Volunteering in Bumwalukani

Project Bumwalukani currently welcomes volunteers traveling individually or in groups of up to 10. Volunteer activities are arranged year-round, so please contact us with the dates you would like to travel and we will do our best to accommodate you!

All volunteers will:

  • Spend one day shadowing clinic staff at all stations, from patient intake to the exit interview
  • Visit Bududa district hospital and Bukigai Health Center, two of the other major health facilities in the district
  • Spend a day in Mbale town visiting
  • Cure hospital, a private neurosurgery hospital specializing in hydrocephalus and spina bifida
  • Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, the closest regional hospital to us, and
  • The AIDS Support Organization (TASO), the first organization of its kind in Uganda focusing on psychosocial support for AIDS patients

 

In addition, all volunteers will be given the option to participate in the following activities according to their interest and skill level:

Clinic volunteer opportunities: Assisting with patient intake and management, taking patient vitals, observe patient examination with our clinical officer, assisting with drug dispensing, conducting laboratory testing  

Community health outreach volunteer opportunities: Attend home visit follow-up care for HIV-positive clients, assisting with community outreaches, conducted twice a month by our Community Health Educators (CHEs), attending home-based meetings for one of our seven community health groups, assisting with the planning of special public health events, such as World Malaria Day, World AIDS Day, or clinic programs

Health education volunteer opportunities: teaching health education to patients waiting at the clinic and members of our community health groups, teaching health classes to primary and secondary school students, writing and editing lesson plans

Special projects: Volunteers can also assist with special projects as they arise.  In the past these projects have include mosquito net treatment days, life skills camps for secondary students, development of visual aids, etc.

Qualified volunteers are also encouraged to work at any of our partner sites within the district to work for a longer period of time after touring the sites.  In the past, volunteers with medical training have worked at Bududa Hospital, Bukigai Health Center, Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, Cure Hospital, and The AIDS Support Organization (TASO). 

Popular weekend excursions:

  • Jinja: white water rafting on the Nile, souvenir shopping, source of the Nile river (2-3 days)
  • Sipi falls: hike to three major waterfalls just north of Bududa (2-3 days)
  • Visit Kampala, Uganda’s capital city (2-3 days)
  • Visit one of the district markets (several hours)
  • And many more!

 

Sample Itinerary

 

The following is a sample itinerary of a one-week volunteer mission with Project Bumwalukani. This itinerary has been made to provide a clear, general impression of the way volunteer time is spent. Please note, however, that in order to ensure that a volunteer's work has the greatest, most relevant impact on clinic and community, volunteer schedules are established upon a volunteer's arrival at the clinic.

 

Time

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

7:45

Depart guesthouse

Depart guesthouse

Depart guesthouse

Depart guesthouse

Depart guesthouse

8:00 - 12:00

Clinic orientation and tour

Assist at station 1 in clinic

Observe at station 3 in clinic

Assist in laboratory

Assist in pharmacy

12:00 – 1:00

Lunch in clinic

Lunch in clinic

Lunch in clinic

Lunch in clinic

Lunch in clinic

1:00 - 5:00

Bududa loop tour (including hospital)

Home visits with Community Health Educator

Create health education materials for Post Test Club

Health education with Post Test Club

Observe antenatal clinic

Accommodations

 

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Housing

Volunteers in Bumwalukani will stay together in FIMRC’s Volunteer Guesthouse, or, in the case of high volunteer volume, the Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH) Guesthouse. The AAH Guesthouse shares the same compound as the school teachers’ quarters, is able to accommodate up to 10 volunteers, and is a twenty minute walk from the clinic. FIMRC’s Guesthouse is about a 15 minute walk from the clinic and houses several FIMRC staff members as well as up to 10 volunteers. Beds and mosquito nets are also provided, and weekly laundry service is available. It is important to understand that plumbing may not be readily accessible in this remote, rural village. Outhouses are located on both grounds, and volunteers will be provided water and a bathing shelter in which to take “bucket baths.” Should volunteers wish to have an actual shower, they could bring a Sun Shower, which is filled and heated by the sun, hung and used like a regular shower. These can be purchased at many camping stores.

 

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Transportation

All transportation is provided by a reputable hired driver with whom FIMRC has been working since the inception of Project Bumwalukani. Volunteers are met at the airport upon arrival by the driver. Depending on the time of arrival, volunteers may stay the night in a hotel in Entebbe or may travel to Bumwalukani the same day. Total transport time between the airport and site is between six and seven hours. FIMRC provides return transportation to the airport at the end of the trip.

Daily transportation is not a necessity as the volunteer housing quarters are located within walking distance of the volunteering site. However, transportation can be made available for side visits to communities or towns further away.

Availability of health care in Uganda is restricted to major cities, but demand is high and it can be expensive. While doctors and dentists are available throughout many areas of the country, the major hospitals are located in the main cities. FIMRC’s Clinic is a primary care facility.

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Meals

Breakfast and dinner are provided at the Volunteer Guesthouse daily. Lunch and afternoon tea are served on weekdays. Meals are locally influenced and are generally heavy in starches and vegetables.

 

 

Flights

Volunteers are responsible for arranging their own flights and must fly in and out of Entebbe International Airport (code EBB). If you are traveling with a group, please coordinate with your fellow group members to ensure that you arrive and depart together. 

