Who Are Our Volunteers?
Where there is a will there is a way and everyone can be of service. Volunteers have no specialized requirements for participation. Volunteers normally share common characteristics such as flexibility, compassion, a sense of adventure, and most important, the aspiration to work with and gain knowledge from local people in the host community. Volunteers are drawn from all occupations and backgrounds, throughout the world. Each volunteer selects a service programme that best employs their experience and interests, and a programme where the volunteer feels engaged in a community project of durable benefit.
Volunteers should be in good health and have the mental and physical competence to function as a team member. Therefore if you're open to new challenges and take pleasure in working with and learning from local people, then you can contribute to and benefit from a service-learning programme. What we ask of you is flexibility, patience, a spirit of adventure, and a sense of humor. Most Ugandan cultures are very friendly though some provide a greater degree of predictability than others due to cultural norms.
It is also vital to stress that you are dealing with a different culture when you are volunteering internationally. How you would approach a particular state of affairs in your own country does not necessary mean it is suitable to handle it in the same way in Uganda. Your time and dedication to the programme is of course treasured but please remember you are a guest of the country and will no doubt be looked at as a representative of your homeland.
BIDE organization strives to provide a better future for some of the most vulnerable children and women in Uganda. The need is magnanimous and long-term, so your opportunity to make a significant difference through service is likewise precious. Reflect on how much you receive and how much you give and consider why you want to volunteer. You may have several different reasons. However, if you are someone who has an open mind and flexible and would like to:
Then BIDE is your rightful place to be...and it welcomes individuals and groups of 18+ years above from different backgrounds. We do encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Early enrolment allows you extra time for visa processing and also allows you to make your travel arrangements earlier and perhaps more affordably.
- Share A Skill
- Know A Community
- Explore A Career
- Be An Agent Of Change
- Keep Skills Alive
- Express Commitment To A Cause/Belief
- Gain Leadership Skills
- Donate Your Professional Skills
- Have An Impact
- Learn Something New
- Make New Friends
- Something Different From Your Job
- Religious Reasons
- Have Fun!
Please complete the form and click the Send button at the
BIDE assures all the volunteers that their personal information are
always kept as confidential as possible and will not be shared with
any other person besides its Board members for purposes of only
processing your application. If for some reason, your application
is not approved by the Board, all your information will be
completely deleted from our database.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What does the word BIDE stand for?
A. BIDE stands for Bakatawamu Information and Development Empowerment.
Q. How can I be certain it is a legitimate organization?
A. BIDE is registered as a Non Governmental Organization under the registration number S5914/6577 It was registered as a company limited by guarantee Registration number 97150 and works in various districts of Uganda
Q. What will I be doing as a volunteer?
A. Generally BIDE’s activity involves working with the women and the youths in the areas of:-
Micro Credit and Micro Finance Environmental,
Adult Literacy and Functional Literacy,
Capacity building in Business Skills Management Training and Empowerment,
Primary Health Care Programs and in
Rural Water and Sanitation Projects.
Thus Volunteers spend their time teaching and sensitizing communities on the mentioned programmes. Working with women and youth groups in rural areas as regards agricultural, water and sanitation projects and working in rural health clinics that we support.
Q. Which is the nearest airport to your town, and what is the convenient time for one to arrive? Will someone meet me at the airport? What travel documents do I need to bring with me?
A. You fly into Entebbe airport, Uganda. The airport is 2 hours drive from Jinja, and we can arrange transport for you from the airport to Jinja. If you want to be met at the airport on arrival then you have to ensure that you avoid arriving late at night or else you will have to spend a night at one of the nearest hotels to the airport. We will meet you at the airport ourselves. When picked from the airport, BIDE will charge you about $50 for fuelling the project’s vehicle to transport you from Entebbe airport to Jinja.
Volunteers who are travelling from the U.S. may get the most excellent airfare from a consolidator such as Dolphin Travel & Trade. Their website is www.americanairfare.com. You'll have to book using the toll free # on the website. Be aware when travelling from the U.S. that you may have a very long layover coming and a possible overnight layover on your return trip.
Besides your official travelling passport, you’ll need a visitor’s visas which are available upon arrival at the airport in Entebbe. The visa can also be obtained in advance at any Uganda Embassy nearest to you. The cost of the visa is $ 40 USD and is issued for a period between 30- 90 days. It is advisable that you request for 90 days period even if you know you will spend fewer days, this will reduce the hassle of renewing when you want to extend your stay for a few days.
