783 million people in the world do not have access to clean water. That problem can be seen starkly in south-west Uganda, a land of hills and valleys. Most villages are on top of the hills, whilst the water sources are at the bottom. Traditionally the children collect water, usually the girls; but the journey is fraught with danger.

In this area of Uganda, there is also a lack of knowledge about the dangers of unclean water and unhealthy hygiene practices. As a result there are high rates of water borne diseases like diarrhoea, particularly amongst children.Climate change has also led to unpredictable seasons and events like landslides, floods, and soil erosion. For a well off community these would be difficult challenges, but for the rural poor of Uganda, they are catastrophic.

The Kigezi Diocese Water and Sanitation Programme - or Kigezi for short - works with rural communities in the south west of Uganda to change this story. They want to see communities of people being able to collect water close to their homes. They want to see them using that water well, implementing hygiene practices that keep people safe, and adapting to climate change.

Kigezi succeeds in this life-transforming mission by working through the local church, uniting the whole community around a common goal. They teach everyone about the importance of hygiene, and challenge practices that have led to disease and illness. They work with communities to help them identify the resources they have and what they are able to do. Their aim is always to leave communities more united.

KDWSP provides practical help to enable people to access safe water. Simple harvesting tanks store rainwater that gathers on roofs and gutters. These have the advantage of being constructed close to people’s homes, removing the need to travel to collect safe water.

So, are you ready?

Three months volunteering in Uganda will both challenge you personally and stretch your faith. You will experience how the local church is at the heart of tackling poverty and injustice and have the chance to show God’s love in practical ways as you visit and learn from inspirational communities.

Who are we looking for?

Individuals who are flexible and adaptable, with a passion for environmental sustainability as well as functioning water and sanitation systems and knowledge. Those who would love the chance to spend three months living in Uganda, working in a team, alongside other volunteers and Kigezi staff.

Planning to take a gap year?

Head out on an adventure of a lifetime for your gap year and serve wholeheartedly alongside some of the most inspiring people you will ever meet. A three month Tearfund placement is the perfect way to use your skills whilst being challenged and developed in ways you never imagined. Learn more about the world, build amazing relationships, and come back from your gap year ready to take on the next step that God has for you.

What could you be doing?

We want to make sure that volunteers are helping where the need is greatest in Uganda, so the day-to-day work may change closer to the time to reflect this. You'll receive a more detailed outline of the work you'll be doing a few weeks before you depart on your placement.

Past teams have been involved in:

  • Community trainings in sanitation and hygiene (domestic and personal hygiene and community led total sanitation)
  • Trainings in water and sanitation for health in school clubs
  • Trainings in Church and Community mobilisation processes for community transformation
  • Working alongside Kigezi with construction of Gravity Flow Schemes and rain water harvesting tanks and protection of springs
  • Working and serving alongside the local church, youth and development activities
Trip date: 17 Jun 2019 - 16 Sep 2019
£2,950.00 ($3,796.65 approx)
Application deadline: 22 Feb 2019
Pre-departure training: 15 Mar 2019 - 18 Mar 2019 TBC (GB)
Interviews: 01 Mar 2019 - 01 Mar 2019 Tearfund, Teddington (GB

Fundraising Amount

Placement fundraising amount: £2,950

What’s included?

  • Training and support before, during and after your placement
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Tearfund staff time
  • In-country travel, food and accommodation

What’s not included?

  • Flights
  • Visa
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel to and from UK training events

Although your placement fundraising amount does not include flights, visas or injections, you will receive good advice and support about organising these aspects. As you will need to pay for these yourself, it is important to keep any fundraising for flights, visas and injections separate from the donations you send to Tearfund to pay for the placement (ie this must be done personally and not through JustGiving or an equivalent site, as the fundraising for these elements is not considered to be a charitable donation).

Please note that all costs are subject to change; this is due to the variable nature of overseas travel expenses.

When do you have to pay?

We don’t ask you to pay the whole fundraising amount all at once.

When you apply you are required to send in a non-refundable deposit. The deposit covers the administrative costs of processing your application, your selection event and pre-departure training event.

