Uganda Lodge is an ideal place for Explorer Scouts / Scouting network / Leaders (as well as the Guiding equivalents and other youth organisations) to come to volunteer as part of a Ugandan adventure.

Our school has its own large Scout troop and offers an amazing opportunity for international Scouting. There is also an active Scout district here in Ntungamo District and opportunities to meet with even more Ugandan Scouts and Leaders.

 

This section of our website tries to summarise the relevant information group leaders may need when initially considering us. Please check out the other sections of the website for further details or feel free to contact us.

Why come here?

Uganda Lodge provides a perfect base for a volunteering/community project in Uganda. The lodge accommodation and Ruhanga Development School that we support are both on a combined rural campus that provides a safe environment for your next scouting adventure. It is also a great location for local activities such as local home visits, hill walks, trips to the weekly market as well as guided safari trips (single or multi day) to the nearby national parks. Our Project Director Denis Aheirwe will ensure your group is exceptionally well looked after from arrival at Entebbe Airport though to your departure.

The standard of experience we offer volunteers in Ruhanga is high and is the nominated Ugandan project for Original Volunteers, a UK company offering volunteer opportunities around the globe. However by booking directly with us (as many people do) we can offer a tailored Scouting and value for money experience.

Group size / Duration

We offer full-board accommodation in a range of rooms (with showers) that can accommodate up to 5 people each. We would recommend a maximum group size of up to 25 people. We would suggest at least a full two week visit to give you sufficient time to fit in volunteering, scouting links/camp and a safari.

Support a Project :

If a group of volunteers is planning to visit we would work with you to develop a specific project that you can all work on. Setting the project aims early on will help with getting your group focused on the trip and add to the build-up. This also give opportunity for youth involvement in the planning of the trip. A project would usually require fundraising for in the run up to the trip. It could be as simple as raising money for new equipment or resources through to refurbishment or even a new building. Depending on the project it, it would give you something to focus on while here and also means you will leave something that can be remembered for years to come. We can help with fundraising ideas and also providing a dedicated section on our online fundraising platform if required.

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Donations

Another great way of helping as a group is to use some of your spare luggage allowance to bring much needed donations such as clothing, shoes and craft equipment. Most individuals only need around 16kg each for a two week trip so there is plenty to spare. If you book your tickets through one of the airline group bookings then the remaining spare weight can be combined enabling quite a lot of donations to be brought. Once you get here we can organise one of the lodges’ popular markets where we sell on the donations to local people and pupils at a lower price than nearby markets. This then benefits both the local people and the school.

Volunteering:

The following are the typical activities that volunteers take part in at the school or around the lodge:

School Based

Observe Lessons

Read to Pupils

Serve Porridge/Meals

Invigilate Exams

PE Lessons

Make Class Room Posters

Singing/Dancing/Music

Mark Class Work/Exams

Tutoring

School Library

Make Colouring in pictures

 

 

Maintenance

Class Room /School Painting

Building Maintenance

Bridge Repairs/Building

Cleaning Windows

Lodge Painting

Inventory Checking

Clean Class Rooms

Fix Desks/Furnture

Maintain/improve playground

Check Dorm Mosquito nets

Making New Bricks

 

 

Medical Centre

Health Talks

Help at Baby Clinic

Help with Medical Screening

General Assistance

Making Reusable Sanitary Pads for P6/P7 girls

 

 

Scouting/Misc

Sports Games/Tournaments

Campfires

Scouting Activities/Training

Lodge Market

Arts and Craft Sessions

Hill walks

Sort Donations

Bedtime Stories in dorms

 

 

Or anything else you can think off!

Activities:

It isn’t all hard work! We want you all to have a trip to remember. Weekends are yours to relax but there is plenty to do to make use of your time in Uganda.

Locally: Home visits, chapatti making classes, visit local market and towns, hill walking, joint Scout camps, visiting the local council offices.

Wider afield: Visit one of the many National Parks, safaris, sightseeing

Example Itinerary

At the lodge our days are split into 3 main sessions between the following meal times. Breakfast 8am to 9am, Lunch 1pm to 2pm, Tea/Snack 4pm to 4:30pm and Dinner 7pm. The following is an example two week itinerary based on cheaper mid week flights.

