UGANDA VOLUNTEER GUIDE by africaprojectinc

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According to the US Department of State, “Uganda’s geographical area is 241,040 sq. km. (93,070 sq. mi.); about the size of Oregon. Major cities: Capital--Kampala (2002 pop. 1.2 million). Other cities--Jinja, Gulu, Mbale, Mbarara. Terrain: 18% inland water and swamp; 12% national parks, forest, and game reserves; 70% forest, woodland, grassland. Climate: In the northeast, semi-arid--rainfall less than 50 cm. (20 in.); in southwest, rainfall 130 cm. (50 in.) or more. Two dry seasons: Dec.-Feb. and June-July. Uganda is a small country with a population of about 30 million people. The population of Uganda constitutes Africans of three main ethnic groups--Bantu, Nilotic, and Nilo-Hamitic. Uganda's population is predominately rural, and its population density is highest in the southern regions. Non-indigenous people in Uganda include Asians, Arabs, Western missionaries, non-governmental organization (NGO) workers, diplomats, and business people. There are about 30 different languages and dialects spoken in 1 © 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 439-0480

Uganda, but major languages are English (official language), Luganda, Luo, Runyankore and Swahili. Native languages are closely attached to the cultures of the people that speak it.”

II. PREPARATION AND PROGRAM INFOMATION Africa Project, Inc. will help plan and prepare you for your trip to Uganda. Preparation will include understanding cultural, social and traditional expectations of the community where you will be volunteering. This orientation will also include advice on Ugandan languages, Ugandan food, Ugandan people, etc. As you would expect traveling to any country around the world, preparation is very important for successful and life-changing trips, safaris, visits or missions. The Program You will leave for Uganda and will be met at Entebbe International Airport by our local country representative. You will spend the first few days of the first week learning the skills, cultural norms, what not to do, meeting with the community organization you will be working with and learning some conversational native language of the locals that you will need to live and interact with. Volunteer, internship and service-learning opportunities are available in the following areas: • Educational programs and institutions, such as schools, universities, etc; • Social enterprise programs; • Health, hospitals, clinics, and medical organizations, working with HIV/AIDS, malaria, etc. • Humanitarian organizations and Relief programs • Cultural organizations • Anthropology programs and institutions • Non-Governmental and Community based organizations • Sports programs and organizations • Tourism and antiquities • Children and women programs and organizations • Technology projects and innovations • Poverty Reduction groups • Energy and Environmental programs • Crisis Prevention and Recovery • Creative projects and much more.


© 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 439-0480

Partner Organizations Partner organizations are organizations that have officially partnered with Africa Project, Inc. You will be working with at least one of these formally recognized partner organizations during your travels in Africa with Africa Project, Inc. Your work with a partner organization is arranged by Africa Project, Inc. and job descriptions are pre-approved to avoid any misunderstandings or unwanted expectations. These organizations do not charge volunteer fees but rather are interested in the skills and knowledge you can provide.

III. CHECKLIST FOR TRAVELING TO UGANDA The first thing you need to consider while packing your bags for a trip to Uganda is how much you are actually allowed to take by your air travel company. When packing for a visit, you need to pack as little as possible, especially if you have to walk to some places while on a safari or your visit. There is always the temptation to take too many clothes on a trip, but most times people never use half of what they carry on trips to Africa. You also must think of the time you will spend on a trip in Africa and what you will be involved in. IV. TRAVEL VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR UGANDA In 1999, Uganda introduced visa requirements for all visitors and people entering Uganda (except nationals of a few countries). There are different types of visas needed depending on the reason you are traveling to Uganda (i.e. student visa, single entry visa, inland transit visa, etc). A Uganda visa is a clearance permitting an individual to proceed to visit Uganda. Uganda visas are issued at Missions/embassies abroad and also at the entry and exit points of Uganda like Entebbe airport, Busia boarder, Malaba boarder, etc. Requirements for Uganda visas and entry into Uganda differ from country to country, are subject to change, and each Uganda visa application is treated as an individual case. Always make visa inquiries before travelling to Uganda. Africa Project, Inc. will provide you with an introduction letter detailing your trip and asking the visa office to accord you all the necessary assistance to obtain a visa. Decision on whether you get a visa or not is solely that of the Ugandan visa officials and Africa Project, Inc. has no influence over it. A Ugandan visa can be acquired for about $50 from the Ugandan embassy, Entebbe Airport or at Uganda border entry points. • You must be in possession of a valid passport issued by your government. • Your passport must be valid past the date of your expected departure from Uganda. • An International Vaccination Certificate against Cholera (recommended, not required). • An International Inoculation Certificate against Yellow Fever. • You must obtain a Uganda Government VISA before entry into Uganda. 3 © 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 439-0480

