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Kyabirwa Primary School Volunteer Project -

a grass roots Govt. Registered Community Based Organisation


Volunteer at Kyabirwa Primary School or in the Community   


Some of the lovely older pupils in one of Kyabirwa Primary School's older classes.
Come with Volunteer Uganda School to help them.   

There's a lot of information on this page so please persevere to the end!  

The name of our school is Kyabirwa which is pronounced 'cha beer wa'. We are just 3 miles from lovely Jinja the second largest town in Uganda - which makes it about the size of a very small UK suburb! When you wonder what it will look like here - think GREEN! We have a very beautiful, luxuriant environment.

We are a Community Based Organisation known quickly as "Volunteer Uganda School" but our title is really Kyabirwa Primary School Community Based Organisation. We are Government registered.

Our main school children range in age from 6 - 18 years of age, even though technically we are a primary school, but ..........


   We now have a pre - school class of lovely littlies!

We offer you a safe and fun volunteering experience that will be of great benefit to us both.

We need volunteers for teaching all subjects, community work, sports, building, electrics (you must be qualified) and construction work, carpentry, painting, IT and computer skills, minor health care - whatever skills you have can be used to benefit our children and the community as a whole.

You do not have to be a teacher or teach at all if your strengths lie elsewhere. Just ask.

Volunteer work is also available during the school holidays. You can come here to volunteer at any time.

We take volunteers who are university students to fulfil modules of their courses or during university vacations to experience a different environment, gap year students, people on career breaks, retired people, people who just want a holiday that's different and even adventurers!

On this website we tell you all the costs up front so that you can plan and budget for your trip and not have any nasty surprises when you get here! You will not be asked for extra money during your stay. We are aware that some volunteer projects, NGOs and CBOs do this - but we don't.

Throughout your time with us you will be respected as a person who has come here to help us and not as a wealthy westerner who has unlimited funds at our disposal. So please come to give us the benefit of your expertise, energy and enthusiasm!

Now let us give you some history and more information. If you want to skip this part just page down for the typical tasks, costs etc.

Moses Owino, the senior teacher and Volunteer Project Manager at Kyabirwa School, built accommodation for volunteers in his family compound. He did this because, despite being near the major tourist attraction of Bujagali Falls - Jinja, no-one came to volunteer at the school as it can't be seen from the road. It's in a large field in a rural area where the forest was cleared for subsistence farming. Unless someone happened to tell you, you wouldn't know weKyabirwa is a very poor area. Many school uniforms have been worn by other children previously and parents can't afford to travel to buy sewing thread and needles to repair them - but you could help with this! are here.

When the accommodation was completed, the Kyabirwa Primary School Volunteer Project was started. Volunteers came to the school and the small profit left from the Project fees after feeding and housing them went straight into a fund for the school's development, as it still does.

As a volunteer you can become involved in a range of tasks that appeal to your personal interests and skills. There are many possibilities not just teaching. We now have a pre-school and need volunteers to work with the Community.

Once you've settled into your room in Moses' family compound, where there are showers, flush toilets and electricity, the Head Mistress will discuss your aspirations with you to ensure you do the things you're comfortable with. We want you to enjoy your time at the school as much as possible - as much as we want the children and staff to benefit from your being here.

      This is an environment where the happiness and well being of the volunteer is a priority. 

In the rare event that you have any problems, Moses, Florence and Robinah will always be there to help you. Everyone wants you to be safe, happy and have a good experience.

Please note that due to internet and power problems, plus teaching and family commitments, it may take a day or so for emails to be answered. Delays don't mean that your enquiry isn't valued.

Volunteers can access their emails at facilities at Bujagali or in Jinja town or via mobile internet if they have their own laptops. Mobile internet and phone reception is very good at the accommodation.

A volunteer at Kyabirwa Primary Schoolteaching netball.

Many children at the school are orphans living with extended family. There are children living alone with siblings where the oldest child is head of the family.

