffer from extreme poverty and still live on less than $1 a day. According to the latest Poverty and Human Development Report (PHDR), poverty has continued to remain a huge majority of the people even though the economy has grown slowly. Specific vulnerable groups go largely undetected in most surveys. About 10% of children under the age 18 have lost one or both parents. About 80% people in Tanzania live in rural areas and more than half of the country’s GDP comes from agriculture. Rural growth and poverty reduction have been very challenging due to low production, low productivity and low quality of agricultural produce.

Low levels of education and literacy among smallholder farmers is a major factor contributing to this situation. Households and individuals need to be appropriately educated and healthy, and this means that efforts to ensure equitable access to basic social services must be continued and sustained. As a global citizen, you can contribute significantly in areas of education, healthcare, community development, and social services in Tanzania.

Tanzania has a lot to offer you if you are into wildlife, culture, and mountaineering. Tanzania is known to be one of the oldest inhabited areas in the world as fossil remains of humans and pre-human hominids from over two million years ago have been found. Africa’s highest mountain, the world-famous Kilimanjaro, is located in Tanzania. The country has lots of beaches and national parks (such as Serengeti).

Locations of Tanzania Volunteer& Intern Programs

We have volunteer work placements in both urban and rural Tanzania. Locations include but not limited to:

  • Arusha Area (urban)
  • Arumeru Area (urban/rural)
  • Usa River Area (urban/rural)
  • Ngongongare Village
  • Other areas can possibly be arranged upon request

In urban and suburban locations, most homes have electricity and running water. In rural areas, resources are limited and the condition can be very basic.

Start Dates and Durations

We pride ourselves for our flexibility. You can arrive any week of the year with enough advanced notice. Either because of a personal reason or because of a discount promotional flight that you want to take advantage of, we can arrange for you as long as we are given enough advanced notice before arrival.

You can volunteer for periods of 1 week to 6 months. In the end of your program, if you wish to extend your stay, we can arrange for you.

Tanzania Volunteer Work Placements

There are volunteer work placements available in both urban and rural Tanzania. Our volunteer/intern work placements include the following major categories:

    (1) CAREGIVING

    • Orphanage Work
    • Caring for the Disabled

    (2) COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

    • Business Coaching
    • Women’s Empowerment
    • Sharing Your Skills

    (3) HEALTHCARE

    • Medical Placement at Community Health Centers
    • Assisting Health Professionals

    (4) HIV/AIDS WORK

    • Awareness Campaigns
    • Caring for the HIV Infected
    • Conducting HIV lessons

    (5) TEACHING

    • Teaching Children
    • Tutoring Help
    • Teaching English
    • Sharing Your Skills
    • Sports Education
    • Special Education

    (6) ENVIRONMENTAL WORK

    • Tree Planting
    • Tree Nursery
    • Water Treatment

    (7) RESEARCH WORK

    • Research in Human Rights
    • Research in Water Defluoridation

Please note that some work placements may require a surcharge since they are harder or more costly to arrange. Also, more works can possibly be arranged upon request.

Tanzania Volunteer/Intern Requirements

  • Age Requirement: You can apply on your own if you are 18 years or over at the start of the program. For participants who are 15-17 years old at the start of the program, it is possible to enroll if the legal guardian gives permission and signs our waiver form to waive our liability.
  • Language Requirement: You must be able to speak English.
  • Cooperation and Adaptability: You should be able to work well with others, including people who are quite different from yourself. Also, you should be able to adapt to foreign environments, other cultures, and new situations. There is a need for international volunteers to be cooperative and flexible. The success of doing a project abroad also depends on you.
  • Some positions may require volunteers/interns have relevant training or certification.

Tanzania Program Prices

Our fees are the extremely affordable and the lowest in North America. Our program fee starts as little as USD$180. Program fees mainly help us cover the variable costs, such as meals, accommodation, and orientation, etc. Program fees vary according to the length of your program.

Program Length Program Fee USD$
1 Week 180
2 Weeks 350
3 Weeks 470
1 Month (4 Weeks) 580
5 Weeks 680
6 Weeks 770
2 Months (8 Weeks) 980
10 Weeks 1150
3 Months 1320
4 Months 1630
5 Months 1950
6 Months 2300

To see an estimate of these prices in your local currency click here.

Note: There is an additional fee of USD$290 (enrollment fee) on top of the program fee for all the programs. This enrollment fee helps us cover mainly the fixed costs, such as program inspection, staff salary, marketing cost, etc. Also, certain work placements and certain locations may require a surcharge since they are harder or more costly to arrange. Participants are fully responsible for any surcharges and transaction costs.

Total Price = Program Fee + Enrollment Fee (plus transaction costs and any surcharge)

What is included?

