Uganda is one of the friendliest nations you can visit in Africa – and even the world – with their wonderful hospitality earning the top spot in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel rankings just a few years ago. And if the hospitality isn’t enough to rope you in, Uganda is also known for amazing food (chicken stew, plantains, donuts, and so much more!) and incredible wildlife.
Despite Uganda’s allure, it is among the poorest countries in the world and truly in need of aid. Many Ugandans live on less than one dollar per day, and the country’s population is among the youngest in the world. Half of Uganda’s citizens are under the age of 14 – and as a result, there is a great need for volunteers like you to help with everyday care and support. Hospitals and schools are shorthanded and are barely equipped with the necessary means to stay operational, many children are orphaned or have very young parents, HIV/AIDS is prevalent nationwide, and general health knowledge is not widely known or understood among the country’s population.
As the infrastructure of local villages collapses, you can be there to help build community centers and schools to provide educational and vocational training opportunities. You can volunteer to teach English and other subjects such as math, social sciences, physical education, and basic health both to children and to adults. And you can provide basic childcare and other support services to young parents and within community centers caring for children in need. In Uganda, there’s so much you can do as a volunteer to improve the quality of life for even one person. You will be welcomed as a friend, and you will leave as family.
Are you ready to embark on your African adventure? If so, read on to learn about the many wonderful volunteer opportunities you can participate in to make a difference in Uganda!
5 Great Volunteer Opportunities in Uganda
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) has provided affordable volunteer placements since 2007 for travelers who want to make a difference worldwide. With more than 63,000 volunteers placed in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Pacific since IVHQ’s founding, you’re sure to find an amazing opportunity that will let you explore the world and make a positive change wherever you go. In Uganda, IVHQ offers several different volunteer placements, including teaching, child care, medical care, sports coaching, HIV/AIDS support, and women’s education. And as one of the most affordable volunteer organizations in the world, your first week in Uganda with IVHQ starts from only $270. No matter which program you sign up for with IVHQ in Uganda, you’ll live in a shared house with your fellow volunteers, have three meals per day, and have lots of time to explore the area and learn more about the amazing community you’ll live in.
Medical Care Volunteering
One of the many volunteer abroad opportunities offered in Uganda through International Volunteer HQ invites you to assist in local clinics providing health care and support for local residents. Unfortunately, these clinics are low on resources and staff – so as a volunteer, your assistance is needed and cherished. You will work alongside doctors and nurses to take on a variety of cases depending on your level of experience. To apply, you must have completed at least two years of nursing or medical school, or be a fully qualified nurse or doctor. Your volunteer opportunities through IVHQ’s medical program in Uganda can include maternity, pediatrics, geriatrics, laboratory, pharmacy, cancer screening, family planning, immunizations, de-worming, general medicine, gynecology, dentistry, and HIV/AIDS. In addition, you will have the chance to participate in community outreach and other work at least once a week – a great way to learn more about the people you’ll support, and their culture and needs.
Sports Education Volunteering
If you want to volunteer with children in Uganda, IVHQ’s sports education program may be the perfect fit: through this placement, you’ll help to teach physical education classes and lead other sports activities for students in a primary or secondary school. While you’ll generally follow the school curriculum and teach topics scheduled for that term, you’re also encouraged to introduce new games and activities to the students – and you’re invited to bring equipment along with you to help contribute to the program. In addition to coaching and mentoring, you’ll work alongside teachers to educate your students in math, English, science, or social studies in the classroom.
Women’s Education Volunteering
Another way you can help make a positive and lasting change in Uganda is through IVHQ’s women’s education volunteer program, where you’ll help provide women with the necessary tools and skills to be successful in life. Many Ugandan women face challenges from discrimination, low social status, lack of economic self-sufficiency, and a greater risk of HIV/AIDS. Through this placement, you will provide guidance on financial management and other activities such as basket weaving, sewing, tailoring, and jewelry-making so they can achieve a certain level of financial independence through income generation for themselves and for their families.
For more information about volunteering in Uganda or worldwide with International Volunteer HQ, please click here.
What Volunteers Say: Review from Mihaela
I am extremely happy that I stumbled upon the IVHQ programmes and managed to live and work in Uganda for two months this summer! The quality of the programme and the lifestyle provided for all volunteers is beyond belief! I have been able to do some valuable work for the community and more specifically for 30 kids all the while enjoying an authentic experience, living in a village in Uganda. The staff is educated and experienced as well as friendly and warmhearted! The support by the organization is immediate and comprehensive. This is by far the most amazing experience I have even had and I highly recommend it to anyone who even has the slightest idea of leaving on such an adventure. IVHQ is the way to go!
