Is YAVINS a registered charity?

Yes. The Youth As Volunteers Integrated Network Society is a registered non-profit non-government organization registered in Uganda, East Africa under the charity number 5914/8603, and with the Government of Canada under Society Act number S-57049.

Will I receive tax receipts for my donations?

We do provide tax receipts for larger donations upon request.

Are YAVINS volunteers paid?

As a charity that relies on donations for funding, we are unable to pay volunteers at this time.

Where will I stay while volunteering in Uganda?

The YAVIN Society collaborates with hostels in the Kalisizo township-Rakai District of Uganda. There we have a facility suitable for our volunteers to stay. The facility is set up as a form of fund-raising and can be used by donation. These donations help pay for facility utility bills and the organizations field programs.

The facility is equipped with recreation bicycles, bedding and kitchen utilities.

For volunteers with limited funds, we can find accommodation for you with a host family or in a guest house. Please note, we will need advance notice to do so.

What if I want to volunteer as part of group?

Groups of volunteers are a blessing especially to the youth in the community. We are happy to host groups of volunteers, regardless of the size.

What type of weather should I prepare for?

Uganda only has two types of seasons, dry, and wet. The temperature is usually around 26 degrees Celsius in the dry season, and 19 degrees Celsius in the wet season.

Will I be allowed to take pictures while there?

There will be many opportunities to take pictures while volunteering. The organizations activities are very close to Lake Mburo national park. This will provide you the opportunity to visit the park and see wild game at a reasonable price.

Please read the photography and journalist portions of the Visiting Uganda page if you are a journalist planning on taking photographs while volunteering.

What are the people like?

As in most parts of Africa, the Ugandan people are very hospitable. However, volunteers should still use caution when interacting with strangers. Our organizational staff will provide guidance where necessary.

What language do the people of Uganda speak?

The official language of Uganda is English. However, Swahili, Bantu and several Nilotic languages are also widely used.

More information will be provided during the pre departure briefing, or upon arrival in Uganda. If you’d like more information prior to that you may contact your director in Africa directly.

What is the food like?

African food is natural and organic, with most fruits and vegetables being no more than a day old from the garden. Though fresh, they are fully washed and cooked before consumption.

What happens if I get sick?

Malaria is a problem when travelling to Uganda. It is recommended that precautions, such as taking preventative medication as directed by your doctor, using mosquito repellents and mosquito nets. Mosquito nets will be provided for use by the society.

It is also recommended that you ensure your routine vaccinations are up to date prior to travel.

While most medicinal drugs can be bought across the counter in al pharmacies in Uganda, some may require a doctor’s consultation or recommendation prior to purchase.

Do I need a visa while volunteering?

You will need to obtain a visa while volunteering in Uganda. You can obtain one at the port of entry in Uganda.

Should I bring money?

Carrying money in Africa is convenient but smaller notes, or notes older than 6 years of manufacture may be exchanged at a lower rate. International currencies such as USD, CAD, British pounds, and Euros are exchanged in most forex bureaus in Uganda. You can also use Visa credit cards and debit cards of your home bank in some ATMs from major international banks like Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank and others. It is recommended that you ensure you have a 4 digit PIN set up on any cards you plan to use, as well as informing your bank of your travel plans to ensure your card won’t be declined and flagged as potentially stolen by your bank.

Am I allowed to smoke or drink while volunteering?

As ambassadors of change we expect our volunteers to lead by example and request that our volunteers not participate in acts of drunkenness, intoxication or smoking. In Uganda, and many African countries, such acts are considered to have a negative influence on young people. If such vices cannot be resisted, we ask you exercise discretion, and not indulge in public.

What cultural differences should I be aware of?

In rural areas, it may not be culturally or morally acceptable to the locals for visitors to romantic public displays of affection, such as kissing or caressing in public.

Unlike in most western societies, most Africans will never look at you straight in the eyes, even when speaking to you. We work hard with our volunteers to avoid misunderstandings or misjudgments and are happy to provide further instruction on local social customs and practices while volunteering.

What laws do I need to be aware of as a volunteer?

Defacing or deforming Ugandan currency notes, coat of arms, or the national flag is an offence punishable by law.

Carrying or smoking of illicit non-medicinal drugs such as marijuana or other illicit substances is illegal and punishable by law.

Same-sex relationships or practices are also illegal in Uganda.

Individual discretion is always necessary while in Uganda, and it’s important to remember that what is acceptable in the cities may not be acceptable in more rural areas.

Do I have to travel to Uganda if I want to volunteer with YAVINS?

While we encourage volunteers to travel to and work with Ugandans locally, we do have opportunities for volunteers who are unable to travel. Please see our Volunteers page, or contact us directly for more information.