Volunteer abroad in Tanzania with Raleigh International - Best Gap Year Program

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Raleigh International has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

SWASH project in Peluhanda (photo credit: Steve Freeman)
SWASH project in Peluhanda (photo credit: Steve Freeman)
Trekking in Iringa
Trekking in Iringa
Filling tubes with soil for planting pine seedlings
Filling tubes with soil for planting pine seedlings
Day 5 of trek
Day 5 of trek
Construction of toilet block at Kiberege Magereza primary school
Construction of toilet block at Kiberege Magereza primary school
Female sanitation block in a rural village Peluhanda in the south of Tanzania.
The end of the 250km 20 day trek! Some very happy and tired faces!

About

Raleigh Expedition is an international volunteering program open to all and engaging young people from around the world. Expedition is one of four programs delivered by the youth-driven development charity, Raleigh International.

We believe young people everywhere can change the world. So, we empower young people (aged 17-24) with the skills, experience and connections to be leaders of change.

Tanzania is a country with exotic wildlife, rich cultures, friendly people, and Mount Kilimanjaro. Our program engages volunteers in creating long-lasting change through hands-on projects that tackle environmental issues, access to education for all, and alleviate poverty.

Expeditions run in Tanzania for 4, 7 and 10 weeks throughout the year, so you can join the program on your gap year.

Raleigh Expedition is one of the first UK programs to be accredited by the Gap Year Association (GYA) and recognized by TeenLife as a Top 15 Most Popular Gap Program in 2020.

Highlights
  • Work with local schools to develop their sanitation and toilet facilities and improve attendance on the Community project.
  • Help tackle reforestation in protected areas on the Environmental project.
  • Live in a host home with other volunteers and work with young people and community leaders.
  • Take part in an exhilarating Adventure Leadership Trek through the Southern Highlands. Learn camp-craft and survival skills, sleep under the stars, and trek through stunning landscapes. You'll visit the Ruaha National Park to learn about conservation.
  • Contribute to achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs).

Impact

We’re holding development projects to account using technology, developing the skills to run behaviour change campaigns and reducing the impact of climate change on communities most at risk. Youth-driven change is getting things done!

Nearly 2,000 amazing young people from across the world led Raleigh International’s work in 2018 across five countries, impacting the lives of over 40,000.

But that’s only part of the story. Young people are continuing to take action in their own communities, from creating sustainable start-ups, to challenging gender inequality and calling for action on the climate emergency and human rights.

If we are going to finally defeat poverty and injustice, find sustainable ways to protect our planet and achieve the Global Goals, young people must be the ones taking the lead and driving the solutions. Read our 2018 impact report at: raleighinternational.org/our-work/our-impact/

Want to volunteer abroad in 2020? Register your interest for our 5 week program in November.

Now more than ever, the communities and partners we work with need our support. So, we are exploring the potential to run 5 week programs from November to December in Costa Rica and/or Nepal, provided it is safe to do so. These shorter programs are aimed at individuals who want to make a meaningful impact while traveling abroad during a short school or career break. Get in touch to express your interest.


Questions & Answers

It was a mixed set up; as a communications officer, volunteer manager (VM), I spent a lot of time at field base working alongside permanent country staff, as well as fellow volunteer managers. When on project support visits, we would travel mostly with other VM's as well as deputy operations managers (also a volunteering role) and occasionally permanent staff, and would stay in projects with...

Reviews

9.75 Rating
based on 16 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 8 of 16
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Holly
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience in Tanzania

I flew to Tanzania in February 2020, hoping to participate in a 10-week Raleigh Expedition. (My time was very sadly cut short due to the covid-19 pandemic, however I'm so grateful l got 5 amazing weeks.)
Arriving at our induction in Morogoro, I was initially struck by the warm welcome and the sense of community among the staff and volunteers. These were people who hardly knew each other, coming from many different countries, and yet everyone got along so well!
My first few weeks were spent trekking through the Iringa region, led by two local guides who were both brilliant. It was definitely a challenge, but our group managed to remain in good spirits throughout! The days were filled with stunning views, deep conversations and endless card games. On our rest day, we got to visit a Maasai village and learn all about the Maasai culture and way of living, which was really exciting!
I spent my final days in the country (before returning home due to coronavirus) living in the wonderful little village of Mtwango. We were working on a Natural Resource Management Project, which involved working alongside the villagers to plant trees for the village. We were also planning and carrying out primary school lessons and village meetings to raise awareness about climate change and the importance of replanting the trees in the future. A highlight for me was definitely living in my host home. I felt so welcomed by my lovely host mama and her daughter (who was a few years older than me). They made every effort to make us feel comfortable and at home, and I was touched by their kindness towards me when I was unwell on one of my first nights staying in their home. I'm still in contact with them now!
I made some amazing friends and experienced some amazing things- and I'm planning to return to Tanzania next year with Raleigh!!

