FSD JINJA-UGANDA is committed to advancing professional global learning in the context of promoting community-based development. We strive to achieve community – driven goals through asset based development and global education service exchange in Uganda.

Our volunteer and internship program provides an opportunity for students, professionals and individuals to gain hands – on experience in sustainable development and insight into the Ugandan culture. This is obtained through directly working with our partner community based organizations and living with host families. The volunteer and intern opportunities are thoughtfully designed to help participants build their career while having lasting impact in the communities they serve.

Program implementation is done in the Jinja region of Eastern Uganda in the Districts of Jinja, Buikwe, Mayuge and Iganga. Jinja Municipality is our major town; the second largest town and commercial center in Uganda with roughly 90,000 people.



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Yes, I recommend this program

FSD Solar Company Internship

I spent two months in Jinja, Uganda as part of FSD's program. During my time there I lived with a host family and worked at a small solar company focused on bringing electricity to off-grid communities. At my host organization I got to experience the sales and business processes a local organization used, as well as lead a small project between a local school and my host organization. I really enjoyed the experience and felt like it gave me a very authentic experience of the country. The site team was always available by phone and I was within a ~30 minute trip of their headquarters, so there was always support available. In addition, at the beginning of the program there's a training that walks you through how to get around and other unique practices that most Americans aren't used to. I'd highly recommend the program and Uganda itself is a great place to travel to as well!

What would you improve about this program?
I was really happy with how it went, but one improvement may be adding additional structure to the internship at the host organization itself.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Summer in Jinja

I traveled to Uganda for the first time in 2018 and was able to have a fulfilling and productive experience with FSD. Before departure, I appreciated how the site team reached out to chat with me about any questions and concerns I had and made sure to answer them as fully as possible. While I was with my host organization in-country, I knew that while I was with them in a nearby community, the site team was available to contact at any point. Because of the leadership and structure at FSD Jinja, and its partnerships with various organizations in the community, I was able to work with a team of students to promote sustainability and live in the culture of the country. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone who is looking for a unique, sometimes uncomfortable, but highly rewarding experience.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Work in Education

I immensely enjoyed working in education with children and adolescents who were very clearly eager to learn. I was privileged enough to enjoy a beautiful bond with them and felt very much respected and trusted by the school and the surrounding community. I helped to promote good academic habits and develop education curricula. I think of my time at St Stephens School every single day with warm memories. I also developed personal skills by learning the process of writing a grant and collaborating with community members to pursue objectives THEY deemed to be necessary. Learning the process of how to properly engage the community and determine their needs based on their perspective is invaluable and a skill set i will surely be using time and again.

What would you improve about this program?
I think this program was well designed. For me personally, i was able to enjoy the entire experience as an adventure and a challenge
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Yes, I recommend this program

Jinja Summer Internship and Sustainable Development

The experience of being able to come to this country and work with the people there was something that I never expected to have the impact on me that it did. I went there not knowing really what to expect and was blown away with how friendly everyone was and how welcome I felt. This experience was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I will carry the memories and experience that I received in everything that I do from this point forward. If someone is looking for an experience that will give you an opportunity that is not normally offered into experience something that you’ve not experienced before than this is the opportunity that you’re looking for. I have made lifelong friends and worked with people that I would not have had the opportunity to. I strongly recommend this program to anyone that wants to help make a difference and make new friends and family.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The answer to this question is similar to what I found to be the most nerve part for me. When you go here make Sure to view this as a learning experience and to keep an open mind. But I also know that you were going to have fun and be well taken care of. If you have any questions or have any problems feel free to reach out to the support network that you will build and with the people on site.
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Yes, I recommend this program

FSD Uganda Internship/Volunteer

My experience with this program was over-the-top of any expectations I had before participating. Not only were FSD staff supportive, experienced, knowledgable, and fun, the partner organization I was paired with really helped me integrate into the Jinja community and supported my learning experience. I think of both groups of leaders as family now! During my time in the program, I interned with Community Concerns Uganda (CCUg), working alongside two of their current micro-finance groups. These two groups showed interest in taking on a food-related, income-generating activity. Community members, CCUg Staff, and myself then took on a training project to cultivate oyster mushrooms. This experience has been the most highlighted project on my resume as an MPA student, majoring in International Development, particularly executing the work plan and budgeting aspect in a real setting.

If I have anything to share with future participants/students in this program, I would say really allow yourself to learn from the community you are immersed in and remain open-minded. Get involved in any and every community and cultural event that is presented to you. And really embrace participatory learning and sustainable development (which FSD staff does an amazing job of teaching during orientation). Your program may not be long, but the projects you help implement have the ability to have lasting impacts if you really focus on stakeholders in the community and resources available!


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

What originally inspired you to intern in Uganda with FSD?

I was approaching my final semester in university and knew the summer would be my last three month period where I would have complete freedom before a career, house, or family might prevent me from spending so many weeks abroad. So I knew I wanted to travel overseas. I also had a keen interest in visiting sub-Saharan Africa, as I had never ventured near there. At the same time, I wanted to continue to supplement my resume with an internship or some form of volunteer work, rather than just traveling around for the summer. I came across FSD and after reading their philosophy on development, I was sold! Uganda and Kenya are both countries FSD has programs in which are in sub-Saharan Africa, and I chose Uganda because it seemed more obscure and untapped to me.

