We are excited to get your placement under way where you will:
Just choose a project and apply:
Are you big-hearted and willing to go the extra mile? Or even further? For volunteers wishing to work in a very remote area with HIV affected orphans, our partner works with a project in western Uganda, about 5 hours away from its other host organizations. This is the area where HIV/AIDS has most devastated Uganda. The organisation is focused on bringing aid, education, and love to the orphans of the area, many of whom have lost their parents due to AIDS related illnesses. Volunteers help with basic academics, feeding, organizing play, arts and crafts, hygiene and HIV/AIDS education appropriate to the childrens' age level (3 to 12 years).
Can you reach out and help a community in need? Our partner works with a number of small community based organizations that provide counselling, care, and education for rural people and orphaned and underprivileged children. Some of these placements focus exclusively on teaching primary or secondary school. Others include both teaching and community outreach components. Please inform us if you wish to teach, do outreach work, or a combination of both, so we can best choose your program.
Volunteers in this project are able to volunteer for a minimum of two weeks, however please note that if you would like to work within a classroom setting, you will need to commit to volunteer for at least one month.
Are you creative? Love kids and want to teach them about the world? Our partner works with four private primary schools in Mukono town that cater exclusively to the education, housing and feeding of needy children and orphans. Volunteers are involved in arts and crafts, structured play, music/singing, sports, health, and academics. The main focus is to provide children with a loving, creative, interactive environment in which to flourish. Volunteers choose which subjects and age groups to teach upon arrival. They work independently to plan lessons using government curriculum and textbooks. Please be aware that there will be few (if any) resources available at school. No teaching qualifications are required although volunteers should be organised and creative.
Are you a confident speaker? Can you get important information across in creative ways? This is a project promoting general public health improvement through our partner in Uganda. Volunteers travel with and work alongside Ugandan counsellors in a variety of programs, directly benefiting 10 rural communities and 7 secondary schools.
Volunteers talk to people in village meetings, private homes, and churches. They design their own seminars based on predetermined subject matter. Basic training and educational materials are on site, but volunteers are encouraged to bring new materials as well.
This project requires walking long distances in the sun. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a sleeping bag, and protective clothing and walking shoes. Volunteers will be given a private room at the headquarters of the host organization as their home base. When work is done in surrounding villages, volunteers will be billeted short-term on site.
The Republic of Uganda is located on the eastern African plateau 800 km inland from the Indian Ocean. It has a total area of 236,000 sq km including 44,081 sq km of inland water. There are several fresh-water lakes (Victoria, Albert and Edward) which are shared with neighbouring countries and make up the basin for the Upper (White) Nile. The country has an equatorial climate, modified by altitude. Uganda is bordered by Sudan to the north, Kenya to the east, Tanzania and Rwanda to the south, and Democratic Republic of Congo to the west.
Uganda has ten national parks, ten wildlife reserves and seven wildlife sanctuaries, some of which are acclaimed as being amongst Africa's best.
Throughout Africa, the AIDS crisis is placing serious strains on societies in a number of ways. First of all, it is draining the already limited health services as greater numbers of HIV patients become in need of care. HIV/AIDS has also increased the mortality rate of healthcare workers making their already depleted numbers in even shorter supply.
HIV/AIDS is also affecting the young adult group in society who are the prime income earners for their household. When young children lose their parents, they are often forced to leave school in order to work. Households with one or more HIV patients have to spend a greater amount of their meagre income on care and funeral costs and cut back on basic necessities and, in order to cope, they may be forced to borrow from other households and use up their savings. This causes many families to fall into further poverty.
Due to high birth rates and excess mortality as a result of AIDS, half the population are made up of children aged 0-15.
Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world, with per capita income at US$ 276 and a life expectancy of 47 years for men and 50 years for women which is expected to worsen as a consequence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The under five mortality rate is 156 children per 1,000 live births and 38.3% of every new born gets stunted due to malnutrition.
Volunteers provide assistance to disadvantaged socio-economic groups within Ugandan communities, focusing primarily on orphaned children, HIV/Aids groups, and school children.
As a volunteer in Uganda you can provide love, affection, education and support to orphaned children. You will help to improve education in schools ensuring children learn and flourish. As a volunteer you can practice and teach preventative healthcare, hygiene and HIV/Aids care. You will also provide education, inter-cultural exchange and understanding in Ugandan communities.
Most projects have little or no resources, so foreign volunteers with different ideas and experiences are highly valued.
