Volunteer in Tanzania
Trip info for Tanzania
Book your placement with £125. Then pay one-off £250 contribution to the project and volunteer with children in this wonderful country.
Change lives and volunteer in Tanzania 2014 - 2015
Tanzania Placement Details
Here's everything you need to know about our volunteering project in Tanzania, including placement information, how to get there, what to pack and advice on money, health and safety.
Volunteers choose from a variety of different local projects. Here, children are proud to show off their colourful work.
About the Project
How does the project in Tanzania work?
With a variety of placements on offer and no specific experience required, volunteers of all ages, from a range of backgrounds and possessing different skills are all encouraged to take part in this friendly project.
Volunteers usually work five days a week during school hours at a school in need or community project and will have the choice to help out during the weekend, undertake some sightseeing, or simply relax and enjoy local life.
If you wish, your time can be split between working on different projects.
Your local coordinator is always available to help you make the most of your time. If you change your mind about anything whilst your there, for example, changing projects, accommodation, dates or anything else, this can easily be accommodated.
Depending on your selection of placement and accommodation, you may walk or take a 10 minute local bus (dala dala) to work, or if you select a more remote location, you may have to travel a little further. However, this can be discussed and we will ensure that you do not spend all day travelling back and forth!
One of the new projects volunteers are involved with, which is a registered UK charity, requires all participating volunteers to show a full and recent CRB so if you have one, do take it with you should you decide to volunteer there after arrival!
Volunteers at local school. You can choose which project you would like to work with and share placements with others so you are not on your own.
Where is the project?
In and around Iringa, located in central Tanzania, approximately 300 miles from Dar es Salaam where most volunteers fly in when they arrive.
There's free volunteer accommodation in shared volunteer rooms or at busy periods, at a school in the area altogether or when full, with local families. Friends and small groups are wherever possible placed together. Home stays are available for approximately £25 per week, including all meals. This is an ideal option for those preferring a cultural experience or or couples and pairs of friends preferring a private room.
Airport pick-up: An airport pick-up and transfer service is available from Dar -Es -Salaam and is arranged for you in advance. Pay on arrival approximately £55 for taxi to guesthouse in Dar es Salaam for overnight stay (recommended), morning taxi to bus station and bus to Iringa.
What's not included?
Flights, visas, meals, insurance, return airport transfer, local transport around tanzania, volunteer permit (obtained on arrival in Iringa approx. $200)
What are the school dates?
The school term dates in Tanzania are as follows:
1st term: 1st week of January - 1st week of June
2nd Term: 1st week of July - end of November
Usually students are on school holidays during the following dates:
The whole of December
2nd week of June - 1st week of July
There are other short breaks (mid-term breaks) for Easter (one week) and one midterm break in September.
Volunteers can still participate during the school holidays as there is plenty of volunteering work, which can be done in the community, at the University and at youth centres.
About Placement Options
What are the different placement options?
In this country teachers are in short supply yet the children are eager and waiting to learn. With students ranging in age from 3+ you may find that they are more passive and 'easier' to teach in comparison with children in your home country.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to teach their own classes in a wide range of subjects, in most instances following the local curriculum and using the textbooks provided by the school. However, due to a lack of resources in some areas, volunteers are encouraged to bring their own teaching materials and come up with some creative lesson ideas.
Bring storybooks, activity/workbooks rather than the revision type books. These can be the kind of books children can actually work in, with pro-active content. You can either photocopy material to hand out or copy out activities on the blackboard which the children can then copy. You could also introduce spelling competitions, quizzes on the books already read, or word and number games.
Any extra resources that you can bring such as some cheap calculators, children's scissors.However, essentials such as pens and pencils, A4 paper and glue can be bought cheaply from a local shop.
A science class in action. There are few resources more than pencils and paper, even at the better schools.
This is a great option for volunteers who may be feeling slightly nervous about taking charge of their very own class but want to gain some classroom experience and build confidence.
You can work together with the teacher or take a class in pairs.
Some ideas could include; dividing the students into smaller groups and assigning them with different tasks before swapping them around, or working on a one to one basis with an individual student, whilst the teacher has the rest of the class. You could also simply work the children through a study guide that you bring from home.
