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Volunteering in Uganda
Are you seeking a meaningful and exciting adventure abroad? Africa means adventure, and at the geographical heart of the African continent lies the extraordinary land of Uganda. Volunteering in Uganda is a perfect way to experience this amazing country and help others in need at the same time.
There is no country in the world like Uganda, located astride the Equator where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle. The country is home to more than 100,000 species of animals and
1,200 species of butterflies.Beautiful landscapes,Africa’s highest mountain range, many national parks, including Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, (home to half the remaining world population of mountain gorillas), the source of the Nile river, and Lake Victoria(the world's second largest lake) make this spectacular country an adventurer's dream.
Sadly, Uganda is a poor country with lot of social and economic challenges. The country is plagued by poverty, inequalities, inadequate sanitation, and its people suffer from a lack of access to education, and good nutrition. This is especially true in the northern and eastern portions of the country.
Today, Uganda needs volunteers more than ever.
This is where you come in. When you volunteer in Uganda, you can help in an orphanage, teach English in rural schools, or support HIV/AIDS awareness and other health care programs. Whatever you choose, the compassion and enthusiasm you bring to Uganda will help bring lasting, positive change to children, families, and the communities in which they live.
Uganda offers an enduring experience you'll never forget, and its people need your help! Click below to choose a volunteer program that speaks to you!
Available Volunteer Programs in Uganda
No matter your interests or experience, IFRE offers a volunteer project in Uganda that has what you’re looking for. Check out these unique, varied, and impactful projects to discover how you can help make a difference in Africa!
Due to extreme poverty, diseases and other societal issues, there are many orphans in Uganda. Furthermore, orphanages are overcrowded and understaffed, leading to an immense need for volunteers to help look after the children.
IFRE’s orphanage volunteer project in Ugandaoffers assistance and care in orphanages and childcare centers. By joining this volunteer program, you will share your love and passion for children who have lost their parents. The children in the center love interacting with volunteers and your selfless efforts will make a huge and positive impact on their lives. Your main responsibilities include teaching basic English, helping kids with their homework, and organizing various creative extracurricular activities.
Interested in making a difference in the life of children?
In Uganda, access to a proper English education is sadly lacking for those from poor economic backgrounds. While children from wealthy families can get an excellent English education in a private school, these disadvantaged kids can not afford this privilege and as such lag behind when it comes to career opportunities later in life.
With the growth of the tourism industry, the demand for English skills has grown exponentially, and when you join this project you will teach English in local schools to ensure everyone has a chance at these opportunities.
Do you want to provide opportunities for disadvantaged children?
HIV/AIDS is widespread in Uganda, especially in rural areas, mostly due toa lack of government support, education, and medical facilities. Each year, thousands of HIV-infected peopledie in Uganda from this deadly disease. There are a few non-governmental organizations working hard to stop the spread of the virus and give medical care to the people who are already suffering from it.
When you join IFRE’s HIV/AIDS volunteer program in Uganda, you will work to promoteHIV/AIDS awareness, providecomfort to patients, andtrain local community workers. This is a perfect opportunity if you want to share your love for communities and people who have been suffering from HIV and do your part in stopping the disease for good.
Help save lives and stop the spread of HIV in Uganda.
When you join IFRE medical volunteer program in Uganda, you will be working in a local public health center and alongside local doctors, learning from them and sharing experience. As a volunteer,your main responsibility will be to help with outpatient services, take blood tests, assist local doctors and promote health awareness as well as other tasks assigned by the hospitals when needed.
This is a great opportunity for students studying in the medical field to gain hands-on experience in a medical setting while helping the people of Uganda.
Gain valuable medical experience and help save lives.
In addition to the projects listed above, IFRE also offers group programs for college and high school students, family volunteering, alternative springs breaks, and many other programs. Contact us today to learn more!
Volunteering in Uganda: Program Dates
IFRE programs begin every Monday year-round. If you have travel constraints, you can still start your chosen program on any day of the year.
Since 2006, IFRE Volunteers has been the most trusted and respected volunteer abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality volunteer programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to volunteer internationally and make a positive impact in the lives of others.
