Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Uganda from $280

Video and Photos

Teaching english at 5-6 years old kids
Teaching english at 5-6 years old kids
Very touching experience!!
Very touching experience!!
Nursery school
Nursery school
Lovely time with these amazing kids
Lovely time with these amazing kids
Pose with a view
Pose with a view
Volunteer Photos
Volunteer Photos
Selfie with Children
Selfie with Children
Classroom Photo
Classroom Photo

About

Trusted by 110,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer programs in Uganda and 50+ other destinations around the world.

You can choose from 7 volunteer project options in Uganda and give back for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks. Your Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in a volunteer house, with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers every year, so before you even depart for Uganda, you’ll receive outstanding personalized service from your expert Volunteer Program Manager and exclusive access to superior pre-departure volunteer training.

With IVHQ, you can expect to establish real connections within the local community while supporting projects that make a genuine difference.

Highlights
  • IVHQ’s Uganda program is available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday of every month
  • Highly affordable program fees starting from $270 - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • You’ll be joining between 5 and 15 other IVHQ volunteers who start in Uganda each month
  • You’ll be traveling with IVHQ, the volunteer travel experts, and joining a network of 110,000+ volunteers. Our outstanding safety systems and track record set us apart, we are the world’s safest organization
  • Your efforts will have a positive impact because our programs are community-driven with a focus on supporting long-term local needs

Questions & Answers

I originally googled 'volunteer trips in Africa' and IVHQ was by far the cheapest. It's around $150 per week which includes food, accommodation and transfers to placement.

Reviews

92%
based on 39 reviews
  • Impact 8.8
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 8.9
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 31 - 39 of 39
Default avatar
Kenzie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IVHQ Uganda Volunteer Trip

The accommodations of the program were great. I always felt safe in the complex. The staff was great and I am still great friends with most of them and still keep in contact. David, the Volunteers2Uganda program leader, was great at making sure my placement suited me and helped relocate me to a different placement when I was not satisfied with my first choice. My placement at a nursery school was amazing and I plan to go back this Christmas and see the children and teachers again!

What would you improve about this program?
I think that some of the staff puts a lot of pressure on the volunteers to continue donating money to them and the program, which is fine, but I know that many of the volunteers have fundraised their money to get to Uganda and do not have hundreds of dollars laying around. I also feel that some of the staff leaders forget about the reason why they run this program, which is to help their local community. They tend to get involved in the politics of it and have thrown away partnerships with great nonprofits because of a fear that they were "stealing" the volunteers. Other than that, I think the program has made a LOT of improvements to help it be the best experience for the volunteers.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Kenzie, Thanks for taking the time to review your experience volunteering in Uganda with IVHQ. It's great to hear you felt safe and supported when in country. Thanks for the suggested improvements re. volunteer donations, we have passed this onto our IVHQ Uganda Program Manager Willie and he will follow up directly with our local team about this. It's great to hear that you plan to be back at Christmas and we look forward to seeing you then. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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

Affordable, Incredible Experience in Uganda (IVHQ)

This past summer I was able to travel to Uganda through International Volunteer Headquarters and I must say it offered a truly life changing experience. I fell in love with the culture, the people, my students...everything! I spent my time in Uganda teaching English and Math at Royal Nursery School in Bwebajja. The local teachers were incredible and so open to trying to new things. My students were truly the most beautiful children in the world! They were eager to learn and their bright smiles will melt your heart. The local staff were absolutely incredible as well. They offered a helping hand at every moment and there wasn't a single time I didn't feel comfortable. We lived in a compound in a small village called Mutungo where I befriended many of the amazing locals. I lived with approximately 20-30 other volunteers from all over the world at any given time. It was an amazing way to meet incredible people and I made friends I know I will have for a life time! I was able to travel affordably on the weekends and went to some of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life. From a nine hour hike through the beautiful mountainous region in Sipi, to a coffee tour on a local farm and a night bus ride for a weekend in Rwanda, I must say each and every moment was incredible! I highly recommend this program to anyone considering applying. It is far more affordable than most other programs similar to this one and I can guarantee you will leave your heart in a beautiful place!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Emma, It's great to hear from you! Thanks for sharing a little from your experience volunteering in Uganda with IVHQ. We are so glad that you felt comfortable when in Uganda and were supported by our local team throughout your stay. It sounds like you had an incredible time in your free time as well which is what travel abroad is all about. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we hope to see you next summer.

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

reverse.

