Volunteering in Tanzania
Tanzania is one of our most popular destinations. A stay in Tanzania is a unique opportunity to get close to the culture and the people.
Volunteering in Tanzania
EXIS organizes volunteer work stays in Tanzania in collaboration with local NGOs. Internships are also possible. Volunteering in Tanzania is a unique way to explore yourself, discover a country, its culture and people while doing a meaningful job.
You must be at least 18 years old, independent, outgoing and have a sincere desire to do volunteer work.
You should expect the unexpected, be adaptable, flexible and enthusiastic. These are probably the qualities that made you contact EXIS in the first place. This is not a holiday or a guided tour. It is a unique experience to learn, make new friends and also make a difference with your volunteer work.
Internships are also possible in Tanzania.
Programs start every 1st and 3rd Monday of each month, with arrival Sunday prior to the program start at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Upon arrival you will be picked up at the airport and driven to your accommodation. During the first 1-3 days, you will get an orientation in town and some Swahili lessons, while the coordinator organizes your work permit.
The Projects in Tanzania
In the project descriptions below you can learn about the different volunteer possibilities in Tanzania. Hopefully you can find the right project to fullfill your aims and skills!
Food and accommodation during volunteering
Most volunteers prefer to stay at the “House for Volunteers” in Arusha with: TV-room, showers and sanitary facilities. There’s a guard and a cook who prepares 3 meals a day. Here it is possible to have more of a social life with other volunteers. The coordinator – who also arranges Safari Trips – has his office in the house.
If you prefer more authentic surroundings, you can chose to live with a local host family instead, where you also will have 3 meals a day. Here you will share all facilities with the family members, of whom at least one speaks English.
Tanzanian food includes a little meat, chicken or fish with rice and some fruit. Showers do no not always have hot water. Don’t expect luxury!
Below you will find descriptions of the voluntary work places. Tasks and working hours differ from place to place.
Apart from the working places below, we also offer internships in the tourism industry. Tanzania has world class national parks with both the largest number and the greatest concentration of wildlife in the world, which attracts many tourists.
All safaris and Kilimanjaro trekkings start from travel agencies the Arusha area. An Internship at a travel agency in this town offers:
- Work at a tourist office, from where customers start their safaris and trekkings. This means you will get experience with tourists from many different parts of the world, working with locals, insight into how the industry affects the environment and also into governmental legislation.
- Customer service – which provides experience with linguistic challenges (English, French, German others)
- International marketing management
- Insight in ethnic differences and the influence of tourism on society
- In addition to the work at the travel agency; you will help young learners following lessons at a local NGO.
- Accommodation is in the house for volunteers.
Video-montage from volunteer in Tanzania
Volunteering in Orphanages in Tanzania
Tanzania and all the sub-Saharan African countries are badly affected by the epidemics of poverty and HIV/AIDS. The number of orphans and street children is growing. Efforts have been made by various local organizations to protect these children by offering much-needed education as well as skill-development training. Thousands of orphaned children who suffer from extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS and hopelessness leave their villages and travel to Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi and other cities, where they most often end up worse off on the street. Most orphanages in Tanzania lack resources and are under-staffed. Some are extremely poor, and struggle just to feed the children. Not all of the children can attend school, as they lack sponsors to pay for uniforms, books and so on. Other orphanages are more fortunate and even have their own school close to their premises. All of them, however, rely on volunteer workers and donations of all kinds in order to be able to run the orphanage and maintain an everyday, secure environment for the children.
Some orphanages are in rural areas andvolunteeers will have to take one of the local minibuses (called “Dala Dala”) to get there, a cheap way of transportation.there, a cheap way of transportation. You can buy a weekly pass for a “dala dala” minibus. Cost approx. $ 5.
Volunteer tasks usually are:
- In the morning help with breakfast and prepare the children for school. Volunteers accompany the children to and from school
- Teach English 3-4 hours a day in the local school
- Small children (ages 2-6 years) remain in their orphanages. Volunteers who choose not to teach in schools play with these children: sport, art, games, picture books, music. You are welcome to suggest all sorts of activities.
- Organize activities when the children return from school and help with homework
- Skill-training and leisure activities for the children, who are too old to go to school
- After dinner help the children wash, brush teeth and take care of themselves
- Keeping the orphanage clean and tidy
- Help with daily chores such as washing the children’s clothes, repairing and maintaining the premises etc.
