Volunteering in Uganda is an incredibly rewarding journey for those wishing to create a positive impact through travel. Think of it as an adventure – filled with learning, growth, and the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself. For students and professionals, it’s a chance to follow a calling or recover from the burnout faced at home.

However, there’s something important we need to discuss. Many well-intentioned volunteer projects have, at times, missed the mark in terms of planning and leaving a lasting impact on the communities they serve.

For almost two decades, The Real Uganda has been committed to providing opportunities for ethical volunteering in Uganda. Our international volunteer program aims to:

  • empower volunteers, local leadership, and the communities with which we all work,
  • promote sustainability in all human engagements,
  • celebrate all Uganda has to offer, and
  • keep everyone accountable for their actions.

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Let’s dive into these ethical guidelines to help you make a lasting impact while volunteering in Uganda.

The Real Uganda offers 2 – 12 week locally-led communty-based volunteer programs.

Empowered Volunteering in Uganda

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

Imagine this – you’re not just a volunteer – you’re a partner, a friend. Ethical volunteering in Uganda is about building relationships and sharing the learning journey. It’s a collaboration.

  • We recognize and embrace the wisdom and experience of Ugandan leadership.
  • We build a foundation of trust, equality, and solidarity that supports everything we do.
  • We create a relaxed environment where knowledge flows in both directions.

Learn more about The Real Uganda and its journey that started way back in 2005.


volunteer learning basket weaving in Uganda

Sustainability in human Engagements

“Sustainability is not about doing more with less; it is about doing more with what we have.” – Simon Mainwaring

Ethical volunteering in Uganda is not a journey of one. It’s a relay race. Rather than providing quick fixes, we want our volunteer impact to accumulate and build. As you venture forward:

  • Understand that you are a link in a chain of committed volunteers. Your short time here is enhanced and built upon by future volunteers.
  • Look for or suggest ways that Ugandans can better access existing opportunities or infrastructure in their communities. What is abroad is not always best for us.
  • Use the former volunteer feedback provided by The Real Uganda. Provide honest (and kind) feedback when prompted. We ask that you help others build on what you’ve learned during your stay.

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Ugandan textbooks bought new are cheaper and more appropriate than those bought or donated from abroad

Embrace All Uganda has to Offer

“The beauty of a place is in its people and their stories.” – Unknown

As you immerse yourself in Ugandan communities, remember that you’re no longer just a visitor – you’re now a part of our story. Be respectful and enthusiastic toward all Uganda has to offer. You’ll find Uganda’s allure grows with each connection and experience.

  • Respect local culture, traditions, and wisdom, especially when it feels strange.
  • Recognize you’re here to learn and understand, not to change things overnight. Local leadership will adopt your ideas when they deem it’s appropriate. (Realize not all your ideas are.)
  • Get out of the village and travel Uganda! There are so many sides to Uganda that everyone here wants you to experience. The more you see and do in Uganda, the better volunteer you’ll be!

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We also want you to tell the world about Uganda when you leave.

A volunteer travelling by public transport in Uganda. The taxi has chickens tied to the roof!

We’re committed to accountability

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

To make a difference, it’s important to be accountable. Everyone involved in this experience supports and helps each other to grow. Please help us:


  • Keep an eye on our programs to make sure they’re making a positive impact. You’ll be given a chance to comment on this while you volunteer and during the feedback process when you return home. 
  • Pay special attention to how your (and our) actions affect the environment and the people around us.
  • Uphold all that is contained in our Code of Conduct, which you’ll sign on arrival.

By choosing The Real Uganda and following these ethical guidelines, you’re not just volunteering, you’re embracing all Uganda has to offer. Remember, volunteering in Uganda is more about relationships and people, than it is about actual tasks completed. Let your focus be on encouragement, creativity, and love. The rest will fall into place, it always does.

RELATED: Recent former volunteer reviews of their time with The Real Uganda 

No time to volunteer? The Real Uganda supports ongoing community-based programs.

We’d love to hear about your international volunteering experience and how you judged its impact.

If you haven’t yet volunteered abroad, and are researching organizations committed to ethical volunteering, consider volunteering with The Real Uganda. Here’s how it works.

We are looking for honest and kind volunteers who value deep cultural exchange and support locally-led community transformation.

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