There are three universities in Iringa who are keen to use your expertise! In particular, the IT departments require volunteers to lecture, help with set-up and maintenance of resources and so on. However, your help in all subjects and areas is desired and valued.
Sports coaches are highly sought after for school, college and local teams. Football, volleyball, basketball, netball and athletics are some of the most popular sports here. However, people are always keen and excited to learn new sports should you be interested in coaching something else.
The poorest children face the biggest challenges at schools with no resources. Try to bring a range of Maths and English activity sheets to help stimulate the children and boost motivation.
Teaching English as a second language to adults or children
Many people here are very keen to learn or improve their English. This is a highly valuable skill that will help with the development of the local area. The local community is keen to provide classrooms for teaching.
General maintenance work
Some volunteers, who do not wish to have a go at teaching in the school, may decide to have a go at some general maintenance work within the school grounds. This is likely to include; gardening, painting, basic repairs, carpentry, plumbing and other general manual work.
Working with an orphanage
There are many orphanages located around the area of Iringa, due to a high HIV infection rate- 14% of people here are affected by HIV, in comparison to the national rate of 7%. Volunteers are needed to help with everyday life. This may include cooking, cleaning, helping children with homework and running games and activities.
Working with a local NGO
Volunteers are needed to help with writing funding proposals, developing websites, raising awareness about the work that they do, fundraising, and gaining support from outside organisations.
Getting back to the airport
How will I get back to the airport?
Your in-country support team will help you to organise the journey back to the airport. Most volunteers travel back to Dar Es Salaam by bus and stay a night at a guesthouse before flying home.
Local girls drawing water from a well. Collecting water can still take up more than a couple of hours a day from walking to queuing to take your turn.
There are several internet cafes in Iringa town and (paid-for) wi-fi available at 1 or 2 local cafes. Alternatively, you may prefer to purchase a modem for roughly 45,000 shillings ( £17.50/ $28) and use the internet at your leisure, on your laptop.
Tanzania Project costs
What are the costs after I have registered and booked my space?
The project costs for Tanzania are a one off contribution of £250 for a stay of any length up to 4 weeks. This includes accommodation. All volunteers get their own return flights to Dar es Salaam (airport code DAR). A tourist visa is required to enter the country, this can be obtained on arrival if you have a return ticket or can be obtained before travel. It costs US $50 Dollars on arrival at the time of writing, take a clean Dollar note. The airport pick up is paid on a as-you-go-basis with an airport pick up followed by assistance getting on the bus to Iringa followed by transfer to the volunteer house. Allow approximately £55 for the three parts of the journey.
For daily living costs, allow about £30 per week. This should be more than enough. Allow extra for your safari if you choose to do one and keep back about £50 to get back to the airport at the end of your stay. Most volunteers are required to obtain a volunteer permit in Iringa although rules change from time to time. At the time of writing this is $200 US Dollars or approx. £130. When this is enforced you will need one for even one day's volunteering and there are harsh penalties without one. If needed your coordinator will assist you to obtain one with the police in Iringa. It is harder to obtain before travel and will require documentation from Tanzania sent by post back and forth. It can also be double the cost so best to obtain later in Iringa if needed..
Do I need a visa for Tanzania?
Although it is possible to obtain a visa on arrival if you have a return flight, it is strongly recommended to obtain a tourist visa before arrival to avoid any stress on arrival after a long flight.
All volunteers in Tanzania from all organisations now also require a volunteer permit. The most affordable method is to obtain this after arrival in Iringa as this can be half the cost if obtained outside of Tanzania even though you will still need a visa to enter the country. The volunteer coordinator will assist you with paperwork after you arrive in Iringa.
Travelling with others
Can I travel with another volunteer?
We can Buddy you up with another volunteer so you can fly out together, just let us know at the time of booking. Even if you do travel alone, and about 7 in 10 do, you will rarely be alone on this busy and popular project. Check out the travel buddy list and our main Facebook page too.
Your coordinator and staff will be happy to show you around the local sights in this little-visited region of Tanzania.
What happens if I book with a friend?