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Fill out both sides of Visa Application Form "J" and Submit your passport and two (2) passport-size photographs Letter from applicant's company if travelling for business (on company letterhead and signed by someone other than the applicant)

More details on applying and obtaining a Uganda visa can be found by visiting the Uganda ministry of immigration website on one of the links below To contact Uganda Immigration department directly: The Immigration Office Uganda Ministry of Internal Affairs Plot 75, Jinja Road - Kampala P.O.Box7165 Kampala Tel: 231031/342561/231641 E-mail: Email UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - WASHINGTON DC Embassy of the Republic of Uganda 5911, 16th Street, N.W. Washington D.C. 20011 Tel: + 1-202-726-0416 Fax: +1-202-7261727 Email:' Website: US EMBASSY IN UGANDA Embassy of the United States of America U. S. Embassy Kampala Plot 1577 Ggaba Road, Tel: 0414 25 97 91 /2/3/5 Fax: 0414 259 794 For all Visa inquiries: . For all American Citizen Services inquiries:


© 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 439-0480

V. PACKING GUIDE GENERAL ITEMS (recommended but some may not be required) • • Current passport Most airlines allow you to check in 2 suitcases and have one carry-on bag. We advise you put everything else that you do not need to use while travelling into the check-in suitcase(s). Do not put money, medical and travel documents in the check-in suitcase(s) as you will need them along the way. You may also need a backpack which you can use when you go on Safari or even upcountry. You must make sure that the backpack you choose is right for your back. You will need a Visa to get into Uganda Small fan (The small battery operated ones will do the job) Good pair of sunglasses A good camera and enough film (media cards), extra batteries, (You can always buy photographic items in Uganda or Kenya.) An alarm clock Small torch/flash light Gifts for schools/orphanages i.e., pens, pencils, textbooks, etc. Small games (cards, etc.) For people who wear glasses or contact lenses, it is advisable that you take some spare ones and cleansing solutions. The Electricity supply in east Africa is 240 Volts AC. Get a power converter Sleeping bag (if you plan to go on a safari). Tip - If you are not planning on camping often, you can usually find buyers for sleeping bags and other items if they are in good, clean condition. Warm clothing for the evenings First aid kit Important: Record details of your travel documents before you leave. Note credit card numbers, traveler’s checks, etc. and write down procedures and telephone numbers in case of loss. Make copies of your passport and other personal documents, and package separately. Ask a family member or a trustworthy person in your home country to assist you should your documents be misplaced. Remember to have your passport, boarding pass and other necessary documents at hand. They should be easily accessible when you board your flight.

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© 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 439-0480

CLOTHING TIPS (based on at least 1 week abroad): • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 pair of comfortable shoes that could be worn to a nice restaurant or hotel 1 pair of sturdy shoes or walking boots 1 pair of sandals 3-4 pair of socks and underwear 1 sweater or light jacket 1 swimming suit 2-3 pair of long casual pants 1-2 pair of shorts 1 or 2 belts 3-4 casual short sleeve shirts 2 long sleeve casual shirts 1 rain coat and/or umbrella 1 pair sunglasses 1-2 hats (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR SUN PROTECTION) Prescription glasses if used with back-up pair suggested (note: contact lenses are difficult to use on safari due to the high amount of dust.)

TOILETRIES • • • • • Toothpaste /toothbrush/mouthwash Shampoo/conditioner - (You can purchase these items in Africa too) Deodorant/antiperspirant Shower gel/soap, towel/hand towel Toilet paper (this is available locally) but you might need a roll in your bag because most places use latrines and may not have enough supplies of toilet paper.