You will be working with children aged from 6 - 18 as it often takes them that long to complete primary school, if they ever do.

Children are taught all subjects in English from Year 4.

Teaching isn't the only option.

A Kyabirwa volunteer painting the office.

We now also offer Community Work for those who don't want to teach.

Health education, visiting and other community activities are invaluable.

We urgently need more accommodation for teachers at the school. We built the footings but ran out of money. Can someone help us do this?

The school badly needs painting inside and out.

If you are an electrician, we need the electrical wiring extended.

Anyone with DIY experience would be greatly valued. You can pass on your skills to the staff and community.

Rural communities are extremely poor and need help with extra income generating activities. So if you have a skill you can teach local people through which they can earn some extra money, it would be wonderful.

Other work with the community is available.

There are many, many opportunities available, so please ask.

Naturally, volunteers want to teach their favourite things, but this must fit in with the syllabus. If volunteers teaching isn't synchronised with the planning, it will be difficult for teachers to maintain the teaching and learning flow so children’s ability to pass their essential national exams will suffer. Please discuss your ideas with the Head and subject teachers to ensure that what you do fits in with their plans.

Volunteers usually undertake the following tasks/activities but we are always open to ideas

  • We need volunteers to help with teaching English language to the youngest classes. This is a priority as from P4 all lessons have to be taught in English. We would really welcome such help from fluent English speaking volunteers. The ability to speak English can't be underestimated. If any Ugandan can speak English their earning potential is immediately improved. Saying that its doubled is probably an understatement. Class or group work.

  • Work with groups (4 to 10) of children out of class. The greatest need is for phonics, writing and conversational English. Reading benefits from this at the same time. Children are good at copying but not constructive writing, so we welcome your help for getting them writing!

  • Maths teaching. Our children find maths difficult and maths exam results are usually the poorest.

  • Demonstrate to staff the skill of teaching to mistakes thro' marking analysis - maths, especially.

  • Support the children and teacher by assisting in class - any subject. You may team teach with the teacher or assist the teacher but not take a class on your own. You need the presence of the class teacher for language clarification and support.

  • Teach art. Children rarely have the opportunity to draw and paint. You will need to supply the materials because our budget is too small. Please ask staff where they may be purchased locally.

  • Teach music and singing to groups or whole classes of children.

  • Teach science. Demonstrate science experiments and teach the children that science is fun. Liaise with the school via email to find out the teaching plans and then research this before you come! You may also need to purchase equipment and substances. Please ask.

  • Teach sport and organise games after school. Football, netball, rounders, baseball. Teach the children any games you know- give them some fun!

  • Organise and teach a homework club. Children don't have the right conditions to study at home

  • Community work. Visit children's homes and liaise with parents concerning any difficulties/needs.

  • Community work. Assist us to extend this new initiative by teaching first aid, simple dysentery treatment (dysentery is a major cause of death) and general healthy living methods to local people in their own homes. Our community needs to feel valued and cared for.

  • Community work. There are many elderly people who would love to be visited. Some of them are looking after orphaned children and feel very unsupported

  • Community Work  Teach community adults skills to help earn them some more income and maybe even help them improve their homes. Crafts, Sewing, DIY, if you have ideas - run them past us!

  • Painting. The whole building inside and out needs simple painting. You could start with one wall of a classroom and go from there.

  • Electrical skills to extend the electrical wiring to more rooms.

  • Carpentry skills are needed to extend the shelving to some rooms. It would be good to involve staff in this, so that your skills are passed on - but not during their teaching time.

  • Building work - such as finishing the building of the badly needed teacher's accommodation so that teachers can live at school to teach early morning and after school extra classes. Currently, the 4 teachers living at the school are over burdened with this and those living away can't help as it takes them too long traveling to and from school.

What if you don't want to teach or do any of the above?

We are a Community Based Organisation and welcome volunteers who have ideas as long as they recognise that we understand best what is suitable for our children to enable them to pass their exams. So please share your ideas with us. Even if your ideas need adjustment they will stimulate our thinking.