All friends are met at the airport together in Dar Es Salaam and can transfer to Iringa together. Let us know at the time of booking that you are travelling with a friend so to the local team can place you in the same volunteer house. There is a main volunteer house all year round with additional accommodation sometimes used in the summer months. Because you will be choosing your project after arrival as per your preference there is no need to be apart at anytime unless you want to work in different locations! If your group is very large, it may be necessary to divide the group in two, you may want to let us know before travel how you would like to divide your group.
What to take
What do I need to pack?
What you wear will depend on the placement you choose. If you are working with general school maintenance, old clothes that you don't mind getting dirty would be ideal. Otherwise, lightweight smart-casual wear is fine. Please avoid very tight, short or revealing clothing. There is a second-hand clothes market nearby selling items at very cheap prices should you require extra clothing.
What would you recommend to include?
1. Sleeping bag or bedding, sheet/small pillow
2. Mosquito net – Can be purchased in Iringa, much cheaper than Europe
3. Malaria pills - Can be purchased in Iringa, much cheaper than Europe
4. Unlocked mobile phone. You can purchase a local sim card on arrival, making it easy to keep in touch with your project co-ordinator, other volunteers and greatly reduce the cost of calling or texting home. A sim card currently costs approximately 1000 shillings, which is just under 50 pence/ 40 cents.
5. Mosquito repellent (50% Deet)
6. Sturdy footwear: lightweight walking boots/ trainers
7. Lightweight jacket and sweater
8. Hoody/cardigan for chilly nights
9. Small rucksack for everyday use
10. Hand sanitising gel
11. Basic travel first aid kit
15. Imodium tablets
17. Other optional suggestions:
18. Playing cards
19. IPod/ MP3 player
21. Piriton (for mosquito bites)
22. Laptop/ notebook
Volunteer Stephanie on her way home after school accompanied by some of her students.
What should I take if I'm teaching?
1. Pens and pencils
4. Other stationery
5. Educational posters for classroom walls
6. Footballs/ Volleyballs or other sports/ play equipment
Volunteers are asked to bring a little extra money to buy materials, although the basics are cheap and should not require more than a few extra pounds a week. You may like to bring sturdy footwear and work gloves. Volunteers participating in manual work can combine this with the regular programme perhaps alternating manual work on some days with playwork and teaching on others.
Despite the state schools being free, the Government requires compulsory contributions for uniform, equipment and food which can prevent many of the poorest children from attending the free state schools. For only around £4 a month, shoes, uniform, equipment, pens and exam fees can all be covered and help a child stay in school. Some ex-volunteers have already started sponsoring children they met at the time of their visit.
Will I need any jabs?
Most visitors to Africa will need some jabs and boosters to protect themselves and malaria tablets are essential. Boosters usually advised are Diptheria, Hep A, Tetanus and Typhoid. Yellow Fever is sometimes recommended. Rabies and cholera not generally advised (taken from fitfortravel 21/08/13).
Volunteer visit to the orphans school near Iringa.
What do I need to know about currency?
The Tanzanian shilling is only available in Tanzania. You cannot change any currency for shillings outside the country. You can change money on arrival at Dar es Salaam Airport and ATM's are widely available throughout the country.https://https:// There is a Barclays bank branch in Iringa and other local banks all with ATMs. Please be aware that Traveller's Cheques are not accepted in any shops or exchanged in any of the banks in town. US Dollars or Pounds Sterling can easily be exchanged in Tanzania for local currency- The Tanzanian Shilling. Exchange rates fluctuate, but as a rough guide on 01/11/11, £1 = 2769Ts/ $1 = 1726Ts.https://https://https://
What do I need to know about Tanzania?
The local language is Swahili - a phrase book may be useful and freehttps://ge lessons can be arranged at your convenience on arrival.
Only in Tanzania will you find such an incredible diversity of landscapes from herds of antelope on the Serengeti plains to brilliant coral in turquoise seas.
Not to missed before you return home: the magical spice island of Zanzibar, Serengeti NP, Ngorongoro Crater, Mt Kilimanjaro, Olduvai Gorge, Lake Manyara NP, Rift Valley Escarpment, tea estates in the south and Isimila Stone Age site.
The time difference is +3 hours from GMT (+2 hours during British summertime).
There are occasional, short power cuts in most places throughout Africa, these usually occur about twice a week in Iringa, for periods of about 4 hours.