Don’t forget to carry your immunization card showing that you have been inoculated against Yellow fever.
After collecting your bag, proceed via the “green line” through customs as you will have nothing to declare.
Q. Do I need to take any shots?
A. Check with the CDC website (www.cdc.gov/travel) for Ugandan recommendations and for a Travel Health Clinic in your area - they you on what immunizations you need. Yellow fever is the only requirement for entering Uganda, but it is recommended that you are updated on current requirements.
Uganda as most other African countries, is infested by mosquitoes that spread the malarial parasites. Thus it is of great concern that you take preventive measures while in the country. These are to avoid mosquito bites by using repellent based body jellies or lotions, constantly sleeping under an insecticide treated mosquito net. Mosquito nets are readily available once you arrive in the country. Other preventive measures are taking anti malarial drugs like Doxycycline (cheap) or Malarone (expensive). Please note that Doxycyline can make you sun sensitive and Uganda is on the equator. Most doctors no longer recommend Larium (Mefloquine) because of the side effects.
Q. Where will I live? How much will it cost?
A. Uganda has a variety of affordable premises for renting to visitors as well as locals. In Jinja we have hotels and medium sized Guest rooms at affordable rates. We therefore try as much as possible to locate for our volunteers affordable, convenient and hospitable premises to live in during his/her stay. We also can arrange for a volunteer to stay with one of our families if he/she needs to do so.
Therefore you should plan to spend about $330 per month for a modest guest room. Meals cost about 10 dollars (30,000 shillings) inclusive of a tip. While at other places you can get meals at cheaper rates as low as $5 a plate.
There are fresh produce throughout the year in the markets, so you can always have fresh fruits of your choice whenever you visit the markets. Thus if you can have an extra $200 for your other personal expenses and meals it will do you good. In case you will need to go sightseeing and having extra outings then carry extra cash.
Q. What should I know about money while I am there?
A. The current exchange rate is 3,000 Ugandan Shilling to the dollar. Few International credit cards are accepted in Jinja, but majority like VISA DEBIT CARD, is only be accepted at the Barclays bank in Kampala 80 kms from Jinja. Other Credit cards, especially the VISA are widely accepted by most banks in Jinja, Entebbe and Kampala. Most people prefer this than to bringing a large amount of cash with them. If you bring American dollars, you will get a better exchange rate for larger bills ($100s and $50s). Be sure to bring bills dated 2000 or newer, as older bills attract lower rates .Do not bring traveler’s cheques as they are not widely accepted here, and it's difficult to find a place to cash them.
Q. What about meals while I am at BIDE?
A. Jinja town is saturated with many supermarkets that offer essentials, such as rice, bread, milk, cheese, ice cream, spices, sodas, etc. Most communities and some schools, where our volunteers work offers authentic Ugandan lunch to volunteers free of charge. There are also a variety of restaurants around town. If there is packaged food you cannot live without from home, bring it with you, as you probably can't get it here. Safe Bottled drinking water is readily available for purchase, or tap water boiled for 3 minutes is safe for drinking. Fresh fruits and vegetables here are wonderful and readily available at fresh markets around town. Fresh produce that will be eaten without cooking should be washed and soaked in a very weak bleach solution before eating to destroy any micro organisms that can make unfamiliar stomachs upsets.
Q. What do I need to bring with me? Is there a dress code?
A. In respect to clothing, carry clothes suitable for a relatively hot climate. We do not however experience extreme hot or cold temperatures; temperatures are within the range of 12-35 degrees centigrade. You possibly will need a light jacket at some stage in the rainy season; if you are an enthusiastic in swimming or rafting then do not forget to bring along a swimsuit. Ugandans customarily dress very modestly. In the villages, women still only put on skirts and dresses reaching well below the knee. Outfits by some young people, especially in the larger cities are becoming more westernised. But due to the fact that you are to work in the community we advices you to dress smartly and respectfully whenever you go out, whether you are at work or not, as people will judge and respect you on the basis of your appearance. Females should wear long non-transparent skirts, and avoid low-cut or very tight tops. Current summer wear in western societies is not appropriate here (spaghetti straps, low cut or showing stomach). For men and young men, shorts are ok for around your area of residence or for sports, but you will not be respected doing any business in town in them, and you will see very few if any Ugandan men in shorts.
Most westernised items are available here but at an extra cost, so you can carry your own cosmetics and sun protection lotions. Other essentials like basic toiletries, insect repellent, mosquito net, rain gear, can be obtained locally.