As one of the world’s fastest growing volunteer abroad organizations, Love Volunteers invites you to embark on volunteer and intern programs in more than 30 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific. Since the organization’s founding, over 20,000 volunteers have traveled to help communities with teaching, medical care, child care, and so much more – and Love Volunteers is on track to place more than 4,000 volunteers in the field this year. Right now, Love Volunteers offers three placements in Uganda: child care, teaching, and medical and health. You’re invited to stay two weeks or longer on any of these three programs, with a very affordable fee of just $360 for your first two weeks in Uganda.
Child Care Volunteering
Love Volunteers offers an amazing opportunity for volunteers who want to make a positive impact on the lives of Ugandan children. Based in the Pallisa and Jinja Districts, this program invites you to work with children of all ages in local orphanages by organizing play time, helping with arts and crafts activities, assisting with preparing and serving meals, and teaching hygiene and HIV/AIDS education workshops. You may also be asked to help with administrative tasks at your project site, including preparing budgets, writing proposals, and setting up and maintaining personal files for the children you’ll be looking after. These homes are vital for the health and development of these children, many of whom come from extremely impoverished backgrounds, which have left them malnourished and ill. Despite their hardships, the children you’ll meet will be grateful to meet you and learn from you, and you’ll have the wonderful opportunity to make a difference in their lives while learning about Ugandan culture and society.
Volunteer Teaching Program
Another option you can sign up for with Love Volunteers is their teaching program, where you’ll volunteer in one of many schools throughout Uganda that suffers from staff shortages, lack of funding, and limited resources. These schools often are attended by orphans and underprivileged children, making these classrooms their only opportunity at building a successful future. In order to provide these children with the education they deserve, you will teach a wide range of subjects, including English, math, science, physical education, health, and HIV awareness and prevention. You can also plan different sporting activities and games for recess and after-school. Plus, many schools in the region where you’ll work are developing sustainable projects like gardens, farms, and water sanitation programs that you can assist with, meaning there’s no shortage of activities you can take on during your stay in Uganda.
Medical Care Volunteering
If you’re a medical student or professional and would like to gain experience and knowledge working in a developing nation, Love Volunteers’ medical care program in Ngora or Pallisa may be the right fit for you. Depending on your qualifications, you will work directly with the patients or perform office duties – you may even have the opportunity to assist in surgeries or spend part of your time shadowing a local doctor. Many clinics and hospitals throughout the country cannot afford the same materials and resources as those you might be used to, so this is an excellent learning opportunity and a great way to exercise your creativity and resourcefulness while providing the best care for the patients you’ll meet.
For more information about volunteering in Uganda, and to learn about all the other amazing opportunities offered through Love Volunteers, please click here.
What Volunteers Say: Review from Sandra
I spent 4 weeks in a small town in Ngora. It was a great experience! I volunteered at the health center, where I delivered babies, worked in the lab, the inpatient ward and did immunizations. I was able to experience Ugandan culture and to learn new ways of providing nursing care.
A Broader View
Based in the US, A Broader View is a nonprofit organization offering nearly 250 different volunteer programs in 25 countries worldwide. Since 2007, they have sent over 12,000 volunteers overseas and have donated $3,000,000 to their partners around the world. Some of the projects you can choose from include HIV/AIDS prevention, social welfare, community development, child care, and much more. Right now, A Broader View offers several different placements in Bulenga and Mukono, Uganda, including medical care, community development, children’s education, midwifery, and child care. You’re invited to stay for one to 12 weeks in Uganda, with a starting fee of $820 for your first week abroad.
Community Development in Bulenga
One of the many programs A Broader View offers in Uganda is a community development opportunity, where you can help with a variety of projects, including:
- Constructing a library in a small village
- Assisting with a piggery and farm project
- Supporting a community center through health talks
- Teaching children in a local school
During this program, you can expect to work Monday through Friday for eight hours a day – plus there will be plenty of time on weekends for you to explore the area, make new friends, and immerse yourself in Ugandan culture.
Children’s Education Volunteering in Mukono
If you’re more interested in education than construction, check out A Broader View’s children’s education program in Mukono, Uganda. Through this placement, you’ll work with children between the ages of four and 12 to teach English, math, and other subjects in a local classroom. You also may help plan and lead after-school activities like sports and games. If you don’t have teaching experience or aren’t comfortable leading a classroom, you can start out as a teacher’s assistant and work with small groups of children – you’re also invited to help out with other tasks, such as painting, decorating, mending desks, and other small projects that will help keep the school in good working condition. During your stay, you’ll work Monday through Friday each week, with lots of time over evenings and weekends to relax or travel the area.
