Karin Community Initiatives Uganda is based in Northern Uganda – Gulu district. All projects are aimed at providing primary health care for
children and maternal health care for mothers as well as community empowerment through skill building for the communities. Most projects have little or no resources, so local and international volunteers with different skills, ideas and experiences are highly valued. They will be supported in their area of interest and what they do best. Please note that all projects require volunteers who have theoretical and/or practical knowledge in their respective areas and are self-starters and can conduct their daily activities with minimal supervision, except in the health center and health related programs.
Specific daily schedules and activities will be determined between volunteers and the coordinator upon arrival. Three meals are provided each day which will consist of local foods, such as matooke (mashed plantain), posho (corn bread), potatoes, millet bread and rice. They are generally served with beef, chicken, fish, beans, or groundnut sauce and a variety of green vegetables. Bread, eggs and fruits are also available for breakfast. However, dishes for vegetarians can also be arranged since there is plenty of a vegetarian food, usually prepared in local dishes.
For volunteers with a medical background and education, placements can involve work in our local clinic and health center (Karin Community Health/ Medical Centers). Here they could be engaged in counseling young people, supporting the
health staff in the clinic, outreach activities e.g. immunization, health education etc. Community outreach activities, such as youth mentoring, HIV prevention and AIDS care, women’s rights education. Long term volunteers are encouraged to get involved despite the language barrier, and see the development work done in the community.
We welcome placements for those volunteers with great ideas and enthusiasm for grass roots development. There are ample opportunities for volunteers to learn and use Acholi, the language spoken predominantly within Gulu District, though English is also widely spoken.
However, if you wish to work in a very remote area with HIV positive orphans, we are developing a new project. The organization is focused on bringing aid, education, and love to the orphans of the area, many of whom lost their parents due to AIDS related illnesses. Volunteers help with feeding, organizing play, arts and crafts, hygiene and HIV/AIDS education appropriate to the children’s’ age level (3 to 8 years).
There is plenty of work for volunteers who have skills in administrative work, inventory management, budgeting, record keeping, stores management, updating paperwork, writing proposals, marketing, and setting up/maintaining personal files for each of the children. (Please note that there is a significant language barrier between yourself and the children. Local teachers will have to help you with translation.) This is a challenging but amazing program for volunteers with experience organizing children, such as camp counselors, day care workers and people who love children. Bring your games, songs, and enthusiasm to the village!
Primary Schools: Volunteers can teach primary subjects and organize sport and art activities for the children. Volunteers will also work with our partner schools in developing the school link programs with our partner schools in the UK or initiate other partnerships in the schools around the rest of the world.
This is a very exciting program and it’s very good for volunteers with lots of creativity and ideas. School terms vary from year to year but are approximately as follows: February 1 to April 30, May 20 to August 30, and September 15 to November 15. Volunteers are not typically placed in teaching projects outside of these times.
Please also note that exams take place at the end of each term and normal class schedules will end prior to that. Short term volunteers are advised to start earlier in the term.
This is a multi-faceted project promoting the voluntary spirit and those that enhance community development. Foreign volunteers will work alongside Ugandan volunteers and community members in a variety of programs directly benefiting local communities like;
- Women micro-finance.
“The loans program has given us a sense of direction … we are very grateful” says Beatrice Acheng the chairperson of this group. There is a staircase that will take you out of poverty, but it is not easy to climb. Through partnership with a microfinance institution we help the poor and very vulnerable households affected by the 23 year civil war to make their way out of poverty. We provide micro loans because we are committed to working with the very poor — people who are unable to obtain a microloan because they do not have the sufficient collateral to get a loan from the traditional banks. Focusing on women, we have noted that the majority report
that, once they have launched their businesses, they are able to provide better nutrition, health care and education for their families. It is a group of women who have different challenges; they joined the group to better their lives. Many of them are already involved in micro and small entrepreneurship.