  • Arrival Welcome
  • Accommodation and Meals
  • Program Orientation
  • Volunteer Work Placement
  • Hotline for Local Support
  • Regular Cultural/Recreational Activities (Personal spending not included) are Provided by Most Hosts

What is not included?

  • International and Local Transportation Costs (One way local bus tickets cost around $0.5.)
  • Medical/Travel Insurance (Optional buy recommended)
  • Visa Application Costs and Personal Spending

Working & Living Agenda of Tanzania Programs

Accommodation and Meals

Accommodation and meals are included. Volunteers live with a local home-stay family or guest house or orphanage home.

Most of our home-stay families in urban locations can provide the following features:

  • Electricity
  • water
  • Bedroom with basic furniture (either private or shared with another volunteer of the same gender)

In the rural areas, the resources are limited and the living condition can be very basic.

Meals

Three meals a day are provided by the home-stay families.

Lunch is usually packed by your host family in a lunch box so that you can eat at your project if you wish.

If you are a vegetarian or if you have other special eating needs, you can indicate that while applying. Even though special eating needs are not something we can guarantee, we will do our best to meet your needs.

It is exciting to live with a local family. This way, you can easily learn the local way of life, meet local people, and feel more like a part of Tanzania rather than just a tourist. We strongly encourage you to try the local flavors and experience the local culture and traditions as much as possible. Keep in mind that it is important to be open-minded and to be flexible. You shouldn’t expect that you would eat the same food or have the same lifestyle as you do at home. Actually, one of the most important things you will learn abroad is how their way of living is just as correct as ours.

Arrival and Orientation

Day 1 (Arrival Day)

On Arrival Day, we will

    1) Give you a warm welcome upon arrival.

    2) Then we will take you to your home-stay family in Tanzania.

    3) Introduce you to the home-stay family members.

    4) Then we will leave you to rest after your long flight. Keep in mind that the program orientation usually takes place the next day.

Day 2 (Orientation Day)

This orientation is very important and it is mandatory for ensuring a safe and pleasant stay. You will need to bring your packed lunch and some drinking water with you.

    1) Introduction to Work Program

    • You will be introduced to the expectations of the institution and the host project.

    2) Introduction to Your Environment

    • We will show you how to take bus from home to some important places (such as workplace, town center, the supermarket, the ATM, etc.
    • (Usually it costs around US$0.5 or $1 for a one way bus ticket in town.)

    3) Introduction to Tanzania

    • Culture
    • Language
    • Communication
    • Transportation
    • Safety
    • Travel Opportunities

    4) Getting Connected

    • After the Introduction to Tanzania, you will be given some time to exchange contact information with other volunteers.
    • It is a good opportunity for you to get connected with other volunteers. After getting connected, you may want to socialize or plan your weekend trip together.

Workweek and Workdays

Our volunteer programs are flexible and can be customized for you. You can either do full time or part time work depending on your preference. Some volunteers would like to work a lot, while others like to have more free time to travel, socialize, and relax.

The amount of work will be customized for you. Certain work placements do require the volunteers to work with a fixed schedule, but many works are very flexible.

  • If you think it is more important to get your favorite placement rather than your preferred work schedule, please indicate that while applying so that we can put more weight on work type when we customize the program for you. If you don’t indicate anything, we may give your preferred work schedule more consideration while we customize the program for you.

Workweek Options:

  • Workweek option 1: (Regular) Work from Mon. to Fri.
  • Workweek option 2: (Long weekend) Work from Mon. to Thursday.
  • Workweek option 3: (Work and Rest) Work only on Mon., Wed. & Friday.
  • Workweek option 4: (As Much As Possible) Work 6-7 days per week if possible.
  • Workweek option 5: (Fully Open) Come in and help whichever day you want.

Workday Options:

  • Workday option 1: (Full day) Approximately 8 hours from 8:30am to 4:30pm.
  • Workday option 2: (Part time early bird) Approximately 4 hours from 9am to 1pm.
  • Workday option 3: (Part time afternoon) Approximately 4 hours from 12pm to 4pm.
  • Workday option 4: (Fully Open) Come in and help whenever you want.

(If you have different preferences, you can let us know so that we can try to customize further for you).

Leisure Time (Enjoyment and Friendship)

Our volunteers usually form life-long friendships with their host family, workplace co-workers, and other volunteers. Tanzanians are friendly and welcoming people, especially to foreigners. The chances are that you will find it easier to make friends in Tanzania than in your home country.

We aim to fulfill your leisure time with enjoyment. Most of our partners abroad arrange recreational activities regularly. You can join weekend tours or add a wildlife safari and/or a coastal tour after your volunteer program for an additional cost. We have partners who can perform tours and can offer discounts to volunteers. We recommend that you book Safari or tour through us since the our long term relationship with the local tour operators usually mean more reliable services.