We believe in 100% transparency. Rest assured; we never use middlemen. Your one-time registration fee of $299 covers our administrative costs. The low weekly fee is paid in the host country directly to your host family and project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor expenses. IFRE Volunteers is a non-profit organization, so your program fees are tax deductible.
Volunteer Program Fee (US$)
Airport receive/transfer (45 Miles): $75
Language and Culture Program fee $250
Program Fees Cover:
- Accommodation (host family)
- Food (local food 3 times a day)
- Airport Pick up/Transfer
- Program Orientation
- In-country support
- Personalized project
- Pre-departure information
- Certificate of completion
- Fundraising ideas and letters
- Discount for returning volunteers
Program Fees Exclude:
- Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
- Daily transportation
- Airport return transfer
When volunteering in Uganda with IFRE, you will have peace of mind knowing that we have carefully planned every aspect of your trip. You will have safe, secure, and comfortable housing, be fed three healthy local meals a day and an experienced and helpful team of dedicated humanitarians will be on call to supervise you, guide you, and help you every step of the way.
We place you with carefully pre-screened host families. Our host families are socially respected and experienced with hosting international volunteers. It is a perfect situation for you to live safely and comfortably while making many new friends and sharing experiences every day.
Our host families have the safety and well-being of our volunteers in Uganda as their priority and demonstrate this with caution and care. In most host family situations, volunteers will share a room with another volunteer of the same gender. Another viable option is an at-orphanage stay. Wherever you stay, you will have comfortable room, western style toilet, running water, electricity, and safe accommodation.
Most volunteer projects in Uganda are located within 1-20 km of our host family accommodations so you may walk or ride a local bus to your project. In the evening, when you return to home base, you can relax, eat dinner, explore the local area or simply share your experiences with other volunteers.
Typically, our volunteers in Uganda eat breakfast and dinner with the host family and have lunch at their project location. We offer fresh, nutritious and safe local foods to our volunteers to eat. We also work extremely hard to maintain our facilities in good condition.
You will be volunteering around 4-5 hours a day at your project, making a huge difference and helping others in need. After all that hard work, you deserve some down time as well as the chance to get out and explore all the amazing things Uganda has to offer!
You will have free time from your Uganda volunteer abroad project during evenings, weekends. While IFRE does not arrange activities during this time off, our local staff members and coordinators can provide priceless assistance in making appropriate arrangements for travel in Uganda. This will be a great opportunity for self-discovery and learning.
Uganda has an amazing array of wildlife, numerous safaris, fascinating landscapes, colorful customs, gorgeous beaches, historic castles, and much more. You can also go for a hike through the local villages and countryside, which will be the perfect backdrop for an authentic cultural experience. Take this opportunity to see and explore as much of Africa as you can!
Safety and In-country Support
Your safety is IFRE’s number one priority at all times, and you can have peace of mind knowing we will do everything possible to ensure you have a safe and secure experience volunteering in Uganda. We offer pre-trip support, reliable and comprehensive travel insurance, airport pick-up, and availability guidance and support by an experienced in-country staff that is right there on the ground to help you every step of the way.
As soon as you arrive in Uganda, you will have the support of an experienced team of in-country field staff. The team is comprised of mature, educated, socially respected individuals who are dedicated humanitarians highly experienced in working with international volunteers.
Your main point of contact will be the in-country coordinator. They will select your project placement, make all the arrangements for your airport transfer, accommodations, and food, give you an orientation which covers culture, safety, and your service work, introduce you to your host family and project staff, and make periodic visits and calls to check up on your progress. You can reach out to the coordinator at any time with any questions, issues, or to ask for advice and they will be happy to assist you.
Volunteering in Uganda: FAQ
The choice to volunteer in Uganda is noble and rewarding, but it is not without its challenges. There is a lot to do to prepare, and you probably have a long list of questions you are curious about. We have put together a list of questions volunteers often ask to help guide you on your path to volunteering abroad.
Don’t see your question answered here? Reach out to IFRE and we are happy to address any and all concerns you might have.
At which airport do I need to arrive for my volunteer project in Uganda?
You should fly to Entebbe International Airport.