After we have confirmed your place and selected you, we will ask you to send in a further deposit. This is for remaining UK administrative costs, such as your medical and criminal record checks, in-country and other necessary preparatory costs that have to be paid in advance, and again, this is non-refundable.

You will need to pay the final balance a month before you travel.

Get a £100 fundraising discount

Once you’ve applied, you can join our refer a friend scheme.

Do you have a friend who wants to volunteer with us too? If you refer a friend to come on a Tearfund 3 or 6 month placement in 2019 then both you and your friend will receive a £100 fundraising discount!

The friend you refer has to be a brand new applicant to Tearfund.

They can apply to any of our 3 and 6 month opportunities to volunteer overseas in 2019.

Simply ask your friend to apply before 22 February 2019, then contact us at go@tearfund.org or call on 020 3906 3111 to let us know they are applying. Once we receive their application forms and their deposit we'll apply the discount for both of you.

Fundraising inspiration

As soon as you have completed your application form we will contact you about fundraising and setting up your JustGiving page. If you would like more inspiration, check out Tearfund's fundraising webzone and Nia’s blog, giving eight great tips.


You’ll receive all the information you need to know to prepare you for your placement, including: in-depth medical and travel advice, travel insurance information, cultural guidelines, fundraising ideas and advice about involving your local church.

Pre-departure training: You must attend our pre-departure training. This will be the first time you met your team. The event will prepare you to visit a new culture, and help you and your team get to know each other. There will be other sessions on culture, staying healthy, safety and security, information about where you are going, as well as plenty of time to focus on God. We take health and safety very seriously and comply with the Global Connections Code of Best Practise in providing you with adequate insurance cover, 24-hour support whilst overseas and appropriate medical equipment and training. 

Debrief: On your return to the UK you will be offered a debrief for your team. This is an excellent opportunity to renew friendships, to review what you've experience, and to thank God for all that He has done and to ensure that it continues to impact your life. 

Promotion: If you'd like to promote your placement with the media, please email go@tearfund.org


Worried about costs?

When we first meet you at an interview day or at pre-departure training, we will give you some ideas about fundraising. If you would like more inspiration, check out Tearfund's fundraising webzone and Nia’s blog with eight fundraising tips.

We don’t ask you to pay the whole cost all at once!

When you apply you are required to send in a non-refundable deposit. The deposit covers the administrative costs of processing your application, interviewing and/or assigning you to a team.

After we have confirmed your place and selected you, we will ask you to send in a further deposit. This is for administrative, preparatory, in-country and other costs that have to be paid in advance, and again, this is non-refundable.

You will need to pay the final balance a month before you travel.

What will I be doing?

All sorts! It totally depends on which country you choose and which partner you volunteer alongside. But we are normally correct when we say... 

  • You’ll be learning loads
  • You’ll be supporting our partner to keep up their fantastic work
  • You’ll be making new friends
  • You’ll be growing in your relationship with God

Here are some recent examples:

In Cambodia: Tearfund's partner CHO works closely with children, providing education. Volunteers have brought their personal education experience to help teach English, run sports, and lead Bible studies. CHO also has an incredible Social Enterprise called Destiny Cafe where the volunteers get an opportunity to work alongside locals and develop new innovative ways to expand business in the area.

In India: Tearfund's partners have invited prayer teams to join them for two weeks. Volunteers bring their fresh enthusiasm and commitment to prayer, coming alongside partners and beneficiaries, often resulting in a fresh awakening of God's power at work.

Where will I stay and what will I eat?

This totally varies from team to team, but we can guarantee that you will have a mattress under you and a roof over you! You may be sleeping in a church, house, school, or simple guesthouse. Two-week teams tend to live in a guesthouse with running water. Food will usually be a mixture of local food and English food. It's hard to predict what you will encounter so you need to expect the unexpected. Our most common complaint from teams is that they are treated too well!

How do I contact you if I have more questions?

Sometimes it's hard to navigate your way around new sites, so we'd love to chat to you over the phone or email. 

Contact us

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