HAND LUGGAGE • • • • • • • Guide book about Uganda and its people (buy one online) Reading book of any subject to keep you busy in the plane or buses Personal money (US dollars) minimum $100 and maximum $1000. Avoid carrying a large amount of cash on you. Indigestion/diarrhea/travel sickness tablets Travel game, an MP3 player, or portable DVD player Small note pad and pen (always handy) Snacks/packed lunch for coach journey


© 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 439-0480

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Mosquito repellent lotion or sprays Malaria tablets Antiseptic cream/gel Wet wipes Sunscreen - High SPF factor Anti-diarrhea tablets If you use prescribed medicine, you must take enough to last the time you will spend in Africa Get all required vaccinations prior to departure Inquire about international medical insurance coverage prior to departure

VI. TRAVEL AND SECURITY INFORMATION You must take a current passport. If your passport is old, you must check and make sure it does not expire while you are in Uganda. The expiration date of your document has to be at least 60 days after you return from your trip. You will need a visa to enter Uganda and nearly all African countries. It is advisable to acquire your visa in your country of origin before you travel. However, you can get visas on entry in Uganda at Entebbe airport. Check for entry requirements to other countries. You must keep all your documents in a safe place at all times. For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor: • Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings can be found. • For additional information on international travel, see • The Department of State encourages all U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad to register via the State Department's travel registration website or at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency and will enable you to receive up-to-date information on security conditions. • Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or the regular toll line 1-202501-4444 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada. • The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of State's single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport information. Telephone: 1-8774-USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778); TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793. Passport information is available 24 hours, 7 days a week. You may speak with a representative Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays. 7 © 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 439-0480



Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) and a web site at give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. The CDC publication "Health Information for International Travel" can be found at Department of State Web Site available on the Internet at, the Department of State web site provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy information, including Background Notes and daily press briefings.


Cultural Preparation Guide

This is intended to give you some things to think about to help prepare yourself mentally for a short stay in a very different place over 4,000 miles from home! What exactly is culture? Someone defined culture as “the way we do things around here”. You might find that African culture is a whole different way of thinking and living, so there is a lot to consider while you are on a trip or visit to Uganda. Do not go with the idea that your culture is superior. When in Africa you must adjust, attempt to be at home in the culture and not think you will change it all in the few days or weeks you are there, so….. Don’t be patronizing, treat everyone with respect and be prepared to see some things that are different from home Food: You might need time to adjust to new and different types of food, but don't be afraid- the nationals eat it and do not die! Watch your facial expressions when presented with some food that you might consider "unusual". Fresh tropical fruits and vegetables are plentiful throughout the country. A wide range of dishes, both traditional and international, are served in the hotels and restaurants. Animals: In the third world, people treat animals differently. Sometimes it is lack of knowledge or the ability to care for them as you do in the west. Do not play with dogs-- in most other cultures they are scavenging house guards and not playful pets. If you feel bad about how skinny or sickly the animals look, do not express it-- just think about the poverty of the people! Other areas in which there may be significant cultural differences: Sleep, hygiene, heat, noise, street traffic, husband and wife roles, length of worship service, materialism, prejudice, customer service, and social parties. 8 © 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 439-0480

Cultural Stereotypes: Do not go along with the stereotypes that exist in the west about Africa. Some stereotypes in the West about people in the developing world include: • That they are lazy living in harmony with life • They are uneducated • They need your help • They are controlled by customs and culture When you arrive in the host country, you will be viewed and treated in a different way simply because you are American. Doesn't seem fair, does it? Remember, people from Africa travel the world too and sometimes they are looked at in the same way as foreigners in that country. C. Personal Behavior: • Every culture and country has its good and bad. Use common sense and learn from the locals on how to behave. • Be aware of your surroundings! • Avoid risky behaviors that may pose personal safety and health risks. Remember, good medical facilities in most of these countries may be difficult to find. • Similarly, avoid being caught up in legal quagmire as the law in other countries may be too intricate for you to navigate and there may not someone who is able to save you. The best advice is not to do anything questionable that can put you a risk. • People in Africa are generally very friendly and sometimes too friendly. Please, do not let the friendliness overtake your sense of personal safety and security. Keep a watchful eye on yourself and your possessions, especially when you are among people you do not know. • Do not make disparaging remarks about food, lodging or customs. Remember that facial expressions as well as other body language speak louder than our words at times. • There will be times when you are uncomfortable, hot, tired, and out of sorts. Remember that everyone else is experiencing the same conditions. If you are used to being pampered or are a notorious complainer, try having an attitude of praise and helpfulness to others instead. You are experiencing these conditions for a short time, but your national friends are there for a lifetime! • Listen More Than You Speak! Be a learner and a teacher. • Be careful when taking pictures. Please ask before you take a picture of someone. • You will be watched closely, since people are often very curious about why you are here. • You may be called "Big" (fat). Do not get offended; this is considered a compliment in a country where most people do not get enough to eat. On the contrary, it’s very offensive to say to someone, “Oh you are really thin.” • Try never to express anger toward the local people, even if they express it towards you. A good thing to do if someone gets mad at you or asks you for money is to laugh! If you start laughing, more likely they will start laughing, too. 9 © 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 439-0480