Volunteers in Uganda have no shortage of opportunities to take in the natural treasures of the country.
Start by white water rafting on the Nile, settle into a boat ride at Murchison Falls National Park, or take an amazing trek to view endangered Gorillas in the jungle. Then spoil yourself to a spot of shopping at the Kampala market and while you’re there enjoy great coffee at any of the wireless internet cafes in town. If you’re lucky, you can catch a Ugandan wedding and don a traditional Gomez to look the part!
If your application is successful you will be accepted and we will then get to work organizing your placement.
You will receive a Program Guide which contains a wealth of information. You'll find everything from a broad overview of the country you are going to; project details; life on the project (accommodation, meals, what to wear etc); along with extremely helpful information and advice for preparing for your trip.
GVN provides four different options to pay your program package and secure your placement. These include:
Placements longer than 8 weeks are available, please contact us or apply online for details.
*Based on an 8 week placement
Flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, departure from the program.
We recommend you allow a weekly budget of US $30 for your other expenses such as bottled water, personal items, beverages, and entertainment.
Apply now for the Uganda Program:
Programs are based in:
Start Date: 1st or 15th of each month
Length: 2 weeks to 6 months
The Mukono Town Teaching program requires a one month minimum commitment.
The Village Teaching and Outreach program offers two week placements, however if you would like to work within a classroom setting, you will need to commit to volunteer for at least one month.
School terms vary from year to year but are approximately as follows: Feb 1 to April 20, May 20 to August 20, Sept 15 to November 30. Volunteers are not placed in teaching projects outside of these times. Please also note that exams take place at the end of each term and normal class schedules will end prior to that. Short term volunteers are advised to start earlier in the term.
Your stay can be extended beyond 6 months on a case-by-case basis (depending upon our partners requirements and your ability to obtain an extended visa).
As a general rule we can not place short-term volunteers beginning January 1st as all projects take a few weeks to get going in the New Year. We advise you to plan your arrival for January 15th, or February 1st in the case of teaching placements.
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions which we receive at the GVN inbox. This is a great place to start if you have questions about Global Volunteer Network and our placement process. This information should answer the majority of questions you may have.
Uganda is a land locked country in East Africa whose land area of 241,139 sq. km shares borders with Sudan to its north, Kenya to the east, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, Tanzania and Rwanda to the south. 40 ethnic groups make up the 21 million people of Uganda, 90% of which live in the rural areas, undertaking subsistence agricultural activities. Lake Victoria, the second largest fresh water body in the world, provides for the small-scale fish industry in the south and south-eastern region. In the drier northern region of the country, millet and sorghum are the staple foods, whereas the south and the western region feed mainly on plantain (matooke) and cassava.
Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world, with per capita income at US$ 276 and a life expectancy of 47 years for men and 50 years for women which is expected to worsen as a consequence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. There are 9.1 million children under 18 years of age of which 1.9 million are orphans. The under five mortality rate is 156 children per 1,000 live births and 38.3% of every new born gets stunted due to malnutrition. For more information I suggest you purchase the Lonely Planet’s guide to East Africa.
We have a number of projects offered by our partner in the Mukono and Jinja area. The programs are aimed at providing primary and secondary education to needy children, orphan care, community outreach and counseling, and adult literacy. Many of the projects will involve a flexible schedule of various community-based activities. Volunteers will be contributing to community-based development at the lowest local level.
You must be 18 years old and above. There is no upper limit. You just have to be in good health.
Some of these can be taken in oral form so please do discuss all options with your doctor to see what is best for you. Some people can be affected quite differently to others by medication.
A Yellow fever vaccination is legally required to enter Uganda if coming from an at-risk area and you will need to provide a certificate to prove you have had it to obtain a Visa.
Vegetarians are fine if they are willing to settle for a limited selection of food. Breakfast is generally tea, coffee, bread, egg (boiled or scrambled). Lunch is typically served on site and volunteers eat with other staff and students. The food will probably be posho (cornbread) and beans which does not include meat. For dinner you will end up eating rice and beans predominantly. So you’ll need to supplement if this is not acceptable to you.
Yes. Any time that you are not expected to be working you are free to do as you please. Teaching hours vary from 2 - 5 hours per day. Generally, the total hours that you are expected to be "on the job", in various activities, is 35-40 per week. This is obviously flexible as you will be your own motivator. The locals are very friendly and would be more than happy to entertain you or show you some of the local attractions - particularly animals. You may want to spend some time in Uganda before or after volunteering to see more of the country. You can survive on as little as $20 (U.S) a day travelling in Uganda. You can also spend much more if you want a bit of luxury.