This is just a general picture of daily tasks. Each orphanage has its own routine. You will receive detailed information about your work place before travelling.
Gardening and Agriculture
Several orphanages try to be as self sufficient as possible and have vegetable- and fruit gardens, cows, goats and chickens. Selling products at the local markets generates income to the orphanage. As the orphanages don’t have means to hire people, volunteers interested in exploring Tanzanian ways of agriculture and manual labor are welcome to give a hand.
The Pamoja Project focuses on teaching and raising awareness of HIV/AIDS for community members and schoolchildren. Most of your time will be spent teaching, lesson planning, and training peer educators. You will also be involved in community assessment work within villages.
Peer to peer learning has proven to be an effective model for behavior change communication among adolescents. Peer education is a particularly powerful method for reaching young people. This educational program targets both government and private primary and secondary schools. Educators are nominated and elected by teachers and fellow students, and they are among the brightest, most outgoing students in their class.
Volunteers and program officers provide training for peer leaders, and a three day seminar for peer education teachers. Our partner and field officers stay in touch with schools and different community project stakeholders – helping peer educators organize special events such as sports days, exchange learning visits, and competitions within and among schools.
These students use dynamic education techniques such as songs, drama, debates, and poetry to engage other youths and encourage them to think critically so they can choose behaviors that lower their risk of getting HIV / AIDS. This requires that we teach the basic biological facts about the virus, the progression of the disease in the body, the primary modes of transmission, and the most effective methods of prevention.
Volunteers participating in this project will have to count with extra transportation expenses.
Women Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre
International human rights include the right to work, to an adequate standard of living, to participate in cultural and political life, to education and to freedom of religion. Even though Tanzania has ratified some human rights conventions, they are far from complying with them all in practice.
This Human Rights Centre in Arusha is run by a small, private NGO that aims to provide legal aid and counselling services to poor and disadvantaged women and children in both rural and urban areas. It operates by conducting seminars, workshops, camps and conferences, organizes legal aid, socio-economic support and Human Rights education, both at the centre and in the media. The Centre strives to help as many people as possible but focuses primarily on women.
If you have a relevant academic background and wish to volunteer or be an Intern, you can work in this Centre for Human Rights. Depending on your experience, education and interests, you will be involved in different activities like:
- Visiting widows and get a better understanding of the legal and human rights problems they have to deal with
- Conducting research on policies and laws affecting women and children with the aim of using the findings as a basis for lobbying and advocating to advance gender equality
- Encouraging and supporting poor women in establishing self-help groups or projects that will help them to generate an income
- Building a joint network with other NGOs and government bodies with activities relating to the Centres’ aims, within and outside Tanzania
As a volunteer you will work on grass root level alongside experienced people to make a difference in the local community.
The longer you stay, the more interesting your task will be.
We recommend you prepare your volunteer work by studying for example the following homepage: http://www.humanrights.dk
Medical/Healthcare Programme in Tanzania
Most clinics and hospitals only accept certified professionals in the medical/healthcare sector, or interns.
If you are looking for valuable hands-on medical experience, there are possibilities in the hospitals in Arusha. You will also be able to work at rural health posts and community clinics. Participants spend the majority of their internship/work period working as an assistant to a doctor/healthcare professional. Work responsibilities vary with your education, skills, and previous experience. Interns must have health care certification, such as an ID as a medical student, EMT or paramedic certification, or nursing or physician’s credentials.
Medical interns without credentials are not allowed to work in this programme because of the potential liability risk. Job responsibilities of interns vary with education, skills, experience and qualifications. Interns measure blood pressure, temperature, height, weight, as well as assist doctors. Interns may also help in health camps, distribute medication, advise patients about health, nutrition and sanitation as well as counsel patients and possibly participate in the treatment of minor injuries and wounds or maintain journals.
Work is from 20-30 hours per week. On the first working day you will meet a coordinator, who will explain your role as a volunteer/intern. An individual timetable will be worked out for you based on how much time you want to commit.
Please note: the programme supervisor DOES NOT DEVELOP internships; instead you will select a particular area of interest and explore the issue further with the help of an assigned supervisor. It is up to the interns to get as much as possible out of their stay.