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Some of the people you meet will enjoy seeing pictures of your family and hometown. Be sure to take a few snapshots and postcards to show them. (Be sensitive of your audience's feelings. Your relative affluence may offend some people.) Rise early and stay out into early evening: Most African countries still run on solar rhythms, so the day begins before dawn, fades in the afternoon, and has a second wind in the evening as things cool off. Make sure not to be by yourself after dark. Always be with someone you trust and knows the area and culture. Travel as lightly and as modestly as possible, without flashy expensive jewelry, gadgets and lots of luggage and bags. Carry only small bags that can be stored on your lap.

VIII. ORIENTATION IN UGANDA All volunteers will receive a pre-departure orientation session before leaving the USA. This orientation maybe in the form of a webinar, teleconference or any other form of electronic communication deemed convenient. In these sessions, the volunteers are brought together to ask questions, talk to alumni volunteers who have traveled to Uganda before, etc. 1) Language and Culture Program - Uganda Upon arrival, you will be given a short general introductory orientation on the people, language, life, culture, etc. You will also be able to acquaint yourself with the city. The same day or the next day (time permitting) you will be transported to your destination where you will be working. The distance and locations of your assignment area may vary based on assignments. Our cultural immersion program provides many opportunities for our volunteers to explore the villages and witness the cultural attractions helping them learn the local culture and customs. During free time, volunteers will explore the colorful city and nearby villages, and completely immerse themselves in Ugandan trends and traditions. 2) Currency: The currency used in Uganda is the Shillings. It is not available outside of the country. The ATM machines in Uganda accept Cirrus, Laser, MasterCard and VISA cards among others at a fee of about $2.00 - $4.00 per transaction. Alternatively, you can bring USD in cash to exchange – you will need your passport to exchange money. We do not recommend carrying around large quantities of cash. We recommend putting money on a VISA card or using your bank card so you can trace any transaction problem back to your bank. Exchange rates vary, but are roughly $1 = 1800 Ugandan Shillings. IX. TRANSPORTATION Below is a list of some national and international airline operating in the country:•

British Airways


© 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 4390480

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SN Brussels Kenya Airlines/KLM Egypt Air Emirates Airlines South African Airways Gulf Air Ethiopian Airways Alliance Express

Africa Project, Inc. does not endorse any particular airline. However, some of our previous volunteers have recommended and/or used the airlines mentioned above. We suggest that you research all their prices and any related costs, reviews, etc., before you make your ticket purchase. Note: In recent years, many airlines have changed their rules on what you are allowed to put in your carry-on luggage. Africa Project, Inc. suggests you check these rules prior to packing and departure. You should make every effort to pack your carry on luggage in compliance with TSA and airline travel packing requirements so you do not have to remove unwanted items and leave them at the airports. Local Transportation: The main modes of transport are matatu (converted 4 wheel drive vans which seat about 14 people) and boda- bodas (bicycles and motorcycles). Matatu from Kampala to Gulu is about 15,000 /= (UG Shillings) one-way or roughly $12.00 Accommodation: Your accommodation will depend on which project you have undertaken. Most volunteers live with host families, at a local hotel, or in a guest house sharing with one or two other people. It is comfortable but basic. Teachers may be hosted by the school you will be teaching. Africa Project, Inc. will make sure that all volunteers have their living and transportation arrangement prepared in advance before leaving the USA X. CONTACTING HOME The most reliable means of communication in Uganda is cellular phone and internet communication. Internet connections are very slow unless you are in Kampala. As you travel away from Kampala, internet connections are slow and may be frustrating. We advise that you type all you want to email and save it as word documents that you can just go to the internet café and email. This will save you lots of money and time. Not all American mobile phone companies provide cover in Uganda and those that do are very expensive. Only selected AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile suppliers are known to provide phones with GSM capabilities and most of these phones are locked to be used only by subscribers of AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. If you plan to use your phone, make sure you get your phone unlocked before going, and then you can just 11 © 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 4390480

