VOLUNTEER GUIDE BOOK 2021 GLOBAL NETWORK FOR UGANDA VOLUNTEERS FOUNDATION | Plot 539 and 160 Namuzzi Zone, Ssisa County, Kajjansi Town Council, Wakiso District, Uganda https://www.uvfo.org/. TEL: +256752711564
GETTING STARTED: Welcome to Uganda
Famously named “the pearl of Africa” by Winston Churchill, Uganda has an incredible range of sights and activities to offer, especially considering it is such a small country. From the Rwenzoris, the tallest mountains in Africa, to an unbelievable diverse magnitude of flora, fauna and wildlife, you will have access to many wonderful sights and experiences. Tourism is slowly growing in Uganda, and it is considered as safe as any other African destination for both tourism and volunteerism. Volunteering in Uganda can involve a variety of different aspects depending on what you are interested in and are good at. You might choose to help build and maintain sustainable development projects, work on programs focused on job creation, help with health promotion schemes or do something else entirely. Whatever you choose, you will be committing to help raise a population out of poverty by helping them grow in both skills and confidence. And along the way, you will experience a beautiful culture, rich in tradition, kindness, and welcoming people.
WHY YOU SHOULD VOLUNTEER IN UGANDA:
With its breath-taking mountain ranges, rivers, wildlife and cultural traditions, Uganda will amaze you. It’s no surprise that Uganda was voted ‘the best travel destination’ by Lonely Planet Travel Guide in 2012, and visitors often report that there is simply something magical about the energy of this country. Over half of Uganda’s population is under the age of 18, and due to a long history of HIV/AIDS and poverty many children are orphans, vulnerable and living on the streets. If you give your heart and energy fully to whichever Uganda volunteer project you might choose, you will feel rewarded by having made a true difference in the lives of others and grateful for the relationships built and sights seen. In your free time, you can explore City walk, gorilla trekking, National parks and bird watching, hike the tallest mountains on the continent, and see some of the rarest species of animals in existence on the planet. A volunteer placement in Uganda will expose you to sights, smells, tastes and an overall feeling that is new, exciting, and life changing. Here are a few top reasons to volunteer in Uganda:
Connecting with the local people: Uganda is home to loving, welcoming and curious people. Being slightly less developed in terms of tourism, travelers to Uganda report being met with smiles and a true desire to share their culture and customs, along with a real interest in yours. Don’t be alarmed or offended if you are called muzungu, which means ‘white man.
Wild Life: Uganda boasts many national parks, and nature reserves are home to hippos, elephants, water buffalo, lions, crocodiles, antelopes, and an amazing array of exotic birds. Compared to some of its neighboring African countries, Uganda has a very untouched, remote, “off-the-beaten-track” feel to it which gives you an amazing chance to get up close and personal with wildlife. Outdoor Activities: Whether you prefer trekking in the Rwenzori Mountains, kayaking in Bunyonyi, or embarking on a walking safari around Lake Mburo, Uganda offers you excellent opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. You can observe and track gorillas, go white-water rafting on the Nile River. Whatever your preference, you’ll find it in Uganda. Observe gorillas: This incredible and endangered primate calls Uganda home, and a common tourist activity – that also helps in the gorilla conservation efforts – is going on a guerilla safari. This once in a lifetime experience helps to save these precious animals, and also the rainforest where they live.
Make a difference: Despite its natural beauty and kind-natured people, Uganda is undoubtedly a country in need of committed and passionate volunteers. Whether you choose to work on health promotion projects such as teaching in a school, girl and women empowerment, sustainable agriculture, Child Care, Medical Care, Community development or Performing Arts you will be making a genuine difference to the lives of others. Rest and relax on the Ssese Islands: If you choose to embark on a Uganda volunteer placement, a lot of your time and energy will be going into this work. But for those weekends when you need a rest, or if you choose to travel before or after your service work, you can visit the Ssese Islands for a slow and deeply relaxing getaway. This archipelago of 84 islands situated along the north western shore of Lake Victoria offers picturesque white sand beaches, and is an ideal location to take a break. Experience unique personal growth: Whether you have visited Africa before or not, Uganda will expose you to new and life changing experiences. From the openness of the people to the children and animals that will touch your heart, you will leave Uganda at least a little bit different than when you arrived.
Nabwire Evaline Rhoda founded GNUVF as her long-term dream, Eva grew up with a single mother who struggled to provide for the family of five after being abandoned by her husband. They grew lacking basic need like education, HealthCare, shelter, food and water etc.
This kind of lesson touched her and she promised she will live all her life serving the most vulnerable communities.
About Global Network for Uganda Volunteers Foundation (GNUVF) is a local independent non-profit organization in Uganda, founded in 2013 (MIA/NB/2019/03/1819)
We are dedicated to providing opportunities of uplifting communities and empowering underprivileged children and women through education, community support.
Our programs support children, women and young people to participate more fully in their education by providing scholarships, livelihood improvements, economic empowerment, and emotional, practical and financial support. The programs give disadvantaged communities the skills and motivation to stay in school and get the most from their education so they can create a better future for themselves.
Transforming communities through sustainable volunteer projects.
We aim to promote sustainable volunteer projects through practices that help transform livelihoods of Ugandan rural and most marginalized communities, through improved education, healthcare, livelihoods and economic empowerment.
To achieve this we foster international cooperation, community based development and cross cultural programs to ensure that all children have access to an enriched education and future opportunities. Above all, we believe “Education attainment is an important predictor of future employment, welfare, and health prospects – and it improves [a person’s] ability to contribute socially and economically in the community.