Volunteer teaching in Tanzania
Children represent over 50% of the population, but in terms of budget allocations, children welfare is still relegated to the private sphere of the family, community and NGOs and remains politically marginalized from the mainstream concerns of the governance and economic policy.
There is significant economic growth in some sectors, particularly mining and tourism but very little growth in Agriculture sector on which most children and their families depend.
Opportunities missed in childhood, such as good nutrition and education, can cause irreversible harm and trap children in long term poverty. Poverty at household level and very low level of investment in basic infrastructure such as schools and health care facilities or transport for economic activities makes life hard for children in Tanzania.
The only way out of poverty is through education. This goes of course even more for orphans. Children are very much aware that being able to speak English is essential to their future prospects and they are eager to learn.
English is a common language in Tanzania because the country once was a British colony. However, there is a lack of quality English education. If you choose to teach, don’t expect Western standards with premade educational materials, tight schedules and so on. You must make it up as you go. You may also assist with sports, music, drawing lessons, games and other activities.
Public schools close during the following periods:
June 15th – July 27th
Sep 19th – Oct 10th
Dec 15th – Jan 1st
During these periods it is possible to teach at a private school or at an orphanage instead.
Training center for disadvantaged teenage girls
EXIS works with a local NGO who runs a school for young teenage girls. The girls are selected through a number of different networks and are either recovered from the forced labor- or sex trade, abandoned by their families or have escaped abusive relationships. Many of the young girls already have children of their own. The goal of the NGO is to provide the girls with a hope for a better future and teach them skills that allow them to become self-supporting and take care of their children. At the moment the NGO helps young and vulnerable women from the Arusha-, Moshi- and Kilimanjaro region.
The girls stay at the school for 6-12 months. Here they are taught skills such as tailoring, cooking, English and computers. This will help them get a job, e.g. in the catering sector or the hotel business.
Volunteer tasks can be:
- Teaching English
- Developing handcraft skills
- Teach Computer Skills and maintain computers
- Assist in the cooking classes
Depending on your own capacities and experiences, you can suggest other skills. The girls are very eager to learn. Minimum work stay is 3 months.
Help to Self Help Center
This center in Arusha began as a joint Danish-Tanzanian project, aimed at combating various issues affecting poor and socially marginalized people in Tanzania, principally women, disabled persons, youth and children. It offers different forms of education, activism and projects, such as campaigns against female genital mutilation, support for visually impaired students, classes in farming, entrepreneurship for women as well as guidance in economically viable cooking technologies.
Depending on your skills and prior experience, your tasks could be:
- Assisting in tailoring and fabric making classes
- Teach nutrition and food planning
- Teach computer skills
- Teach mathematics
- Women empowerment course
This working place is very suitable for interns, for example in the fields of design or health and nutrition.
The center is closed in June abd December.
This vocational school in Arusha has been developed by an NGO. 200 to 300 pupils attend the school. There are three kind of professional classes: Cooking, Electrician and Textile design. The vision of the school is to give students from poor families a chance. So the school fee is very low. Students who cannot pay the fee can be granted a scholarship with the help of various organizations. A student residence in affiliation with the school is being planned, as many students who come from the country side are living under poor conditions with family members or friends. Because of the financial crisis, which also has affected the work of charitable organisations, the schools budget does not actually allow the construction of the residence.
Therefore it is considered to admit students, who can pay full fees, in order to create more income for the school. Students from poor families can still apply for scholarships. The school has an excellent reputation as being one of the best in the area, and many students have succeeded in getting good positions or are self-employed. The three professional lines make this school very suitable for Internships. Other tasks for volunteers can be to teach English, IT, entrepreneurship etc.
The school is closed in June and December.
If you apply for an intership at a travel agency, you will be teaching some hours at this vocational school.
This project is dedicated to environmental conservation, the populations welfare and community development. Volunteers will work in partnership with the Tanzanian government, as well as other civil organisations. Tasks are:
- Tree planting at schools, hospitals, resting places, along the public roads in villages and in open areas
- Teach environmental awareness and English at primary schools and to farmers. Volunteers will receive teaching training before they start to work and teaching material will be provided
- Work in the nurseries where seeds are developed into trees. Training is provided at work
- Permaculture project. This project offers vocational training to practicing and prospective farmers
- Volunteers can help out with various aspects of the program like raising seedlings, planting trees, maintaining the forest garden, etc.
