We're really excited about all the ways volunteers can make an impact in Uganda. Of course you'll get the classic ILP experience of helping local kindergarteners learn English ... but there's so much more in store.
You can't get involved until you sign up though!
You can get started by filling out this real quick application online
While the focus of our volunteer program is in the classroom, teaching and interacting one-on-one with students, we know that you love to serve in all sorts of ways (because we've seen it).
Each country has unique needs and so many ILP volunteers seek out ways to do more — we've seen our volunteers in Haiti organize and fundraise a project of painting homes and donating food to locals in their neighborhood. We've seen volunteers in the Dominican Republic do so many things including visit a nursing home. Chandler offered to take a family's photo for their first time ever and Kaitlin got a room filled when you she offered to share her talents and hold a little concert for the neighborhood ... making it the first time ever to hear the cello for many of them.
We're still working out the details of ways you can get more involved with serving the people of a suburb outside of Kampala. We have an amazing Local Coordinator here who organizes many impactful projects and these are just a few ideas ...
Ways you can get involved in Uganda:
- Build wells to support clean water projects
- Visit the homes of neglected children and orphanage centers
- Visit the elderly
- Community service outreach
- Support other organizations with important causes
Clean Water Projects
This is one project that is we feel an urgency for. With no piped water in the majority of homes, families are required to trek to the closest well, spring, or pond to refill containers before making the walk back home. Sometimes the closest source is 1-2 miles away, so you can imagine how time consuming and physically taxing the daily chore of finding and carrying home heavy jugs of water is for many people in Uganda. You'll often see children walking in the street with jugs of water, bringing it back home each day.
However, the real problem is when the closest water source isn’t clean. If it isn't a preserved spring or well, it's probably a standing pool, with trash rimming the edges. You might see a couple of dogs play in the pond or see a cow’s muddy hooves standing in the water before someone comes to fill up their 5-gallon containers. Drinking contaminated water is a major problem that many families deal with on a daily basis.
Case in point, according to the NCBI, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children under five in Uganda; 1.8 million die each year — a number that can be drastically reduced with access to clean water.
With help, Eddie (your Local Coordinator that we love so much!) has been able to provide over 700 wells and piped springs to provide a clean and constant water source, and ILP is eager add to that number.
Here's where you come in:
These are photos of a couple of the areas that we have in mind to build new springs — with your help!
It typically only takes a couple of weeks to build a new spring where thousands of families can access clean drinking water. ILP plans to help fund these projects that you'll be apart of.
Shy, an ILP Volunteer, posted this during her semester:
"It's hard to imagine that people actually don't have access to clean drinking water, a basic necessity we all take for granted. I don't think it really hit me until a few of our STUDENTS, the kids we teach every day, walked up to fill their big yellow jugs full of water from the mossy ponds in the pictures.
My group had the opportunity to help work on two water projects during our time here in Uganda. One provided clean water access to around 2,400 people, and the other around 5,000.
"Our director, Eddie, has now completed 724 springs. That number isn't a typo! Eddie is incredibly amazing and I am honored to work with him."
This is what a typical water source is for families before .... and then what it looks like after a well has been implemented! It's huge — locals have a way to access the water before it hits the ground and becomes contaminated.
Visiting Homes + Orphanage Centers
One of the easiest ways to serve is simply being a friend. You'll have opportunities to meet locals in your neighborhood, so don't be shy. After a few basic language classes with your ILP group you'll be able to greet neighbors in their local language as you pass by with a friendly "Gyebaley Ko" (sounds like Jay - Ballet - Koh). English is commonly spoken, but you'll really make an impression if you even attempt to learn another local language.
We can help you arrange to visit neglected or orphaned children — there is all sorts of social work you can help with such as feeding them, playing with and singing to them, and helping to clean up (such as washing their silverware and dishes).
Take an afternoon to visit elderly in their homes. Again ... just the gift of your time and love is all you need to really impact someone's day! Trust us, these are the experiences you'll always remember.
Community Service Outreach
We'll get you teamed up for a variety of projects. You'll be able to help teach about how to prevent health and hygiene related issues happening in this part of the world. You don't even need any special education — you'll work alongside an organization that makes these causes their purpose! There's a number of ways you can offer your help.
A main focus here is fighting the battle of malaria, which is a leading cause of death ... especially in children under five. You'll learn about ways to combat this problem by supplying and teaching about mosquito nets, which greatly reduce the instances of malaria infection.
Another area of concern is having clean bathrooms available and the organization you'll be teaming up with has completed projects building new bathrooms in the past! This was an area that really needed an upgrade as it was in an area of high use.
This is the new bathroom after project completion — looking pretty good, but more importantly, it's clean and functioning.
Support Other Organizations With Important Causes
There are a number of organizations in Africa that are doing amazing work. Especially while you're traveling and participating in excursions anyways, you can seek out and opt to go with the companies like that!
For example, you want to go see and get up close with all of your favorite African animals right?
The Uganda Education Wildlife Centre is focused on rescuing and rehabilitating your favorite safari animals, like elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, and some of the country's rarest birds. A "behind the scenes" entrance ticket allows you to help with animal feeding and health — that may mean sharing breakfast with a baby elephant or racing a cheetah for lunch! Your contribution also helps to maintain the Centre's rehabilitation projects. Here's all about the Education Wildlife Centre, so you can plan your weekend visit!
When you check out the chimpanzees, you can help by choosing The Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust — they rescue orphaned and confiscated chimps and provide them a home where they can peacefully recover from previous trauma. You get to see these chimps while also helping fund a safe home for them, just by visiting; win-win. And bonus ... it's on an island on the lake near your home so you can visit any weekend!
Use this blog post to help plan your trip there.
Even where you shop can make a difference. Check for fair trade certificates for companies who are interested in getting ethically sourced ingredients or supplies for their products. There are also places who sell locally made pottery, baskets, jewelry and other souvenirs where the money goes back to artist.
Want to get involved by volunteering in Africa for a semester?
Join ILP's Humanitarian Program! We are currently accepting applications online and have a spot waiting for you to join one of our groups there.