Electrical current is 240 volts; Electric/electronic appliances that only work on 110v will need a converter. Many electronics, computers, etc run on either voltage in which case only a plug adapter is needed. Multi-plug power strips are available here which accommodate any type of plug from around the world.
Q. What language is spoken in Uganda?
A. English is the official language here and is spoken by everyone who has been to school, and by most Ugandans who live in the cities. The local languages spoken in our area are Luganda and Lusoga. You can get by with only English unless you travel deep into the village whereby a translator shall be provided for you.
Q. How available is international communication?
A. Mobile phones are very common here. You can get a mobile phone here for under $100 or bring an international one from home (be sure it is really international compatible with an SMS card).Emailing is available at Internet cafes. It is usually reliable, but the connections are very slow.
Q. Can I come at any time of the year?
A. Yes, you can come anytime of the year.
Q. What happens in case of an emergency?
A. In case of an emergency you can be reached through the Program Director or the executive director. Telephones and Email are very accessible in Jinja-Uganda and regular contact with your friends and family can also take place through postal mail. In addition, Uganda has adequate medical care, including international hospitals to address most illnesses that you might face while you are abroad.
Q. Can I fund-raise for my trip?
A. Yes, you can certainly fund raise on your own!
We are a registered Uganda non-governmental organization and you can use this fact when fundraising. Please let us know if you would like to receive fundraising ideas, and we will email you further information. Fundraising can often be quite a challenging task but Remember that with effort and dedication, you can be a successful fundraiser.
Q. Will I be able to join the program with a friend or family member?
A. Yes. There are no restrictions; a volunteer may come with other volunteers’ whether they are friends or family members as long as they can meet their expenses while in Uganda. Participants are encouraged to come with a friend or spouse if possible.
Q. Is it safe to volunteer in Uganda, Africa, particularly as a woman?
A. The safety of any volunteer be it a woman or a man is paramount to our organization. Uganda as any other developing African country has the combination of spreading poverty and the ever rising crime. Thus the presence of wealthy travellers attracts the thieves to these travellers. But, as long as one follow the guidelines given to you while under our organization then we assure you of total safety. For obvious reasons, women do have to be more cautious. Ugandans have a different sense of personal space. As a result, you may at times feel uncomfortable with the amount and type of attention you are getting. Coping with this type of discomfort will certainly be one of the challenges of your intercultural experience. However, in the vast majority of such cases, there is no threat to your person or possessions. If you take appropriate caution, it is unlikely that you will ever be in a situation that is unsafe.
Q. What about safety with respect to the current political situation?
A. Uganda is peaceful and very safe, though there are occasionally demonstrations on Kampala streets. Kampala city is further away from Jinja district where BIDE is situated. Much of BIDE’s work is in rural areas away from the cities. Villages in Uganda are safer than your own home area and the pace of life is peaceful, with seldom experience of political violence or general unrest.
As an organization we have developed a regular National Risk Assessments, by consulting a variety of sources within the country (e.g. government Security agencies, Private Security Agencies and national and international media). These National Risk Assessments objectively assist us to update our volunteers of the safety and security within Uganda during their stay.
We take the same precautions, of course, as you would anywhere about being alone at night, etc.
Q. Can it be possible for one to extend his/her time of working with BIDE?
A. Yes, this is possible. However, you will need to discuss this with the BIDE administrator before you can change your flight schedules.
Q. How best can I be of help in the community?
A. BIDE is presently focused in activities within the remote areas of Jinja, Kamuli, Mbale, Iganga, Mukono and Mayuge districts. Our development programmes are focused on resource development of the rural women and youths, they also focus on establishing a process that enables those in need to build a self sufficient and self sustaining lifestyle as a community through capacity building programmes. Hence our development programmes strive to permanently break the bonds and cycle of poverty of individuals, families and their communities. So one can be actively involved, through prior preparations of the subject in the area of interest from the programmes within our organization.
Q. Are there some Projects, which need our collective attention and funding?
A. Yes, BIDE believes in capacity building and development programmes that are not only focused on restoring people and their communities from poverty, but also in progressive development. They also focus on establishing a course of action that enables those in need to build a self sufficient and sustaining standard of living as a community. Our development programmes endeavours to permanently sever the bonds and sequence of poverty of individuals, families and their communities. Therefore volunteers are encouraged to work closely with the BIDE administration in looking out into potential avenues that can be of be of assistance the community.
Q. Who organises my flights?
A. You do.