OUR MAIN PROGRAMS
2. Economic empowerment
3. Livelihood improvements
1. Education/Teaching Assistant.
2. Sustainable farming
3. Community development
4. Water, Sanitation and hygiene
5. Women and Girl Empowerment
6. Skills Development
7. Fundraising / Grant Writing.
8. Marketing / Networking
9. Child Care
10. Special Needs Care.
11. Public and community health
12. Social Gerontology (Elderly Care)
13. Teacher and staff training etc.
Our projects run year round and each volunteer chooses when they want to start and the duration. Visit the below links for details related to our volunteer projects.
All volunteers can stay at a volunteer house.
When you choose to join GNUVF you are also joining a global network of volunteers who are living and working with diverse cultures on projects that have a positive impact. Our volunteers come from all over the world, and you will find that most of them will share your passion for giving back and your desire to broaden your horizons.
GNUVF is in need of passionate and committed volunteers. Feel free to call or email us to learn more about us on email@example.com and our volunteer opportunities.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have and we will work with you to plan the best possible volunteer placement! Now that you have been accepted on a volunteer placement in Uganda it’s time to check you have all the paperwork and documents needed, schedule any necessary shots, find a flight, pack and do a whole host of other things that are essential.
Here’s a checklist to help you out:
Visa: A tourist visa is required for most foreigners to enter Uganda, but this is available at point of entry. You can also apply for your visa electronically before arriving in Uganda. Travellers should be aware that, technically, volunteer work is not permitted under the terms of a tourist visa. Ask for more details of workable options they can recommend. A single entry Ugandan tourist visa is $50 USD. We recommend volunteers who stay for a short amount of time to enter with a tourist visa because it makes the process easier.
For long-term volunteers should you want to volunteer for a longer duration a volunteer visa is also possible.
You need a work permit, the government fee for 1 year permit is 250 $, the permit is acquired when the volunteers arrive.
More details can be found here: https://visas.immigration.go.ug/
Passport: All volunteers and tourists are required to have a valid passport that does not expire within the next 12 months.
Vaccinations: Covid19, yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all travellers entering Uganda. When travelling to Uganda it is also recommended you have vaccinations against hepatitis A, malaria and typhoid. For more details check out the CDC website (center for disease control), which you can visit here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/uganda
Flight: You may get a better deal, pricewise, if you can be flexible about your travel dates. It’s also worth checking some price comparison sites such as Expedia.com or Travelocity.com. If there are no bargains sign up for alerts so you’ll be the first to hear about price drops on the route you are interested in.
Fundraising: You can really get creative here! In many cases, family and friends will be excited for you, and keen to help support your volunteer work in Uganda, It’s up to you to create a way for them to do so. This might involve starting a personal
Fundraising page, (via a site like gofundme.com for example), and/or organizing a fundraiser in your city. Maybe you could ask a local bar or restaurant owner to donate some space on a quiet evening to you, or simply organize a more casual event in your home. Every little bit counts.
Suggested Reading: As a volunteer going abroad to help others it is important to have a basic understanding of your destination country’s history. A travel guide is also a useful source of general information. Here are some great options to read more about Uganda:
▪ Uganda, 6th (Bradt Travel Guide Uganda)
▪ The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapusciniski
▪ Snakepit: A Novel by Moses Isegawa
▪ Uganda-The Pearl of Africa by Paul JoynsonHicks
WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR TRAVEL
• Packing Advice: Deciding what to pack for your volunteer placement in Uganda will largely depend on the time of year you will be there.
If you’ll be traveling before and/or after your volunteer work a backpack and also suit case will suit you better.
Here are some ideas on what to pack for a volunteer trip to Uganda:
• Clothing appropriate for the season you are visiting.
• Bring yourself enough bed sheets may be two pairs and anything appropriate for covering yourself in the night, mosquito nets and repellent, (Deet is most effective, natural repellents don’t always cut it).
• Sunscreen and a hat, lightweight clothes to protect yourself from the sun.
• Sturdy gloves if you’ll be working in manual labor/ hands on projects.
• You’ll need to bring the basics such as shampoo, soap, laundry soap, etc.
• Books and a journal.
• Earplugs and an eye-mask if you are a light sleeper, you are guaranteed to hear noises you’re not used to at night.
• For women, comfortable below-the-knee dresses and/or skirts are advised.
• One below-the-knee dress or skirt for a special occasion, and for men one dressy outfit.
• Swim suit (for women) if you like to go out doing the weekend.
• Hiking boots or good tennis shoes.
• Any prescription medications and/or supplements you will need for your time there.
• For women, tampons or sanitary pads for the duration of your stay.
• Razors for shaving (if desired).
• A personal first aid kit (bandage, disinfectant, diarrhea tablets, etc) and any medication you may require (allergies, asthma, diabetes, etc.), however almost all medicines can be purchased in Uganda.
• If you bring electrical equipment then remember to bring a British adapter. Otherwise you can buy one in Uganda for about 10000shs ($2.5) to 20000shs.($5)
• Sun glasses, sun cream Lotion
• Torchlight and mosquito net
• Traditional Music
• Photos from your home country or a flag
•Mosquito net and bed sheets that can fit on 4 x6 mattress. If possible bring 4 sided net for its easy to tie it on the bed here.
If not you can just buy the nets here
•A lot of sanitizers and masks.