You will enjoy the wonderful, friendly, relaxed attitude of Iringa, but don't expect everything to be perfect or exactly on time- after all, T.I.A - This is Africa!
Group of volunteers on the Iringa escarpment, easily reached for a climb and great views over the area.
What are the main places of interest?
Iringa is only 100km from six of Tanzania's stunning National Parks, (the nearest one being Ruaha National Park)- perfect for a weekend trip.
Only in Tanzania will you find such an incredible diversity of landscapes from herds of antelope on the Serengeti plains to masses of brilliant corals and colourful fish in turquoise seas.
Not to be missed before your return home:
The breathtaking sandy beaches on the magical spice island of Zanzibar Serengeti National Park Ngorongoro Crater Mt Kilimanjaro Mt Meru Olduvai Gorge Lake Manyara National Park Rift Valley Escarpment Tea estates in the south Isimila Stone Age site
Previous volunteers have advised:
Afternoon trips – such as visiting a dairy farm and milking cows!, The Bridge of God and Isimila, large tea plantations, orphanages and rural villages.
Weekend trips: Iringa is situated between four large National Parks (you will cross one of them on your way from Dar es Salaam so watch out for zebras, monkeys, giraffes and elephants!)
After volunteering: Most volunteers will stay in Tanzania for several weeks and then have until recently some have headed to Zanzibar for a lazy week before travel home - an island boasting stunning sandy white beaches, crystal clear water and the perfect opportunity to relax. However after the recent indiscriminate attacks on Western backpackers, we do advise against travel at this time. There are plenty of other great beaches along the coast and around Mombasa over the border in Kenya which also saves you the hair-raising ferry to Zanzibar island!
Alternatively, some choose to challenge themselves with Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa's highest peak. Allow approx £900 for a complete trek.
These can all be organised after your arrival and many volunteers choose to arrange extra trips together, in order to save costs.
How and when do I need to pay for my Tanzania project?
We'll send an invoice to you by email after we have received your flights. The airport pick up and transfer is payable on arrival so once project costs have been paid there is nothing more to pay Original Volunteers. Don't worry if you forget and it gets close to your departure date, if we have your flights or arrival date, we'll send you a reminder before you go!
Free Time in Tanzania
Your in-country volunteer coordinator can organise any trips after arrival in and around Iringa including a safari. If you know in advance of your trip of any you would like to make it can be helpful for us to know in advance. This may make it easier to organise a trip for all the volunteers. In addition there may be a volunteer currently in Iringa who has almost finished their stay who may wait around to take trip with you if they know!
Your volunteer coordinator will help you to organise a safari.
Price £350 - £400 if sharing
Your local coordinator will be happy to help you organise a safari. It may be best to arrange after arrival and travel with other volunteers which can work out cheaper and more fun.
Iringa is situated between the two largest parks in Tanzania, both within 100 miles, so you could not be better positioned. Perhaps you could do both if your budget stretches.
Isimila stone age site
Price £2 entrance
Walk in the footsteps of your African ancestors with a fascinating visit to the Isimila canyon where we lived 60,000 years ago. Take water and a sun hat as there is little breeze.
A guide can be hired from the Neema Craft cafe below and travel by dala dala the 10 miles out to the site. Allow an hour to see everything. There is also a small museum with artefacts and a cafe at the canyon.
Walk in the footsteps of our ancestors at the stone age site of Isimila.
Enjoy a meal and make a difference at the Neema Arts and Crafts cafe, all the staff are disabled.
Neema Arts and Crafts Cafe
Price £7 for drink and snack
Neema crafts centre in Iringa is a cafe and gift shop and a popular stop over for nearly every visitor to Iringa. It's USP is the 80 disabled people who are employed making handicrafts which are sold at the shop.
It is considered one of the best of its kind in Tanzania. Be aware that most of the serving staff in the cafe are deaf. Shakes and lasagne recommended.
Dairy farm visit
Not the usual activity one thinks of when visiting Tanzania but an interesting afternoon nonetheless when you have visited Isimila and a safari.
You can also have a go at milking the cows by hand. Your coordinator will be happy to organise a visit.
A visit to the dairy is an unusual fun experience.