A unique teaching volunteering experience in Uganda combining teaching & bringing real change to the lives of Uganda's youth. A 6 or 12-week programme aimed to support the local community in the most needed way possible.
Also, get the chance to explore Uganda's wildlife and nature, take part in amazing adventure opportunities from White Water rafting to Gorilla safaris.
Teaching Volunteering Programme
Our Flagship project combines inspiring teaching placements, HIV Outreach and Extra Curricular Activities with amazing adventure opportunities.
Need for teachers
A lack of teachers has created perhaps Uganda's greatest development challenge. The need to bring intellectual capital into the Bwindi region was highlighted by community leaders five years ago.
Since then, volunteer teachers have provided invaluable teaching support to understaffed and underfunded schools, helping us get closer to achieving our mission of eliminating educational poverty in the Bwindi region.
Transfer your skills
A good education is invaluable. Volunteer Uganda gives you the opportunity to share your skills and use your education to have a real impact on the local community both inside and outside the classroom.
By teaching children in classrooms and interacting with them in the playgrounds, you will inspire so many young people to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams.
HIV/AIDS Outreach Project
Volunteers also get involved in running our HIV/AIDS Outreach Project in Secondary Schools. We train our volunteers to deliver highly engaging assemblies, which raise awareness and help young people protect themselves from the disease. Using games and theatre, our talks are really well received and a highlight for many of our volunteers. As well as being great experience, it really is life saving work.
What are the Objectives of the Initiative?
- To teach young people about the risks of HIV and the importance of barrier contraception.
- To dispel the stigma for testing and HIV/AIDS, encouraging young people to get tested and know their status.
- To empower young men and women to avoid putting themselves at risk of contracting HIV.
During the first week, volunteers complete our certified Limited Resource Teacher Training which equips them to deliver effective, interactive lessons in an African classroom. You are not required to have any previous teaching experience.
In terms of teaching, you will teach 3 lessons a day.
What is a normal day like?
Over the course of the day, volunteers teach three lessons; one before break, one after break and one after lunch. The spacing of lessons allows volunteers to plan each lesson well.
Many volunteers choose to stay after school to run extra curricular activities.
Every weekend, a new amazing adventure awaits you:
Breath taking Safaris, unrivaled Gorilla and Chimpanzee Tracking experiences, Bungee Jumping and world class White Water Rafting on the River Nile attract thousands of adventure and wildlife enthusiasts to Uganda each year.
All volunteers have the opportunity to experience some of these amazing excursions and better still, because the holiday provider is non-profit, they are able to offer volunteers these trips at a fraction of the price charged by commercial tour companies. The result is a programme that combines high-impact volunteering with invaluable experience and unforgettable adventures that can’t be found elsewhere.
All food is included at the lodge and you're sure to become great friends with Denis and Maki who cook up a storm every night. We cater for vegetarians and volunteers are always pleasantly surprised at how tasty the food is. We boil spring water from the site for drinking and tea & coffee is always available. Schools provide basic food for their staff and at schools volunteers eat with their fellow teachers. This is a great chance for volunteers to try new foods which aren't available in the UK.
The VU lodge was purpose built to accommodate up to 60 volunteers. Designed in a hostel style, the main building serves as a social area, dining room and has a very affordable bar as well as pool table. It is spacious, has plenty of seating and is equipped with everything from projector and sound system to blackboards for lesson planning. It can quickly turn from dining room, to training venue, to party palace.
What is the Lodge Like
We have western showers and toilets, generate electricity and have Wi-Fi. Volunteers stay in Bandas (dorms) split by gender. The dorms have mosquito nets and bedding provided.
What will I teach?
Volunteers teach English, Maths, Science and PE. You are not expected to teach all of these subjects and different schools have different needs.
What training will I receive?
During their first week, volunteers complete our certified Limited Resource Teacher Training which equips them to deliver effective, interactive lessons in an African classroom. Volunteers are not required to have any previous teaching experience.
How much teaching will I do?
You will teach 3 lessons a day. You can choose to apply for either a 6-week or a 12-week package.
Will I be up to it?
Generally the content to be taught is not challenging and we work from the Ugandan curriculum.The real challenge is bringing this content to life, being a highly effective and inspirational teacher who will get the most out of their class. Our LRTT helps you to become that teacher.