Describe your day to day activities as an intern in Uganda.

Every day in Uganda was so very different, it's hard to describe anything close to a typical day - but that is what made it so special! I was usually able to ditch the alarm on my phone because the hens and roosters would wake me up just after sunrise. I would get ready for work and spend time with my family while eating breakfast as they prepared for the day as well. At work, I was usually one of the first to arrive and got started on whatever project was on the front-burner while also preparing for any community visits we had scheduled that day. Returning home in the early evening I would spend time chatting with my family, playing with my nephews, and watching the local news or TV soaps like The Hostel, Don't Mess With An Angel, or Marimar...all of which had me completely hooked! Nearly half the time our power was out either due to equipment failure or load shedding, so on those nights (which I actually enjoyed more without the distractions of TV) we spent a lot more time together just talking. After dinner at 10pm I turned out the lights and went to bed.

How has this experience impacted your future personally, professionally, and academically?

Personally, this has been a life changing experience. It's difficult to describe just how profoundly this kind of experience changes you and adds to your perspective, so I won't even try to encapsulate it here. All I can say is: if you can thrive in opportunities outside your comfort zone, go try this for yourself!

Professionally this has been an excellent asset to my resume. In job interviews, I can see the downright shocked impression on interviewers faces as I describe some of my experiences overseas. No matter what your career, an internship at FSD can help boost your credentials and show that you can succeed in an environment with so many hardships (whether they be language barriers, differing cultural norms, a completely new group of people you are surrounded by). What I find most interviewers or professional friends remarking is: "Wow, this is so impressive...I could never have done that!" Yes, they can and so can you. The first day overseas is the hardest part but once you make it through that, this experience will add so much value to your life both personally and professionally.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Dan Mugisa Byenkya

Job Title
Program Coordinator - Intern & Volunteer Support
Dan is the Local Program Coordinator for FSD JINJA-UGANDA. He strives to provide leadership that empowers young people to develop innovative solutions that can transform their lives and communities. Besides development work, he is passionate about website and graphics design, documentary filming and photography.

Dan has been supporting international volunteers and interns for the last seven years.
Dan Mugisa Byenkya

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory was when I traveled to Nairobi Kenya for the Young African Leadership Initiative program YALI RLC EA. The YALI program is a fellowship that works to equip young people with innovative leadership tools that they can use to influence change in their communities.

During the program, I got the opportunity to meet other like-minded participants from 14 countries in East and Central Africa. The different cultures among each one of us gave me an insight into the level of diversity of the African continent. I enjoyed exchanging ideas about how we can make Africa a better place and our hopes and dreams for the continent.

While on the program, we went on trips around Nairobi and learned more about the people and their culture.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working with FSD Jinja Uganda has helped me improve my leadership skills in terms of planning, decision making and problem-solving. It has given me an opportunity to work with people from different identities and cultural backgrounds different from my own. This has enabled me to gain a unique perspective on how to actively engage a diverse group of people in solving real-life ongoing community challenges.

I enjoy transferring all the knowledge I have acquired throughout my career experience to the young generation who aspire to change the world.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Most returning students share stories of reverse cultural shock that they experience after they returned home from their internship experience in Uganda. The strong attachment they build from their experiences in Ugandan culture, friendships, hospitality and project work is one which they hold dearly and makes it difficult for them to re-adjust back to their home.

Sometimes our students even come back to visit us in Uganda. This makes me appreciate the work and investment we do to ensure students have a great experience while in Uganda. It also encourages me to strive to provide memorable experiences for students in our program.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose the Group Engage program because it would give me the opportunity to learn how to work with different groups of people to address community challenges. Working together as a team, especially when you are in a new environment with different cultures, offers a unique way of learning how to come together to achieve a set goal.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

The structure, design, and impact of FSD’s program are designed to ensure positive outcomes both for students’ learning experiences and the development of grass-root communities in Uganda.

The structure of the program aims at providing a fair-trade learning experience that focuses on equipping students with hands-on experience while being immersed in a culture. And we work together with our students to address grassroots community development needs sustainably.

I am proud to see the team’s capacity to be able to multitask. Last year, we were successful in accomplishing so many tasks for management and administration, while also providing psycho-social support to in-country interns throughout the year.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Program design and a step by step action plan within a specified time frame is the biggest factor in being a successful company. I also believe teamwork and partnership building with local and international stakeholders plays a very big role in the growth and success of the company.

Amidst providing practical sustainable development training to all our participants, we always carry out reflection sessions with them at the beginning, middle, and end of the internship. The reflection sessions help our participants evaluate the purpose of their internship and the impact it has on their life experience, as well as the communities they work with. This provides a chance for participants to picture whether international development is what they would like to pursue as their career or not.

This component of the program is the essence of why students choose FSD.