Day 1

Arrive Entebbe Airport, then 5-6 hour transfer to Uganda Lodge

Day 2

Induction/Volunteering

Day 3

Volunteering/morning or evening hill walk

Day 4

Volunteering/Town Visit

Day 5Sat

Scout Camp

Day 6Sun

Scout Camp

Day 7

Volunteering

Day 8

Volunteering/morning or evening hill walk

Day 9

Volunteering/Visit Local Market

Day 10

Volunteering

Day 11

Safari

Day 12 Sat

Safari

Day 13 Sun

Safari

Day 14

Return to Entebbe Airport

Ugandan Scouting and our Scout Troop:

Although Ugandan Scouting is a non government organisation (NGO) it is overseen by the Ministry of Education. Schools are thus actively encouraged to offer it as part of the curriculum and hence why it is so popular across the country.

Our School scout troop of approximately 40 scouts, run by teachers and staff, is part of The Uganda Scouts Association which is the National Scouting organisation which has been a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1964.

The Scout troop spans all primary classes. Unlike other primary systems which are generally age-based the Ruhanga School system is ability based so there is a large range of ages with some P7’s being in their late teens. Usually the camps are focussed on the P6-P7 classes which works well with the UK Explorer age range.

Scouting in Uganda is very traditional compared to modern scouting in other countries. Our Scouts are second to none for camp gadgets and marching displays. Canvas tents are rarely used and instead they are made from natural materials for each camp. You are of course welcome to use your own!

Previous Visiting Scout Groups:

In July 2018 a group of 20 Explorer Scouts and Leaders from Daviot and Oldmeldrum in NE Scotland visited for two weeks.

They got in touch with us about wanting to do a build project for an African school. Ann McCarthy, UK Project Coordinator and ex-Cub Leader came up with the idea of building a meeting hall for the Ruhanga School Scouts. However Project Director Denis had bigger plans and it escalated into a full blown combined School/Scout/Community Hall that is probably one of the biggest in the area. The Explorer Unit started fundraising 12 months before the trip. In the February before arrival they started sending the money to enable the local builders to start building. When they arrived the roof was on and they helped with finishing the floor, tidying the site and sieving the sand needed for plastering the walls. During the trip they camped with our own Scout troop plus one from another local school. They also did a three day safari visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park and both the Kasenyi and Kisenyi fishing village campsites. Full trip reports and video can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/DaviotOldmeldrumExplorers/

In April 2019 Mike the Explorer leader returned with his family for two weeks where they painted the interior of the hall and helped out with general volunteering as well as attending a district training camp. Detail of this trip can be found in the community section of the previous FB page.

 

Some Boring stuff:

To clarify some of the terminology we use:

Ruhanga – This is the village in SW Uganda where our community project is based. It is 10km from Ntungamo. Ntungamo is the largest town in Ntungamo District and the location of the district headquarters.

Ruhanga Development School – this is the aim of the whole thing – To provide a school that offers better than state school education for a lower price that the rural farming families can afford.

McNeil Medical Centre – This is an onsite community medical centre where trainee doctors and medical professionals can stay and practise for their medical elective period. These students can spend their days helping out at Itojo District Hospital, and then stay with other volunteers at Uganda Lodge at night and during their free time.

Ruhanga Vocational Training Centre – This is the next stage of our community development project. We currently provide tailoring and hairdressing training and hope to extend that to a training restaurant and basic car mechanic skills.

Uganda Lodge – is where visitors and volunteers stay. It is privately owned and managed by the Project Director Denis Aheirwe and it is run as a social enterprise business. Visitors who stay here can be assured that all profits from the accommodation plus the safaris he runs will be used to enhance the school and the living conditions of villagers in the community.

Uganda Lodge Community Projects – is the United Kingdom Registered Charity that supports the Ruhanga Development School, McNeil Medical Centre and Ruhanga Vocational Training Centre.

Stand on your own – is the Ugandan Charity (NGO) and officially recognised and government registered entity that supports Ruhanga Development School, McNeil Medical Centre and Ruhanga Vocational Training Centre.

Ruhanga Resource Centre – this is a brand used (mostly on-line) for linking all the above together.

Child Protection – We ask that all adult volunteers visiting and staying at the lodge provide a copy of relevant police check documentation to ensure they can work with children and other volunteers. Under 18’s must provide at least two written independent references to ensure they will be worthy volunteers!

Further information:

Please contact Mike Scott scouting@ugandalodge.com for more information, advice and help to shape your Ugandan adventure. Mike is an experienced Explorer Scout Leader based in NE Scotland who brought his Explorer Unit in 2018, visited with his family in 2019 and is already planning his next Unit trip for 2020. Mike and his wife Diane now actively support Uganda Lodge Community Projects.