What are the VU schools like?
Volunteer Uganda has a great rapport with all of our partner schools. Volunteers are always overwhelmed by the incredible welcome from both teachers and students!
Where will I be placed?
We place people in a school that will make the most of their strengths and interests. Different people have different preferences, qualifications, strengths and weaknesses. When allocating volunteers to positions we take all this into account.
Can we teach in pairs?
Our volunteers are placed into groups of 2-5 in schools. As well as teaching your own class, this means you are able to assist in each others lessons, improving teacher:student ratio and maximising the impact in the classroom. It's also great fun sharing and collaborating the experience!
Who can apply to volunteer?
We welcome applications from people from all over the world. To apply for a place on the main programme we do request that you are over 18 years old, you are competent in English, and you are fit for travel.
Extra Curricular Activities
Can I coach sport?
VU organises several termly inter-school sports tournaments, so you can coach your teams against your friends' placement schools. The rivalry is brilliant! There are also much less competitive sporting activites that run after school, all of which help to develop young people's team ethic and confidence.
Can I teach art, music & drama?
If you have a passion, or an idea of something you would like to make happen, our team will give you all the support they can in bringing it to fruition.
Optional Programme Extras - Activities
White Water Rafting
On arriving in Uganda, volunteers will have the opportunity to experience the thrills of white water rafting down rapids from grade 1-5 on the "Mighty White Nile".
The trip includes:
Full-day rafting (Grades 1-5 rapids)
Food and drink on the day.
As well as white water rafting, volunteers will also be given the opportunity to brave Uganda's only bungee jump, directly over the River Nile!
Your Jump includes:
Award winning River Crew
Purpose built Bungee jump constructed and operated to New Zealand standards
Tandem jumps available
Specialists in water touch jumps!
Lake Bunyonyi is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Uganda. Volunteers enjoy a whole weekend relaxing, canoeing and partying at one of Uganda's hidden gems.
Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda's number one Safari location. During the three day safari, volunteers will experience the best Africa has to offer in terms of wildlife viewing.
The trip includes:
Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari Permits
FIVE game drives including a sunset Boat Safari
Travel in style in our 4x4 open-top safari vehicles
Camping accommodation and food
Perhaps the most amazing optional opportunity. Mountain Gorillas are one of the most endangered species on the planet. Over half of the 700 gorillas left in the wild live in Bwindi.
The trip includes:
Mountain Gorilla Tracking Permits
Experienced Ugandan Wildlife Authority Group Guides
Transport to and from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Food and drink provided
Uganda is famous for its chimpanzees. It's one of the only places in the world where our closest relatives can be observed in the wild. You must go on the Safari to go Chimp Tracking
The trip includes:
Kyambura Gorge National Park Permit
Experienced Ugandan Wildlife Authority Group Guides
Transport to and from Kyambura Gorge
Those who choose this trip MUST also choose SAFARI.
What precautions does Volunteer Uganda take?
Our team in Uganda meet all volunteers at Entebbe Airport straight from volunteers recommended flights
Our team of experienced drivers provide safe transport throughout volunteers entire trip.
Resident British group leaders and a strong team of Ugandan support staff live at the lodge all year round.
At the lodge there is a large safe for volunteers to lock up passports, insurance policies and other valuables.
The camp is enclosed by a large fence and there is always a security guard on duty to protect the lodge.
At the lodge, there are mosquito nets provided for every bed so all volunteers are safe from bites at night.
We have an extensive First Aid Kit, including Malaria treatment, as well as an emergency vehicle on hand.
Volunteer Uganda has a public liability insurance of £2, that covers to cover for claims made against it.
Training & Support
Volunteer Uganda is committed to offering extensive training and support for all volunteers both prior to departure, during the initiation and orientation of their placement and throughout their volunteering experience. Find out how what training and support volunteers recieve below:
- Pre Departure Support
When you have confirmed a place on one of our programmes we will send you a pre-departure pack with joining instructions, suggestions of what to pack, health awareness and preparations, and safe traveling tips.
Get in Touch
We are keen to answer any questions that you or your family may have during the lead up to your departure. Please give us a call or email us at any time if you have queries about anything related to your trip.