Do you want to help building school classes, bridges, orphanages, libraries etc. in Tanzania? Volunteers can learn how to build with limited resources, with local construction materials and according to traditional techniques.
A professional background or experience is very helpful, but by no means necessary – everybody can help with practical work, mixing cement, transporting construction materials, etc.
The projects are also well suited for internships for craftsmen, architects, building engineers, construction engineers, electricians or other professional specialities.
As an intern you follow a local architect/engineer and have to do with design, planning, engineering and construction.
Whether you are a volunteer or intern, the working tasks will depend on your experiences and qualifications.
The fees include:
Voluntary Work in Tanzania
Work permit in Tanzania
Single or shared room with full board during entire stay
Assistance from a local coordinator
Personal sponsor amount to your project
Certificate of participation
The following is not included in the fee:
- Any personal expenses, soft drinks, bottled water
- Any entrance fee during sightseeing and traveling
- Tourist visa fee
Tanzania has one of the most varied and unique landscapes in the world. Here you’ll find mountains – amongst them, Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, great lakes and numerous wildlife reserves. Serengeti National Park is famous for its annual migration of millions of wildebeest and also has a large population of lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and African Buffaloes.
Near the Park is the Olduvai-Ravine, where many of the oldest hominid fossils and artifacts have been found.
Shortly after achieving independence from Britain in the early 1960s, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. Tanzania is bordered by Burundi, Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. Tanzania’s surface is 886,037 sq km, including the islands of Mafia, Pemba and Zanzibar. Click here for a map. Volunteer projects are located in Arusha and Moshi in the Mount Kilimanjaro area.
Arusha is one of the bigger cities in the north of Tanzania at the base of Mt. Meru, not far from the border with Kenya. It is well known as an African Congress center containing the site for the International Tribunal for the Rwandan Genocide. Tucked at the foot of Mount Meru, the town of Arusha is the first stop on the northern safari circuit and is the undisputed safari capital of East Africa. Moshi lies one hour and a half drive from Arusha, set on the edge of the plains which ascend toward the huge Kilimanjaro massif.
The Tanzanian climate is very varied. The coastal regions are tropical, hot and moist – although the average temperature is moderated by the sea breeze, especially on the islands, and ranges between 27 and 29 degrees Celsius.
The central regions are more temperate thanks to their higher elevation. In the mountainous areas of the Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Mara regions the temperature occasionally drops below 15 degrees Celsius at night during the months of June and July.
Tanzania has two rainy seasons, a long and sustained period from mid March through May, and a shorter, lighter period from November to January, where it rains only a few hours during the day.
EXIS in Tanzania
You will find out projects in Arusha and Moshi.
Life expectancy is only around 52 years, due to the many deaths from AIDS. It is estimated that around 1.4 million are living with the HIV virus. Of those, 160.000 are children under the age of 15.
99% of the mainland population is African; 95% are Bantu from more than 130 tribes. The remaining 1% consists of Asian, European and Arab. Religious beliefs are African Christian 30%, Muslim 35%, indigenous beliefs 35%.
The island of Zanzibar is mainly Arab and has more than 99% Muslims.
Kiswahili or Swahili is the official language, while English is the official language of commerce, administration and higher education. Arabic is widely spoken in Zanzibar. The first language of most people is a local language.
Before you go
Even though EXIS always tries to give the best service, also in Tanzania, don’t expect European living standards or precise work schedules. It is a big challenge to live and work in a poor country. It demands courage, some experience and the ability to adapt. It can be overwhelming, especially at first, to have to adjust to completely new conditions, communicate in a foreign language etc. Things are not as you are used to, the climate, the food, the atmosphere – everything is different. During your work you will be faced with a harsh social reality and experience things a tourist would never see.
To take part in the voluntary work program, maturity, flexibility, independence and the desire to do social work are necessary. Your stay is an experience you will never forget. Volunteering in Tanzania enables you to explore both this great country and yourself.
EXIS can organize safaris and trekkings in and outside Tanzania at special fees for volunteers. Ask EXIS for brochures with detailed descriptions.
