Uganda - Giving something back

Giving something back

It goes without saying, or it ought to, that you’ll observe a vast difference in Uganda between your standard of living and that of many local people, and many visitors are moved to help. To do so effectively and appropriately can, however, be difficult; there are plenty of tricksters looking to fleece well-meaning donors with school-fee scams, as well as the odd dodgy pastor using bogus community campsites/volunteer schemes to line their own pockets. Rather than handing out cash, a good way to be certain of making a difference is to stuff empty spaces in your rucksack with items that are hugely useful but which are costly or unavailable in Uganda.

Check out Sanyu Babies Home before you travel, a is a charitable foundation that cares for orphaned, destitute and abandoned babies until they are adopted or graduate to orphanages. An annual needs list on the website includes 24 large tubs of Sudocrem, 21,900 disposable nappies and 2,160 tins of formula milk – all items easily bought in Europe or North America and stuffed into a empty corner in a suitcase or rucksack. Sanyu Babies Home also welcomes volunteers and paying guests; accommodation on site is provided in a pleasantly homely guesthouse (US$25 shared facilities). The home is found on the side of Namimembe Hill on Natete Road just before Mengo Hospital. It’s a particularly convenient place to visit: many budget and independent travellers stay in this area, while tourists staying in central hotels will invariably pass the gate on their way to/from destinations in western Uganda.

Volunteers for Sustainable Development, a small organisation established by local residents, is doing its best to provide a life for a handful of orphans in Bwaise, Kampala’s largest slum.

If you’re moved to support the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s struggle to protect Uganda’s wildlife, visit to learn about the work of the Uganda Conservation Foundation. UCF supports UWA with much-needed infrastructure, equipment, training and support for research.

Recent activities include the construction of ranger posts in Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls national parks, donation of bicycles and patrol boats, training of boat coxwains, a hippo survey in QENP and the refurbishment of a veterinary vehicle for MFNP. Administration costs are kept to a minimum (the directors, of which I am proud to be one, are unpaid) and 90% of funding is channelled directly into conservation action. If you would like to support UCF in the the US, a 501C facility can be accessed on the website.

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