When I first thought about volunteering in Uganda I was only thinking about myself and how it would help me in my life. I thought it would make me appreciate what I have in America, how thankful I should be for having loving parents and friends, and the education I have received here. However I found my experience to bring forth different emotions. It's hard to put into words the feelings I experienced as I stepped inside the dirt floored classroom, or when I saw little children walking miles with jugs of water to take back to their families. They say you experience culture shock when you live in a different country. But I didn't feel it, I felt nothing but joy and happiness when I was with the children and locals. They were all so nice and so willing to help. Can't find many people like that in America. Although I didn't experience culture shock when just was in Uganda, I have experienced it everyday since I've been back in America. I miss the simplicity of life, the welcoming from everyone, and the constant happiness. I have never met a group of students who were more willing to learn than those in Uganda. They love life, it's that simple. So instead of only thinking about myself before I went to uganda, I now cannot stop thinking about others, I constantly remind myself how happy those kids were, and how happy life can truly be in America, helping others has become my passion and I would do anything to bring a smile to someone else's face.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Allison, Thanks for sharing a little from your experience volunteering in Uganda. It sounds like you had a really special experience, one that will stay with you for life. Thanks for being an IVHQer! We hope to see you back on another IVHQ program soon.

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

Memoire of a doctor in Uganda

My unique story of my time in Uganda (among many others) is the following: on my first medical outreach program in the local communities, I met a man with osteomyelitis (a bone infection) resulting from a third degree burning wound the man had had for about 10 years at the time I met him that day. He could not use his leg anymore and had his lower leg folded against his upper leg, wrapped up in a sheet. The wound was severely infected and pus was coming out of it and parts of the bone were even exposing. The man was paralyzed (third degree burning had burned the nerves so he had no feeling in his leg). He had never seen a doctor before, so we decided to treat the his wound with the primitive tools that we had brought with us. We cleaned the wound with antiseptic and tried to drain the pus with the needle of a syringue. That we applied local anti-bacterial cream and put a band-aid on the wound and started oral antibiotic therapy, though it was obvious that he needed IV antibiotics but he could not afford that.
This was my first case as a medical student in a 3 week medical program in Uganda and yet I was been confronted with a situation that I could not solve. We tried later to fix an ambulance to bring him to the hospital but still, who would pay for his treatment once he would get there? I went to Uganda to help, but sometimes you cannot help everyone. But your presence there shall not be unnoticed. At least I was there for this man and I actually tried to do the best I could. And that is how he will remember me. As a doctor that at least tried to save his limb and his life, for free. He will have the feeling that at least someone was looking after him, although he could not cure him. I found consolation in this.

What would you improve about this program?
The pre-communication. I was going to work at the medical placement in Uganda, but I didn't know exactly what to bring. It turned out that there were no examination gloves and no hand alcohol for personal hygiene. In a country with a high HIV prevalence and a risk of transmitting other contagious diseases this should have been mentioned at first, so every volunteer can bring this for himself.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi there Jef.
Thank you for sharing such a detailed first hand account of your experience volunteering in Uganda. Thanks for being an IVHQer.

Default avatar
Jim
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The more you give, the more you get!

The time I spent in Uganda with V2U in February/March 2015 was (once again) a simply great experience for me. You gotta love the smaller organization and the friendly and thankful people around your area and in the country. I did the teaching programm and I was lucky that I could go to a school where I didn't simply replace a teacher and his work (which is unfortunately quite often the case), but I hat the opportunity to lead the class on my own, of course - if needed - with the help and advices of the other friendly teachers at the school. The programm in Uganda is a great place to be, I enjoyed it very much but as always, you have to remember, the volunteer programms are only as good as you want them to be, so be open minded, show some will to learn smth and share experiences and contribute something more than a "simple" service (helpful goods)!

What would you improve about this program?
The volunteers should get a better preparation for their placements. This should be contribued by the volunteers itself, for example with book about the different placements (not about the programm at all!). This leads to get informed well about the specific place where the volunteer helps.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jim, Thanks for sharing a little bit about your experience volunteering with IVHQ in Uganda. It’s great to hear that your teaching project was what you were expecting. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ!

Default avatar
LelaB
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

I absolutely would NOT recommend this program!

As a former IVHQ volunteer, I’m disappointed to say that IVHQ doesn't appear to properly vet their Uganda program or take volunteer concerns seriously. I was placed in an illegal, unregistered orphanage during my June 2013 placement and returned to Uganda in September of 2013 (independent of IVHQ) to continue to seek resolution for these children. The Ugandan government ordered all children removed from the home and yet IVHQ’s local partner insisted that his volunteers return to help facilitate construction so this abusive institution could reopen. I took my concerns all the way to the IVHQ director, but was disappointed at his complacency and lack of communication. In my opinion, the director of the Uganda program (a staff member of International Volunteer Network/ IVN) is corrupt and doesn’t have sufficient regard for the wellbeing of his volunteers. I’m certainly not alone in that opinion. A lengthy recounting of recent events is posted on my blog. Please, please, please demand to know your placements before you get on foreign soil. Research IVHQ’s incountry partners and your actual placement before turning over your money.

I blogged the events in a series of 5 blog posts on my blog, Lucky Break Blog.

