Our volunteer program

The Volunteer process

Embarking on a journey to offering yourself to serve free of charge can be quite a daunting experience. However, with the right mindset, tools and preparation, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience with many lessons along the way. That’s why UVRC has developed a comprehensive volunteer program so that volunteers have a safe, enjoyable, productive time that is helpful to the communities and rewarding to the volunteers.

We invite you to join us in changing people’s lives in this country. We are excited to see what people from abroad can do to stand up against social forces and injustices among the Ugandan communities, offer their skills, resources and valuable time to create lasting change in a poor community!

This volunteer program enshrines UVRC’s vision which encourages creativity and empowers all working teams to function synergistically, and enables them to be flexible in their work, create space for learning and reflection and be responsible to the changing realities of the poor and the poverty context in which we work.

This plan puts in place a handy guideline on how volunteers must be sensitively responsible to the vision, principles, values and the work culture of Uganda Vision Resource Centre whose mission is to work with partners, the poor women, men, boys and girls, the local civil society and other development players in the quest to attain Physical and social well being of all people.

Our volunteers’ destinations are the community based institutions, groups and families that most need volunteers. This is where Volunteers from abroad can offer their support and help and at the same time where they can learn various lessons. Therefore, our Volunteers program is symbiotic in nature designed to benefit both the guests and their hosts.

Our Volunteer Destinations

      Schools (Kindergartens, Primary Schools and Secondary Schools

      Universities and other Tertiary Institutions

      Religious institutions (Churches and Mosques)

      Children’s day care centres

      Health Institutions such as hospitals and clinics

      Refugee settlements and Displaced person’s camps

      Community Based Organizations and groups

      Media and Broadcasting institutions

      Business Centres and Markets

      Agricultural and agro-processing centres

      Environment and Nature conservations centres

      Herbal Medicinal Processing centres

      Cultural and entertainment centres

Our Volunteers programme allows you to discover Western Uganda first-hand, since you will be living with a Ugandan host while serving as the family’s and community’s teacher and learner at the same time.

Volunteering in Western Uganda is a fantastic opportunity for students, high school graduates as well as professionals to reach for a world beyond their horizon. You will experience Uganda first hand and share the experiences life has taught you, while immersing into one of the world’s oldest and richest cultures. It is an adventure, a challenge, an investment in your future. Western Uganda Communities are focused on the future and you can be a part of it.

Working as a volunteer in Western Uganda will give you a wonderful new perspective of this incredible part of the country. You will be living with Ugandan hosts, an opportunity to learn while serving. You will make an important contribution, whatever your skills, by improving standards of living, offering skills and giving them the confidence that comes from being able to communicate with an international native.

You will leave a mark and a name in Uganda if you can reach out to the people in schools or in community and provide your practical skills for their future carriers.

Working with especially Women and Youths, you can teach them handcraft, computer, carpentry, cooking, tailoring, fabrication, metal works, mechanics and driving or gardening. These are the skills that Ugandan youths and women need most today.

In Uganda most business entrepreneurs look for great numbers of extra staff, and a lot of them are happy to accept volunteers from abroad. Work placement can range from hotels and catering, agro-processing, to business management. There are also positions available in childcare, conservation work, schools and health facility centres. Accommodation and food are always arranged by the institutions.

With her impressive castles, long-established pubs, great shopping, stunning landscape, extreme fashions and trendsetting music and theatre, Western Uganda is a great destination for young travelers. Nothing beats living and working in Western Uganda for an extended period of time to really get to know the country side from the inside. The region is small in size but nonetheless offers a wide selection of places in which to live and work.

By participating in this programme you will gain work experience and enjoy Uganda in an inviting environment that makes your stay during your period useful and unforgettable

The Volunteers Program Description:

The focus of this service-learning volunteer experience is for volunteers and interns to expand their own knowledge while at the same time helping to educate local community members in sustainable developments. Volunteers will have the opportunity to become fully immersed in Ugandan culture as they live, work, learn, and play among local Ugandan families, staff in both rural and semi-urban settings.

