In many Tanzanian villages, food and nutrition are in short supply. The primary staple in Tanzania is ugali, a dish made from corn flour. It is very filling and enjoyed by the local people, but when eaten on its own, it lacks sufficient nutrition. You can help parents assemble, plant and harvest household container gardens which increase the production of fruits and vegetables. Work with students at the school garden planting, weeding and harvesting. Show moms and school cooks how to use garden produce for the most nutritious meals. If you have experience raising poultry or constructing chicken coops, you can be especially helpful.
FAQs: How to Volunteer in Tanzania
Registration is quick and easy and Tanzania volunteer program fees are tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers! (1) Below, select the length of program and year you prefer. (2) The available departure dates that match your query will display. (3) Click on the program you prefer. This will take you to the online form. (4) Complete the form and hold your place on the volunteer program with a $350 deposit. Or, call a volunteer coordinator at (800) 487-1074 for assistance. If you prefer, you may submit a text application by mail or fax. Teens under 18 complete a minor registration and travel with a parent or adult legal guardian.
Lodging is double-occupancy, with a single room option for an additional fee. However, there are limited single rooms, and they are reserved for volunteers who serve for 2 or 3 weeks. So register early if you want a single room in Impalamwa. Click for single room fees.
Upcoming Volunteer Dates in Ipalamwa, Tanzania
Global Volunteers’ Tanzania Country Manager is Makarios Mdegella, an ordained Lutheran pastor. Before joining Global Volunteers staff, Makarios served for three years as a pastor in Iringa and two years as a youth representative for Lutheran World Federation. He was also a Research Director at the African Center for Peace and Conflict Research in Dar es Salaam. He is committed to helping rural communities in his beloved Tanzania.
Makarios earned his Master‘s Degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from the University of Bagamoyo in Dar es Salaam and Bachelor’s Degree from the Tumaini University Makumira in Arusha.
Plan your flight to arrive at the Iringa, Tanzania airport (airport code IRI), before 4 PM on the first Saturday of your service program. You will return to Iringa at the conclusion of your service, and you may depart any time on that Saturday. A Global Volunteers staff person will meet you at the Iringa airport, or at the Lutheran Center in Iringa if you drive to Iringa or travel in Tanzania before the volunteer program. You and your teammates will be driven to Ipalamwa, about a two hour drive from Iringa. Global Volunteers’ Tanzania volunteering program officially commences with the evening meal on the first Saturday. If your flight is delayed, please contact us as soon as you confirm your new flight so your team leader can offer you alternative transportation to Ipalamwa. Note: Most volunteers fly to and overnight in Dar es Salaam at an airport hotel, and then take a flight to Iringa on Auric Air to Iringa the following day.
Your health, safety and security in Tanzania is our top priority. Your lodging, food and transportation are provided always with a mind to help you ensure your health, safety and security while volunteering at the work site and in your lodging facilities. Also, your Tanzanian team leader is trained in CPR and first aid. Read more about health and safety here.
While there are risks travelling anywhere, you will minimize any risks if you are cautious and follow good health and safety protocols. Roadway accidents are a serious safety risk, especially when crossing a road – remember that vehicles are driven on the left-hand side in Tanzania. HIV/AIDs and malaria are prevalent throughout Africa. Both can be prevented by taking appropriate precautions. Mosquito bed-nets are provided in the double occupancy lodging facility in Ipalamwa. We urge you to pack sunscreen, insect repellent, a wide-brimmed hat and a water bottle for outside work. Even when the temperature might seem cool, the sun is still very strong because of proximity to the equator, so be sure to lather on the sunscreen. And we strongly recommend you consult your physician, public health clinic and/or travel clinic for detailed travel health information for Tanzania, and ensure your vaccinations are up to date. For general Tanzania health recommendations, consult the following sources:
Infectious tropical diseases can be largely prevented by vaccination. Proof of immunization against yellow fever is required to enter Tanzania only if you are traveling through or coming from a country infected with yellow fever. Travelers diarrhea is common among foreign visitors. Ask your physician about a prescription for Cipro or another antibiotic. Other potential Tanzania travel risks are poisonous snakes, bees and wild animals – all of which can be avoided with caution, preparation and common sense.
Global Volunteers includes emergency medical evacuation insurance in your Tanzania volunteer program fee. We also recommend you purchase health insurance that covers you while in Tanzania, and trip cancellation insurance in the event you must cancel your participation on the service program. Your travel agent can refer you to travel insurance providers.
Evenings and weekends are free time for Tanzania volunteers. This is when you can spend time with local families and enjoy community events, or simply “kick back” and savor the slower pace that is Africa. Many volunteers take a weekend Safari in Ruaha National Park and Game Reserve, East Africa’s largest park and game reserve, about 40 miles from Iringa. It is home to 10,000 elephants and over 500 species of birds, plus giraffes, lions, buffalo, cheetahs, leopards, hippos, baboons, zebras and antelope. The costs for this two-day Safari is between $300 and $400 USD, a far cry from the thousands of dollars charged for many safaris, and you enjoy it just as much. Safari companies will pick you up in Ipalamwa on Friday afternoon and have you back before sunset on Sunday. Additional activities after the volunteer work day in Tanzania include exploring the local market, listening to music at community churches and cultural events, and participating in Tanzanian sports.
“When I applied, you didn’t tell me how much fun I was going to have!”