The in-country fee covers all meals during your placement. If you arrive early or intend on staying on in Uganda for longer than you are volunteering then you will need to have spare money for this time. Also some money may be required for your days off depending on what you intend doing. Other costs include buying bottled water, departure tax, and any shopping you will do personally.
Any teaching resources you have that would be of benefit to you in your teaching placement would ideally be taken with you. You can discuss ideas with our partner in Uganda via email. We will send you an information resource with ideas on teaching to help you in your placement in case you are doing the teaching project.
All GVN Volunteers must have insurance. You are free to take out insurance cover through any provider of your choice. However, as some policies do not cover volunteering, we recommend you check you are covered during your volunteer placement.
For your convenience we have arranged a comprehensive package specially designed for volunteering. It includes excellent medical and accident coverage as well as “loss of deposits” cover which covers fees paid to GVN, airlines etc. If you would like to learn more just follow this link: http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/insurance/
Your program fee is payable to Global Volunteer Network 10 weeks prior to the 1st of the month you wish to volunteer. Please note, your placement is not confirmed (ie secured) until your program fee has been received. Please note that all charges incurred by the payment of the program fee are at the volunteer’s expense, e.g. if a bank transfer incurs a bank fee at the point of origin, that is at the expense of the volunteer. Seventy percent (70%) of the program fee is refundable until two calendar months before the 1st of the month you are due to begin your program. For example a volunteer with 15 July 2012 as their start date would need to submit their refund request form by the last day of April 2012 to be eligible for a refund. Refer to GVN's legal terms of service for full details.
Each GVN program has different criteria depending on our partner's requirements. Every application is reviewed to ensure that the minimum requirements (as set out on the program page) are met. Next we look to see what skills or experience you have that relate specifically to the program. We are also interested in any previous volunteer experience you may have (either local or international), travel experience, and your particular interest in the program.
After reviewing your application, should we require any further information from you, we will email you to request this.
Yes, all volunteers in this program will be required to provide a police clearance document. This is because volunteers will be working closely with children and other vulnerable individuals. To obtain a police clearance you will need to contact your local police station to find out what their procedure is. Normally, you will be asked to complete an application form authorizing the check to be done, pay a fee and a few weeks later the check will arrive in the mail. A copy of your police clearance will need to be sent to GVN before your placement begins and you will need to take the original with you when you volunteer.
The Mukono Town Teaching Program is closed between the following dates for school holidays:
In addition to this, please note that other programs may be limited during the Christmas/New Years period. If you would like to volunteer during this time, we are able to place volunteers in programs on a case-by-case basis, but work will be limited due to public holidays and celebrations.
Friday, November 15th, 2013
I’m now back home in my house in Shrivenham where it is dark and cold outside, but it is lovely to be home. I had an amazing experience in Uganda and would recommend it to anyone – those who have the least materially were the loveliest people to spend time with. I suppose it is [click here to read more]
Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Before my Nan died she spent quite a lot of time in hospital and my opinion of the NHS was not a great one. I am sure that the staff in Watford General were overworked and underpaid, but they came across as generally rushed and uncaring to an 89 year old woman who was scared. [click here to read more]
Monday, October 28th, 2013
One of the things that first struck me on arriving in Uganda is that almost all of the women wear skirts. It seems like a very little thing, but I think it says a lot about expectations of women and how they are treated in society. Don’t get me wrong – I love a nice [click here to read more]
Please visit journals.globalvolunteernetwork.org for more journals and feedback from past volunteers
Volunteers for the Uganda program must:
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Everything is great in Uganda, we're absolutely loving it. Of course things are super unorganized, chaotic, but exciting and really lovely as well. The people in the villages where we've been working are absolutely incredible, so generous and welcoming. We're sleeping in grass huts with mice, eating with our fingers, cooking over charcoal, and playing with naked kids; it's amazing! Doing lots of things I thought I'd find really challenging, but turning out to be a lot easier than I imagined, and totally makes you appreciate all we have back home!
My volunteering experience in Mukono, Uganda was exceptional! The opportunity to get to know and work with the others on the team was a pleasure. Trips to villages, a school for orphans, secondary schools, etc. provided a variety of interactions. I was more than satisfied with all aspects of my time there. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and that goal was definitely met!
