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Volunteer in Uganda

Volunteer in Uganda and discover snow-capped mountains, dense forests, arid savannas and the great Lake Victoria...

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Outstanding 5.0 (5)
75  per week · 5  ‑  50  weeks · Age  18+ · Has Wifi

Help the unprivileged needy single mother, children and youths in Uganda have a better life by donating your time and volunteer with us to make a difference.

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Outstanding 5.0 (11)
101  per week · 5  ‑  50  weeks · Age  18+ · Has Wifi

Children living on the streets of Kampala experience tough conditions. They are abandoned and mistreated, then end up falling victims of physical and sexual abuse.

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Volunteer work in Uganda

Volunteer opportunities in Uganda

Regardless of its rather small size, Uganda offers a great variety of experiences and places for volunteers to explore. As a volunteer in Uganda, you will be able to see diverse landscapes - from mountains to forests and the beaches along Lake Victoria. Apart from the things you'll learn from your volunteer work, there's so much more to explore in your free time.

The Ugandans are known to be among the happiest and most welcoming people worldwide, making Uganda a great place to volunteer. There are also a lot of volunteer opportunities in Uganda which you can choose from. We are sure it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Support community services

You want to get to know Uganda and its people while giving something back? A great way to do so is to volunteer in Uganda in the very diverse field of community development. Community volunteer opportunities in Uganda range from working in culture and arts to construction and social work. Thus, your personal interests and skills will be applicable for sure!

As a volunteer, you may hold classes to teach children in drama, music and arts. You'll work closely with the locals, reaching out to the community, organizing events and learn a lot about the Ugandan culture.

If you're looking for more physical work, volunteering for a construction project might be an option for you. You can also work on a variety of environmental projects to provide access to clean water, sanitation and an improved infrastructure, whilst protecting the environment we live in!

Another area, in which volunteers in Uganda are needed, is the support of under-resourced social workers. As a social work volunteer, you will be volunteering and working with vulnerable children, women and elderly to meet their practical, physical and emotional needs. Some of the volunteer projects in Uganda give you the opportunity to make a great difference for local communities . In addition to the above mentioned, you can work to develop communal areas or help with:

Before you decide to volunteer at an orphanage, though, make sure to be prepared for your task. While working with orphans might sound noble at first sight, it is important to realize that more than 80% of children living in orphanages are not orphans. They were separated from their families due to poverty, suffering, disabilities and other reasons. Many of these children have experienced violence or abuse. For this reason, it is essential that volunteers MUST have appropriate skills. If not you could be putting yourself and the children at risk. Therefore, if you wish to work at an orphanage, you should meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • experience in working with traumatized children
  • training as a child caretaker
  • training as a psychologist
  • training as a social worker

Animal and wildlife conservation

Uganda is home to the endangered mountain gorilla, with half of the world's remaining population living in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This gorilla species was discovered only 100 years ago and has since been exposed to the destruction of its habitat, hunting, and war.

Thanks to the social projects that are dedicated to conservation work, the mountain gorilla population is showing a small increase. As a volunteer in Uganda, you can support these organizations and help to protect rare mountain gorillas. This may include:

  • working within the communities
  • reforestation efforts
  • tracking gorillas
  • educating locals about the importance of gorilla conservation

Medical and healthcare programs

Volunteer opportunities in Uganda that are concerned with health care are sufficiently distributed. If you are a medical professional you can have an impact by working at a hospital, while also learning a lot and developing new skills in a completely different environment.

Volunteering in health care can be a great opportunity for you to really make a difference. You can join many projects in areas such as:

  • Health education
  • AIDS prevention
  • Hospital placements
  • Dentistry
  • Nursing
  • Medical and healthcare internships

Thereby you can gather experience and contribute to the medical progress of Uganda at the same time.

Teaching in Uganda

Volunteering in this field provides the greatest impact on those who need it most. Social projects focusing on assisting with educational initiatives provide a better education for local children, but also for illiterate adults. This is a great chance for everyone who couldn't afford to go to school otherwise. Quality education is the key to the positive development of a community.

As a volunteer in education, you might teach local children a variety of school subjects such as:

  • Maths
  • English
  • Spelling
  • Reading and writing
  • Games and sports

Especially good English skills are extremely helpful for locals to find a job. That's why your help and support as an international volunteer who teaches English in schools is highly valuable. Depending on your English skills, volunteering in education might include:

  • helping with English homework
  • practicing children’s conversational skills
  • giving complex grammatical lessons

Cost of living

The suggested daily budget for living as a volunteer in Uganda is between US$20 and US$40. This is an estimate made considering the average price of some of the services you might need and things you might want to buy. It gives you a general overview about how much things cost in this country, so you can be prepared and save the money you will need.

