What is Group Volunteering?
As well as One Day Volunteers and Long Term Volunteers, we also welcome large groups of volunteers. Since 2004, we have been welcoming a range of groups, from university groups from Leeds, Aston and Middlesex, to secondary schools and Scout groups. Group sizes range from 10 people to 80 people!
We assign our groups a school to work at and they live on site from Monday to Friday. Depending on the number of volunteers in the group, and the amount they have managed to fundraise, the work can be anything from building a brand new classroom block to refurbishing an existing block or perhaps painting a block that we have already repaired.
Living on site is a truly unique and rewarding experience, allowing volunteers to become involved with every aspect of life in school and the local community. If you’re part of a group who would like to volunteer in Uganda, email us.
Living on Site
Upon arrival at site, Soft Power Education staff will help you transform an empty classroom into the ‘dormitory’ you will call home for the next few weeks! We will provide you with a mattress and help you set up your mosquito net. SPE staff and the building team will be sleeping in the same classroom as you, or in another nearby.
On site, there are no showering facilities and the toilet will be a pit latrine. It is incredibly unlikely that they’ll be any electricity or running water on or near to your site, but you may be able to charge your phone and camera in the local trading centre. Drinking water will be collected by the community from a bore hole. Soft Power Education provide water purification tablets and will help you to ensure your water is safe to drink. There’s no WiFi on or near to site, and mobile phone signal may be intermittent.
Whilst on site, one of our wonderful cooks will prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Breakfast normally consists of fruit, bread, eggs, chapatti and tea or coffee. Lunch and dinner are similar, with potatoes, rice, beans, spaghetti, matoke, cabbage, avocado and vegetables – prepare to be flexible and try everything. Our cooks are well practiced in catering for any dietary requirements or food intolerances as long as you let us know prior to your arrival.
Whether you’re on a construction or painting site, you will have a site foreman on site with you at all times. On construction sites, or if your painting site requires any repairs, you will also be working alongside a team of local builders. They will explain the work that needs to be done and brief you on any tools or equipment safely.
You are free to set your own hours or work, as a group and as individual volunteers, but the foreman will have a schedule to stick to so they will keep you updated throughout each day as to what needs to be done and by when. All we ask is that you are enthusiastic and ready to get stuck in alongside the team.
Each volunteer pays a Placement Fee (£25 per volunteer per week of volunteering). This secures their place on the project and then goes on to pay for transport to/from site at the start/end of project, and to/from your site to your weekend accommodation (but not to any optional weekend activities). It also pays for all food on site, cooking equipment and your cook’s wages.
Other costs to consider include your flights, e-visa, insurance, vaccinations, kit and any optional weekend activities or travel plans before or after your project. Our Group Volunteer Information and Pre-Departure packs contain detailed information about this.
We kindly ask each group volunteer to fundraise a minimum of £700 for a four or five week building project. The money raised by group volunteers goes directly to pay for the project they are working on, for example, for buying building materials and paint, hiring tools and equipment and paying the building team’s wages. Any fundraising that is left over goes on to secure the future of our School Infrastructure Programme, ensuring the programme can continue to run long after volunteers have returned home. It also means that the impact group volunteers have on the primary education system in Uganda reaches far wider than just the school they are working at.
Fundraising is also a great way for you to raise awareness of our work here in Uganda (you will need to understand our programmes and speak clearly and passionately about why you are volunteering with us), develop your transferable skills, and hopefully have some fun!
Head over to our Fundraising page for more information.
It’s not all work and no play – our group volunteers have weekends free to enjoy the best of what Uganda has to offer. You will have the chance to see the Big 5 on a safari in Murchison Falls National Park, observe white rhinos in their natural habitat, track chimps through the rainforest or, for any adrenaline junkies, raft some of the best White Water in the world! There is also the option to just sit back and relax by the River Nile after a long week of week.
We are happy to help organise and book activities for your group, it’s our way of saying thank you for all the hard work you have done.
University of Leeds
Since 2007, Leeds University groups have worked on the School Infrastructure Project under The Murchison Project and indeed their fundraising has allowed us to build 47 brand new classrooms at 17 Primary Schools in the Buliisa District. In addition they’ve also funded the refurbishment of a further 15 classrooms, built 25 pit latrine stanzas and painted more than 40 classrooms!