Volunteer in Uganda The Gorilla Trek Safety and support Ethical, safe and incredible international expeditions and volunteering projects We put our volunteers at the heart of our planning, and ensure that we run everything to the highest standards – we’re associated with the Duke of Edinburgh award and follow the British Standards for international expeditions as just two examples. We’re with you every step of the way – from the moment you sign up to the project to the moment you leave Uganda. Careful Planning Every project that we run is extensively planned by our expert team in the UK and Uganda alongside our experienced partners. Our expeditions and volunteering projects are meticulously planned to ensure that they are safe, sustainable, ethical, high impact and enable both the students and communities we work with to benefit from the experience. As we run our projects in-house, it gives us control over every aspect. In the planning stage, each community and expedition is visited multiple times to ensure that they are ready and meet all of our requirements to host our volunteers. By the time you reach your host community and/or start your expedition we will have held multiple planning and preparation meetings with them, so expect a very excited welcome. Risk Assessments As part of following the British Standards:8828 ‘Specification for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the United Kingdom’ we undertake extensive risk assessments of every aspect of our projects. These risk assessments are reviewed and updated annually, whilst also being reviewed externally by risk assessment professionals. Copies of our risk assessments are available on request. Preparation for your project We are extremely proud of the support that we give our volunteers and have received awards for our team's great work in this area. We have a dedicated and experienced UK team to support you from the day you sign up until you head home after your project. A combination of in-person training events at your University, online webinar training, an online portal full of useful information and resources, volunteer handbook, fundraising support training and fundraising events, cultural training about Uganda, health and safety procedures, logistics planning and pre-departure training are all part of your preparation experience with us. We also connect you to licensed ATOL registered Travel agents who can assist with your flights, we help with Tourist Visa applications, finding personal travel insurance, your with kit lists and much more. Our UK team is here to support you at every stage of your journey with us. Uganda orientation and briefing All our projects start with a comprehensive orientation and briefing from our UK and Ugandan project leaders and management teams. During these we go over cultural awareness, language, health and safety, orientation of the local area and full itinerary for the coming days and weeks. Depending on which project you are on we also will run skills training which will help you support our playground building teams and the communities in installing the new playgrounds. You will have the chance to ask questions, get to know your volunteering team and the Ugandan team and community you will be living and working alongside. This really is a great way to start your experience in Uganda. Expedition and Project Leaders All our expeditions and projects are led by our fantastic leaders. The majority of our leaders are former volunteers who have joined our leadership training program where they have undergone intense training ensuring that they ready for everything! They are a young, enthusiastic, reliable and extremely capable team. Our project leaders will be with your team from day one. They live and work alongside you on the project and are your first point of call and are supported by our Ugandan team, our UK management team in Uganda and our UK support team based in the UK. 24-hour support wherever you are We pride ourselves on the high level of support that we provide our volunteers. Our projects are supported on the ground by our UK Team who fly out and run the projects alongside our Ugandan team. Our support team is made up of trained and experienced Project Leaders, who are on site with you, our UK Volunteer Coordinators, who make project visits several times a week and our UK Managment team who are Jinja-based during your projects with both on-call 24/7 during your project. Our UK support team are joined by over 4 members of our experienced Uganda team on every project. Unlike most international volunteering projects we have our UK team in Uganda to support you along with our UK office team in the UK providing support if and when needed. This way we are able to give true 24/7 in person support for all of our volunteers. Skilled management team With over 25 years of combined experience in managing and running international volunteering projects in Uganda our management team is one of the most skilled and experienced teams around. Two members of the 5-person management team will be based in the UK, whilst three members (including the founders of East African Playgrounds and our volunteering projects) being based with you in Uganda, your project will have support in not only numbers but also experience. Our Management team designed and developed our volunteering projects and have lead the way in improving health and safety, ethics and sustainability within the international volunteering sector. We are proud that our volunteering projects have won awards for our sustainability, ethics and our volunteer support. Code of Conduct We are fully committed to responsible, sustainable and ethical volunteer travel and our code of conduct and volunteering agreement has been created to enable you to achieve the most out of your time in Uganda whilst having an ethical and sustainable impact. It also ensures that the communities we work with are treated with respect and consideration always. Whilst on our projects you will be representing not only East African Playgrounds, but your University and our local partners. We pride ourselves on our ethics and our sustainability and we expect our volunteers to share our values. A copy of our code of conduct and volunteering agreement are provided and gone through with you before you depart. Crisis Management We have comprehensive emergency plans for volunteer safety in extreme situations, which have been designed by our in-country management team and our UK Board of Trustees, approved to national standards and are updated regularly, with staff being briefed for such scenarios. We are also part of the British Consulate updating service and will be notified of any pending crisis. To date we have not had any such instances, yet run regular training with our teams to ensure that we are prepared in the unlikely event of a crisis. Health Care We provide guidance and health advice during preparation training. We work with volunteers who have specific requirements to make sure we are able to support them in Uganda. We believe that ‘prevention is better than cure’ so make sure all volunteers are prepared for living in rural communities. We provide treated drinking water, clean sanitation facilities and ensure that our professional cooks follow British food hygiene rules and policies. Each project has an extensive first aid kit along with trained staff and EAP team members with our management and coordinator on call 24/7 to support and help anyone in need. We assess the local international-standard medical centres and hospitals annually and have action plans in place for any medical emergency. Pastoral Support We understand that international expeditions and volunteering life comes with a few challenges- from adjusting to a different way of life, different food, different type of loo and even homesickness. Our system of support is there to give our volunteers the support they need when they need it. We want our volunteers to not only have an amazing time but to also grow and develop as individuals. Our teams are approachable, friendly, experienced and trained in supporting our volunteers with pastoral care. You can talk to us here in the UK or whilst you’re in Uganda. We hold daily meetings and you can also talk to us one to one. Our volunteers help us do what we do so it is only right that we should be there to help you too. Equal opportunities We believe that society disables a person and not the other way around. We believe that everyone has something to offer and should be given the chance to do so. It is due to these beliefs that we encourage students from all abilities to volunteer with us. For students who have a disability, we can work with you to make a support plan that can enable you to join our project. In the past this we have worked with volunteers with sight and hearing impairments, wheelchair users and volunteers with a range of complex health related issues. Each time we have worked with our volunteers to ensure we are able to support them in away that enables them to gain the full experience of our volunteering project whilst also having a huge impact on children in Uganda.