Volunteering in Uganda is an NGO initiative aimed at reaching out to the various needs within the Ugandan society through volunteerism. The organization has an objective of availing an opportunity to everybody that has a zeal of changing and transforming a society positively, through provision of a platform and hands – on involvement in the support process. Through its partnership with Love Uganda Foundation, Volunteering in Uganda intends to “make volunteerism a relevant, purposeful engine for democracy and sustainable communities today, and by so doing, create a vibrant purposeful society tomorrow.”
Also known as “Footprint Volunteer Uganda“, the organization has diverse programs which include; the elderly program, disabled program, HIV/AIDS program, Youth program, Childcare program, widows program, water and sanitation program, healthcare program, human rights and development program. All the above programs are catered for within the organizations four major programs which are; The Community Development Program, The Healthcare program, The Education/teaching program and The Childcare/Orphanage program. Each of these programs is specifically and carefully arranged to cater for the needs of the different beneficiaries of the Organization.
The Community Development Program believes that through training local farmers, helping the local women groups, sensitizing women, and child advocacy, volunteers can be able to cause a rewarding impact on society. This particular program involves work alongside people within the local communities, engaging in developmental programs through carrying out; education, women`s empowerment, environmental monitoring, income generating activities, health management and mapping. The Community Development Program is divided into the Women Empowerment program and the Youth Empowerment Program.
Under the Women Empowerment Program, Volunteering in Uganda notes that “If you want to change a culture, to empower women, to improve basic hygiene and healthcare, to fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls.” It is for this reason that this volunteer program is steered towards creation of better welfare and socioeconomic development of women from poor areas both within rural areas and Uganda`s capital city – Kampala. Volunteers are thus given the opportunity to participate in this through many projects, some of which are; teaching the English language to young women, providing training on proper account keeping to women in small finance groups, participating in, as well as initiating awareness raising activities in various issues, working with women in their farms, arranging activities to improve the self-confidence and educational development of women, working with Love Uganda Foundation local staff to train women etc. All the volunteer programs are aimed at ending discrimination against women in the most marginalized communities.
The Youth Empowerment Program is geared towards supporting the youth, who demographically, make up 78% of Uganda`s population, making it the youngest population worldwide. UNICEF defines youth as being between the ages 15-24years. Unfortunately, despite being the majority of the country being young and vibrant, statistics show that the unemployment rate in Uganda is 83%, with 3.2% of Uganda Youth working for waged employment, 90.9% working for informal employment and 5.8% being self-employed. It is thus Volunteering in Uganda`s desire to changes these statistics through availing opportunities for volunteers to support the youth in Uganda by sharing success stories, impartation of skills such as leadership to the youth and where need be, grant financial support to them. The youth are also encouraged to take part in community stimulating activities.
Under the Healthcare program, Volunteering in Uganda aims at improving health in rural communities through educating and engaging people in health programs. This volunteer program is however limited to only volunteers with a medical background and public health. Volunteers in this program are taken to some of the rural hospitals, clinics, communities or orphanages where they provide checkups, basic medical care, early intervention services, family planning information etc. Volunteering in Uganda understands that Health is a basic human right and as a result, it put in place such programs to ensure that the vulnerable people in Uganda can access them.
Recognizing that the Right to Education is a fundamental human right, Volunteering in Uganda seeks to make the access to that right possible for as many children as it can reach through its Education/Teaching Volunteer program. Under this, volunteers work in government and public schools, mainly teaching children aged between 4-16 years in English, Maths, Geography, Religious Education, Entrepreneurship, General Knowledge and Physical Education. This particular field requires the volunteer to be compassionate and have the ability to care for and relate with children, through fun and outgoing activities that are able to grab the interest of the children and creative teaching methodologies with which they can easily learn. Volunteers under this program are required to work for 4-5 hours each day, for five days in a week.
Finally, Volunteering in Uganda has a volunteer program set up to render support to the orphaned, poor and marginalized children of Uganda through its Childcare program. This program seeks to reach out to children who have not acquired the parental support that they need and have faced a number of challenges in life. Under this program, Volunteers are able to support and love orphans under the care of Love Uganda Orphanage which is based in Kalagi – Mukono. The orphanage is home to 20 vulnerable children aged between 3-15 years, among who are disabled children, those that were abandoned and some of them living with HIV/AIDS. This Volunteer program also reaches out to 50 other children under the external child care program, where the organization gives support to very poor single families. Within this program, volunteers can participate in the rescuing and restoration of hope to such vulnerable children.
Seeing as the world has partnered to create a positive and long lasting impact globally through the UNDPs Sustainable Development Goals, Volunteering in Uganda is actively playing her role, with emphasis on SDG No. 1-No poverty, SDG No. 3- Good health, SDG No.4- Education, and SDG No. 5- Gender equality. It is thus a call to action for all those with a passion for causing and participating in the creation of a world that can support the existence of life today, as well as enable a fruitful life for future generations, through either partnering with Volunteering in Uganda or giving to the cause.