Whether you are on a gap year, summer vacation, or career break, if you want to get your hands dirty and see physical results from your volunteer work overseas, Beacon of Hope Uganda Construction Volunteer Project in Uganda may be just the thing for you!
Construction volunteers work in Uganda is involved in helping to construct a community social center, rural health center, skills training center for rural and rural child development center.
Working with Local Communities in Uganda on a construction volunteer Project, Volunteers work alongside the local builders and carpenters, assisting with all levels of building and construction. The basic buildings are made using traditional methods and local materials. The construction techniques are simple to master and are ideal for sites with limited facilities.
At this same project site, there are other activities ranging from Teaching and Care projects. The work we do here is reflected by community demands. This project will allow us to make a sustainable difference that will not only make a significant impact on the lives of the local children but also benefit the society as a whole.
The work of the volunteers on the Community construction volunteer Project in Uganda is varied but may include digging foundations, mixing cement, building walls, constructing a roof, plastering, or putting the finishing coat of paint on a completed house.
The building work takes place early in the morning and late in the afternoon so you’ll have plenty of time to get involved in the community you are working in. Some volunteers combine the Building project alongside a Care or Teaching placement. The site we work on is overseen by a qualified builder from the community who will help volunteers with the construction process.
You do not need previous building experience to take part in this project; although anyone who does have any relevant skills will be very welcome and will be able to take on a more specialized role. All volunteers should, however, be reasonably fit and physically active, and be prepared for working outdoors in a variety of weather conditions.
This project is available for less than a month if you don’t have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected as being suitable for shorter duration for both the host community and the volunteer.
After you have been accepted into the project by the volunteer coordinator, then you will have to pay a non-refundable $100 booking fee. Since we started, the numbers of volunteers applying has increased by each year. Unfortunately only a third of those who promise that they will come, have in fact arrived. The wastage in volunteer coordinators’ time and the fact that volunteers who could have come were refused due to holding the space for someone else who didn’t turn up, has forced us implement this. We hope that by implementing the fee, only serious volunteers will thus secure the chance to volunteer in our projects.
The booking fee will go towards paying for communication expenses incurred by the coordinators to keep in touch with you and the projects, and website maintenance. You will be given 3 weeks to pay from the time of acceptance.
1 week- USD$200
3 weeks- USD$400
4 weeks- USD$500
The program fees can be paid upon arrival or before departure for proper preparations of your placement.
Additional Fees: USD$ 85 Airport pickup for arrival paid upon arrival.
Program fees covers:
Pre-service (e.g. culture, health talk, program orientation, training etc);
1 day sightseeing guide fee around Kampala or Jinja, Equator, world heritage sites, (e.g. game parks, zoos, museums, rivers etc)
Accommodation, Laundry and food during placement with a host family or volunteer house (3 meals a day);
Regular follow up support
Support for local staff and volunteers;
When a volunteer arrives in Uganda, our Coordinator meets them at the airport and brings them to our orientation place in Mukono. From that point our volunteers spend between 1 to 3 days in our orientation program. This training provides volunteers with a very detailed understanding of how to be acquainted in Uganda’s Life and culture.
The program fee excludes the following:
Airfare, Visa and Visa extension fee
Transportation during weekends travel
Personal travel and sightseeing (trekking, jungle safari etc);
Internet access, telephone, drinks or other costs accrued during training and placement;
Gifts to project staff and host family, if you wish to buy any;
Should you wish to spend more time in Uganda pre and post placement period, please remember to budget accordingly!
Travel and medical insurances, immunization, health expenses;
You will also need a weekly budget of up to US $50-100 to cater for all your other expenses.
Want to Apply?
Great thanks for choosing Beacon of Hope Uganda
Please send us your resume, attach a photo, skills and interests and how long would you like to stay in Uganda and which project interests you, we shall get back to you within 48hours.
What began as a temporary project has, over the last 8 years, evolved into something so much bigger than any of us could have imagined. Over 400 international volunteers have walked through our doors and over 600 local volunteers have worked with us. Countless lives have been changed and countless memories have been made. We have overcome many challenges, each one making us stronger than the last. The dedication and perseverance of our volunteers has kept this organization running strong through thick and thin. We began our work here as a run-in relief and women training center. Yet 8 years down the road we still remain, today focused on poverty relief and development. Beacon of Hope Uganda has been and still a wonderful model for a rural development organization, and allowed many of people the opportunity to participate in projects they would not otherwise have had the chance to do.