You could bring a sewing kit to teach the children how to repair their uniform. They need to learn how to repair tears and sew on buttons. When you see the state of their 'hand me down' uniforms, you will understand why this is a good idea. These skills will transfer to other areas of their lives.

You could also bring out small buttons, needles and thread for their dresses, shirts and trousers. Don't give the sewing kit away though because there are over 1000 children in the school and if one has it, they will all want it! When you go ensure that you put it in the volunteer cupboard ready for the next volunteer.

      At Kyabirwa Primary School we promote gender equality.                Boys can learn to sew too!

And it's not just the girls who enjoy it! Gender equality is one of the values we are striving to promote.


  • Living with an extended Ugandan family (Home Stay - this is not a Guest House)so you will never be lonely and you will have a real experience of Africa. Moses' family ages range from 1 year to 75. Our volunteers really enjoy living with and becoming part of the extended family of Moses. If you prefer your own room, most of the time it will be possible. Rooms where sometimes people do share are large. You will probably have one of these all to yourself unless you want to share!

  • Moses and his family live in a house in the compound. His aunty, sister and her child also live there. His mother often stays. There are countless adopted relatives living nearby and visiting. Neighbours are always drifting in and out as are traveling salesmen and workmen. It's very interesting!

  • The block of newly constructed volunteer accommodation with new beds, shelves, bedside table, clothes hanging and mosquito nets, showers, flush toilets and electricity.

  • Visit the local churches. You don't have to do this, but the community love it if you do. The Catholic Church in Bujagali is amazing if you want to hear African singing.

  • There are possibilities of leisure activities at Bujagali Falls and in Jinja town. Quad biking, boating, bungee jumping, canoeing, discos, restaurants, etc.

  • You can visit the capital, Kampala or Sipi Falls.

  • You can go on a safari. The end of a placement is a good time for this. Ask Moses for details.                                                                                                                                                 Please note that you are entirely liable for any mishaps or illness which may arise during such trips, with or without our project staff, and during your stay with us. You must take out appropriate insurance in your own country, prior to leaving it to come to Uganda. It must cover you for all and any accidents, illness or other mishaps from whatever cause and include helicopter airlift and repatriation. Our staff will do their best to look after you and get you the appropriate help in such an unfortunate eventuality but they are not medically trained. 

  • Mabira Forest - best in the very early morning and from 4pm when the monkeys, butterflies and birds are about.


Volunteers need to be 18 years old at the time of application. There is no upper age limit.

You need to be normally fit and healthy.

No qualifications are needed. We just want anyone who is ready to offer his or her time serving the children of the school and the local community in an open hearted, generous and understanding way.

Language      English

Cost     The volunteer fee is a flat rate of US$560 a month/28 days or pro rata. This includes

           accommodation (usually your own room) and 3 meals a day.

Please note: You will NEVER be asked to send money to Moses or anyone else in the Project before you arrive. You pay your volunteer fee to Moses on arrival at the accommodation in Kyabirwa - not before.
Neither will anyone at the Project ask you for any additional money.

The Volunteer Fee is paid in Dollars which must be new notes, without tears, creases, writing or dirty marks on them and they must be no earlier than 2006. Notes must also be in denominations of $50 or larger.This is because damaged notes are not exchanged by banks and the larger the note the better the exchange rate.

Please see our document: Costs, other possible Expenditure and Useful Information, which explains it again - but we promise you there are no hidden snags or extras!  Visas are $50 at the airport.

Cost Includes

  • Accommodation with the Project Manager and his family in clean, purpose built accommodation.
  • Breakfast, lunch and evening meal every day is included in the fee.

A complete breakdown of the Volunteer Fee is downloadable from the Volunteer Documents  page.

The Head Mistress and Project Committee keep full records of fees and expenditure in the Volunteer Fees Record File, which volunteers are free to view at any time. 40% of the volunteer fee is a donation to the school. We use this to buy basic teaching materials and resources. If there is any left we save it for the projects that are listed on the Homepage. Most such bigger projects are funded by donations from volunteers who have been inspired by their time with us to help further but you will not be asked to do so.