• Laptop, Games, Guitar or key board for those interested in music. etc
Gifts for Project hosts:
If you are staying with a host family or volunteer house you might want to bring a gift for the locals staying with you or for little children. Some great options could be school supplies, reading and writing books, water bottles, used clothes, used shoes, used laptops for office use and computer literacy classes, or toys for kids, (kids ages 1 to of 15), a nice household or decorative item for the mother, or a typical item or food from your home country, playing materials like toys, musical instruments, tapes, writing boards, tooth pastes and tooth brushes, sports equipment’s like balls, jazzes, sniker shoes. Etc etc
You can decide on what you can.
It’s always simple getting gifts to bring to Africa, just get your phone and call your relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbours, in-laws etc. etc. , simply ask them if they have any stuff above that they or their children are not using anymore and trust me, you, you will get lots of stuff that you could never imagine. As simple as this you will have lots of stuff to bring in that you will fail to make a choice.
INFORMATION YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT THE PROJECT ARRIVAL
The start of our programs is very flexible; we provide an airport pick-up on the day of your arrival. For this purpose, the volunteer and/or the sending organization should give us travel details (arrival day and time, flight number and Name) in advance.
ORIENTATION DAYS A day and a week orientation conducted for short term, Medium term and long term respectively according to the length of intended stay of each volunteer. The orientation week is held for all volunteers. The orientation involves getting information about Uganda (daily living, cultural conceptions, socio-economic and other basic information), our, projects and the voluntary work (tasks) one will be doing. Our stuff will then help you visit Kampala, banks, markets, super markets and selected tourist places. We will also introduce and show you to the public transport and how we move around streets in rural areas and cities. IN-BETWEEN-MEETINGS
During your stay, meetings and planning for weekly activities with our staff and volunteers are held at the end of the weekly or monthly depending. The meetings are a form of monitoring and evaluation about the work you are doing, the accommodation and information sharing.
Each of you also meets their mentors once in a month or so depending on what’s agreed.
Note: Please note, the organisation remains open for any other meetings in case of need, so please feel free to suggest and do not wait for the structured days. FINAL EVALUATION The final evaluation will be done during and at the end of the program term between the host project, volunteer and GNUVF. All volunteers shall be obliged to write a narrative report at the end of the project indicating their experiences, achievements, challenges, problems and suggestions for improvement if any.
PROJECTS the placement and the projects will be organized individually, according to your preferences in your application form. Each application shall be followed with a copy of your CV and motivation letter. Please be sure of the choices you write in your application sent in advance and try to adapt to the projects once you are directed to.
Arrival Entebbe International Airport is the only International arrival airport for visitors. It is located 20 km from Kajjansi Town Council Wakiso District, outside of the capital City where our Foundation is Located. We always organize for the pick-up (at a small fee) and you will always find a member of GNUVF at the arrival point with an A4 paper with the name of GLOBAL NETWORK FOR UGANDA VOLUNTEERS FOUNDATION and the expected volunteer’s name.
Accommodation. Accommodation is in our volunteer-house, depending on the location of the project you apply for or wish of the volunteer. At the volunteer house, accommodation will be simple but comfortable. The GNUVF Volunteer house rooms can accommodate persons up to six people per room, with males and females sleeping in different rooms, Volunteers will be sharing meals with the family living with them and GNUVF staff and cooking is done using either charcoal stove, paraffin stove or firewood. By the help of volunteer house manager.
At the volunteer house if volunteers want they can come up together as a team, each one of them contributes a small amount buy themselves gas cooker if they are interested in preparing special meal from home. But remember that electricity in Uganda is unreliable sometimes.
The boys’ room is separate from that of the girls and Volunteers are expected to clean their rooms at specific times.
Volunteers have to do their own laundry by hand or in case of need may be done by the staff at a mutually agreed on a small fee.
In the volunteer house the fee given to us by our partners caters for accommodation and feeding, which will include paying bills like rent, electricity, water and electricity, so just know we can’t provide volunteers with everything.
The volunteers have to provide the following for themselves.
Wi-Fi/ internet, toilet papers, toiletries, laundry soaps, traveling costs, any special foods not included in our timetable, sometimes volunteers come together and purchase materials used in their job placements.
• Four volunteers can share a room but each volunteer shall have his/her own bed And get mattresses.
• Running water is accessible or in case of shortage, water shall be fetched from the nearby well.
• Volunteers living in GNUVF volunteer house will have access to cooked food by our house manager.
Middle and Long Term Volunteers are allowed to have guests from abroad staying in the volunteer house but they have to let GNUVF staff know beforehand. Please remember the Volunteer house is always booked.
Allergies Please inform us of any allergies you may have, so that your contact person is prepared.
Alcohol Alcohol can be bought in most shops around the Volunteer house and in Kampala. Prices also vary a lot from 3,500/= – 4,000/= (1 – 1.5$) according to the place you are drinking in e.g. kiosk, club, hotel, etc. Alcohol can be bought in most shops around the guest house. Please drink in the presence of people you trust such as other volunteers or GNUVF Volunteers so that no one will take advantage of you in-case you have too much of it.
AIDS this is still a problem in Uganda. Currently 7.5% of the population is infected.
We don’t support our volunteers to have sexual intercourse with people in the communities or house. Please don’t. If you’re feeling go out of hand strictly use a condom or first go for HIV/AIDS test several times to confirm the status of the person you will be having sex with.
Asking for things like a cell phone, dollars, camera, watch and ticket to your home country and many other things may be a habit for some people in the streets, villages or even some projects. People still have the orientation of the past that was used to attach all white people to giving (donating) aid. Many still believe that you live in a precious world. But remember you know your own realities home and know what you can or cannot offer.
It is one of the volunteers’ responsibilities to teach/inform them about the reality, do not hide/do not shy away from telling the truth and avoid promising what you cannot offer, it is never an offence not to give.