Many of us have been able to learn new skills, and also discovered our strengths and weaknesses. We have become a highly respected organization. Thanks to the hard work from every volunteer who ever came to help, we’ve made something amazing. Beacon of Hope Uganda was never set up to last this long. It is you – the volunteers, donors, community members and collaborators – who have kept it going. For this, we applaud you, and we thank you. The truth is, without your help and support over the last few years, we never would have been able to do this. BoHU has helped create a brighter future for the people of Uganda. We implore you to set your minds to continue finding solutions for the problems that exist not only here but throughout Africa, and we hope that your experience here has broadened your perception and enhanced your ability to make a positive contribution. We have all been given the opportunity to learn what it takes to make a difference. Now it’s time to take off the training wheels.
Fast Forward 2015!!
Beacon of Hope Uganda is a non-profit volunteer organization comprised of individuals from assorted backgrounds; volunteers’ ages range from 5 to 80, they have come from six continents and represent a plethora of religious and political beliefs. We embrace this unique diversity, which has proved to be a key contributor to volunteers’ personal growth during their service and has created many opportunities for volunteers to share their cultures with one another as well as the communities they serve. As an organization, however, BoHU is strictly a non-political, non-religious or non-sectarian foundation and does not promote any particular religious or political ideologies. BoHU runs on the hard work of all our volunteers, whether they work on construction projects, community development initiatives or take on leadership roles through the BoHU Management Team.
BoHU is an entirely volunteer-run non-profit. We rely on capable, responsible volunteers to take on leadership positions that are essential to the effective management and successful operation of the organization. Jobs on the BoHU Management Team (MT) provide unparalleled opportunities to earn invaluable professional experience in an extraordinarily challenging environment. Throughout our history, many people have surpassed their own preconceived notions of personal and professional capacities to accomplish incredible successes that have helped shape the organization as we now know it. These volunteers are of paramount importance to the continuous growth and improvement of BoHU; they make a truly lasting impact in the community we serve by ensuring other volunteers have the tools they need to successfully execute projects each and every day.
The need for consistency and continuity in our management practices obliges us to require BoHU Management Team volunteers undertake a minimum service commitment of three months. The following areas are central to our ability to reach our full potential:
Financial Management & Planning
Fundraising & Grant Writing (Local & International)
Volunteer Coordination & Recruitment
Marketing & Publicity
Public Relations & Community Outreach
Tools & Inventory Management
Please note, additional benefits are afforded to volunteers who take on certain leadership roles and increased responsibility as part of the BoHU Management Team. In exchange for a 3 month minimum commitment of service, some MT volunteers may receive a significant discount or even be provided gratuitous room and board during their service, so long as they comply with BoHU rules & regulations and are able to consistently meet the established goals and objectives of the position.
Furthermore, both construction and community development projects require strong leadership from capable and committed volunteers. Therefore, we ask volunteers with technical expertise – whether acquired before or after arriving at BoHU – to help guide other team members by ensuring they are prepared and properly trained to effectively execute the tasks required of a particular project. They are also responsible for coordinating with the Executive Chairman and other members of the BoHU Management Team as well as ensuring quality monitoring and evaluation.
BoHU Volunteers enjoy an extremely unique experience not only in the work they do but also in the atmosphere they live in. The BoHU Headquarters is not only our center for logistics, administration and daily meetings, but also serves as a dining area, common room, courtyard and dormitory. This allows volunteers to get to know each other better outside the work-site and forge friendships that will last a lifetime.
The hard work volunteers put in during the week undoubtedly warrants some fun and relaxation during evening free time and on the weekends. During the week we organize a variety of activities for volunteers in the evenings. We often play football (soccer), cards and board games or chill out around the bar or go out for a dance getting to know fellow volunteers from around the world. Musical ballads are known to break out from time to time as well as the always entertaining pub-quiz nights.
Yet one of the biggest perks of volunteering in Mukono lies in the plethora of weekend outings we organize. BoHU is located just 60 minutes from either Jinja or Kampala where day tours can be organized to visit the source of the mighty river Nile, white water rafting and Mabira forest which showcase incredible biodiversity, including hundreds of birds and nature walks. No matter what your interests, there is always something for everyone to enjoy!
We offer dormitory-style accommodations with 2 – 4 beds per room in addition to private rooms available to long-term volunteers who take on leadership roles at BoHU. Volunteers staying at the BoHU House are assigned a bed based on capacity, arrival time and length of stay. If all beds are occupied when you arrive, there are several other options available within the immediate vicinity. We are always happy to help you to find adequate accommodations upon arrival.