Do you organize airport pick up? ?
Yes, we organize airport pick-up for our volunteers. You just need to provide our staff with your flight details and then meet up with them at the airport so that they can drop you off at your hotel prior to the start of your volunteer placement.
What happens if I miss my flight or arrive late? ?
There's no need to worry about that. If you miss the scheduled flight and your arrival is delayed, adjustments will be made accordingly. You will be provided with our contact information in your placement packet, so please contact us as soon as possible so that we can arrange for a new pick-up time. At all times, we make sure that your Uganda Volunteer project goes smoothly.
Who will come to pick up me? How do I recognize the person at the airport? ?
Our local representative will be waiting for you at the airport arrival terminal carrying a white signboard with your name written on it. He/she will be responsible for picking you up from the airport on time and taking you to your accommodation. You can also call them if for some reason you do not see them waiting for you, as their contact details will be provided to you before your flight to Uganda.
If my volunteer work begins on Monday, when should I arrive? If I want to arrive earlier than the day when my assignment begins, where do I stay and who will organize the accommodations? ?
It is always advisable to arrive early, if possible. We suggest you arrive one day prior to the beginning of the program. As all our volunteer work in Uganda programs start on Monday, you can arrive on Sunday and rest for the day and then begin the project the next day in a better physical and mental shape.
However, you will have to pay extra for your accommodation and food if you decide to arrive earlier, so you should budget for this ahead of time. Let our in-country coordinator know your plans, and if you need assistance in making the arrangements they can help.
Who will bring me to the airport for my departure? ?
We don’t offer any kind of airport departure services to our volunteers, but our local staff can assist you in arranging transportation to the airport following the completion of your project.
What do I need prior to departure from my home country? ?
For your Uganda volunteer trip, you will need your passport, visa, a couple of photos, credit cards, some cash, flight tickets, comfortable clothing and shoes, toiletries, medicines, a first aid kit, sanitary towels, deodorant, insect repellent, mobile phones, laptops, adapter, chargers and a travel insurance.
You will need to have met with your doctor and received the required vaccinations. You will need to apply for your visa, and also to obtain reliable travel insurance. Do your research ahead of time and let IFRE know if you have any questions or need assistance.
Where are the projects located?
Our Uganda projects are all located in suburb areas of Kampala, which is the capital city of Uganda. Kampala is a city of ferocious contrasts and enchanting landscapes. It is surrounded by tropical green forests.
It’s a joy to explore Kampala city, as you can find slick art galleries, charming restaurants, lively bars, fascinating tourist attractions and bustling shops all over the streets of Kampala.
Is there a minimum and maximum stay for my volunteer project in Uganda?
Depending upon your preference, IFRE’s programs can last from a minimum of one week to a maximum of 12 weeks.
Can I extend my stay if I choose to?
Yes, it is possible for our international volunteers in Uganda to extend their stay. We can also assist our volunteers in finding other volunteering projects to join during their extended stay in Uganda.
Will I have enough time to travel after work and during the weekend?
All of our volunteer in Uganda opportunities and projects are designed flexibly to adjust to a variety of changes. This gives you enough free time to go out and explore after your volunteer work and during the weekends.
Who will guide or support me?
Our in-country coordinator supports and supervises you throughout your stay in Uganda. Likewise, our local staff will also stay in contact with you, either with timely field visits or via email or telephone. You can expect our field staff to visit you every two to four weeks to make sure that all things are going as smoothly as planned.
Can I switch projects if I do not like the one that I chose?
Yes, our participants can change their programs if they find themselves experiencing any kind of discomfort or difficulty. You should contact your in-country coordinator to discuss this possibility. However, we do make sure that all our volunteers have a pleasant volunteering experience in Uganda, and it is quite rare for our volunteers to be unsatisfied with their initial projects. Transfer to a new project will be based on availability.
Can I work in more than one project at a time?
Yes, you can work in more than one volunteer project at a time, so long as the two you are interested in are within close proximity to one another. You simply need to get in touch with our country coordinator to begin the application process for your participation in additional volunteer programs.