Our program is over 200 kilometers (km) from Kampala City in Western region of Uganda. Working by volunteering on these projects will be challenging, but ultimately very rewarding. Also by serving on this program you help improve the Quality of Life for People in the rural communities.

This is a rural community, with dirt roads that turn to sticky mud in the rainy season and dust in the dry season. Boda-Boda taxi bikes share the road with bicycles and animals. As in most parts of Uganda, the community members struggle to meet their basic needs and strive to put their children in school. Main jobs include agriculture, hand craft making, brick making, selling fruits and vegetables, small-scale animal rearing and other manual labor jobs.

As a volunteer on this program, you will experience traditional Ugandan life and participate in daily activities such as visiting elderly villagers, collecting water from a well, teaching children in outside classrooms, assisting in the brick making programs, feeding animals as well as health outreach programs. These programs serve the most vulnerable community members in the region.

The main focus areas include providing education to hundreds of children in the surrounding villages. Village schools provide English, Math, health lessons to children 3yrs-14yrs old and high school for 15yrs-18yrs. The schools provide not only needed education but opportunities for sports activities, health talks, feeding center and meeting place for the community.

The community development projects including pig and poultry house construction and repairs, home repairs, health/HIV/AIDS workshops, youth education, animal rearing, water and sanitation (including well and waterway construction) and project planning and management or other skills that can help us transform this community

The women and youths need skills for self reliance and sustainable livelihoods. They need training in the most valuable and marketable skills for employment in the market place and self employment in their homes and business.

With our volunteer program we allow you to discover the wonders of East Africa, while doing meaningful and rewarding community work. This is a great opportunity to explore life in rural Africa, live and work amongst the locals and realize one person can make a difference.

It is important for potential volunteers to understand that the culture in Uganda is quite different from what you are accustomed to. Volunteers should bring with them an easy-going, open-minded and relaxed attitude. Locals are curious, very friendly and social people. While UVRC will endeavor to maintain a daily routine, volunteers should understand that things move slowly in Africa (and indeed in rural communities). Relax and enjoy the slow pace. Remember that life in Africa is not as organized and predictable as life in developed countries. Although volunteer work can be very busy and active, at other times work is determined by many number of factors including weather, availability of resources, whether a relevant contact has turned up, cultural activities etc.

Volunteer standards

Now is the golden age of volunteerism in the world; As more people in the world than ever want to find ways to give back to the communities, to offer their support to the less fortunate, volunteer work is encouraged, from small to large institutions. 

At Uganda Vision Resource Centre, Volunteer opportunities are offered based on the development needs identified in UVRC area of operation. To ensure the effectiveness of programs, our development work remains our highest priority, volunteers’ requirements are specific.

Our guidelines for choosing volunteers include the following:

  • Volunteers must have the specific skills and specific needs that march with the program they are going to work with.
  • Volunteer placements will be for a time appropriate to the work available. Be aware that for people inexperienced in development and social work, it can take several weeks to settle in & start being productive!
  • Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, but those below this age are accepted in groups of adults
  • Volunteers need to have a focus on capacity building

How we are prepared for Volunteers at Uganda Vision Resource Centre

1. Volunteer Induction

Uganda Vision Resource Centre will induct and orient its entire new volunteers in order for them to understand UVRC structure, the implications of our work with strategies as in capacity building, stewardship, fighting poverty together, our values, principles, and ways of working and overall institution culture as well as understanding their specific roles.

The Volunteers Coordinator will draw a detailed procedure on the volunteer induction programme.  Later, the volunteer will then undergo a more specific departmental induction guided by his/her head of department/immediate supervisor. The activities in the induction programme will include among others; a discussion of the roles and responsibilities including key result areas of the volunteer.  It will involve agreeing on standards of performance, and key working relationships within and out of the organization.

Volunteer induction will include Gender awareness within the programs and within our work with the poor communities; it may include strategic plans of UVRC or project where necessary for the volunteer and organization specific information including the organization’s policy documents and strategy papers.