Responsibilities & Conduct
As an organization comprised of and operated by volunteers, everyone must pull his/her own weight to keep things running smoothly. Volunteers are assigned jobs and responsibilities on a rotational basis throughout the week to ensure the cleanliness and general upkeep of BoHU facilities. These tasks are generally tended to following the morning meeting each day and must be completed before the designated volunteers may join their teams on site.
The house helper has been helping out in preparing the breakfast but with the new approach, a small group of volunteers will be asked to help prepare breakfast and dinner each day. They will be responsible for buying the necessary produce and ingredients at the local market and preparing the meal for the entire house. This new tradition will provide volunteers with a sense of accomplishment and pride (it’s a great feeling to feed up to 16 hungry mouths!). It will also serve as a change of pace from typical projects while enabling our diverse volunteer body to share and enjoy a variety of dishes from around the world – a welcome deviation from the ubiquitous rice and potatoes that accompany just about any local plate!
Volunteers enjoy a collegial atmosphere that stems from a great group of people bonded together by a common desire to make a difference in the world. However, it is imperative for volunteers to understand that BoHU’s image in the community is of paramount importance to our ability to operate effectively and fulfill our mission every day. When you come to volunteer at BoHU, you represent BoHU. You are expected to act in a mature, responsible manner that is considerate of local customs at all times. Upon arrival, all volunteers will be obliged to sign a statement of understanding of BoHU’s volunteer code of conduct, the violation of which will result in appropriate penalties or outright termination of service.
Our work is largely dependent on the trust of the community we serve and we cherish the relationships we have cultivated with so many people here. As such, outsiders stand out in a crowd and you should expect that you will almost always be associated with BoHU when in public, whether you are sporting BoHU colors or not. Therefore, volunteers need to be constantly conscientious of this attention and help us to project a positive, professional image.
Breakfast served at BoHU is hearty and well balanced. It includes tea and coffee, bread, jam, fruit and a main dish, depending on the wish to prepare that day (Ex. eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast, cereal, porridge, etc.).
Lunch is typically the main meal of the day in Uganda and volunteers will often eat their meals on-site, prepared by local families or community members. If not, Project Leaders will bring volunteers to a local restaurant, which will offer several traditional options. A typical Ugandan lunch features beef, chicken or fish coupled with potatoes, rice or beans (usually rice).
Dinners at BoHU offer a vegetarian and non-vegetarian option each night.
Always be wary of street vendors’ food, which is more susceptible to contamination, undercooked meat and raw fruits or vegetables. DO NOT drink water straight from the tap. Brushing your teeth with it is usually fine, but, for personal consumption, be sure to buy bottled water from a store or boil tap water before drinking (though the later is far less practical).
Volunteers work Monday through Friday. Every weekday morning, breakfast is served from 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM, and at 9:00 AM on Saturday. The workday generally finishes around 4pm and dinner is served at our headquarters from 7pm-9pm.
Children and Youth Development
Through our Youth Development projects, we aim to enhance the physical, social and emotional development of children in Uganda. Volunteers can get involved at a local daycare center, participate in the skills and youth leadership training or participate in our Sports Program and Music, dance and drama.
Kasaala Child Care Center
The Center provides at-risk children a safe environment in which they participate in any number of extra-curricular activities. These activities are designed to provide kids from 3 to 10 years old with creative outlets and opportunities to make constructive use of their time. The center is managed by a local teacher with the support and involvement of volunteers from BoHU. Volunteers help children to practice reading, writing, arithmetic, and English while making time for various games and recreational activities. BoHU also helps coordinate important educational workshops in areas lacking emphasis in general school curricula such as recycling, nutrition, hygiene, and self-esteem. This is a fun project for anyone who loves working with children. The kids are very enthusiastic and always keen to learn, play, and interact with volunteers.
MDD, Sports & Recreation
The BoHU MDD, Sports & Recreation Program collaborates with local communities to promote healthy lifestyles amongst local children/youth through teaching basic skills and tactics of football (soccer) and volleyball, teaching music, dance moves and drama. Given the lack of adequate recreational opportunities available to kids in the villages, our programs seek to provide at-risk children and youth with a safe environment where they can practice these activities in order to make productive use of free time. In addition, we emphasize important core values like mutual respect, trust, fair-play and self-esteem as well as sportsmanship, teamwork, and leadership. Volunteers contributing to this program will plan and lead practices of understanding the activity.
Education is the key to a child’s success in Uganda. The BoHU Education Program focuses on English language classes, international cultural exchanges and educational murals. These initiatives are aimed at a wide range of audiences, from school children to local villagers.