Default avatar
Alexis
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

June - Sep Expedition

I completed the Raleigh Expedition in 2018, where we spent time in 2 rural villages finishing the second half of the build of hygiene facilities for 2 local schools. We were lucky to be able to organise and throw an opening ceremony where we had 100s of people venture from surrounding villages as well as government officials attend. To have the opportunity to actually live with local families and fully integrate into their lives and culture was invaluable. It was definitely a challenge, but the support from managers was incredible, and I was lucky to make some lifelong friends too. I can say with complete honesty that this was the best experience of my life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Throw yourself into it. You will never in your life get an opportunity like this again. There are so many bright people from all over the world who you get to work with and actually make a difference to the lives of people who are so less fortunate than yourself. Embrace the culture and try to learn as much as you can.
Default avatar
Avril
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Opportunity!

I took part in the Borneo expedition with Raleigh International in 2011 and it was an incredible experience. I knew I wanted to travel on my gap year, but didn't have the courage to go completely by myself. The pre expedition weekend was an excellent way to meet people and who I planned further travel with around South East Asia after the expedition.

I learnt so much about myself while on expedition. I feel like my attitude to travel, different cultures and my overall personality changed for the better. Since coming home from the expedition, I think having working with Raleigh on my CV helped me stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs and further education. I am now a teacher and I remember my interview for my teacher training course being mostly talking about my experiences from my Raleigh expedition.

Now I am a teacher, I am lucky enough to be the Outdoor Coordinator for my school and every couple of years I run expeditions for my students, so I essentially get paid to travel to amazing destinations! Last year I took the students to Tanzania. It is an amazing country with very friendly people. The wildlife is incredible, especially on Safari and would really recommend it!

The experience that you get on an expedition is nothing like going to a similar location on holiday. You are fully immersed into the culture and you get to learn and see so much. I cannot recommend an expedition with Raleigh International enough!

Default avatar
Jon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One Of The Best Life Changing Decisions You Will Make

For me personally, signing up as a Volunteer Project Manager was one of the best things I’ve done. After taking early retirement, I was looking for a new purpose in life and my Raleigh experience provided that.
As a Volunteer Project Manager on the Spring 2018 expedition I worked with teams of volunteers to help construct a handwashing station and renovate an outdated toilet block at a village primary school and, in another village, to help establish a tree nursery working with a Tanzanian forestry conservation partner. Throughout the expedition I worked with some amazing and inspiring people – Raleigh staff; other Volunteer Managers from very different backgrounds; local partners; Tanzanian families we lived with and the volunteers themselves. It gave me a real buzz to see many of the volunteers grow as the programme progressed; from uncertain, often homesick teenagers to confident young adults. It was also brilliant to get to see and experience ‘real’ Africa – way off the tourist trails, in very rural villages, living with local families, knowing I was helping to make a real difference.
Mind you, being a Volunteer Project Manager is no picnic. It was often hard and uncomfortable. It’s a long time since I’d shared a small room with other people and I’d never before gone for any great length of time without a sit-down flushing toilet, running water and electricity. That said, all project homestays used by Raleigh are vetted and, although basic, they were clean and safe. Working in close proximity with such a diversity of different people could also be challenging at times. Some of the volunteers had personal issues or issues with each other that needed handling sensitively. But it’s not supposed to be easy - it’s challenging and that makes the experience all the richer and more rewarding.
And Raleigh stays with you – there is a strong legacy. The experience, particularly overcoming challenges on expedition, has made me more adaptable and confident. I’m still in touch with people on my expedition and even now I often think of some of the amazing places I visited, people I met and things we did. I’ve also become a more active citizen, getting more involved with my local community and various causes. I’m still in touch with Raleigh; helping out at information events in my area and I’ve been accepted as a Volunteer Project Manager again and hope to go on another expedition next year.
My advice? Just do it – you won’t regret it but you might regret letting the opportunity go.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Just do it! You won't regret it but you might regret letting the opportunity go. Once on the programme, get wholeheartedly involved. They more you put in the more you will get out of it.
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Jess
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

You won't regret it!

Choosing to volunteer with Raleigh 3 years ago was one of the best decisions of my life. No other programme pushes you to grow and develop in the way Raleigh does. Not only do you learn key skills (project management, leadership, resilience etc) but you learn so much about yourself and what you're capable of, both individually and as part of a truly diverse and international team. Going through the highs, lows & challenges together is what makes it so special, all while making real, positive change through sustainable projects.

If you're thinking about volunteering on a Raleigh Expedition, don't hesitate! I gained friends for life, connections all over the world, and an outlook that has brought so much fulfilment and focus into everything I do.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Learn some swahili before you go and get stuck in!
Default avatar
Saraniya
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-changing experience!!