After waiting 2 full weeks for any sort of acknowledgement of my concerns from the IVHQ director, he managed to delete my post at the IVHQ Facebook within 90 minutes and reply, in part:

“…while we have said we will treat any allegations she makes seriously, providing she has proof, all we have received so far are very dramatic allegations with no base which makes it difficult for us to look into things further.”

The IVHQ director hasn’t asked me for a thing. Would he like the police reports? Eyewitness accounts of the director of the International Volunteer Network trying to muscle his way into my hotel after the IVHQ director told him not to meet with me? I’d be happy to engage IVHQ in a conversation and answer any questions they may have and provide any proof they seek. The problem is: they’re not concerned with critical opinions of the program. They dismiss and move onto the next group of potential volunteers. Shameful.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Lela,

As outlined to you in our previous email correspondence, we have taken a number of steps to address these complaints after we first heard from you. However, your initial complaints were hard to address as you rung the office and would not give us your name, which made us suspicious and it was very difficult to ascertain how legitimate the complaints were. You were also contacting us 3 months after your 1 week program had finished, whereas we would have liked to know about these concerns at the time of your program. The complaints we received over this time were not made by volunteers currently on the program, but volunteers who had been there with you and did not send us their concerns until 2/3 months after completing their programs. We contacted current volunteers on the Uganda program and they notified us they were happy with the program.

If volunteers have serious concerns, it is important they contact us immediately, so we can address these concerns.

Regardless, our volunteers should not have been placed at the orphanage in question, and we have discussed this at length with our program coordinator in Uganda. Despite the fact the orphanage needed volunteer assistance, if it was not conforming with requirements from local authorities, there is no way our volunteers should have been placed there and upon this incident occurring and complaints received, we have taken the following action:

- We have had held daily phone discussions with the IVHQ Uganda Coordinator since issues came to light 3 weeks ago from June/July volunteers.

- Arrangements have been made for an IVHQ staff member to visit the Uganda program in 2 weeks to look at the program and the complaints in depth with local staff. Our Executive Director will be following up with a visit to Uganda 2 weeks later.

- The Uganda program isn't accepting volunteers until we are happy with the outcomes of our visits and we have addressed these concerns raised by volunteers.

At IVHQ we treat all feedback very seriously and we look into any complaints we receive.

Default avatar
upsetbrit
8/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Explaining costs before placement...

I first will say that I had a great time with my flat mates while in Uganda. I enjoyed my program but am very disappointed with the in country coordinator. From the moment i arrived in Uganda it felt like it was all money, money, money. It really kind of left me in a tight spot. Then being told to ask my friends for more to cover costs?

That should have been covered before I left home. I will not be using IVHQ again.

p.s. It wasn't the locals that were bothering me for money, it was the program trying to get me to pay for everything!

Default avatar
CanadianEng
5/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Not impressed

I continually felt like I was only valued as a source of income for the program as a walking wallet. The other volunteers I worked with during my time at the specific program I worked at felt the same way. There were many occasions where they just flat out expected us to buy/pay for things that we were not expecting.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thank you for your feedback. IVHQ participants are there to volunteer and should not expected to make donations to their volunteering placements; however, we are sorry to hear you felt pressured to do so. African people often see volunteers as very rich and will not be afraid to ask for things, we therefore encourage our volunteers not to be afraid to say “no.” We have passed on your concerns to our local staff and we trust your time spent volunteering was still of great value to your placement.

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

LOVED THIS PROGRAM!!!! :)

I cannot say enough about the IVHQ Uganda program!! Right from the beginning of my application process with IVHQ, I was given an incredible amount of support preparing for my travels abroad. Upon arrival in Uganda, I was greeted by two of the warmest smiles: James and Joyce. They instantly made me feel comfortable, which was particularly appreciated as I traveled from the US on my own and have never been to an African country. I had no idea what to expect and right from the beginning, I knew it was going to be an absolutely unforgettable experience. I worked in an orphanage not far from the capital city of Kampala.
While I was there, there were about 10 other volunteers at any given time. Many of them did some fundraising before they went abroad so they would have additional funds to spend on projects at the orphanage. While I was there, the volunteers developed additional sports programs and bought new equipment, fixed up the schoolhouse, and helped out with the daily tasks. The accommodations at the orphanage were much better than anything I could have pictured. The rooms were comfortable and although there was no electricity, the program coordinators were more then happy to charge our cameras and cell phones for us. The kids were the most happy, beautiful little angels I have ever met in my life. They were so full of life and love. Two months after my return, I find myself thinking about them often throughout the day. I cannot wait to go back to Uganda and get to hug them all a few more times!! I would recommend this program to anyone. I have a billion positive things to say about it, but not a single negative comes to mind. I can truly say this was the most life changing and incredible experience and I owe it all to IVHQ and the Uganda team. "Often we set out in the world to make a difference in the lives of others, only to discover we have made a difference in our own."