The donation from your fee will be recorded in the Volunteer Fees Record File. We are  transparent in our management of the Project as we know that it fosters the growth of trust. We feel we are pioneers in this respect. When the accumulated donations are spent, this too will be recorded. As we are a now a CBO our accounts will be independently audited each year.

In keeping with this being an authentic experience of Africa Home Stay living, the food is plain and simple. It can be bland in flavour when compared to western food, but it is cleanly produced, wholesome and nutritious. We have never had a volunteer who has disliked the food. A sample menu is available for download on the Volunteer Documents  page.

This is Home Stay. We are not a Hotel or Guest House. If you require hotel standard service then you are free to book a hotel or guest house in Jinja and still volunteer with us

If volunteers wish to live in more luxurious accommodation in Jinja or at Bujagali, they are free to do so at their own expense. Such accommodation is available a mile or so away. Volunteers must then pay for any food taken at Moses' home, including lunch for 5,000/- which is less than $2.

Volunteers living elsewhere just make a donation to the school of $40 a week which helps buy resources.

99.9% of our volunteers live at the Volunteer Accommodation where breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the volunteer fee. Meals are simple, but nutritious and are mainly western with some local food.

Some volunteers living in guest houses bring resources for the school or install something larger that they have fund raised for. Naturally, we would not expect them to pay the $40 pw donation.

We are grateful when volunteers do donate and give us such things, but it is not a criterion for acceptance for volunteering with us. We are pleased if you just come to offer us your company, time and assistance. The fact that you care enough to come here boosts our morale.

Application to be a volunteer

Application is via completion of a simple application form downloadable from the Volunteer Documents   page and emailed to the Project Manager. Please do email the completed form to Moses as it helps us to keep proper records. Some volunteers haven't done so, which means we now have gaps in those records.

On arrival at the Volunteer Accommodation volunteers are required to show the Project Manager their Travel and Medical Insurance Certificate. Volunteers are not accepted if they do not have Travel and Medical Insurance that is in date to the end of their time at the project and in their name.

Airport pickup and flights

Flights are arranged and paid for by the volunteer. Airport pickup will be arranged for the best price available if the volunteer requests it. Currently, this is $56 each way. Petrol us a similar price to the UK. You will be greeted at the airport by Moses who will display your name on a large card.


Moses Owino, the Project Manager, by email through the form on the Contact page of this website or using:

Telephone +256782460012

When your application has been accepted, you need to book and confirm their flights, then email these dates, times and flight numbers to Moses Owino will pick them up from Entebbe airport.

The pick up and drop off fee is $56 each way. Moses cannot afford to pay for petrol from his teacher's wage. Petrol costs almost as much in Uganda as it does in the UK.

We advise you to use Moses not a private company because Moses is our Manager and trustworthy, plus it will cost you less.


It is possible to stop on the way from the airport to withdraw money from a bank using a visa debit card - ask Moses to stop for you to do so. Credit and Mastercards do not work in Uganda. Use Visa.

We do ask:-

In the past kindly volunteers have approached other organisations and NGOs without consulting us to ask them for help for our school. This was so well meaning, but it threatens our autonomy and our ability to be self - determining. So we do ask our volunteers not to do this without fully consulting Moses Owino in the first instance. Moses will then consult the Head Teacher, school staff and perhaps the School's Management Committee after which he will communicate their response to you as soon as he can.

Volunteers are advised to research Uganda prior to coming to ensure that they are aware of any and all measures they need to take to ensure their well being, health and security whilst in Uganda - in the same way that they would do for any other developing world country they were visiting.

Volunteers should acquaint themselves with the information about Uganda available on the website of their home countries' Foreign Office.

Typically cheerful Kyabirwa Primary School chappies!         
Typically curious Kyabirwa School girls!