Other Useful Information

Tanzania Entry Requirements (Visa Information)

Most people coming to Tanzania get their tourist visa upon arrival. Upon arrival at the airport, tourist visas are issued for a fee of USD$50. Tourism entry visa lasts for 3 months and it allows you to simply be in Tanzania. For these who plan to visit other countries, you should ask for a multiple entry visa.

The issue of a tourist visa is very straight forward. You don’t need to have hotels booked or tours booked. For a trouble-free entry, we recommend that you write the purpose of your entry as tourism or vacation, which is true since our volunteers are classified as volunteer tourists.

Certain nationalities do not need a visa to enter Tanzania. They are: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Brunei, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malaysia, Malawi, Malta, Maldives, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Sao Tome & Principe Island, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Island, Swaziland, Tuvalu, Tonga, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

The following nationalities have to apply for visa pre-arrival since they cannot get a visa upon arrival: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Somalia , Sudan, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen.

In addition to the tourism visa, all volunteers also need a work permit.

  • For these who are working for up to 2 months
  • You need to get a CTA permit (Conducting a Temporary Assignment). These cost $200 and should be obtained from Kilimanjaro airport on arrival in Arusha. You can get it at the same time as your Visa to enter the country. Just tell the Immigration Officials that you are coming to volunteer for less than 2 months and need a CTA Permit. You need US$200 and the letter of invitation from us. It is quick and simple. If you get this permit, then you don’t need to pay the $50 for the tourism visa anymore.

    If you arrive in Arusha when the Immigration Office is closed or they are being particularly unhelpful – JUST get the $50 Tourism Entry Visa and we will take you to the Immigration Office in town within the first couple of days of your arrival to get your CTA Permit. Again, you will need $200 and your invitation letter from us.

  • For these who are working for more than 2 months
  • You should get a short-term RPC Permit (Residence Permit class ‘C’). These cost $550 and can be obtained from the immigration office in Arusha within the first few days of your arrival. Our partner staff can help you with this. A short-term RPC Permit will make you a Temporary Resident of Tanzania. It allows you to leave and re-enter the country as often as you like within the three months. A Short Term RPC Permit can be extended for another three months (up to three more times) for a further $550 each time. This is an easy, but expensive way to stay long-term. You will need the following paperwork:

    a. Two original signed TIF1 forms.

    b. 6 passport photographs on a blue background.

    c. A signed volunteer contract.

    d. A copy of your CV

    e. Copy of your passport (photo page)

    f. Copies of your academic certificates

    g. A letter of introduction from us

  • For these who are working for longer than 3 months
  • You should get a long-term RPC Permit (Residence Permit class ‘C’). These are only processed in Dar-es-salaam and can take a couple of months to complete. Long term RPC Permit lasts for anything up to 2 years and can be renewed indefinitely. They cost $550 plus an extra $100 for postage and processing. It is the most cost effective way to stay in Tanzania long term. If you are staying for over 3 months, this is what you need to get. The paperwork must be correct. You will need the following paperwork:

    a. Two original signed TIF1 forms.

    b. 8 passport photographs on a blue background.

    c. A signed volunteer contract.

    d. A copy of your CV

    e. A certified copy of every page of your passport

    f. Certified copies of your academic certificates

    g. A certified copy of your birth certificate

    A ‘Certified’ copy means that a solicitor or lawyer has stamped and signed the photocopy to say that it is a ‘true copy’ of the original. They will normally do this cheaply or even for free if you explain that you are coming to volunteer in Tanzania. Gather together these documents and post them to our partner staff in Tanzania via a courier service such as DHL. We will then add some more papers and send them to Dar-es-salaam for processing. When it is done we will courier it back to you before you travel, and you can use the hardcopy to get across the border. Once you arrive, you should visit the Immigration office with our partner staff to get your residence permit endorsed in your passport. Be properly prepared and make sure you send us all these documents early so we can get this processed for you, ready for your arrival. If your permit is not ready in time, you can still enter the country on a Business Visa (which lasts for 2 months) and you can get for $50 at the airport with invitation letter, while waiting for the permit to arrive.

Please Note:

  • Many volunteers in Tanzania simply get a ‘Tourist Visa’ and tell Immigration Officials that they are visiting the country rather than volunteering. This is very cheap and easy ($50 US and lasts up to 3 months), but it is not actually allowed, and so we can’t recommend it to you. Having volunteers on the wrong visa reflects badly on us.
  • Ultimately the penalties for being ‘caught out’ are yours, not ours. If Immigration did catch you ‘working’ on a Tourist Visa – the normal penalty would be to buy a new visa and permit (possibly a ‘special permit’ that costs $600) on the spot.
  • We always do our best to provide visa information and help, but please note that we can’t be liable if you don’t get your visa successfully. For the most updated and accurate information, please feel free to check with the Tanzanian government in Tanzania.