- Small Holder’s Dairy Farming
(DAIRY MILK PROJECT WITH THE FARMER GROUP KARIN PARENTS ASSOCIATION) The over ridding goal is to empower families to participate effectively in cash economy and through this to improve the food security and incomes of their households. This project is a response to the grinding poverty being experienced by Households within Gulu district. This district (Gulu) has been affected by two decade of civil war between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). As a result, most of the infrastructure and people’s properties were ravaged with a resultant effect of increased poverty in the area. Moreover there was high malnutrition amongst children. What began with a group of 13 women has now risen to over 160 farmers. They began meeting to form a group which is now called Karin Parents Association, they identified their needs and allocated responsibilities. They however lacked the money to buy the cows. Some of the women knew about dairy cow rearing and they knew how to use them to better their community and they had a plan in place. Today nearly 50 famers meet weekly for training. With access to sell their milk at a milk cooling center in Gulu town, the farmers are now guaranteed income from milk sales.
- Community Outreach
Includes home visits (often to the remotest villages in the district) to elderly, disabled, and persons living with HIV/AIDS to assist with household tasks such as washing, preparing food, and keeping company. This is a good opportunity for volunteers to see the daily challenges faced by vulnerable and marginalized households.
- Youth Mentoring
Public speaking and mentoring of youth and youth leaders respecting HIV/AIDS awareness, public health/hygiene, family planning, condom use and distribution,creativity workshops promoting the generation of small business, the importance of basic education, and women’s rights and empowerment. This is the most important and most common activity undertaken by volunteers. Camping, hiking, hunting and/or fishing trips may also take place during these mentoring sessions. Volunteers are asked to bring camping gear.
- Literacy and business skills classes
This reaches every member of the community it serves, and reaches the remotest areas of the district where there is virtually no other aid. This project is not exclusive to young volunteers, as older people with business skills and experiences are also needed, particularly with tasks like sorting out book work and applying for grants. Just as we try to help all members of society in every way, it needs all types and ages of volunteers to help it function.
- Community Based Tourism Enterprises
Women and men in our community are blessed with a variety of skills in which they generate income through tourism. These skills include; hand craft making (baskets, paper beads, wallet and laptop bags, and sculptors, palm tree creative productions, etc.), pottery, music dance and drama, storytelling, cultural exhibition, among others. Volunteers interested in this field will be required to help in skill improvement to enable this community to compete in the national and international market. And volunteers with marketing skills and connections will also be needed to market these community tourism products. Meet an extraordinary skilled man who makes fifty (50) baskets in a day! Isn’t it unbelievable? Come and testify.
- Music dance and drama
During our community interactive events groups from the community came together to conduct traditional dances and music, sports as well as drama. Since then our social programs have promoted the use of community interactive activities in order to reduce stress and tension between participating community members and increase solidarity and stability within the communities. Another positive effect is that is has created a space for celebration, feasting and the revitalization of cultural traditions and practices that have heavily suffered during the war. The program has empowered the group to provide cultural empowerment and education support initiatives to transition from cultural alienation to sustainable cultural heritage and development. The programs are all designed by this group, children and the youth from vulnerable households are all engaged in this activity. They perform traditional music, dance and drama in order to create public awareness and transform communities in Gulu district. Do not miss the different types of dances of the Acholi and their interesting meaning. They include; Bwola (performed to pay respect to the chief or king) Otole (warrior dance – a way to show when people are not satisfied) Dingi ding (friendly dance) Apiti (praise dance – motivates to do something) Lara karaka (the courtship dance for the youth) Ajere Labaratero Myel Lyel
Summary/ Breakdown of activities
Medical consultation, Medical examination, Hospital administration, Nursing, Record keeping, Inventory management, Carrying out tests in the laboratory, Public health, Immunization, Guidance and counseling, Bible teaching/study, Teaching, Children’s games and activities, Initiating projects based on community needs, Marketing community tourism products and Voluntarism project, Doing documentaries in all Karin programs, Resource mobilization/ fundraising e.g. Proposal writing, organizing events, and other creative techniques, Promotion of community based tourism enterprises, Youth education, Women education in areas like; Microfinance/ financial management, Empowerment, Motherhood/parenting, Family planning, Family management and Self-help projects
Leisure activities (within Karin areas of operation-Gulu)
Village walk, Visit to historical sites, Art and craft making, Storytelling/ listening, Acholi language learning, Peer talks, Life experience sharing, Cooking traditional foods, Games and sports, Music dance and drama, Camping, hiking and hunting, Picnics, Bead making, Visiting local homes to learn more about life styles and visits to the elderly, disabled and HIV/AIDS victims and assisting with household tasks like preparing food, washing dishes, keeping them company and sharing encouraging messages.