Always say no if you can’t help.
Preferably if you wish to donate to the community you need to first inquire from us because we know those most in need.
Banks Banks are usually open 9:00 AM and close 4 PM during week days and 8:30 AM to 12PM on Saturdays. They remain closed on Sundays and Public holidays. Most bank withdrawals will require your physical presence in the premises and with valid identification documents, eg. Passport. However, services of automated cards (ATMs), VISA cards are available in selected Banks in Kampala and Entebbe e.g. STANBIC, CRANE, ORIENT Banks. It is also possible to withdraw money using MASTER card in STANBIC bank main branch in Kampala. Master and MAESTRO ATM cards may be accepted but in very few banks and it shall require to be done inside the banking hall.
Public taxis and Boda Bodas/ motor bikes It is the means of travel using motor bikes and it is the most common and most tempting means of transport within the project areas and in the city because of convenience and the possibility to easily access all corners of the city and other places that may not be easily accessible by other public means. However, it is important to remember that boda bodas or motor bikes are the most dangerous for causing road accidents and for our volunteers from German the government policy doesn’t not allow you to use bikes so you will strictly use bicycles, public taxis and may be hired cars depending on where you’re headed for.
Business Hours GNUVF office is always open from 8.30 am to 5pm Monday to Friday except public holidays and weekends. However, if the staff has to travel to projects, attend workshops or attending to GNUVF projects then it will remain closed.
Climate Uganda is so vast that the climate of the country is so varied. However, it has tropical climate and one could classify the seasons as Hot, Wet & Cold. Temperatures usually range from 20 degrees centigrade to 30 degrees centigrade depending on the part of the country you are. The hottest months are from December to February and July. The rainy seasons in the south are from March to May and October to November. In the north, the wet season is normally from April to October. However, it is also possible that the climate is not as expected due to the changing weather patterns due to the present global climate change Cost of Living Your money goes a long way in Uganda. Thanks to an extremely advantageous exchange rate costs are considerably lower than in Europe, Asia and America. However prices can differ and vary according to the location. Please note, the prices of commodities in Uganda are frequently determined by the prices of fuel and the foreign currency exchange rate that are occasionally fluctuating. Cultural Shock Volunteers may experience a cultural shock on arrival in Uganda. Most things and way of life in the country is different from that in the West. However this is only for a few weeks and you will get used to the new way of life.
After the projects and going back to their home countries volunteers may experience a reverse cultural shock. Managing cultural shock requires a lot of patience for one to give him/her self-ample time to understand analyse and appreciate the differences.
Never rush to make decisions or judgments. The process normally goes through stages that may include, honey moon, crisis, recovery and adaptation.
Departure GNUVF provides airport drop off to the volunteer, at a cost.
Very short (hot) pants, dresses, shorts are not compatible to our culture mainly for female volunteers. Please try to carry along long dresses; pants and skirts preferably passed the knee level. Just carry long and comfortable clothes below the knee.
However you can bring Very short (hot) pants, dresses, shorts for weekends, travels and tours but never wear them to your placement please.
We also recommend volunteers to purchase our organization t.shirts that should be worn to the field atleast two times in aweek.
Driving is usually on the left similar to other commonwealth countries. Drivers tend not to care much for other road users. It is therefore advisable that you always take in mind your own security on the road and to look in all directions when crossing a street.
Volunteers are not advised to drive while in Uganda for reasons that the roads are bad and also the driving here is different with that back home.
Drugs don’t even think about it. All forms of narcotics are illegal in Uganda, and they attract life imprison.
Emergency In case of emergency you can always contact Evaline on 0752711564 or Richard on 0701206316 or throughout the country, dial 999 or 112 for police and fire.
Usually before the outbreak of Covid19, the entertainment industry was growing very fast in Uganda. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are best days for going clubbing. Entebbe, Kampala City and the different suburbs are characterized by several clubs, bars and Cinema halls Note: Most entertainment places of course bring together different types of characters. It is therefore important not to go in with any of your valuables, take only money you want to use, avoid offers from people you do not know and never leave your opened drinks unattended to or leave them with someone you know and trust. Do not be surprised that by virtue of your color, you will attract many “friends” but you need to be very selective and careful to find out who is really interested in true friendship. This is the main reason that it will be always advisable to move in with a guide or a friend either from your project or SAF. Environment Respect for the environment is expected at all times. This might be at sometimes hard because of the lack of disposable trash cans in many places of Kampala and in Uganda in general. Garbage separation and recycling is still a nightmare and not a common practice in Uganda. Expectations Please don’t come with too high/many expectations. The stay requires someone highly flexible, accommodative and social. That is the only way you will learn to accept your surroundings. Don’t force your culture on others, instead accept and respect our culture and be ready to learn. We know your biggest ambition and wish is to create change, which is nice but please note that CHANGE is gradual and may not be achieved in the shortest time of your stay.
Exchange rates almost all major currencies can be exchanged in Kampala. For SAF we strictly receive all subscriptions in US DOLLARS OR EUROS and Uganda shillings on arrival. 1 USD = 3600 shs (Uganda shillings and 1EURO=4100 Uganda Shillings respectively but keep changing. The best places to exchange money could be in the dollar house and Metropole house (on Entebbe road) and Amber house. Please, avoid untidy, old, notes with scratches or marks as they will not be easily accepted in many places, they attract a lower exchange rate compared to good notes. You can withdraw money from an ATM with your credit card (visa) or at counters in a bank with a passport and without using your code. Money exchange can be done in banks and Forex Bureaus mainly found in Kampala and Entebbe.
