UK Registered Charity No.1127562. Uganda NGO LDLG/11/2030
Uganda is a land-locked country in East Africa bordered by Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Congo. The town of Lira is in the north of the county, 5-6 hours drive from the capital Kampala. The town is a very busy place day and night, with all the shops that you need: - markets, street vendors, internet cafes (very slow), hotels, churches and much more.
In the streets you will see many unusual sights:-
• Armed police officers. Soldiers, community police and armed private guards openly carrying guns.
• Beggars, particularly on Friday when most people get their pay. It is perfectly acceptable to give these people small coins.
• Children sleeping on the streets and running around well into the night.
Poverty is everywhere. It is important that you are aware of the culture and that you understand the way of local life to enable you to respect the culture by behaving and dressing appropriately.
• The primary religion is Christianity; however there are many Muslims within Lira and throughout Uganda.
• English is the native language and in Lira District the local language spoken is Luo.
• All education and business is conducted in English.
• Time keeping is different in Uganda. You can wait for hours to meet someone with whom you have a pre-arranged appointment and plans can change at any time. Be prepared for this. Use the time to think, take a book or write your diary.
• You will be able to wear the same clothing that you wear at home.
• You will notice that traditional Ugandan women do not wear trousers, however, it is acceptable for female volunteers to wear trousers and shorts as long as they are not tight, e.g tight leggings or short shorts.
• Ugandan men wear long trousers, but it is acceptable for male volunteers to wear shorts if they wish.
Remember, you are here for the experience. Warts and all!
Lira is like any other town and we would ask you to take the same safety precautions that you would anywhere else.
• Do not carry large sums of money; the valuables and cash that you do have should be kept inside a fastened bag or a money belt.
• Do not wear a lot of expensive jewellery or expose signs of wealth.
• Avoid going out alone after dark. Ensure that whenever you leave the office at any time, you inform a member of staff or a fellow volunteer of your destination and your estimated time of return, and take a mobile phone with you.
Remember many of the people in this area of Uganda have suffered traumas of war, murder, and poverty and they are looking for support.
• Most believe that because you are white you are rich, and of course in comparison you are.
• Therefore, enjoy the warmth and friendship that they will offer but be aware that some of the stories they tell you may not be accurate. Do not part with money or commit to any future donations to anyone without first checking it out with our staff.
• If you are asked to pay some money and you do not feel it is appropriate, decline payment and check with local staff. We do not want you to be a victim of the corruption that exists in this country.
• One Step at a Time office has a non-smoking policy and has to be alcohol free. Christians in Uganda do not drink alcohol and we should be setting a good example to our children and the community.
• However, we do not want to prevent you from having a beer or a glass of wine in the town, but remember you are still representing One Step at a Time even when in your own free time, so we would ask you only drink in moderation.
• You may see groups of mainly men sitting round a large pot, each with straws, they will be drinking a brew made by locals, please do not join these people however tempting.
One Step at a Time has a purpose-built office with shared sleeping accommodation within a compound.
• As with most businesses and NGOs we have an armed guard on the gate at night.
• You will stay on a bed and breakfast basis at a cost in the region of £50 to £60 per week.
• Bedding and towels are provided.
• A good evening meal can be bought for around £3-4 in town which is just 10 minutes walk away.
• You can cook in the house on a 2 ring stove.
• A toaster and kettle are also available, as well as a fridge, but all these are subject to the availability of electricity.
• Sometimes we can be without power for up to 3 days so some careful planning has to be done. Exact arrangements and costs will be discussed before your departure.
• A schedule of times and activities for your volunteering will be given to you by the project co-ordinator shortly after arrival.
• You will not be expected to work at weekends, although many volunteers choose to do so.
• You may choose to take a safari or travel independently during your free time but please make sure our staff are aware of your destination and remember to take a mobile phone with you for emergencies.
• We can help you to arrange excursions to Murchison Falls and a game park with transport, accommodation and a guide.
• You can of course, stay in one of the local hotels and come to the office for working times at your own risk.
• All excursions and local hotels are at your own expense.
• Most volunteers come across people or situations that touch them and we suggest you include a budget for the cost of any additional support that you might like to offer, be this money, food or goods.
Please remember that you will be working under the guidance of our project manager.
• All our staff are Ugandan, they know the local culture and behaviour.
• The manager and social workers are trained and experienced in social work and community development.
• You must strictly adhere to their direction and advice.
• We employ 3 social workers, a housekeeper/admin officer and a night time guard.
• You will be asked what experiences you would like to gain and what skills you have which could be put to good use in Uganda.