- Community Orientation & Language Lessons
By visiting the various Volunteer Uganda schools and projects, volunteers are able to contextualise their work in Bwindi and their contribution to the community. Numerous visits to schools (Teaching Placements) and local businesses (Research and Enterprise Placements) leave volunteers with a firm understanding of the area in which they will be working.
Teaching volunteers will get to observe Ugandan lessons in order to get to grips with current educational practice. The result of this is that our volunteers are able to hit the ground running in the second week of their placements. Classrooms in Uganda are very different to classrooms in the western world, so these trips are very enlightening for volunteers.
Local Language Lesson
All of the teaching at the schools is done in English and all pupils speak it reasonably well. It is not necessary for you to learn the local language,Rukiga, but picking up some of the basics is valuable and enriches the experience of visiting rural Africa. During the first week our team give local language lessons including basic greetings, phrases, numbers etc. This is followed up by optional weekly lessons over the next month.
- Limited Resource Teacher Training (LRTT)
During the first week in Uganda, all of our volunteer teachers receive comprehensive teacher training from our UK and Ugandan Education Team. Our certificated Limited Resources Teacher Training (LRTT) is highly progressive by International Standards and was created in partnership with a team of teachers from the UK education charity Teach First. The training is delivered by means of workshops and group work activities and is completely tailored to Education and Teaching in Uganda. Over the course of the week, volunteers grow in confidence and ability so that by the time they enter the classroom, they are already comfortable teaching.
Do I need Experience?
Due to the thorough nature of LRTT, no previous teaching experience is required to apply for our main volunteering project. For many volunteers, this will be their first experience of teaching! Our intensive training ensures that by the end of the first week, volunteers are well equipped to provide fun, interactive and informative lessons. Not only does LRTT ensure that our volunteers become effective teachers, making an invaluable contribution to the Bwindi community, volunteers return home having learnt a range of transferrable skills which can be applied in their own careers.
How does LRTT differ to TEFL?
LRTT concentrates on practical teaching strategies in a limited resource environment; ensuring volunteers first have a solid understanding of learning theory. From there, LRTT equips our volunteers with a toolkit of strategies and activities that enable them to teach in a fun, interactive and effective way in the rural African classroom. By the end of the LRTT course, volunteers will be familiar with the content of their teaching sessions, and will have had ample opportunity to practice their lesson delivery in front of their peers, and received constructive feedback from our UK and Ugandan team.
- Personal Support and Mentoring
Personal Support & Mentoring
Volunteer Uganda's projects are designed by people who remember their own volunteering experiences. We therefore understand the need for a sound support structure in order for our volunteers to make the most of their placements. Both British and Ugandan members of staff live at the lodge meaning there is always someone experienced around to offer volunteers assistance.
Our British group leaders are former volunteers who have stayed involved with VU and gone on to train as in country staff members. They can offer valuable insights, as well as using their own understanding of the area and familiarity with our programmes to support volunteers throughout their trip. On top of this many of our Ugandan team are former teachers and are thus able to pass on their experience of the Ugandan education system to our volunteers.
Support In Teaching Projects
Within each school, a Ugandan member of staff is allocated the role of volunteer mentor. Mentors introduce volunteers to the school culture, show them the content which will be taught and observe the first few lessons to give volunteers support and constructive feedback on teaching style. Our British staff will also sit in on volunteers’ lessons, giving guidance and support to help them become the most inspirational and effective teacher they can be.
Support In Research & Enterprise
Participants of Research Uganda & Enterprise Uganda are able to draw upon a healthy pool of British and Ugandan experts both prior to departure and upon arrival in Uganda. Regular meetings with our UK Team partners at SIFE Birmingham will guarantee that Enterprise & Research Uganda participants are thoroughly prepared for their projects before leaving for Uganda. Whilst in country, both projects are supported by our group leaders, Ugandan staff and local business experts. We understand the local needs and are therefore able to ensure that both projects participants are able to make a real contribution.
What about the HIV/AIDS Outreach Project?
Our induction week also includes training sessions in preparation ofHealth Education Programme. Volunteers learn about the health related challenges Uganda faces and are trained to present the high impact HIV Prevention talks which are part of our programme. We work alongside our partner charity Mend The Broken Hearts Of Uganda to maximise our impact in this area and it has consistently proven to be a highlight for volunteers.