Current exchange rates can be found in newspapers and on signs in front of the shops. Please Note: The exchange rate keeps changing. For more updated exchange rates see http://www.xe.com/ucc/full/
The money we receive from our partners for you does not cover the following:
• International airfare • Visa • Travel and medical insurance • Vaccinations, • Any additional project costs such as transportation to various project sites • Airport transfer at the end of the project • Personal purchases or activities For those interested in supporting your projects financially, it is advisable that you fundraise beforehand. Please note: The fee you pay does not cover any project cost or airport transfer at the end of the project.
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN FUNDRAISING
For those interested in supporting your projects and the organization financially, it is advisable that you do some fundraising beforehand.
Help us make a lasting difference.
We need people just like you to help us. Every penny we raise goes directly to help these vulnerable, neglected women and their children. If you think you would like to help then we would love to talk to you in advance. In the meantime here are some ideas to get you thinking.
We appreciate anything you may want to do, but from experience we know the bigger the better! A great way to start fundraising is to ask your employer if they will match what you raise (or make a substantial donation). Many companies have a specific budget for this type of donation. In return you could contact local press and generate some coverage as thanks for their support, as well as helping spread the word about GNUUVF.
If you don’t ask…
Whether you are doing a sponsored walk or organising a coffee morning the more people you ask to be involved or sponsor you the better, it’s that simple. You can reach out and contact people by post, in person, by telephone, by email, through your internal newsletter or your local press or radio.
Here’s a list to get you started
– Family and friends
– Work contacts
– Owners/staff of local services
e.g. your local bank, pub, shop ETC.
Raise your voice
What you are doing is amazing, so make sure you shout about it. Inform local radio and press to maximise publicity about your efforts to ensure you get the publicity you deserve.
Organising a fund-raising event.
Big or small by organising an event you give people the chance to contribute in different ways. There are loads of great things you could do. Here are some ideas.
– Coffee mornings
– Quiz night
– Night at the races
– Afternoon tea party
– Supper club
– Sponsored walk/run/swim
– Neighbourhood BBQ
Also you can use the platforms below to fundraise depending on which one is popular in your country.
Like for example you can open a Go Fund me – https://funds.gofundme.com that will remain open throughout your time here this can help you in purchasing items needed for your placements and communities in need. Like school supplies, materials used for women empowerment projects for example the tittle of the page could be
Helping Mira to support girl and women empowerment projects in Uganda.
Or Help Mira Empower Ugandan communities.
Or may be
Michaela and Pauline supporting education projects in Uganda.
Or rather you three can decide to start as a group and the tittle of your page could be for example
Support for vulnerable Ugandan Communities by Michaela, Mira and Pauline
Support for education and empowerment projects in Uganda
The most important thing to achieve this is by frequently sharing your fundraising page with your networks, friends, family, neighbour, church member’s etc. on social media, Facebook, whatsup etc, also make sure that you make accountability of the money they donate monthly. Trust me you will achieve a lot in this trip and your life will change forever.
Food Each region, tribe of Uganda has its very own food specialties. The common dishes eaten in the south are bananas (Matooke), while in the north and east of the country maize, millet and sorghum are the main dishes consumed. Other foods include Irish and sweet potatoes, cassava, rice and maize (posho) which are usually served with meat, fish, peanut sauce or bean sauce. Vegetables and fruits are available all year round at affordable prices.
For other non-traditional international products, there are various supermarkets in Entebbe and Kampala where a volunteer can choose from. Geography Uganda is a land locked country boarded by Sudan in the north, Kenya to the East, Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, Tanzania to the south and Rwanda to the southwest. The area covered by the country is 235,796 km squared (32nd in Africa; similar to Great Britain or the state of Oregon in USA). The largest towns in Uganda are Kampala, Jinja, Mbale, Entebbe, Masaka, Gulu, Arua, Soroti, Fort Portal, Kabale. The total population of the country is 40 million people (2018 estimate).
The official language is English; other languages are Luganda, Swahili and many other local languages.
Hospitals There are a number of public, missionary and private hospitals in and around Entebbe and Kampala. They include Kisubi hospital, Mulago National referral hospital, Mengo/Namirembe, Rubaga, Kibuli, Nakasero, The Surgery, International Hospitals; all offering different services; private ones of course offering the best. You will be provided with contact details for hospitals during your orientation on arrival in Uganda.
Hotels You will be able to get a single basic room in most towns in Uganda. In Kampala you can get basic single rooms, Hostels and other accommodation at affordable rates. Internet Internet cafes can be found all across the country in all major towns and cities. The rates for browsing vary according to which part of the country you are. The prices range around 1,000/= Ug. shs (close to 0.5 of a US $ or Euro) for 40 minutes. If a volunteer has a laptop, can buy a modem (Internet stick/flash) from the service providers and can have access to internet all the time, they can also use hot spot from their phones.
In all your interventions during your projects in Uganda please remember that the intercultural aspect carries the biggest composition. Always reflect on your stay as an opportunity to enrich your experience and exchange of good practices. It is a “WIN- WIN” situation in which the “Give and Take” practice should be your guiding principle in all of your activities. Endeavour to live in the reality and diversity. It will always be a social responsibility that you carry an open mind. Avoid stereotypes in all of your interactions. Remember you are joining in an effort that has been started and will continue. Do not think you are going to change Uganda in a blink of an eye, but that you are contributing to this ongoing process, appreciate the little change you can bring. Emphasise continuous dialogue and do not forget to ask in case you do not understand something, remember you are in a different culture where things run differently. In case you have any new ideas or innovations please discuss it and try to reach a mutual agreement with your hosts, do not impose it. Tolerance, patience, dialogue, listening and seeking explanation will be important tools to lead you to successfully gain a better understanding of the Ugandan culture. As you watch and judge the actions, expressions, reactions and behaviour of others, yours is also critically watched. They are important and major tools in the intercultural dialogue. The way you manage your interpersonal communication counts very much in the intercultural dialogue. The two are linked or interlinked.