The programs are based in the Gulu District which is 358 miles out of Kampala city. Volunteers are placed in Gulu Town, and its surrounding villages.
Be 18 years old and above
Have no major health problems
Volunteers can stay from a period of two weeks to twelve months. Your stay can be extended beyond the originally applied period on a case-by-case basis (depending upon on our requirements or the project implementation/ completion).
The volunteer is solely responsible for arranging and paying for their own travel, specifically including all airfares or other transport costs to and from the host country as well as any local transport costs. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to carry all necessary documents when traveling abroad. Volunteers are responsible for ensuring their travel documents are up to date and valid for travel.
The volunteer is also solely responsible for evaluating and determining the type, extent and levels of any insurance coverage they need or desire for their planned volunteer travel period. However, it must cover their entire travel period.
Fees vary according to the type of accommodation due to the costs involved. Karin Community Initiatives- Uganda intends to avail homestays for volunteers seeking to touch and enjoy the warmth of rural community lifestyles in the simplest of pleasures sharing in the traditional fresh foods, folk arts, agricultural systems, cultures and language, among others. Guest houses will also be available for volunteers who prefer to live by themselves.
Note: All volunteers (up to 8 or more) will be housed in shared accommodation in a large apartment in Gulu town. There will be a house girl who will cook, clean, and wash clothes.
The building is within a locked compound. The shower is indoors, and the latrine is detached but fully enclosed. There is no running water, but there is a water tank in the compound, and there are jerry cans for water storage. There is a cooker in the kitchen, so you will be able to boil drinking water and do some cooking on your own if you wish. You will be provided with 3 meals per day. Meals will consist of local foods, such as matooke (mashed plantain), posho (corn bread), potatoes, and rice. They are generally served with beef, chicken, fish, beans, or groundnut sauce. Bread, eggs and fruits are also available for breakfast. Or volunteers can live at a guest house.
|Volunteer Period||Program Fees ($)|
The fees paid will be used to provide accommodation, meals, administration costs, and development programs, inspection of programs and communication costs with volunteers. Travel costs and other costs involved to tourist attractions outside the operation area for Karin Community Initiative – Uganda will be met by volunteers themselves. However, Karin Community Initiative – Uganda will guide the volunteers to access the relevant services of their chosen destinations in the country.
Change of Dates and Duration
In cases when a volunteer may wish to change their start date or duration, he or she should notify Karin Community Initiative – Uganda two (2) weeks before the arrival date, if not, the volunteer will be charged $100 to compensate for the loss incurred while preparing for his/her arrival/stay.
Communication & Support:
Throughout the application process, we are committed to working with you to answer any of your questions or concerns. During your placement we are also available as a form of support to you as a volunteer and will email or call and even meet you while in the country to discuss how the program is going.
Karin Community Initiative – Uganda places a high value on volunteers and we believe that tourism can spice up your stay here in this beautiful country. We will work with you to provide rewarding experiences and opportunities to utilize your leisure time while in Uganda, whether you are looking for ways to enrich your life or new routes to personal and professional development. We partner with several tour companies that offer you good rates to any of our National and recreational Parks in the country, Recreation and Culture too! They will also do bookings and Reservations for Hotels and Lodges depending on the clients’ needs ranging from budget to luxury. Transport arrangements self-drive inclusive and airport pick-ups all at good rates.
While in Uganda, many volunteers choose to travel further afield together to visit the popular attractions located outside Gulu. However our local staff is always willing to share with you the many other locations well worth exploring when you arrive in Uganda. Other great attractions in Uganda include; Murchison Falls National park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo N/P, Lake Mburo N/P etc for dense populations of lions, buffaloes, Elephants, Rothschild’s giraffes, Uganda Kobe and many more. Such safaris take 3days and two nights.
We are privileged to work with you to promote holistic human transformation, human dignity and integrated development programs in Gulu and Uganda at large. Thank you!