– Jim Colburn, Tanzania Volunteer
While our non-profit status prohibits us from planning your Tanzania free-time activities, our Tanzanian staff will advise you of some options such as booking a safari before, during or after the service program in Ruaha National Park. If you plan to spend a day or two in Dar es Salaam, you can visit Tanzanian handcraft markets, the Makonde Carvers, or swim and hike on Bongoyo Island, accessible by boat cruises departing from the pier near the Slipway hotel.
Families of various compositions serve with us in Tanzania nearly every month school is not in session: parents and teens, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts, uncles and nephews and nieces. The contrast of life in a Tanzanian village with your teen’s own lives comes up time and again as the greatest lesson for all. And, despite material poverty, village life is full and joy-filled. The following are just a few of the many parents’ reflections on why their family volunteering in Tanzania was so meaningful:
“I know why we brought the kids to Tanzania, although at first I was skeptical. When you put a face on poverty, it changes you forever. Our kids are teenagers, and this was the last chance to do it while they’re young, before college and their own families, a last push for social responsibility to the world, their community, their neighbors. They learned more than I could ever have imagined.”
Jamie Ford, volunteering with wife Leesha and their seven children
“My children came to feel as though they became “kin,” and still do after all this time. I can assure you that every team member feels the same. You’re in the best hands, as you’ll see from the responsiveness of Global Volunteers, and for every moment you’re on the ground with the team. Global Volunteer has created a unique, loyal, and lasting legacy in their projects, especially in Tanzania.”
Amy Kleissler, three-time Tanzania volunteer with her sons
“While we were teaching the Tanzanians, they were teaching us – about community, joy under extremely difficult living conditions, hope amidst poverty, and disease and the crushing reality of AIDS – and how they are going to overcome it. The beauty of the land and the people combined into another world which is unforgettable. We can’t stop thinking about the experience – all of us. What I think was unique for me as a parent was volunteering as a family, to be part of a larger group with a purpose, especially when the boys are teenagers and could relate easily with other kids as other teenagers just in a different part of the world.”
Shauna Doyle de Brun, Tanzania volunteer with her sons
Parents and guardians are expected to supervise their teenage volunteers, and collaborate with our staff and local partners to maximize the service experience for everyone. Teens are invited to offer their own perspectives in team meetings and fully participate in free-time activities. In this way, your teen gains a personal understanding of the Tanzanian culture as well as the role and responsibilities of being a team member. They likely also will create life-long friendships with Tanzanian youth who share their interests and experiences – and make a permanent impression on all who serve.
Student, professional, religious, corporate and community groups are warmly engaged by the open-hearted Tanzanian people. Global Volunteers Tanzania RCP Demonstration Program offers an extraordinary opportunity for students from virtually every discipline and individuals from every profession to be of service while learning how villagers live day-by-day. Because of the wide variety of volunteer projects, every member of your group can apply their unique skills and interests in meaningful service to Tanzanian children and families. Learn about each other in a non-traditional way as an intact volunteer team, and know that your specific contributions to genuine community development projects advance the futures of Tanzanian children and families.
For instance, educators and health care professionals of all specialties are needed to contribute their skills to projects providing the 12 Essential Services to Tanzanian families and children of all ages. Its in Ipalamwa, Tanzania where a coordinated effort makes an enormous positive impact. We work with your group to develop a lasting relationship with students and families – and to enable you to continue to support them after you leave Tanzania. Health care professionals provide public health education, conduct interactive parent workshops, accompany our staff on home visits, and assist with well-baby clinics and non-invasive procedures such blood pressure checks, diabetes screening, eye exams, malaria and dengue fever prevention and de-worming programs. Students and teachers practice conversational English and tutor Tanzanian students in math, science and computer literacy. Social workers, physical therapists, nutritionists and dietitians share their expertise during parent workshops, meal preparation classes, home visits, and in clinics and community centers. Masons, carpenters, plumbers, and painters – anyone who can work with their hands – are needed to help repair and maintain classrooms and community buildings. Everyone can help plant and maintain household and school gardens to improve nutrition. Best of all – comparing notes with your teammates as the red Tanzanian sun sets, you reflect on the contributions you’ve made and the remarkable culture you’ve experienced together.
“I’ve never met happier, more welcoming people. The children run up to us, hold our hands and walk wherever we’re going. People invite us for tea and generously share what little food they have.”
“I attempted to read a few paragraphs of gratitude in Swahili, and had a terribly hard time holding back tears. Every child in my class smiled, listened intently and responded with their own thanks, and came up for hugs. It was the most memorable event of the week.”
“Tanzania was amazing, and hands down the best trip I’ve been on!! I can’t wait to go back!”
“I was surprised by how appreciative and eager the students are to learn. Their respect for the teachers is something I’ve never before witnessed. I learned so much from them about their lives and the village. I have a great deal of respect for Tanzanians.”
“The experience allowed me to re-assess what’s truly important. These people may not have material wealth, but they have a cultural richness and a closeness that could never be bought or owned. I taught children who barely had clothes covering their bodies who were happy and laughing.”
“I have worked with the Tanzanians, sang and danced with them and together we have discovered that the world is the same and that life is not always easy and that we cannot give up and we can succeed and we can follow our dreams and aim for the stars because everything is possible if we focus, work and persevere.”
“The music at the church service left me speechless. Though words cannot do justice to all we felt, I heard murmured after the service, ‘resonant, inspirational, mesmerizing, tears- and chill-provoking’. It was a beautiful experience… I will be forever grateful.”