Insurance You are required to arrange for your own health insurances or the partner organization does it for you before arrival to Uganda. For more details, contact your sending organization.
Kampala This is the capital city of the Uganda. It is the home to most big shops, supermarkets, large entertainment centers, Diplomatic missions and other political and economic organs. Like most African Cities, Kampala is crowded with an estimated population of 2 million people during day and less than a million during the night. Regular matatues and buses connect Kampala to other towns and cities in the country. Kampala has both the new and old taxi parks that are terminals to the matatues. The bus terminal is also close to both taxi parks. It would be advisable to get a map of Kampala to help you when traveling around the city. Kampala is a pretty safe city as far as capitals in Africa go. Beggars are a common sight in central Kampala, but they are not very persistent. You should be prepared for crowds, noise (calling you MZUNGU) and in some places dust on mainly the busy streets down town. For girls the possibility of boys asking for marriage or if you are married is common but you have the right to say out your opinion, it is not offending. Languages Uganda has more than 60 different languages spoken by the local people. The national language in Uganda is English. Although not everyone can speak it, most people will say a few simple words but if you are to have a conversation you need to say the words slow with clear pronunciation to be understood. Literature Aristoc bookshop with stores on Kampala road, Garden City and in both, old and new Tax parks in down town Kampala offers you a variety of useful books and maps of Uganda and beyond. Markets There are markets in all major towns where everything from food to clothes to technology and crafts can be bought. The prices are usually not fixed and only limited by your (and the salesmen’s) skill for bargaining. Money can be saved by consulting Ugandans or other volunteers before buying. Money The currency in Uganda is the Shilling (Shs.) Notes are available in denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 Coins in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. Medicines Medicines can be easily bought at any of the medical shops and pharmacies that exist throughout the country. But bring any special medicines from home if you need. You will be directed to recommended hospitals and doctors in case of need. National Parks There are a number of national parks in the country to visit and see the wild beauty of Uganda. About 2km from city center there is an office to book gorilla viewing permits. You can also get information on national parks and other tourist places in the country.
Orientation about the country. In the first few days you will have an orientation. The orientation is going to be given by GNUVF staff and will be on basic things about the country, GNUVF, its engagement in voluntary service and cultural shock. Still you will learn a lot through experience or talking with the local people, GNUVF volunteers and project hosts. A visit to Kampala AND Entebbe with one of the local staff will be arranged for you. During this visit you will be able to visit exchange bureaus, a big supermarket, and anything you need in order to start with your adventure in Uganda. You might also see the “Uganda Museum” on Kira Rd.
Phone In cities in Uganda payphones are rare. Mobile phones can be bought in many shops; it may cost you as low as 40,000 Shs. You can load air time credit in the range of 1000, 5000, 10000 and 20000 shs. A lot of money can be saved. You are advised to be consulting local volunteers,
GNUVF Staff about the prices before shopping. Prices The general cost of most items in Uganda is low and affordable compared to prices in your respective countries. The Exchange rate of the Dollar and Euros against the Uganda shilling also offers a comparative advantage for your money. Local meals are basically a variety of local foods and costs between Ug. Shs 3,500/= – 4,000/= (approximately 1 Euro). In other places close or inside Kampala the prices accordingly go higher depending on the place. Normal restaurants would go for 5,000/= – 10,000/= (approx. 3 Euro). In Hotels you should be prepared for as high as from 25,000/= (8 Euro) and above. Other sample prices for the most commonly required day to day items are:- 1.5 Litre Mineral water bottle – 2000/=($0.6), ( 0.5 Euro) 1/2 Litre of fresh milk – 2300/= – 2600/= ($0.7),( 0.5 Euro) Roll (ban) -500/=, 1/2 Kg Bread 2400/=,($0.7),(0.6Euro) 1kg bread 4500/=($1.2) ( 1.1 Euro) 1kg of Rice – 4,700/= ( $1.3), (1.2 Euro) 1packet of pasta/spaghetti – 3500/= (approx 1Euro) 1packet of 100g of coffee – 9,000/= (approx 3 Euro) 1 kg of sugar – 4500/= (approx 1.5 Euro) A piece of fruit or vegetable like tomato, pepper, banana, orange, avocado, passion fruit is between 200/= – 1,000/= (approx less than 0.5 Euro) 300 ml of soda is 1,000/= with a bottle or 1,200/= if you drink and live the bottle or you get back a refund of 200/= on return of the empty bottle. (Approx less than 1 Euro). Please note: These prices are basic samples to prepare you to budget your daily spending but they keep fluctuating from time to time. The idea is to give you an average or yardstick to use in your planning.
Problems Any problem that arises are to be discussed at the meetings. Any problem with another volunteer, check first if there’s a misunderstanding. If necessary talk with the host . Realize that Uganda is a different country from places in Europe, US, Canada, New Zealand and the more capable you are of solving your problems, the more comfortable life can be. Power Electricity in Uganda is generated form water. However in the last few years this part of Africa has experienced drought and this has led to the reduction of water in the lakes and rivers thus making power generation difficult.
This has caused high demand with a low supply. This has led to power rationing. Therefore load shedding is common in Uganda. Power may go off any time.