2. We make our Volunteers feel welcomed and loved.

We act as though our volunteer is a guest in our home. We show you around the workplace and the community, We introduce you to our staff and other volunteers, Our ED will always drop by and say hello and thank you. You will never feel uncomfortable for a minute. Our organization is warm, friendly, helpful, and happy to see our volunteers.

3. We give our Volunteers good training.

Even if the task assigned is a simple one, we take the time to explain it, demonstrate it, and mentor the volunteer through the first few hours. Provide a buddy, another volunteer who is experienced, to help the new one.

When training a group of volunteers, we use adult learning techniques such as group involvement. We don’t lecture to you, we give you chance to participate in the training. We let you know what the job entails and the quality measures that we will use to evaluate your work.

4. We involve our Volunteers in doing interesting work.

Most volunteers are willing to roll their sleeves up and do physical labor as long as it is meaningful. But grunt work is out. Do not use volunteers to do the tasks your staff doesn't want to do. Envelope licking, wheelchair pushing, and mindless filing do not appeal to modern volunteers. Think of your volunteers as extra staff who are capable of performing complex tasks that take advantage of their experience and skills. Provide leadership opportunities to those volunteers who are willing and have the time to shoulder more responsibility.

5. We mind about how much time our volunteers will take the job.

Everyone is busier than ever, we know that some volunteers may only have time for short term assignments. Project-oriented, rather than ongoing, assignments seem to work particularly well. We discuss with our volunteers the period of time they will take on a specific project, and also how much hours per day, and how many days in a week. We suggest lots of options so that the work can appeal to a busy soccer mom as well as the retiree who has more time.

6. We appreciate the work of our Volunteers.

We always tell our volunteers frequently that they are doing a good job when they have done it. We use many creative ways of formally saying thanks, such as taking them to lunch, providing a small gift, or sending a thank you card to them.

7. We regularly communicate with our Volunteers.

These are one way for motivating for volunteers and make them feel satisfied with the work they do. We assign to our volunteers a particular person who keeps in touch with them.

We listen to our volunteers and respond to their concerns immediately. We don’t only communicate via email with our volunteers, we telephone them, have meetings, invite them to stop by the office, mail them regular updates.

8. We help our Volunteers to know that they are helping to make the world a better place.

We always let our volunteers know how they are making a difference. We share success stories about our clients and programs. We get them up-to-date on progress toward our organization's goals. We enable them see our work in action through tours, presentations on the issues by our experts, and by inviting them to provide suggestions about how our work can be done even better.

9. We help our Volunteers to be socially connected.

Volunteering is a great way for many people to socialize, so we provide the opportunity to do so. We are a matchmaker for friend making. We offer an opportunity for our volunteers to remain connected with the communities and families they visit. We always invite them to come back after time.

10. We help our Volunteers to learn something new.

We appreciate that anyone who is willing to volunteer for an organization is likely to have a healthy curiosity and willingness to try new things. Indeed, many volunteers do so just so they can learn new skills about interesting topics and issues. We provide that opportunity. Our volunteer job becomes a mini-educational experience and is highly valued by volunteers.

Our Commitment to Volunteers

We are able to ensure that Volunteers are fully employed from the day after their arrival

We provide suitable accommodation facilities. This can be in a host family or in a guest home. This can be dormitory-type but must have separate male and female quarters. UVRC is flexible on facilities provided – which will be inspected before the start of a program.

We provide three meals daily. Western food may need not be provided, but local food shall be traditional and not exotic. Alcoholic beverages will not be provided. A facility that allows volunteers to augment their consumption at their own cost will be identified (such as access to a local store to buy Coca-Cola and cigarettes) but is not a requirement.

At the home, food is provided by Ugandan cooks who cook a combination of local and western dishes. Breakfast and dinner are eaten at the home and lunch is either eaten from project sites or is a packed lunch. Water is for drinking is provided. When we aren't away on field project activities, we have big barbecues on the weekends. Community leaders, Teachers and Church leaders sometimes invite our volunteers for dinner.