I cannot believe that it has been over a year since I was in Tanzania. My expedition with Raleigh International was one of the best choices I ever made!!

I spent 12 weeks in a beautiful country working on a community development project while learning about the Tanzanian culture, learning Swahili and making lifelong friends. This is so cheesy, but I really did learn a lot about myself and my expedition really strengthened my passion for working in the international development sector.

After my time in Tanzania I worked for an international development organisation and now in a couple of months I am actually off another expedition with Raleigh but this time in Nepal and I am so excited!!

I would recommend Raleigh to anyone and everyone. Whatever your passion is, a Raleigh expedition allows you to see places you might never have the opportunity to see, meet people you might never have the opportunity to meet and work on projects that have a long-lasting impact on both the communities that you work in as well as the volunteers themselves.

Default avatar
Camille
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Experience

Going on Expedition with Raleigh in 2016 was the most fulfilling time of my life so far. I have felt passionate about international development for a long time and studied this at university, so this was the perfect opportunity to use the knowledge I gained, and experience this in a real world context.
The 250km trek through Iringa was hands-down the most physically and mentally challenging thing I have ever experienced, but it was an incredible achievement for me personally. Having never even been camping before it was definitely a shock at first! But I quickly got used to it; enjoying being outdoors so much and away from social media/the 9-5 routine. Within the first couple of days I had already gained such strong bonds with my fellow volunteers, and we are still friends to this day. I also gained valuable leadership skills which massively helped to build my confidence. By leading the group twice during the trek and delegating tasks, I was able to learn more about myself and accept that you don't necessarily need to be an extrovert to be a good leader.
The second and last phase for me in Tanzania was the SWASH (School Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) project, in a rural village called Peluhanda. As a part of this project, we contributed to the construction of a toilet block for the female students at the local primary school, in collaboration with a local NGO, Southern Highlands Participatory Organization (SHIPO). We also carried out awareness raising activities and action days, centred around improving hygiene practices for the students as well as the wider community. This was one of my favourite aspects of the expedition as it was inspiring seeing how enthusiastic the children were to learn. Knowing that even just a small difference was being made in their lives was humbling. I also really enjoyed living in a homestay and immersing myself in the Tanzanian culture - the people are so friendly and welcoming!
One year on from starting my expediton, I was lucky enough to get a job at Raleigh's head office in London, and I have been working here for just over 6 months. Overall, my experience with Raleigh has impacted me more than I can really put into words. I would recommend it to anyone!

man in nature
Miguel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time in Tanzania with Raleigh

If you are looking for adventure at every turn, an opportunity to challenge and develop yourself while making an impact to the lives of people in need, and meeting an array of likeminded, inspiring people, I recommend a Raleigh expedition. I signed up for a volunteer manager, communications officer position in Tanzania, Autumn 2017, and can safely say it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Disillusioned with London’s 9 to 5 cyclical and monotonous lifestyle, I hoped to immerse into a reality far different from my own, on the promise of gaining a perspective into a new style of living and working, while adopting and promoting the idea of being a global active citizen; experiencing, learning and making a difference somewhere other than my immediate surroundings. With Raleigh, you integrate with rural communities, living with host families and working with community members on projects geared towards sustainable development through young people, benefiting the communities who have a say and are actively involved in the Raleigh operations from the start.

The community members I met were incredibly welcoming and generous, eager to share what little they had contributing to the experience of feeling like having a home away from home and re-enforcing the spirit of placing human relationships at the heart of priorities, something I gladly re-discovered and wholeheartedly embraced; against the backdrop of rural simplicity, I was humbled and grateful for such an experience. On top of this you live and work in teams of fellow volunteers from all over the world, including host country volunteers.

In Tanzania, Raleigh concurrently run water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects based around schools that are severely lacking in sanitation facilities and practice awareness and natural resource management (NRM) projects focusing on conservation of forests and other natural areas, which are also livelihoods, crucial to economic growth. Additionally, you have a chance to embark on an adventure phase based around developing youth leadership, which involves a 19-day trek through rural Iringa, passing remote, unexplored, continuously diverse and breath-taking areas of Tanzania’s Southern Highlands, a highlight of which includes a safari day through Ruaha National Park, and a chance at a close-up experience of Tanzania’s wildlife.

Expedition is challenging and that is one of its best traits. You should be open minded and adaptable as the conditions will not be something you are used to. Once I overcame the challenges, I felt empowered, my confidence built, I found out I was tougher than I knew and ready to face the future with a newfound resilience and determination, all inspired by my three months with Raleigh. I took away all the above as well as the best of friendships and memories shared with people that inspired and challenged me every day. There aren’t enough words or descriptions that will do the experience justice, and that is the point. It is up to every individual to go out, step away from comfort and familiarity and make it their own.

Read my full story