Post offices can be found in big towns and cities in Uganda. In Uganda bringing mail out to physical addresses (homes, offices) is not there and most companies have post boxes. The main post office (on Kampala and Entebbe rd open 8am-6pm mon-fri, 8am-2pm sat). If you wish to have something sent from home like food or books you can ask people to send you a package to our office address.
Ask the person who sends you the package to write your name, our office address, and your cell phone number.
Don’t forget to bring passport with you when you are coming to pick-up your package.
Projects, we offer a variety of projects and is constantly adding new, exciting, interesting as mention up above.
Any project you will choose will change your life forever and the experience will be a lifetime opportunity.
Volunteers who are not from our partnership organizations from German must pay their transport to and from their respective projects, if working far.
We will always be there and is committed to listen to, discuss and find mutual agreement and /or solutions to your challenges in the projects. Please do not take the whole burden on your shoulders.
Questions You can always ask questions to other local or international volunteers who have been in the country longer than you incase of the latter. You can contact us for email addresses for former and present volunteers. Religion Islam, Christianity, and African tradition are the major religious communities in the country. According to the 2002 census, Christians constitute about 83% of the population followed by Muslims with 11% and other religions with 2%. The population of Uganda is estimated at 33 million people (2011Estimates). Most people in Uganda believe in something and therefore have difficulties understanding Atheist. Many humanitarian organizations in Uganda are supported by missionary organizations from USA and other Western countries. Therefore churches from America and the west have a deep impact in the governmental policies concerning Christian deeds.
Most clearly seen in the campaign against AIDS (ABC) Abstinence Be faithful Condom use where Abstinence is highly preferred than condoms. Safety Organizations worldwide are working hard in coordinating the international exchange of volunteers for social projects and in providing opportunities for young people to travel for personal development and interests.
Do not behave in any manner which is going to disturb other volunteers, and the organizations behind the exchange and most of all your personal health & well-being, please avoid any high risk factors during your stay.
These may include not moving too late at night and alone, avoiding too much drinking, avoiding going out with everybody and inviting everybody you meet to your volunteer house. Outsiders are not allowed in the guest house. You may encourage stealing of your belonging.
Shopping in Uganda may look confusing but is very easy. Most small shops/stores in the locality sell almost everything one may need in life. There are normally not many specialized stores for selling a particular item. Some stores in Kampala and Entebbe can sell from home consumables, cloth, electronic, etc. We use a lot of bargaining in some places; however you need to know when and where. For souvenirs every Friday of the week is a “Women Market” on the outskirt of Kampala and Entebbe city. It is affordable and recommendable for its jewellery, statuettes, crafts and batiks.
On Buganda road and around the National theatre there also several handcraft shops with slightly higher prices than at the women’s market. Another market is, “Owino Market” known for a variety of second hand items, however this is the most crowded place in the city. It requires a lot of patience but it is a worthwhile adventure. If you like to do your shopping in a luxurious and more calm/ relaxed environment, Shoprite Entebbe and Garden City counts with several stores, a cinema, bowling alley and food stores and /or restaurants; Lugogo Shopping Mall on Jinja road, Game and Shoprite in the city centre are some of the possibilities with a lot of merchandise from South Africa.
Smoking This is not allowed in public and in the sleeping rooms, only outside the house. Smoking is also restricted in most social places in Uganda Sex Relationships should always be done with safety in mind. The rate of HIV/AIDS is still high and no risks should be taken. Condoms can be bought in all pharmacies and most local shops. Be careful, patient and take your time before getting into
relationships, that is if you find it inevitable, They can end up to be linked too much on material gains and most times not last. Exchanging partners could also lead to hurting yourself (Heartbreaks) . So watch out. Remember is also cultural and the practice is very different from what you might be used to.
Time-Uganda Standard Time Ugandan people are very informal, others will call that undisciplined and unreliable. So please try to be flexible. Sometimes planning is changed without clear reasons and arbitrarily, but then again sometimes nice opportunities open up which are not parts of the schedule either. However this is not often, and volunteers should be a good example and show that time can be held. Time Zone Uganda Standard time is 1.00 hour ahead of German. Volunteers should notice while Europe, Northern America and other places in the world change between wintertime and summertime, Africa is holding the same time throughout the year.
Tipping generally tipping is not compulsory, except in big hotels and restaurants. However, service providers at hotels and restaurants, taxi drivers, and others who have been exposed to tourism are now expecting tips. The tips are not added in your bills, so the decision to tip or not is yours.
Traffic Kampala is a small city characterized by very narrow roads that are used by all small and big cars, motor cycle, cyclists, and pedestrians, name it all. There is not distinction in road use. All movement is on these narrow roads and there is often misuse or indiscipline.
Due to the crowd, it is often that most road users get impatient and in the end it becomes almost mismanaged. The traffic police try their best but sometimes it goes beyond their control especially in the rush hours. In this case it is advisable that you travel in Kampala streets only if you are calm, concentrated in mind. Do not be surprised to find it difficult to travel through some roads in Kampala.
Transportation is mostly road by “MATATU” (little bus), but you can also take a motorcycle (“boda-boda”) remember that the ride on the motorcycle is very dangerous and without helmet. The cost of the ride is determined between you and the rider.
To get to and from the–house (in Ssisa) to Kampala by matatu/public taxi costs 10000-30,000 shs, depending on the time of the day.
Traveler’s Cheques Traveler’s cheques may be cashed at most commercial banks and authorized moneychangers (in the bigger cities only!). Tourist places and opportunities Beside the amazing nature, tourist can go to white water rafting on the Nile (see www.adrift.ug for bookings), we can arrange trips to the source of the Nile in Jinja east of Kampala, Uganda Wild Life Centre ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ), the national museum is worth a look, and for art there are some galleries, which mostly are located in Kampala. Several craft markets are located around Kampala and Entebbe with African art for sale.
