The capital city of Uganda is Kampala and has a population of 42.86 million (as of 2017). Uganda is best known for it’s beautiful wildlife. It is home to 50% of the world’s population of Mountain Gorillas, 11% of the worlds bird population, and has 6.8% of the world’s butterfly species. Not only that, the cuisine there is incredible! Each tribe has it’s own staple food, making the experience as unique and diverse as their culture.
There are over 50 languages spoken in Uganda but the two official languages are English and Swahili – This means interacting with the locals will be a breeze. Ugandans’ are extremely welcoming and are interested in getting to know tourists and volunteers. The weather in Uganda is lovely and warm most of the year, reaching an average max of 29 degrees Celsius. The wet seasons run from March to May and October to November.
When travelling around towns, the most common form of transport is bicycle, but be careful when riding through the more built up parts of Uganda as road rules aren’t strictly followed. If bike riding isn’t your thing, there are local buses that move between major attractions and cars available for hire.
Uganda has a wide range of culturally engaging activities that are perfect for first time visitors. Here are our top three recommendations for an exciting and eye-opening experience.
1) Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to over half of the Mountain Gorillas in Africa, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Not only can you book to visit the Mountain Gorillas, but you can also hike within the forest and stay in a local village for a cultural experience. It is also one of Uganda’s best places to see many different bird species.
2) Murchison Falls
Check out the world’s most powerful waterfall on a wildlife-watching trip up the Victoria Nile. Murchison Falls National Park is one of Uganda’s best National Parks with the historic River Nile flowing through it. You will also experience some of the largest Nile Crocodiles, pods of Hippos and many species of water birds. Nearby on the open Savannah you will be able to see the endangered Rothschild Giraffes, Elephants, Antelopes, Lions and with a bit of luck the elusive Leopards.
3) Ndere Cultural Centre, Kampala
The Ndere Cultural Centre is home to Uganda’s best cultural dance group the Ndere Troupe. Enjoy dinner and a drink and watch the sun set as you enjoy the dance, singing and music presented by the Ndere Troupe as the celebrate the commonalities and rich differences of the many different tribal groups in Uganda.
Development Together currently offers internships and volunteer placements in rural Busia, near the Kenya border just 4 hours east of Kampala (the capital of Uganda). For the last two years we have been partnering with a local Not For Profit group called Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries who run Micro Economic Development Activities focusing on improving female economic independence, run a small Primary School for children in poverty, run a Re-usable Sanitary Napkin Project and provide education on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Family Planning.
Our Inter-Professional teams volunteer with out partner on local projects. These placements are suitable for Agriculture, Agri-Business, Architecture, Child Development, Commerce, Computing/IT, Education/Teaching, Engineering, Environment, Health (Nursing, Medicine, Physiotherapy, Public Health, Sexology), Social Work and Urban Planning university/college students OR professionals within these fields who are looking to give back to local communities and enhance their technical skills volunteering on sustainable community development projects.
For our upcoming 2020 internship programs, participants will spend 3, 4 or 8 weeks in Uganda, in small groups of 4-12 individuals, working collaboratively within your team and alongside local staff. Develop your skills in a supported environment with an Australian Facilitator alongside you to offer guidance and mentoring as:
- Engineering/Environment/Architecture/Urban Planning volunteers will review locals existing access to water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and facilities, followed by upgrading or constructing new infrastructure and facilities that may better suit locals needs.
- Agricultural volunteers will assess existing farming and animal husbandry techniques, including: crop rotation, pest management, co-planting, food security and production.
- Health/Child Development/Social Work volunteers share knowledge, deliver training and development, and up-skill locals on topics such as: menstruation, sexual and reproductive health, family planning, infant and child nutrition, positive parenting practices and child protection issues.
- Education volunteers work alongside local teachers to deliver material and develop curriculum, whilst contributing to capacity development of local staff.
- Commerce/Computer/IT volunteers spend time with local staff, micro-economic self help groups, and secondary high school children to enhance their education and technical office skills.
Community members are consulted and get involved with and contribute towards the physical labor and design process. All participants will be expected to spend time sharing knowledge and education with locals to ensure the sustainability of our projects. Development Together assists by providing most of the necessary financial funding required to complete these projects.
During the internship, participants are supported by the Development Together Australian team and our local partners in Uganda who provide introductions to local people and facilitate community engagement, along with the necessary technical support.
If you would like to get involved in one of our projects in Uganda, visit our website at: https://developmenttogether.com/location/uganda/ or email us at https://developmenttogether.com/contact/
According to the World Health Organisation, each person needs 20-50 litres of water per day for their hygiene and hydration needs. Most of us make no more effort than walking to our tap in our kitchen, turning it on and filling up a glass of water. However according to UN Human Rights, women and girls in the developing world walk an average of 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) every day to collect water for their daily needs. Apart from taking on average 2-3 hours per day, it also has an enormous physical impact on them. Additionally, it creates many issues that you may not think about at first. For instance, women and girls often have to walk alone to get to a water source and this puts them at risk of sexual assault or robbery. It also means that for many girls, they are unable to attend school as collecting water takes priority for their them and their families.
You may sympathise with them, but think that there is not much that you can do. However, you can get involved by joining us here at Development Together as we partner with local communities in the developing world on sustainable community development projects. We specifically work with partners who aim to increase ease of access to water sources and develop clean water filtration systems that can easily be used in local homes and villages with the result being more girls can stay in school and risks to women and young girls are decreased.
For example, in December 2018 a team of Development Together Engineering interns designed and built an 18,000-litre underground water tank in Uganda to help improve access to water for a local farm. Our interns also assisted with constructing a new water well on the farm to provide easier and closer access to water for the local villagers. This farm is run as a Not-For-Profit entity, with all income being returned to local community development projects focused on Keeping Girls in School, encouraging micro-economic development projects for local women, providing education about sexual health, reproduction and family planning and encouraging good farming practices to enhance agricultural outcomes. These two projects significantly decreased the need for women and girls to walk long distances and spend time collecting water, substantially lowering the risk of being alone, decreasing their heavy physical workload and giving girls back precious time to spend on their education.
In addition to the water projects our team of Engineering interns constructed a new piggery, refurbished an already existing chicken house and proposed a design of water filter that could be easily replicated by locals to assure they have access to clean drinking water. This was all done in an 8-week time frame.
These projects were really quite simple, but will bring about significant environmental, economic and social change, not only in the lives of those working on the farm, but also for the locals in the nearby villages. We have supported small group Engineering, Environment, Urban Planning and Architecture internships running to Cambodia, Indonesia, Uganda and Vietnam this coming December 2020 and January and February 2020 for between 4 and 8 weeks. If you feel like you would want to be a part of such a life-changing project contact us today at www.developmenttogether.com/contact/