Tag line Tag line Tag line

Volunteer Abroad in Uganda

Uganda Program General Information

In Uganda, millions of people in many communities suffer from effects of chronic poverty diseases and live on less than one dollar a day. This is much from being illiterate and lack of education. Fifty percent of the population is illiterate. Because of illiteracy and ignorance they are unable to effectively improve their lives using local available resources. HIV/AIDS scourge wiped off the energetic people leaving the elderly to take care of their grandchildren. As a volunteer, you are needed and you can make a difference in Uganda. At the same time, it is an unforgettable experience to learn the culture, raft the headwaters of the Nile, and see the famous Mountain Gorillas.

Locations of Uganda Volunteer/Intern Programs

Work placements are available in both urban and rural areas in Uganda. Possible locations include but not limited to:

  • Kampala (Urban), Wakiso (Sub-Urban), Mukono (Rural), Luwero (Rural)
  • Eastern Uganda –Teso and Karamoja Sub-Regions. (Districts in the Teso Sub-Region: Soroti, Serere, Ngora, Kumi, Katakwi, Amuria and Kaberamaido; Districts in Karamoja Sub-Region: Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Abim, Kotido, Kabong, Napak and Amudat Districts.)
  • Mukono, and Kamuli Districts
  • Other areas can possibly be arranged upon request.

Start Dates and Durations

We pride ourselves for our flexibility. You can arrive any week of the year with enough advanced notice.

You can volunteer for periods of 1 week to 6 months. Extensions are possible with advanced notice as well.

Uganda Volunteer Work Placements

There are volunteer work placements available in both urban and rural Uganda. Our volunteer/intern work placements in Uganda include:

    (1) CAREGIVING

    • Orphanage Work
    • Caring for AIDS Orphans
    • Working with Street Children
    • Caring for the Elderly
    • Caring for the Disabled

    (2) COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

    • Developing Business Plans
    • Developing Library Facilities
    • Women’s Empowerment
    • Sharing Your Skills

    (3) HEALTHCARE

    • Medical Placement
    • Assisting Health Professionals
    • Helping in a Rural Health Post

    (4)HIV/AIDS Work

    • HIV/AIDS Testing
    • HIV/AIDS Counselling
    • Awareness Campaigns
    • Caring for the HIV Infected
    • Conducting HIV lessons

    (5) TEACHING

    • Teaching Children
    • Tutoring Help
    • Teaching English or Computer Skills
    • Teaching Arts, Music/Dance
    • Sports Education
    • Special Education

    (6) Other

    • Micro-Finance Projects
    • Business Coaching
    • Environmental Work
    • Wildlife or Animal Work
    • Journalism or Photography Work
    • Construction Work
    • Agriculture Work
    • Tourism Work

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

Uganda 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.

Uganda Program Prices

Our fees are the lowest in North America and extremely affordable. 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 surcharges)

What is included?

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

What is not included?

  • International and Local Transportation Costs (Local bus tickets cost around US$1.)
  • Medical/Travel Insurance (Optional but Recommended)
  • Visa Application Costs and Personal Spending

Working/Living Agenda of Uganda 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 at urban locations in Uganda can provide the following features:

  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Bedroom with basic furniture (either private or twin share with another participant of the same gender)

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

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 have 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 Uganda 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 Uganda.

    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 Days)

This orientation is very important and it is mandatory for ensuring a safe and pleasant stay.

    1) Introduction to Uganda

    • The following areas should be covered: communication, transportation, safety, travel opportunities, culture, health matters, and work ethics in Uganda.

    2) Introduction to the Work Program (for volunteer/internship program participants)

    • Introduction to the expectations of the institution and the host project.

    3) Introduction to Your Environment

    • The participants will be shown how to take bus to some important places (such as workplace, town, supermarket, internet cyber, ATM, etc.)

Workweek and Workdays

Our volunteer programs are highly 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 full time volunteers or have a fixed schedule, but many works can be 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 Thurs.
  • Workweek option 3: (Work and Rest) Work only on Mon., Wed. & Fri.
  • 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. People in Uganda are very friendly and welcoming.

Most hosts offer recreational or cultural activities regularly. Also, you can join weekend tours or add a tour after your volunteer program for an additional cost. We have partners who can perform tours and can offer discounts to volunteers.

Other Useful Information

Uganda Entry Requirements (Visa Information)

A tourism visa can be issued for US$50 upon arrival at the airport in Uganda. You must hold return or onward ticket, yellow fever vaccination certificate, and 2 passport sized photos. You can also apply for a visa at your local Ugandan Embassy. Most participants get the tourism visa upon arrival since it is less time-consuming. For a trouble-free entry, you should indicate your purpose of travel as tourism. A tourism visa is all you need for short term non-paid volunteer work in Uganda. A tourism visa is valid for 3 months and it can be renewed for these who want to stay longer.

For the most updated information, please check with the local Ugandan embassy.

Travel Services (Tours and Flights)

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.

Uganda Country Profile

Capital City in Uganda: Kampala

Population: About 25 Million

Official Language: Swahili (Luganda, Bantu, Nilo-Saharan languages, English, and Arabic are also used in the country.)

Time Zone: East Africa Time (UTC+03 )

Climate

Uganda’s equatorial climate provides plentiful sunshine, moderated by the relatively high altitude of most areas of the country. Mean annual temperatures range from about 16° C in the south-western highlands to 25° C in the northwest; but in the northeast, temperatures exceed 30° C about 254 days per year. Uganda is generally rainy with two dry seasons (December to February, June to August).

The Local Currency

The currency of Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX). Rates of exchange are posted daily by banks. One USD is around 2400UGX. We recommend that you bring a debit or a credit card for ATM cash withdraws. ATMs are accessible in Uganda 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 Uganda

As food and accommodation are both included, you don’t need to expect to spend much money at all. Many volunteers abroad find that $30 is more than enough for weekly personal expense, but this figure can vary largely depending on your spending habit. You should expect more spending if you plan to take tours or eat out a lot.

Safety

The capital city Kampala is a relatively safe city. We advise against all travel outside Uganda’s main towns after dark. Even though it is unlikely for something to happen to you, we recommend that you take the following precautions:

  • If you must carry a handbag, try to keep your handbag in front of you.
  • Try to use taxi drivers that you know and keep car doors/windows shut.
  • Try not to wear real gold jewellery on the streets.
  • If stopped by armed men, do not attempt to resist.
  • Please do not join political demonstrations, talks and groups.
  • Try not to walk alone after dark.
  • Try to keep in groups when going to unknown places.
  • 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.

Communication

Communications infrastructure is reasonably good in Uganda. It is easy and cheap to call and to send emails. Internet cyber is also affordable (less than US$1 per hour). The country code of Uganda is +256.

Vaccinations for Uganda

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

The following are recommended:

  • Polio
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Diphtheria/Tetanus
  • Typhoid
  • Malaria – Tablets

Things to Bring

  • You should at least bring a sleeping bag, backpack, bed sheets, lunch box, 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 Uganda:
      • Primary Socket Types: British BS-1363
      • Voltage: Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)
      • For Multi-voltage electronics/appliances (laptops, etc.), you only need a plug adapter.
      • For 110-120V electronics: Plug adapter + step-down transformer
      • For hair dryers, curling irons, etc.: Plug adapter + voltage converter
  • A digital camera is recommended.
  • Laptop is not necessary, however many volunteers like to bring their own PC.
  • If you forget to bring some things (such as basic shampoo or basic water bottle), it is easy to buy them in Uganda. Other things (such as electronics or a special brand of body wash) can be hard or more expensive to get in Uganda.