"Uganda is a beautiful country that you will never regret visiting. Volunteering there isn't easy, but you'll learn so much, and grow as a person. The people are welcoming, and appreciative of the time you give them. I taught in rural Uganda, and lived with a Ugandan family. Go for it - it's a priceless experience."
"The townspeople are very welcoming. They are getting used to Muzungu folk at this stage and are usually eager to say hello. And the children-be it in your school or on the street-you just want to bring them all their Christmases at once. They are eager, adorable and genuinely unspoilt in their nature and they can dance like no one you know.
As soon as we applied, the correspondence and guidance kept coming and even when nothing was actually required anyway and it was just the countdown to take off, there was still communication in the way of 'how are you getting on' which is very reassuring to have. GVN is a serious business and although they get the job done, it’s not without the personal touch -- a great combination."
I am doing very well in Uganda...absolutely loving it. So far, another volunteer and I have taught English classes, some origami crafts, house visits in rural villages, some construction work, weeding in the garden, and lots of playing with the kids at House of Hope. Today we went with another volunteer with his family to go swimming in a pool and it was so much fun! None of the Ugandans could swim!! We gave swimming lessons and got them all lunch. I think the highlights for my trip so far have been the friendships/relationships that I've developed with the other volunteers and Ugandans. I never thought that that would be such a huge part of my trip, but the relationships I've made are what's really mattered and impacted, I think. I am so excited to wake up each morning and begin a new day in this beautiful country. Tomorrow, we leave for White Water Rafting in the Nile River!!
Some come out to volunteer to see what the tourists never get to or simply don't want to. Others dig in to join in the chorus that is singing Jeffrey Sachs' line, 'The End of Poverty,' and yet for a few others volunteering goes so deep they turn their lives inside out to work for months on end. New Zealander, Malcolm Trevena is one of those...
Mother to Mother, Child to Child: How an Understanding of Loss Connected Families Across the World The give-away pile of toys in the living room doubled in size. Josh turned over another plastic wonder is his hand and decided to sleep on whether he could give it away. In the morning, the toy was always there, placed proudly on top of the mound...
Had she approached the trip differently, she might have come back disappointed. But Amber Burridge, a resident of Calgary, knew that to travel and work in Uganda any other way would spell disaster. In fact, she had been warned. "I had a friend that had gone to Malawi and she told me to expect the unexpected when I was in Uganda," Amber said. "I...
She puts on her jacket of pride and buttons it up with confidence taking slow steps, moving her hips from left to right, with the expression of a lioness in her own land her eyes roar to the crowd as her stare explains to the judges, she is proud to be an African Woman. The village women in Uganda start work when the moon is still present; their...
The Real Uganda hosted an Eat So They Can dinner party at a village partner project, 40 attended and they raised $250. The funds are going towards building a goat farm, the funds were enough to buy and vaccinate 3 goats.
Volunteers and partner project staff received training and built a mushroom project in a village program, they hope to be harvesting by mid-December. The funds will be used to help run their school. (Nov 2010)
The initial mushroom garden was so successful its being taken to other partner projects around mukono district! ugandans teaching ugandans to become self sustainable. (Jan 2011)
One of our sponsored kids has completed primary school, receiving some of the highest marks possible - congratulations Nakalema Christine! Nakalema starts high school in early February, after securing a place at a prestigious local secondary school.
A current volunteer has raised $10,000 and completely renovated a local orphanage. Funds were used to cement floors, install rainwater harvesting gutters and tanks, and provide electricity, beds and mattresses to over 45 orphans living on site. Way to go!!
The floors were cemented and solar panels were installed on the house that was built last year with Eat So They Can funding. The house provides accommodation for the director, teachers, and volunteers of one of the partner projects.
Volunteers conducted a teaching training seminars to stress positive re-enforcement to help stop caning at school. This assisted the teachers to be more confident and as a result the students are calmer.
In order to remove the stigma of being an "orphan school" project leadership is developing a strong football team for both boys and girls at school. The kids are given training and have uniforms. They are currently playing in a tournament to become District Champions.
We've been given funds from GVN Foundation to purchase 2 cows for our rural women's group. We gave out 2 pregnant heifers this past January. Another 2 are currently being sourced. The cows given in January have since given birth and are being weaned. Once ready to leave mum, they'll be given out to other members of the women's group. The women are gaining self esteem and an income from milk sales that enable them to take care of themselves and their children.