Safari, in Kiswahili, simply means “journey”, but it has now become a synonym for an African wildlife adventure. Our partner organization in Tanzania arranges 5-day safaris to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti National Park for volunteers. For more information, pictures and a video about the national parks in Tanzania see: http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/manyara.html
Transportation is in a land cruiser with maximum 4 other participants, so everyone has a window seat.
You will camp in a spacious tent with beds and have access to toilet and shower, clean drinking water and get 3 meals a dayThe safari staff includes a professional guide, cook and crew in charge of practical tasks and safety at the campsites. All vehicles have VHF radios.
The safari starts and ends in Arusha.
The cost of 5-day Safari is EURO 938 for volunteers – and EURO 1189 for other participants who are not volunteering with EXIS.
You will also be asked to tip the cook and driver at the end of the trip. How much you give is up to you, but something like 5 USD per day to the cook and 10 USD per day to the driver is considered normal.
Included in this fee:
- Entrance fees
- Full board and accommodation
- Driver and guide in a 4×4 vehicle
- Game drives
- Extra bottle of water daily
- Visit to Olduvai Gorge in Ngorongoro
- Government taxes
Not included in the fee:
- Extras at campsites i.e. drinks, telephone, laundry etc.
- Tips to the driver and cook (as mentioned above)
- 6 days Kilimanjaro trekking
If you have a good physical condition, you can participate in a 6 days Kilimanjaro trekking and watch the sunrise behind Mawenzi, illuminating the plains. Detailed information can be sent by email.
The cost of this 6-day Kilimanjaro Trekking is EURO 1792 for volunteers – and EURO 2044 for other participants who are not volunteering with EXIS..
Included in the fee:
- All meals
- Transfers to and from hotel
- 1 night hotel accommodation
- Mountain hut accommodation
- Climb and park fees
- English speaking professional guide
- Kilimanjaro certificate
- Items of personal nature
- Passport visa
- Travelers insurance
- Tips to guides and porters (approx. 200-250 USD)
- Kilimanjaro trekking requires equipment such as jacket, pants, hiking shoes, sleeping bag, walking sticks etc. All equipment can be rented in Arusha. Costs are approximately 165 USD
During weekends you can participate in shorter excursions like for example a visit to “Arusha National park”, the closest national park to Arusha town. Arusha National Park is often overlooked by safari goers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats within a few hours.
If the start dates for the excursion do not fit with your volunteer work stay, the coordinator can arrange a break in your volunteer job, so you can return to work after the safari or trek.
When you arrive in Tanzania, one of our local staff members will be waiting for you at the airport. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it, so there will be no confusion. Please do not forget to send your detailed flight itinerary to [email protected] so these arrangements can be made.
For Dar es Salaam, we suggest you bring tropical clothing. However, at Masai land the nights may be cool. If volunteers want to participate in safaris, camping equipment would be preferable (sleeping bag, etc.).
There is internet in most big cities. You can use mobile handsets with a local sim card. Post offices are also available.
We appreciate gifts of new or used toys and clothes for the orphans.
If you want to participate together with a friend, please note his/ her name on the enrolment form.
Tanzanian currency is called the Tanzanian (Tsh) shilling. The « second » currency is the American dollar, commonly used in airports to pay taxes, in museums and hotels. So make sure you always have som USD with you. You cannot buy Tanzanian shillings in Eruopean banks. Therefore you should travel with a Visa card. One € corresponds to 1962 TZS. (October 2009).
European insurances do not cover you outside Europe. Travel insurance is compulsory.
Travel fees are not included in the program fees.
Please contact your doctor or insurance company for further information.
Do not contact the embassy or consulate until you have received the handbook with extra information about visa procedures.
EXIS represents local NGO’s and therefore cannot be held responsible for eventual changes that our partner may make after editing this information.
You enrol by filling out the enrolment form. Then send a letter of motivation in English to [email protected] in which you tell us a bit about yourself and explain why you wish to work as a volunteer. Please include a picture of yourself.
The local coordinator will do his best to respect your first priority, but we may not guarantee that all your wishes can be fulfilled.
Upon receipt of your enrolment, we will mail you a confirmation, an invoice, and a pre-departure handbook.
Before you leave you will receive detailed information about your local coordinator, project and accommodation.
Ready to go?
Reserve a seat for one of our projects in Tanzania