In the UK

What if I cannot raise the full amount of money?

The fundraising total is a minimum target and therefore we do need you to reach this target to be able to come on the project. However, we have a full-time member of staff dedicated to helping people like you reach your target. All we need from you is the commitment and passion, and then we will be able to guide you through the process -with ideas, guides and group opportunities, to make it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

 

I’ve never travelled before, I’ve no idea what I am letting myself in for?

Don’t worry: our volunteer projects are always made up of a mix of travel addicts and first-time travellers. We will always provide training on what to pack, what to expect, cultural differences and so much more. These projects are often a first experience at international travel which led to a lifelong quest to see more of the world!

 

I don’t know anyone, will there be a chance to get to know my team beforehand?

With the wonders of social media, we make sure the team is connected through Facebook from the moment you sign up. We also run whole group training sessions and so if you are from the same university as other volunteers then there will be loads of opportunities to meet one another before.

 

In Uganda

I have a dietary requirement; will that be a problem?

Not at all. Our cooks are trained to be able to cater for all dietary requirements if we know in advance what they are.

 

What does a normal day look like in volunteering in Uganda?

An excerpt from a volunteer’s diary:

“Today was the hardest day of the trek. We got given a walking pole each to help. We were split into fast and slow groups, but Catherine and I caught up to the first group within 10 minutes, so we sang Disney songs and pretended we were Mulan with our poles.

 

The first two hills were hard, but led to an amazing view. Here we had a snickers break and this was where I really practiced my Mulan moves. Next we met a local pigmy, who was taking us through the rainforest. Next we met the pigmy guy who was taking us through the rainforest and swamps. We walked down and changed our shoes for wellies, and entered the swamp. We walked up the steepest of hills and we seemed to be sprinting at points. Ffion, Katharyn and I were together a lot of the time, which meant we could stop together when we needed to catch our breath.

 

After a while, we got out of the forest. At the top we looked over to a volcano called Muhabura and into Rawanda, which was beautiful. We had lunch at the top – pringles, bread, cheese… everything I needed. The majority of the rest of the day was downhill, with some villagers stopping to talk to us. The first group got back at 4:20, two and a half hours earlier than predicted. I was so proud!

We got back and went straight down to the lake to shower. After dinner and a bit of stargazing, we all slept pretty damn well!”

What are the living conditions like?

Living conditions in Uganda are basic but comfortable with long drops for toilets and mostly bucket showers. Accommodation is shared tents or classroom-turned-dorm rooms, with mosquito nets provided. This will allow you to get to know your team well and help you to get stuck in with the Ugandan culture in very sense.

 

Will I need altitude tablets?

No, the highest altitude we trek to is 6,200 feet – which isn’t high enough to suffer altitude sickness, making this a great first mountain trek for any keen explorers!

 

Is this project safe?

Uganda has repeatedly been nominated as one of the top 10 countries to travel to and most beautiful countries in the world over that last few years. The reason for its popularity is not just its breath-taking landscape, incredible wildlife and friendly people. But due to how safe, and traveller friendly Uganda is.

This safety comes from the people of Uganda but is supported by the knowledge and support from East African Playgrounds in the UK and on the ground in Uganda.

Your safety and securing is our utmost concern and therefore we have implemented many protocols to ensure that you feel safe throughout your time in Uganda:

  1. You are supported 24/7 - from the moment you arrive at the airport you will be picked up by an East African Playgrounds staff member. Whilst living at the school and exploring the country, you will always have an experienced and knowledgeable East African Playgrounds team member with you.
  2. Levels of support - whilst in Uganda you will have the leader from your university with you as well a fully trained international intern and our local construction and support team to help make you feel at home. Beyond this our UK project coordinator will be in country as well as the country director and often the charity’s founders too. Furthermore, our fundraising manager is contactable in the UK for any concerns from your next of kin. This means no matter the concern, there is always someone to support your need.
  3. Our standards are high - so although it is not compulsory, we have ensured that we meet the British safety standards for international expeditions and project (which is reviewed by PWC). We have won the Go Abroad award for the quality and high standards of our volunteering projects.

Whatever your concern maybe about volunteering in Uganda, we are certain we already have a procedure or protocol in place and have the answers and support to ease yours and your parents’ minds and ensure you have an amazing time volunteering with us in Uganda.

 

I’m not very strong, is that okay?

This is not a problem. Though we believe that this project is accessible to everyone, a reasonable level of physical fitness is required. Those who do not engage in regular exercise are advised to engage in some regular physical activity before the project begins.

 

In general

Why playgrounds?

Play is a vital part of early childhood development and education. The UN includes the right to play in its Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced. Unfortunately, this right is often overlooked and many children are not granted access to play facilities in which they can reach their full potential. Play is fundamental in developing a child’s fine motor, social, cognitive and problem-solving skills. It has also been proven that play alleviates stress, improves concentration and helps children who are living through difficulties. Playgrounds create a safe environment for children to express themselves and learn about the world around them.

 

How ethical is this trip?

East African Playgrounds understands the importance of responsible volunteering and ensure that all volunteers are thoroughly trained in this topic before they embark to Uganda. EAP employs 60+ Ugandan staff and provides formal training for all staff members. We also run an apprenticeship scheme for disadvantaged young people. All playgrounds built and maintained by EAP are done so to the UK playground standards, ensuring the optimum quality and safety.

 

What if I cannot go on the project date that my University is going with?

Do not worry. We allocate Universities to project dates to encourage the majority on this date, however this does not exclude you from the other trips. We often have many volunteers from different universities on a couple of projects and we will make sure you are able to get to know one another prior to the project over social media, if not in person.

 

I’m not a University student, does this matter?

Not at all. We mainly take University students on our volunteering projects simply due to their wonderfully long summer holidays, which makes it easy for them to travel. However, this does not exclude anyone else, as long as you are over the age of 18, when you arrive in Uganda.

Book your place now or find out more information on the Gorilla Trek page