Maternity / Midwifery Volunteering in Bulenga
If you have medical training or expertise, you can sign up for A Broader View’s maternity / midwifery program in Bulenga, Uganda, where you’ll have the chance to assist with maternity services and diagnosis, as well as treatment of malaria, typhoid, diarrhea, and many other illnesses and diseases. Through this placement, you’ll help with providing contraceptive services, immunization for infants, antenatal care, ultrasound scan services, and HIV/AIDS counseling and testing. Health education is also a key part in this program, as many of the patients you’ll meet are expectant and nursing teen mothers, who will need as much education as they can receive to begin their new journey of motherhood. And finally, you may take part in community outreach programs, which allow you to travel to different areas to help educate and create awareness of the risks of common diseases encountered throughout Uganda.
For more information about these three volunteer programs and all that A Broader View has to offer, please click here.
What Volunteers Say: Review from Sarah
My 18 year old daughter and I had decided to spend a week working in the orphanage in Bulenga, Uganda with ABV before working in Kampala on a project of mine and then exploring other parts of Uganda, and our plans were somewhat complex. Early in the planning stages I had to change the dates a few times, and I am very grateful to ABV for their flexibility and support. I also felt very well prepared by the US staff for the trip with well-organized contact numbers both here and abroad and with in-depth descriptions of the projects, country, living situation, and expectations… My favorite memory of the trip is teaching four young, wildly enthusiastic and grateful 12 yr old girls mathematics in a tiny, brick room with red-clay floors, no windows or door, a chicken clucking at my heels and a baby (who had wandered into the classroom and asked to be held) in my arms. After we completed the lessons with me writing on a slab of slate propped against a wall and a tattered piece of cloth (shared with another classroom and passed back and forth through a small hole in the wall) used as an eraser, we decided to sing children’s songs, clapping for one another and trying to make music together. These kids and the adults working with them somehow navigate their extraordinarily challenging lives with unbridled positivity and love.
For over 25 years, Frontier is a non-profit scientific organization that has provided amazing, impactful volunteer programs, gap years, and teach abroad /TEFL programs through combining community development, capacity building, ecosystem protection, economic growth, and the development of civil society. A couple of Frontier’s accomplishments include opening a marine park in Tanzania in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund and publishing over 450 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. With more than 400 different projects in 72 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Australasia, and even Antarctica, there’s no shortage of ways you can explore the world and make an impact along the way. Frontier currently offers six different placements in Uganda, including a mission trip, community development, construction, wildlife, teaching, and health promotion. You’re invited to stay two weeks or longer in Uganda, and depending on the program you sign up for, your placement starts from $995.
Mountain Gorilla Adventure
If you’re passionate about protecting wildlife and the environment, Frontier’s mountain gorilla adventure in Uganda may be the perfect opportunity to travel and make a difference. Through this placement, you’ll spend your time tracking and recording activities of chimpanzees and the Eastern Bwindi Mountain Gorilla while exploring and learning all about the beautiful wildlife of Uganda. On this journey, you will travel via boat, bus, and jeep to cross the equator and meet local villages, learning all you can about their culture. You will be exposed to a variety of animals and environments as you visit a national forest, national park, Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Mburo, and much more.
Community Volunteering Program
Another way to explore Uganda through Frontier is on their community volunteering program, where you can help build a brighter future for a rural village. There are a variety of volunteer project opportunities for you to experience during your stay, including child care, after-school homework clubs, NGO administration work, editing and contributing to a monthly NGO magazine, fundraising, family outreach, and health awareness. Together, these combined efforts will provide a successful and healthy future for the families of this village as you work alongside local professionals and other volunteers. You’re invited to stay two weeks to six months on this program – and the longer you stay, the more you’ll gain from your amazing experience in Uganda.
Health Promotion Volunteering
Through this placement, you’ll help to promote health awareness in rural communities, provide public health projects, and help with general health education. In Uganda, diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and syphilis are common, though there are simple steps communities can take to mitigate their prevalence – as a volunteer, you’ll help to develop Frontier’s health promotion program, immerse yourself within the village you’ll work, teach in a local school, and help with other community initiatives. If you have background experience in healthcare or medical care, you can also help with counseling, prevention programs, liaising with other groups engaged in public health activities, and much more.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering in Uganda – or worldwide – with Frontier, please click here.
Are you ready to travel?
Uganda is filled with so many amazing opportunities for anyone looking to make a difference in the lives of others. Each of the programs listed above offers multiple opportunities for you to find the best experience where you can build friendships and make memories that will last a lifetime. Pack your bags and find your passport, and start planning your Ugandan adventure today!
Want to learn more about volunteering in Africa? Check out these articles:
Volunteer Projects & Programs in Kenya
Volunteer Projects & Programs in Tanzania
Jordyn Hotchkiss · Guest Writer
Jordyn Hotchkiss is a Guest Volunteer Travel Writer for Volunteer Forever.