Travel Services (Tours, Flights, and Insurance)

Whenever our volunteers need, we provide travel services/advices. If you are going to buy flight and book tours on your own, we strongly recommend that you get price quotes from different sources and compare them before you make your purchase.

Whenever our volunteers need, we provide travel resources/advices. The tour prices from our partners are usually discounted for volunteers, thus we recommend that you book with us. If you are going to buy flight and book tours on your own, we strongly recommend that you get price quotes from different sources and compare them before you make your purchase.

Tanzania Country Profile and Pictures

Tanzania Capital: Arusha

Population: 46,218,486

(Source: World Bank)

National Language: Swahili

(Each tribe also has its own language.)

Time Zone: EAT (UTC+3)

Climate

Tanzania has a tropical climate. In the highlands, temperatures range between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F) during cold and hot seasons respectively. The rest of the country has temperatures rarely falling lower than 20 °C (68 °F). The hottest period extends between November and February (25–31 °C / 77–87.8 °F) while the coldest period occurs between May and August (15–20 °C / 59–68 °F).

Tanzania has two major rainfall regions. One is unimodal (December – April) and the other is bimodal (October -December and March – May). The former is experienced in southern, south-west, central and western parts of the country, and the latter is found to the north and northern coast. In the bimodal regime the March – May rains are referred to as the long rains or Masika, whereas the October – December rains are generally known as short rains or Vuli.

The Local Currency

The local currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS). US$1 is approximately 1500 Tanzanian Shillings. There are exchange bureaus where you can change your money. You may also carry traveller’s checks. However, out of all the options, we strongly recommend that you bring a debit or a credit card for ATM cash withdraws. ATMs are easily accessible in Tanzania and most of them accept international debit and credit cards. It is probably the safest and easiest way for you to access your cash.

Personal Expense in Tanzania

As food and accommodation are both included, you don’t need to expect to spend much money at all. Actually, you will probably find that $20 is enough for your weekly personal expense. You will expect a much bigger spending if you plan to take wildlife tours. A wildlife tour may cost you $100 or more for a day.

Safety

Going global can be an exciting experience and nervous at the same time. Regardless of where you are in the world, safety can never be guaranteed. However, Tanzania is considered to be a safe country comparing to many other African nations. It is politically stable and one of the few that haven’t had civil wars in recent years. However, for your own safety, we recommend that you take the following precautions while living there:

  • If you must carry a handbag, try to keep your handbag in front of you.
  • Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone dark streets.
  • Try to leave your valuables behind.
  • Be careful when crossing the streets.
  • We recommend that you bring two bank/credit cards when you travel but keep them in different places. You can probably keep one in your wallet with you for daily use and keep the other card in a very safe place for back-up purpose. In this case, if anything happens, at least you won’t loss both cards at the same time.

While it is unlikely for something to happen to you, we do recommend that you take these precautions.

Communication

Communications infrastructure is reasonably good in Tanzania. It is easy to call and to send emails. Internet cyber is also affordable (around US$0.5 per hour). A local SIM card (with a local cell phone number) is available for around US$1.5. The country code of Tanzania is +255.

Vaccinations for Tanzania

Yellow Fever is the legally required vaccination for Tanzania. Don’t forget to take your yellow fever certificate with you while you travel.

The following are recommended:

  • Tetanus Diphtheria Polio
  • Polio Hepatitis A
  • Conjugate Meningococcal
  • Malaria – Tablets

We recommend that you go to a travel medical clinic for professional advices.

Things to Bring

  • You should bring a unlocked mobile phone that is SIM card compatible for easy communication.
  • You should at least bring your own sleeping bag, a lunch box, a water bottle, and other personal necessities.
  • A plug adapter is strongly recommended as you will probably need to charge your electronics.
    • Electrical Plug/Outlet and Voltage Information for Tanzania:
      • Primary Socket Type: British BS-1363, Indian
      • Voltage: 220-240 Volts
      • For Multi-voltage electronics/appliances (laptops, etc.), you only need a plug adapter.
  • A digital camera is recommended.
  • Laptop is not necessary, however many volunteers like to bring their own personal computer.
  • Mosquito-net could be nice to have in some areas, but again it is not absolutely necessary.
  • If you forget to bring some things (such as basic shampoo or basic water bottle), it is easy to buy them in Tanzania. Other things (such as camera, charger, or a special brand of body wash) can be hard or more expensive to get in Tanzania.