On the banks of Lake Victoria in southeastern Uganda likes Kampala, its capital city. You’ll soon see the many sides of Kampala atop its hills — energizing markets, historic palaces, towering skyscrapers, fascinating wildlife, diverse peoples, and more. While Kampala has a rich face of international hotels in certain districts, it also struggles in areas that are in need of development from gender equality to conservation. However, the people are still friendly and welcoming despite the challenges they face. Volunteer abroad in Kampala for the most rewarding safari of a lifetime!
Popular Ways to Volunteer in Kampala
Several NGO’s are located in Kampala, and with a population that has doubled in the last ten years, they are always looking for volunteers to help them. By volunteering abroad in Kampala, you’ll have the opportunity to build skills in an international environment, especially the ability to adapt. Not to mention the good you’ll be doing!
Popular causes/projects in Kampala. Unfortunately, Kampala struggles in education, healthcare, and conservation. Kampala has a high youth population, and several orphanages need assistance in educating them with life skills. Many cases of HIV/AIDS are also prevalent, so organizations need volunteers are needed in health care centers. Volunteers interested in conservation can help preserve the wildlife and national parks from poaching and deforestation.
Short term volunteer programs in Kampala. If you’re looking to help through volunteering in Kampala, but short on time and money, Kampala offers a few projects that are less than three months long. You could volunteer in Kampala for a few weeks, an alternative spring break, or even a full summer. Internship opportunities are also available. The weather is fairly rainy all year, so there isn’t a best time of year to go.
Long term volunteer projects in Kampala. Staying for longer than three months to a couple years is best way to immerse yourself in the culture, make a larger impact, and gain more skills for your future. More options are available in a variety of fields for longer-term programs as well. You’ll also have more time to learn from the people and visit local places and nearby countries. Plus, you’ll have more opportunities to practice some Swahili!
Life in Kampala for Volunteers
Kampala offers volunteers many unique sites and activities in their free time. Drop by the Gadaffi Mosque, where you’ll capture some of the best views of Kampala, or stroll through the Uganda National Museum to learn about its cultural heritage. If you want to experience more history, visit Kasubi tombs and Wamala tombs, and later tour Kabaka’s Palace and Idi Amin’s torture chambers. Some other historic and beautiful sites include the Ba’hai Temple, Namirembe Cathedral, and Rubaga Cathedral. For a one-of-a-kind experience, head over to Entebbe Botanical Gardens to view a demo of Tarzan’s vine rope swinging and to spot over 300 different bird and plant species.
While you might have to dish out some money for activities and sightseeing here and there, volunteering in Kampala is affordable. Food and personal care are inexpensive, and while apartment rent may be costly in urban areas, you’ll be saving money by staying in group housing and homestay accommodations with your program. Kampala also offers a variety of public transportation options for about $5 — boda bodas (motorcycles), matatus (series of minibuses), and special hires (taxis).
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Kampala is a fairly safe place, but it’s worth mentioning the importance of exercising caution while you’re here. Although boda bodas are the fastest means of transportation, they can also be the most dangerous, especially during rush hours. You can arrange for a safer ride through SafeBoda by calling them or using their smartphone app. Keep your personal belongings in a safe place on you or in a locked place at your accommodation to avoid pickpocketing as well.
Make sure you’re up-to-date with vaccinations, and it’s recommended to receive the typhoid, rabies, tetanus, and yellow fever vaccinations before you go. You will also need to take a malaria prophylaxis during and after you volunteer in Kampala. Also, don’t drink tap water (traveler’s diarrhea is common) — buy bottled water instead. Ultimately, listen to your program coordinator’s advice on the best ways to stay safe in Kampala.
Your time volunteering here will be filled with memorable experiences. Savor the flavors of Motake (steamed, mashed green bananas), raft the headwaters of the Nile, and celebrate at a festival with the locals. Kampala thirsts for people like you to help them make the city a better place. Whether you’re interested in anything from business to humanities to conservation to law and more, you’ll gain skills in the field while making a positive impact on the lives of others.
Get even more groovy tips. Read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in Uganda.