FIMRC partners with StudentUniverse, a company that provides discounted airfare to students as well as individuals ages 18 - 25 years old. While not required, volunteers are are able to take advantage of this partnership through booking discounted flights online at: 

http://www.studentuniverse.com/travel/fimrc

If you wish to work with a travel agent, please feel free to contact Leah Webster, FIMRC's Travel Specialist at StudentUniverse (617-321-3264 ; leah.webster@studentuniverse.com). If traveling individually, there is a $35 booking fee to work with Leah; however, if traveling with a group of 10 or more volunteers, Leah will arrange your group travel at no additional cost.

If booking online through participating companies, we ask that you please consider registering with www.igive.com/fimrc. Once you register, iGive will automatically donate a portion of every online purchase you make with selected vendors (including many major airline booking companies) to FIMRC, which means you will make even more of an impact on children’s health at no additional cost to you. The following are some ticket vendors who participate in this program.

Travel

Passport - US citizens can enter Uganda with a valid passport. Volunteers who do not hold a US passport must check with their respective embassies for information on travel eligibility. Volunteers are responsible for obtaining or renewing their passports.

Visa - US passport holders MUST obtain a visa in order to travel. Non-US passport holders should check with their respective embassies for current visa requirements and regulations. Volunteers are responsible for ensuring that they are legally eligible to travel abroad. A U.S. passport, valid for at least six months from the date of departure, containing at least two blank pages, is necessary.

Depending on the airline with which you are flying, you may be permitted to purchase your visa on the airplane before landing in Entebbe. We recommend obtaining your visa in advance from the Embassy of the Republic of Uganda. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from www.ugandaembassy.com or 202-726-7100.

Approximate Visa Fees:

  • Single entry visa for Uganda is $50, lasting 3 months
  • Multiple entry for Uganda is $90, lasting 6 months

In addition, tourist cards will be provided on board the airplane prior to landing in Entebbe. Be sure to keep the yellow copy, as it will be requested upon departure. Visitors from any country must hold tickets and other documents for onward or return journeys. If passengers arrive without meeting this requirement, they must buy a ticket or they will be deported, at their own expense, on the first available flight.

Vaccinations - We refer all volunteers to the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/travel for the most up to date vaccination recommendations. Please note the different recommendations not only for the country you are visiting, but also for the region in which you will be staying.

A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required to travel to Uganda. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. Recommended malaria drugs include doxycycline, malarone, and lariam. It is also advised that all travelers be vaccinated against meningitis, Typhoid and Hepatitis A & B. Please remember to bring sufficient personal medications, if needed, for the entirety of your time away from home.

Mosquito bites can be avoided by using mosquito repellent and a mosquito net (provided at the Volunteer House). Water-borne disease is present in some lakes and ponds, so swimming is not recommended except in designated areas. Travelers to developed countries may become ill as a reaction to contaminated food or water. While volunteering, you should monitor your own health so that you can get help right away if you show signs of illness. Such illness can be prevented through basic measures such as washing your hands and avoiding local, untreated water. Many people unaccustomed to the heat in Uganda can suffer from heat exhaustion. We urge volunteers to stay hydrated with bottled water, which is supplied at the guesthouse.

Travel Insurance

FIMRC has partnered with Worldwide Risk Management (WRM) to assist in providing you with adequate international travel and medical insurance. WRM specializes in providing international health insurance to mission groups, volunteer organizations, and individuals traveling overseas for missions and humanitarian relief. FIMRC and WRM would like to suggest the Outreach Travel Medical Insurance product as the most appropriate insurance plan for your traveling needs. It is designed for the individual short term volunteer traveling for five days and up to 12 months. Outreach Travel provides medical benefits, emergency evacuation, terrorism coverage, natural disaster benefits, trip interruption, and lost luggage benefits. These are just a few highlights and coverage depends upon the plan that you choose. If you would like to get a quote or are ready to purchase, click here.

If you should have any questions about insurance coverage or would like a no obligation quote, please do not hesitate to contact FIMRC’s insurance agent at WRM, Kate Guillereault, at kate@worldwiderisk.com. Please provide your age, date of birth, country of citizenship, destination country, dates of trip, and trip cost when requesting a quote.

Trip Cost

The following cost structure reflects individual participation in the Global Health Volunteer Program at Project Bumwalukani:

  • $1,399 for trips of up to two weeks, $675 per week thereafter

This cost includes the program donation that supports our project sites as well as housing, food, & transportation. Housing, food and transportation include airport pick up/drop off and transportation to/from project site during volunteer days, lodging in the volunteer guest house and three meals a day for the duration of the volunteer's stay. Excursions and trips for non-volunteer related activity as well as the associated costs are the responsibility of the volunteer.

Additional approximate costs include:

  • Roundtrip airfare generally ranging between $1300-$1900
  • Recommended spending money of $150 per week, at the discretion of the volunteer

What Others Are Saying

Interested to read more about what previous volunteers say about their trip? Make sure to check out our testimonials page to hear more about what the FIMRC experience is all about!

Get Started

Once you work with our team to confirm your volunteering site and trip dates, you will be sent a welcome email which will contain instructions for enrollment, as well as deadlines for the submission of materials. If you have questions about how this process works, do not hesitate to contact enrollment@fimrc.org or 1-888-211-8575. Click below to contact us and begin the enrollment process