put a Ugandan SIM card in it. You can actually buy unlocked cellular phones with no contracts online on and or Once you are in Uganda, you can buy a Ugandan phone with a SIM card for 80,000 Ugandan Shillings equivalent to about $50.00. XI. UGANDA SAFARI Uganda is a major tourist destination in Eastern Africa and is widely known for its natural beauty and wild life as the “Pearl of Africa.” These beauties include Murchison Falls Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo National Park, Mburo National Park, Ruwenzori Mountains, Source of the River Nile, Mt. Elgon, Mountain Gorilla tracking and the Line of Equator among many others. We recommend that volunteers and interns spare some extra days in Uganda to travel and enjoy some of these beauties. Africa Project, Inc. is not responsible for the cost of this safari tour, but may help guide you plan for places to visit while in Uganda. XII. FUNDRAISING FOR YOUR TRIP

Fundraising is a fantastic way to help reduce your own travel expenses. Fortunately, many international organizations and private associations are more than willing to donate money for a good cause - like volunteering abroad, international teaching, health care projects or environmental programs. Many of the volunteers who work with our program are very successful fundraisers. Although it may seem a daunting task at first, you may be surprised at how easily you can obtain substantial funds to support your journey. Mostly, the volunteers choose to cater to their local community by writing letters to ask for support or even organizing community events - like concerts, art shows, game programs, and bake sales. Other volunteers have received donations from private enterprises, local companies, and international organizations, as these companies often love to lend a helping hand to volunteers. We can help you by writing a supportive letter so those who donate to support your travel know they are supporting a genuine cause. Fundraising is a perfect opportunity to inform others of what you are going to do, and it will allow for you to get the assistance that you may need - making your international volunteering dream a reality. If you need for us to help out, just let us know and Africa Project, Inc. will help you in your fundraising endeavors. We can also add you to our website, with your picture, the program you will be volunteering with, and the amount of money that you need for your trip, so that people can just donate online. Every little bit helps, and fundraising, may enable you to embark on this wonderful journey. Every volunteer should consider the hopeful possibilities of fundraising.


© 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 4390480

PROGRAM COST Our programs are the most affordable available. We are not interested in your money but rather your skills, talents, and commitment to service and community. The total cost of your travel to Africa is $500. This total includes your $100 non-refundable application fee (due with your application) and your final payment of $400 (due one month -30 days- before your scheduled departure date). A detailed breakdown of the fees is as follows: approximately 85% of this money goes towards your costs as a volunteer, such as language training, orientation, transportation to and from the airport within the country where you are interning or volunteering, payment to our Africa-based country coordinators, and help locating accommodation resources. The remaining, approximately 15%, of this money goes to program planning and management, including the cost of mailings, long distance and out-of-country telephone calls, developing all orientation manuals, and volunteer awards and certificates. Africa Project, Inc. accepts PayPal, Money Order and Personal Check in US dollars. Payments made with PayPal are subject to a 5% processing fee. Last minute applications received 30 days or less from your departure date require full payment of the $500 made through PayPal. If paying via PayPal, please email payment to This fee does not include costs for your flight, health insurance, visa, etc. so you will need to raise the money for these items on your own. While Africa Project, Inc. will be able to provide you with advice and support, you'll be expected to organize this yourself while working within the parameters provided by Africa Project, Inc. The amount that you will need to budget will depend on where you are travelling from and if you want to travel afterward or travel anywhere else within the country while you are volunteering.

* Africa Project, Inc., recruits volunteers and interns without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or any other protected status. * The information contained in this package may not be up to date and may be changed at any time without notice.


© 2009. Africa Project, Inc. P.O.BOX 386, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 4390480

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