• Although we cannot make guarantees, we will do everything we can to ensure that you have a great experience while in Uganda.
For example you may be:-
• Visiting children at school (Rural or Urban)
• Visiting their homes (This could involve a trip to the bush)
• Attending meetings with parents
• Working on the street with children
• Educational work at the office. This could be teaching, reading, drawing, playing or just talking and befriending
• Washing or repairing clothing
• Gardening and general housekeeping
• Involved in planning and meetings with family or individuals
It is essential that you are flexible in your approach to your volunteering. This is Africa where anything can happen and we have to be prepared for it.
Most airlines give generous luggage allowance to Uganda.
• Many allow 2 bags each of 23kgs and a request on charity paper often gets a third one for free. We can write that letter for you.
• There will always be help at the Uganda end to transport your luggage.
• We would ask that you use any spare capacity to bring items to support the charity objectives. Please discuss this with the trustees before you travel.
• In particular we require children’s clothing, second-hand is acceptable as long as it is clean and in good condition.
• We need: - long trousers, shorts, cotton shirts, T-shirts and boxer shorts for the boys, skirts, blouses, T-shirts, dresses, pants, bras for the girls. Grey school socks, light shoes or flip flops.
• We also need reading or educational books, pens, pencils, pencil crayons, paracetamol, plasters, multi-vitamin and mineral tablets, light waterproof jackets, adult clothing for families, bandages, elastoplasts.
• If you want to buy new, please take money and buy in Uganda. It saves weight allowance for something else and benefits the local economy. However, even in Uganda second-hand is perfectly acceptable.
• If you want to take anything different please contact the trustees who will confirm what will be useful.
The ethos of the charity is to ensure sustainable development for our children and families. It is important that any donations relate to what is needed to support their living in a positive way. Please consult trustees in UK or staff in Uganda.
Please ensure you have all the items below:-
• Vaccinations are up to date. Check with your GP or practice nurse.
• Travel and medical Insurance. This is essential as you stay with One Step at a Time at your own risk.
• Uganda Visa - Information on how to obtain a visa is available from www.ugandahighcommission.co.uk
• It is better to obtain a visa before you travel at a cost of £25, although it can be bought at the airport on arrival in Entebbe at a cost of $50, payable in cash at the airport.
• Valid CRB/DBS check. This could be an existing one which was obtained for another employer within the last three years. Please advise the Trustees if you have never had a CRB check.
• Malaria medication. Check with your GP or practice nurse.
• Please bring all documents with you. We recommend you photocopy them and carry copies separately from the originals. It is also a good idea to leave further copies in a safe place in your county of residence.
We would suggest you bring the following items to make your time in Uganda as comfortable as possible.
• Loose and comfortable cotton clothing
• Long sleeves/long trousers for evenings to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes
• Cotton nightwear
• Hat, the sun does penetrate at midday
• One pair of good walking sandals or boots
• Toiletries – soap, toothpaste, shampoo is available in Lira but you may not get your usual brand.
• Hair conditioner is difficult to find so do bring enough for your stay
• Mosquito prevention – Osaat will provide mosquito nets but you need to bring insect repellent.
• Torch - wind up torches to avoid battery failure. Head torches are useful as they leave your hands free
• Sun protection cream
• First aid kit
• Medication for diarrhoea, anti-histamine tablets and spray, pain killers, cream for fungal infections eg canestan
• Indoor shoes for the house, we take off our outdoor shoes at the door
• Diary to record your experiences. This is highly recommended and you should try to set aside time to do this.
• Bring something to do in the evening as there is no TV. We have a small library of books.
• You will fly to Entebbe and you may wish to stay in a hotel.
• We can recommend a good and safe place very close to the airport.
• Hotel staff will usually meet you from the plane and take you to the hotel.
• You can make your own way to Lira or you can arrange to be met by a member of staff who will escort you.
• The cost of this travel, including that of staff escorts will be at your own expense. It can be by bus or private hire vehicle.
• All volunteers will be interviewed by the trustees who will explain OSAAT’s work in Uganda and confirm your suitability.
• All costs incurred must be paid before leaving for Uganda.
For current information regarding costs, please contact OSAAT.
Uganda is a beautiful country and you are guaranteed an experience of a life time.
During your stay with One Step at a Time you will experience many emotions – joy, sadness, pain, distress, frustration, but one you are guaranteed is a sense of satisfaction that you will have made a difference to one or more lives. You cannot do better than that.
We are delighted you have decided to work with us.
ENJOY THE RIDE!