Remote orphan care:
Thanks to some German volunteers, one of our partner orphanages now has composting toilets! As the orphanage has limited land space for growing the crops needed to feed over 300 children, the composting toilets add much needed fertilizer for healthier yields of maize and beans. In addition, the orphanage now has a full time nurse living with the children, and a stocked library!
A new 2 classroom building is almost complete at one of our rural schools. We're plastering the walls and cementing the floors. This was a joint fundraising effort between 5 former volunteers and Eat So They Can. The school will be able to offer all primary classes in the next academic year. Very cool as formerly, once the kids had finished Class 5 they had to move on to other schools. As there is not another primary option in the area, many kids didn't continue their education (boarding schools are too expensive!). Now, they'll at least be able to finish primary school in their neighbourhood.
Public health program:
Exciting news for one of our public health programs. The Director has been awarded a prestigious grant to travel to the USA to join a 4 month leadership training and volunteer program. He'll be abroad from July to December 2012. It'll be amazing to witness what he can do upon his return to Uganda with all the training, experience, and perspective he'll get from such a great opportunity!
Mukono town teaching:
Term 3 is just winding down and our hot lunch program was fully funded for the 2012 academic year. We have funding for term 1, 2013. The kids are happy, healthy, energetic, and learning well! Enrolment is also up as parents appreciate how rare and important a free hot lunch is for their kids.
We've just given out funds to purchase and distribute three 5 month old pigs! They are to be given to a rural community group (along with instruction in pig rearing) to be used to generate income. The group will raise the first 3 pigs jointly and give out the piglets to individuals to keep as their own. Pigs give birth to up to 8 or 9 piglets at least twice per year. It won't take long for everyone to have their own small scale piggery.
At GVN we align with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', so we work with local community organisations in each country. What this means for our volunteers is that they receive a unique and genuine cultural experience whilst being immersed in a local community.
Volunteering abroad could be the very thing for YOU!
If you're looking for something worthwhile to do volunteering will give you the opportunity to travel whilst making a difference in the community you are based in.
Did you know taking a Gap Year can improve your college admission chances and success rate during your studies?
"Harvard College encourages admitted students to defer enrolment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way" – Harvard College Office of Admissions, 2010.
International volunteering is a great way to gain experience living in a developing country, learning about another culture and experiencing a different way of life. It is a fantastic way to grow as a person, to develop life skills, self-confidence and self-esteem, and is a tool for self discovery and identity formation.
Other personal benefits include, developing international friendships and networks, social awareness, and building independence.
Volunteering can increase your employability, help you to gain valuable work experience and enhance your CV/resume.
"Going to a foreign country for a volunteer experience is a huge boost on a resume. Employers love to see a person that can think outside the box and work past their comfort zone. The added benefits of teamwork, foreign language knowledge, and plain old hard work also add polish to the volunteer candidate. Since business now happens on a global scale, the volunteer is armed with useful, and potentially actionable, information." – USA Today, 2010.
The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) is a New Zealand Charitable Trust (non-profit NGO) based in Wellington, New Zealand. Our Charitable incorporation number is: CC46460. GVN has been verified and approved by Idealist (the largest volunteer portal on the internet. GVN is also a member of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (WANGO), and our ‘sister’ organization the GVN Foundation has been granted special consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Prestigious web sites such as Lonely Planet and Goabroad.com have placed web links to us. Additionally, when you apply, we can provide you with contact information for previous volunteers if you wish. GVN is also an approved member of the Site Trust Network and you can view our verification page.
Bill Gates personally recommended GVN by stating "I'd love to see more young people taking action to help the poor and disadvantaged. Two places to get started are Network for Good and Global Volunteer Network." Newsweek Web
To give you peace of mind, GVN has over eight years experience and has placed 13,500+ volunteers since 2002. Read volunteer's journals and testimonials or speak to a returned volunteer directly about their experience abroad through GVN.
GVN’s specialist staff provide personal support to volunteers, assisting not only with preparation for your placement, but whilst in-country, and follow-up on return home. GVN provides comprehensive Program Guides, project resources (eg teaching resources).
GVN aligns with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', therefore we work with local community organisations in each country. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.
CNN listed the Global Volunteer Network as one of 10 organizations that can help you to make a positive impact on the world around you. CNN encourages you to visit our website to get more details on how you too can Be The Change.
GVN offer an insurance package tailored specifically for volunteers. Partner's staff are always available (24hr/7days), along with this GVN also has a 24hr/7day emergency hotline.
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