Tour Safari trips with tour companies outside Kampala to the National Parks to see the amazing big five animals is also another possibility in the Queen Elizabeth National Park (400km South west of Kampala), Murchison falls National Park and water falls (390 km North West of Kampala). Mt Elgon 290 km to the eastern side of the country is another exciting tour for mountain climbing. Ssese Islands in the middle of Lake Victoria is another inevitable tourist area not to be missed to see the beauty of Uganda’s Islands and several other wild animals and birds.
Visit the equator.
Walking tours etc etc
To help our volunteers access these places, we can now organize the trips below at subsidized costs assist to volunteers interested to reach the mentioned tourist destinations in Uganda including Murchison falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park , Semuliki National Park for male and female hot springs experience, nature walk, pigmy cultural dances as well as birds viewing. Kazinga Channel, Salt Lakes, Forest walks, and game viewing. Mountains Elgon and Rwenzori for hiking and climbing, Lake Mburo National Park for Boat trips, guided walking safaris, horse riding. Ssese Islands for Sun/sand bathing, forest walks, birds viewing and relaxation. The Mighty Nile River Nile for, horse riding, boat trips to the top of the river, bungee jumping.
The City Tour including Kasubi Tombs, Bahai and Hindu Temples, Uganda Martyrs shrines, local markets, craft shops, Ndere centre, Uganda Museum, Monument sites, Uganda Parliament, factories and other explorations. Ugandan People Ugandans in general are very informal, helpful and hospitable people and are brought up to respect and treat guests well.
Don’t feel uncomfortable, but accept it. Ugandans are very warm and talkative people who like to gather a lot. Families and friendships are very important to Ugandans. Ugandans in general, are very helpful and hospitable. If your hosts go out of their way to make you feel comfortable, DON’T feel awkward, accept it and appreciate it. You will most times expect people to offer you a heart- warming hospitality up and down the country, the ever present smile will always be accompanied with the word, “Mzungu” literally meaning, “White person”. Many will always be there for help in case of need. Working Hours Expected working hours differ from 5-7 hours/day in schools though 8 hours in other projects. In some projects there may be more than one volunteer but this cannot be guaranteed because you can be the only one to sign up for a certain project at that time. Normally, the volunteers can work in the project they applied for. There is, however, it is not a 100% guarantee because it may be that the project may be closed due to COID19 crisis, so here we have other project options for community work.
Water Drinking water should always be boiled and filtered. Drinking straight off the tap is not safe, when traveling shops have a wide range of mineral water that costs about Ug Shs. 1,000-2,000 per bottle. What to bring AND DON’T FORGET TO BRING YOUR ENERGY, SMILE, AND SENSE OF HUMOUR ALONG TOO!
Our foundation is reliable and flexible organization. We expand our activities rapidly and are open for all suggestions. We, however, see this as a good opportunity to learn from different points of view, to promote understanding and to come up with creative solutions in an international group. To promote community based development, intercultural cooperation and children, youth and women participation through voluntary work. People who do voluntary work are really motivated and want to make a difference in the world by showing solidarity and a sense of responsibility to our world, and we at GNUVF will always support this. How to make your volunteer Uganda experience rewarding: Embrace the culture: Those moments when you feel challenged or bewildered by what is going on can actually be the times you get the most out of your volunteer experience in Uganda. Ask tons of questions, observe without judgment, and explore the history of cultural traditions. Be open to invitations to join in on gatherings, events, parties and religious functions, and push yourself out of your comfort zone as much as possible. Be sure your main goal is the volunteer work: Although you’re volunteer abroad experience is a great opportunity to travel and experience personal growth your primary reason for being in
Uganda is to volunteer, so go with the intention of giving it your 100%. Saving personal travel and sightseeing for before/after your volunteer project, or for during your designated free days will help you focus on your placement. Do your research: In order to make your Ugandan volunteer placement as rewarding as possible, do your absolute best to learn some basics of the local language, research cultural and religious customs, and bring gifts for your hosts if appropriate. Completion of Project and Follow-Up Once your volunteer placement has come to an end it may feel difficult to leave behind the close friendships and connections you’ve made with local Ugandans and fellow volunteers, and walk away with just the wonderful memories of what you’ve achieved to mark this amazing experience. Upon returning to your home country you may fear these memories will simply fade with time, but there is an easy way to keep them, and your passion for volunteering alive – by sharing these with people at home. This will help ease your transition back into your previous life, and also offer much needed ongoing support. Perhaps this is setting up a casual night at your home where you share a slideshow of photos and videos from your time in Uganda, paired with traditional food and drinks. If appropriate, you could turn this type of event into a fundraiser to give back to the Uganda volunteer organization you worked with. You could even take this idea a step further and ask local churches, synagogues, community centers, etc to help you organize a bigger fundraiser. The options are limitless, and you might even inspire other individuals interested in volunteering abroad. Finally, remember you need to be patient and tolerant. Uganda has a different culture from yours. Local people see you as you see them. You need to be friendly, careful, have an open mind and willing to learn and share. Be ready to adjust to new situations and challenges in order to have a good time. Uganda will be an experience, be prepared to live it. We are looking forward to meeting you!!!! Global Network For Uganda Volunteers Foundation warmly welcomes you to Uganda!!!
Contact us on
Plot 539 and 160 Namuzzi Zone, Ssisa County, Kajjansi Town Council, Wakiso District, Uganda