Keep in mind that each of our volunteer in Uganda programs requires you to work for four to five hours daily,at the very least. Therefore, it can be difficult for volunteers to complete all their volunteer duties and responsibilities if they participate in more than one volunteer project at a time.
A more manageable option might be to split your time in Uganda in half, volunteering at one project for the first part of your stay and transferring to another project for the second half of your journey.
How old should I be to take part?
A variety of people from different age groups have participated in our volunteering trips abroad in Uganda. The minimum age for the participation is 18. Anyone who is below the minimum age must provide us a legitimate parental consent from their parents/legal guardians, and in some cases, we may be able to make an exception. Minors can also volunteer alongside their families.
Who manages the volunteer projects in Uganda?
All of our programs are extensively managed by our in-country coordinator from the start to end. You will receive unwavering and reliable support from them throughout your volunteer trip.
Will I receive training before the start of my volunteer placement?
IFRE does provide training for you before the start of any of their programs. The nature of the training will depend upon the difficulty and nature of the volunteer project itself. You will receive proper training and guidance in an orientation class run by our country coordinator and local staff after reaching Uganda.
Is there a dress code in the project?
No, there is no dress code for any of our volunteer projects in Uganda.You are free to wear clothing of your choice without any restrictions. However, we do advise our international volunteers to wear modest and decent clothing, and to be respectful of the culture they are visiting.
Why pay to volunteer abroad?
Payments made by volunteers for the participation in our programs help support the operating and managerial cost of our organization. We are a non-profit volunteer organization. Therefore, the fees paid by youare essential to pay the salary of our staff, advertisement, utility, and rent bills. Furthermore, the field supervision, food and accommodation are covered by our Uganda program fees, as is a donation directly to the project you are traveling so far to support. This money goes directly to your homestay family and project, ensuring your money is going right where it is needed most.
Why are IFRE’s fees so much more affordable than other volunteer organizations?
IFRE manages to offer affordable volunteer trips in Uganda because it serves as a non-profit volunteer organization which has an international staff comprised of dedicated humanitarians who are passionate about making this world a better place. Money is not a motivating force for us to run our programs. The fees are just enough to keep our programs sustained. IFRE remains devoted to maintaining both the quality of our programs as well as the safety of all volunteers involved, even at the lowest of prices.
Can I get a tax deduction?
Yes, you can get a tax deductionas we are an American non-profit 501©3 volunteer organization which collaborates with many local orphanages, schools, hospitals and NGOs all across the globe.
Can I get help to raise funds?
Yes, we do help you to raise funds for their volunteer work in Uganda by sending supporting documents. You can raise volunteering funds through various campaigns. You can ask for donations from different organizations and volunteering-related campaigns.
For further readings:
Is it safe to travel in Uganda?
Yes, it is safe to travel to Uganda. Your safety is IFRE’s top priority. We make sure that all of your activities are safe for participation and our staff members are available for support throughout the period of your volunteer program. However, we advise and request you do your own researchand make yourself aware ofas much safety information regarding your travel destination as possible before leaving home.
What safety measures should I take?
While it is true that Uganda is a safe country for foreigners, it is always a good idea to exercise some degree of caution during your travels.We always engage our international volunteers in an informative and crucial orientation class at the beginning of their volunteer abroad project in Uganda.
You should employ basic safety measures while in Uganda such as not carrying large amounts of cash, not traveling alone, particularly at night, etc. Carry a copy of your passport rather than the original and try to keep a low profile and not dress in a revealing or provocative manner.
What will happen if I get sick?
You don't need to worry at all. Your health will be closely assessed and monitored. If you get sick, our in-house coordinator, along with the support of the staff, will ensure you are taken to a clinic or hospital, and receive the necessary care. Be sure to bring along your passport and a copy of your insurance policy to present to the physician.
Why must I get travel insurance before beginning my volunteer trip in Uganda?
All IFRE volunteers are required to obtain reliable travel insurance prior to leaving for their trips. If you need assistance in obtaining a policy, IFRE can help you with this. Getting insured gives you a safety cushion should something happen to you. If your trip is cancelled, if you need any kind of medical treatment, if you need to return home, if your belongings are stolen or if you have any accident, you will be covered.
