volunteering - faqs

Who can volunteer?

The short answer is anyone!  Our Skilled Volunteer Scheme has proved particularly popular among individuals with a background in early year’s education (teaching, psychology, and speech and language therapy) and also with management consultants. That said we welcome all individuals who are flexible, able to work in a team, and have good communication skills. Our Student volunteer Scheme has attracted students from many universities studying a wide variety of subjects.   Our volunteers also need to be aged 18 or over, and must be able to speak English fluently.

How much does it cost?

Volunteers are required to raise or donate a minimum of £200 per week prior to arriving in Uganda. The funds you raise directly support our projects, and you’ll see first-hand how this makes a difference to the communities we work with. We’ll provide you with lots of fundraising ideas to help you reach your target.  


Your trip includes:-

  • Volunteer information guide with lots more details about the programme, what to take and prepare before you leave, and information about life in Uganda.

  • Support from our UK team with lots of easy ideas to help you reach your fundraising target, and on-hand to answer any questions before you go.

  • Induction to prepare you for your trip (In London or over Skype for non-London based volunteers)

  • Accommodation in our secure and comfortable Volunteer House in Jinja for the duration of your time volunteering. Our house is in a beautiful residential area overlooking Lake Victoria. The house has a kitchen to cook your own meals, electricity, running water and internet

  • Pick-up from Entebbe airport and transfer to our Volunteer House in Jinja

  • Orientation, structured supervision and support in Uganda. You’ll be shown around town and fully briefed about the project and the work you’ll be doing.

  • Transport each day to the communities you’ll be Volunteering in with our local staff. This is by motorbike or 4×4 vehicle

  • Lunch each day that you volunteer with our in-country staff

What’s not included in the cost?

  • Flights to Uganda and visa (from £350 to £800). Flight prices vary depending on time of year and airline

  • Food/subsistence whilst in Uganda (apart from Lunch during the week). Uganda is an extremely affordable county, the amount you spend will depend on how often you eat out, drinks, weekend travel and trips etc. There is a kitchen in the Volunteer House for you to prepare meals.

  • Travel Insurance

  • Medical expenses where relevant (e.g. vaccinations, malaria tablets).

  • Transfers back to Entebbe Airport (or any other onward travel) at the end of your volunteering.

Do I require a Visa for Uganda?

You will require a Visa to enter Uganda, although this can be obtained at the airport on arrival in Uganda. A standard single-entry visit visa costs $100 or £60 and you will need to bring cash on arrival.

What hours will I work and will I get any free time?

You’ll mainly be working Monday to Friday during the days, with a break for lunch (times may vary depending on weather and other factors). You’ll have the evenings and weekends to relax, explore, and take trips.

What will I be doing?

This will largely depend on the length of your stay, and the need at the particular time. However, each day you’ll likely travel to different communities with our experienced local staff to help set up new Play Schemes, and support existing ones. You’ll have the opportunity to get involved in the following tasks:-


  • Train mothers to set-up new Play Schemes teaching them how to make and play games using local materials, and how to manage and run the Schemes.

  • Observe and support our existing Play Schemes and work with mothers and children to improve teaching and get involved in play activities.

  • Deliver skills workshops for the mothers who run our Play Schemes. Workshops can be in topics such as health and hygiene, women’s empowerment and early childhood development.

  • Capacity building and training for our in-country team. If you’re an experienced professional and have management, marketing, communication or other skills which could further develop our staff, please do let us know


What else is there to do in Jinja, Uganda and the surrounding area?

Jinja is nicknamed the adventure capital of East Africa. Situated on the source of the River Nile and by Lake Victoria the town has an enormous variety of sports on offer, including rafting, kayaking, tubing, fishing, horseriding. Elsewhere in Uganda:

We can advise and help you to book trips at weekends, or after your volunteering



How will I communicate in the villages?

All Lively Minds staff speak English as do most of the Ugandans you’ll meet in Jinja, and other major towns. The people you’ll be working with in the villages generally don’t speak English and have their own local dialect. Our staff will be translating for you and you’ll use your communication skills, gestures and facial expression to interact with the women and children.


What vaccinations will I require?

This will depend on which vaccinations you have already had. You should check with your GP in advance of travelling. You’ll also need to take malaria tablets whilst in Uganda, but this is something that your GP/ travel nurse can advise you on.


There’s been some negative press about “volunteer tourism” could volunteering do more harm than good?

Most of the criticism is about placements which encourage aid dependency, or where volunteers are carrying out roles without having sufficient expertise. These concerns however do not apply to our scheme. You’ll be working alongside our staff, following a structured programme and will receive training. The focus is on sharing skills to build the abilities and confidence of local women and children. The projects you set up will be run by the community themselves, and so are completely self-sustaining and empowering. In addition, our staff will continue to supervise and support the projects after you leave. The feedback from our beneficiaries is that they hugely value having international volunteers as it makes them feel special and gives them opportunities to learn about new cultures.


If you have any other question then please contact Alison at alison@livelyminds.org or call 0207 097 8636


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