Education is a priority, it is one of the most important tools BoHU can give the children in order to break the cycle of poverty affecting their lives and to help them become independent adults. Some children excel at academics and strive to earn scholarships to attend university. Others receive vocational training in one of many hands on professions like ceramics, carpentry, hairdressing, tourism, computer sciences, electronics, child care, and husbandry.
The murals we paint are directed towards local schools to help raise awareness on key issues such as personal hygiene, recycling and environmental preservation. Improved knowledge of English provides locals with a crucial skill in seeking further education and can unlock new job opportunities.
The community has shown great interest in learning English from our international volunteers, most of whom speak English as a first or second language.
We teach English to a wide variety of ages, ability levels, and professional orientations. Yet one of the most unique aspects of our Saturday/Weekly Evening classes is the incorporation of a cultural exchange element, which allows locals to learn about the diverse cultural backgrounds and customs of our volunteers while enriching volunteers’ own understanding of the local culture.
We are always looking for people with TEFL certification qualifications or previous teaching experience to manage our English programs by coordinating with local counterparts regarding new and existing courses, preparing appropriate lesson plans, teaching classes, and training other volunteers who are interested in supporting this initiative.
We are helping to make schools brighter, more interesting and more colorful places for kids to study by painting murals that engage students in important themes concerning general youth development and healthy lifestyles. Depending on the needs and desires of the schools, themes range from recycling and proper hand-washing techniques to promoting school spirit. These projects are a fun way for volunteers to engage the community and leave behind an image that has a lasting impact.
Community Development Initiatives
Volunteers wishing to get involved in one of our Community Development Initiatives (CDI) will work as part of a team dedicated to a particular project pertaining to one of our three main program areas: Education, Youth Development, and Environmental Conservation. These volunteers have the chance to interact directly with the community by preparing and coordinating workshops and activities with local counterpart organizations, community groups, government agencies, and NGOs whose goals are closely related to those of BoHU. They are also actively involved in the execution of educational training workshops and project monitoring and evaluation. BoHU’s Community Development Initiatives provide volunteers the unique opportunity to continuously improve program parameters and best practices. Our programs are constantly enriched by the participation and insight of volunteers with a wide range of experience and educational backgrounds.
Recommended Skills and Experience
BoHU looks for motivated, enthusiastic and responsible volunteers to contribute to CDI. There are three categories of volunteers supporting CDI: Program Managers, Project Leaders, and CDI General Volunteers. While CDI Program Managers must have relevant technical skill and experience as well as the ability to communicate effectively in English, there are myriad opportunities for volunteers who are willing to put in the time and effort. Though there is no standard mold for BoHU volunteers working in CDI, the following examples illustrate some of the skills of greatest value:
Strong oral and written communication skills in English
Ability to work independently in an unstructured environment and meet set deadlines
Ability to work effectively in collaboration with others from diverse backgrounds
Strong organizational skills
Ability to adapt to (sometimes drastic) cultural differences of Uganda
Strong analytical and problem solving skills
Strong creative and improvisational skills
Although having these abilities upon arriving at BoHU will allow you to be more effective in your work, those whose skills are less refined will have the opportunity to learn from others on the CDI team and still make important contributions in numerous ways. Those who are willing and able to commit to longer terms of service are very often promoted to Project Leader and Program Manager Positions as they develop greater understanding of local idiosyncrasies and program dynamics in addition to acquiring valuable project management skills.
Furthermore, there are several specific qualifications we are looking for in direct support of particular CDI Projects:
Project management experience
We invite you to check out some of our past and current CDI projects promoted through our three main program areas. If you think you can contribute to the development, management and/or execution of any of the programs or projects listed below, we want to hear from you!
Main Program Areas
Children and Youth Development
Volunteers who indicate their desire to work in construction enjoy a wide variety of projects to choose from every week. This is the most flexible branch of BoHU operations, as volunteers may choose to work on different projects every week or, alternatively, work on various stages of one project through to completion (assuming they are able to stay throughout the duration of the project).
Although certain projects often present unique needs and challenges, there are several core areas (and corresponding activities) you will likely find yourself contributing to at some point during your service as a BoHU Construction Volunteer: Site Preparation (demolition, digging foundations, clearing rubble, etc.), Building (Mixing and pouring concrete, bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing, etc.), or Community Beautification (planting trees, landscaping, community cleanups, painting murals, etc.). Whatever your interest, rest assured you’ll get your hands dirty from the start!
BoHU’s Environmental Conservation Program aims to develop initiatives that support locals in the improvement of their neighborhoods as well as providing them with basic sanitation. We are currently engaged in fruit tree planting initiatives at schools and homes that give volunteers the opportunity to contribute to environmentally friendly projects that are made sustainable through education and inclusion.