What Vaccinations do I need prior to my traveling to Uganda?
The main recommended vaccinations for Uganda are Chikungunya, Cholera, Dengue, DTP, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, malaria, meningococcal, MMR, rabies, schistosomiasis, tuberculosis, yellow fever (compulsory)and zika virus. For your personal health precautions and extra safety, you should consider consulting your doctor for further vaccine recommendations prior to the start of your travel.
What are the principle health risks in Uganda?
During your volunteer experience in Uganda, you should be aware of the health risks present in the country. These are yellow fever, hepatitis A & B, malaria, typhoid, cholera, meningitis and rabies. You should take precautions against insect bites, avoid contact with animals, and do not engage in activities which lead to a sharing of bodily fluids. The tap water in Uganda is also not safe to drink, so to avoid contamination only drink bottled water or sealed drinks.
For further readings:
Do I need visa to volunteer and travel in Uganda?
Yes, you do need a valid Uganda tourist visa to participate in our programs.You should remember that single-entry tourist visas for Uganda are only valid for 90 days after its issuance. If you wish to stay longer than that, you must apply for a visa extension which will cost you extra. You can learn indetail about Uganda tourist visas
How do I apply for the visa?
There are two ways to apply for a Uganda travel visa. You can either visit the official Embassy of Uganda at your home country or you can instead fill out an online visa application form . Both ways will require you to possess a passport with a validity of at least six months. A single-entry Uganda tourist visa can cost you around $50. Do your research ahead of time online for the specifics pertaining to your home country.
Can I extend my visa while I am in the country? Can you help me with this?
Yes, you can extend your visa while you are in Uganda. If you want to extend your visa and stay a little bit longer for your Uganda volunteer program, you have to visit the Immigration Office of Uganda in Kampala and apply for a visa extension. This will require you to hand in your invitation letter, a copy of your flight ticket, and a copy of your passport. If you need advice regarding this matter, contact the in-country coordinator.
How do I contact IFRE’s local coordinator while in Uganda?
All of our international volunteers are provided with the personal information and contact details of our local staff and country coordinator. You can simply call them at any time during your trip or you can send them a text or an email.
How can I communicate with my family from Uganda?
Contacting your family during your volunteer program in Ugandawill help you keep in touch and keep your family involved in your exciting African adventure. There’s internet access available everywhere in Uganda, so you can video chat with them on Skype or chat with them on Facebook. You can also call them directly from your mobile phone, but this can be costly. You will be able to stay in touch with your family at all times without a sweat.
Can I use my phone during my volunteer project?
Yes, you can use your personal mobile phone during your project with IFRE. However, you will need to contact your current provider prior to your departure to find out if your phone will function in Uganda.
Can I buy a SIM card in Uganda?
Yes, you can buy a local SIM Card in Uganda.
How can international volunteers in Uganda get/purchase internet services?
First of all, you need to buy a SIM card from the local vendor shops. You will need your original passport and a recent passport-sized photo to fill out an application form. Once you have done that, the vendor will give you the SIM card. You can then insert it and purchase a data pack to access the internet after its activation. You can always ask the vendor to purchase the internet data pack for you if you can’t do it yourself. Again, check with your current phone provider to ensure your phone will be compatible with the new SIM.
Is internet available everywhere?
Internet is widely available in Uganda. The use of a local SIM will ensure you have access to the internet wherever you go that has phone service.
What do I need to bring for my volunteering project in Uganda?
What you bring will vary based on the season you are traveling, and the type of project you are working at. IFRE provides bedding, but if you feel you would like a sleeping bag you are welcome to bring it along. You need to make sure that you bring insect repellent, a first-aid kit, a power adapter, travel insurance, hand sanitizer, sunscreen cream, pollution mask, a pair of flip-flops, a towel and toiletries, medicines, passport, visa, flight tickets, rolling suitcase, laptop, mobile phone, power bank, and ear plugs.
We hope we have sufficiently answered all of your questions, and that you are feeling more prepared to take on the challenge of volunteering abroad. Contact IFRE today to get started on your own Uganda volunteering abroad adventure!