Additional costs you should consider will be:

An exemplary overview of living costs in Uganda (in US$, for one person) is:

Things to know before you volunteer in Uganda

When you travel to a different country for voluntary work it is important to familiarise yourself with its culture and social characteristics. This helps you to settle in quickly and avoid misunderstandings. These are some tips that you might find helpful when preparing for your volunteer work in Uganda:

Safety & precautions

Most visits to Uganda are trouble-free and the country has experienced a noticeable improvement in all security categories except international terrorism and road safety. Still, you should pay attention to some issues to avoid any negative experiences. To be on the safe side, you should keep the following safety guidelines in mind at all times during your volunteer journey in Uganda:

  • Roads in Uganda are poorly maintained, inadequately marked, and poorly
  • Limit the amount of cash you carry and leave valuables, such as passports, jewelry, and airline tickets in a hotel safe or another secure place
  • Don't leave your bags and camera on the car seat while driving
  • Credit card fraud is widespread and ATM machines are often tampered with. To avoid issues make sure you carefully inspect any ATM before using it.

Culture & religion

Uganda is so much more than Lake Victoria and the mountain gorillas. As a volunteer in Uganda, you'll have the time to really get to know the country and experience it like tourists usually can't. The local Ugandan culture is a diverse mix of different ethnic groups, languages, history and cultural habits. As a volunteer in Uganda, you will be able to immerse yourself in and become a part of the local community and culture you're living in.

While visiting Uganda, you will notice that the country is very diverse when it comes to religion. Christianity (85 %) and Islam (11 %) are the most widely practiced religions, but there are also many people belonging to one of the local traditional religions or atheism. All travelers and volunteers in Uganda should be respectful of religious particularities, especially when visiting religious sites. If you want to attend a church service in Uganda you need to have quite a long attention span. The average church service in Uganda lasts between four and six hours but it is worth the experience.

Health advice

Going abroad always includes some issues and precautions that need to be taken into account, especially if you are traveling to a country with tropical temperatures and wilderness. The risks to health whilst traveling will vary between individuals and many depend on your activities, length of stay and general health.

  • Eat and drink safely: Don't eat undercooked food, avoid eating street food and don't drink water from the tap
  • Also, wash your hands often, especially before eating
  • Plan for how you will get health care during your stay. Get a travel insurance and bring medicine with you, especially if you need special medication
  • Prevent bug bites: You might want to cover exposed skin, use an insect repellent, and use a bed net
  • Be aware that rabies exists in domestic and wild animals. There are many street dogs in Uganda and you should avoid direct contact with dogs, cats and other animals
  • Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations before every trip. These include MMR, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, chickenpox, polio, yellow fever and your yearly flu shot. Moreover, the US-based Health protection agency CDC recommends hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations because you can get these diseases through contaminated food or water in Uganda.

What do I need to volunteer in Uganda?

You might have noticed by now that there are many different projects that require different skills and abilities from their international volunteers. While you can find out the specific requirements for each project on their profiles on Volunteer World, here are some general requirements that apply to most projects in Uganda:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old for most of the volunteer projects. When in doubt, we advise you to get in contact with the local project manager, as in some projects you can also volunteer when you're 16 years old
  • You should have an intermediate level of English knowledge; some projects also require an advanced English knowledge
  • Depending on the project you're interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering

What visa do I need to volunteer in Uganda?

You have made it to the last section of this guide, which is another really important aspect while planning your trip: getting your volunteer visa for Uganda.

Please consider that the following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. That's why you should please make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your contact person on Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the Embassy of Uganda or consulate in your country.

General entry information

There are some general requirements you should comply upon your arrival:

  • Please check the current validity of your passport. Your passport should have at least 6-month validity from the date of arrival in Uganda
  • Make sure your passport has at least two blank Visa pages. Uganda requires that you have adequate unused pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure
  • Please check if a transit visa is required for any connections
  • Make sure to be in possession of a valid return ticket

Best practice for short-term volunteers

If you are planning to volunteer in Uganda for less than 3 months, you must obtain a tourist visa. You can apply for a visa in advance or get a Visa on Arrival (VoA) for USD $50. As the name suggests, this visa can be obtained at the airport where you will arrive. We recommend volunteers to obtain a tourist visa prior to arrival in the country as this will save you time and will avoid the hassle of having to fill out forms and wait in a long queue at the airport. You can obtain your tourist visa online about 10 days before you arrive in Uganda.

In order to complete the application you'll need:

  • A copy of the bio-data page of your passport
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate
  • A recent passport sized photo

Visit the Ugandan visa website and click "Start New Application".

Best practice for long-term volunteers

If you are planning to volunteer in Uganda for more than 3 months, you have to apply for a volunteer visa (Work Permit Class G1). Make sure to apply for this Visa before entering Uganda at your closest embassy or consulate of Uganda

To start your application process, you need to prepare a few things in advance. Make sure to have these things ready:

  • Filled out Entry Permit form
  • 2 passport size photos
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of NGO certificate
  • Criminal record report from home country
  • Cover letter
  • Appointment letter
  • Qualifications

We also recommend getting in touch with the embassy or consulate to obtain further information.