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GIDCCO Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I be certain GIDCCO is a legitimate organization?
A. Gidcco for Orphans, Widows and children Development  prides itself on its honesty and integrity and is fully recognized by the Non-governmental organization's Board of the ministry of internal affairs of the Republic of Uganda. We'll be happy to send you a copy of our annual report or even send you contact details of people from other countries who have volunteered with us.

Q. What will I be doing as a volunteer?
A. Regarding what volunteers do here: we are all about orphans, widows and generally community Development initiatives and gospel missions. Volunteers spend their time teaching in schools, sensitizing communities on HIV/AIDS, visiting and counseling families, women’s groups, working in rural health clinics that we support and working at the disabled girls rehabilitation center; which teaches disabled girls practical skills such as handcrafts, bakery, home making, etc.

Q. Which airport is near you? Is there a best day/time to arrive? Will someone meet me at the airport? What travel documents do I need to bring with me?
A. If you are traveling from the U.S. you may get the best airfare from a consolidator such as Dolphin Travel & Trade. Their website is You'll have to book using the toll free # on the website. Be aware when traveling from the U.S. that you may have a very long layover coming and a possible overnight layover on your return trip.
You fly into Entebbe, Uganda. The airport is about 2 hours away from Jinja, and we can arrange transport for you to Gidcco from there. If you can avoid arriving late at night that is preferable, but not a problem if you can't. We will meet you at the airport ourselves. Gidcco will charge you about $40 for fuelling the project vehicle to transport you from Entebbe airport to Jinja.
You will need to travel with your passport, of course. Visitor Visas are available upon arriving at the airport in Entebbe, you can also obtain one beforehand at the Uganda Embassy nearest you. The cost for the Visa is $30U.S. and is for a period of 90 days (be sure to ask for 90 days, otherwise they may give you 30 and you have the hassle of renewing after that) You should have the $30 with you in your carry-on luggage. You also need to carry your immunization card showing you have been inoculated against Yellow Fever (although they will probably not ask you for it). After collecting your bags, proceed via the "green line" through customs, as you will have nothing to declare.

Q. Do I need to take any shots?
Consult the CDC website ( for Ugandan recommendations and for a Travel Health Clinic in your area - they will know what immunizations you need. Yellow fever is the only requirement for entering Uganda, but it is recommended that you are current on several others.
Malaria is a concern here, and caution should be taken to avoid mosquito bites by using a deet-based repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net. Mosquito nets are best purchased once you arrive here in Uganda - they are readily available, good quality, and inexpensive. It is best to buy a net that is treated with insecticide. If you are coming for a short time you should consider malaria preventatives like Doxycycline (cheap) or Malarone (expensive). Please note that Doxycyline can make you sun sensitive and Uganda is on the equator. Most doctors no longer recommend Larium (Mefloquine) because of the side effects.

Q. What should I know about money while I am there?
A. If you have a VISA DEBIT CARD, it can only be accepted at the Barclays bank in Kampala (about 80kms from Jinja) Credit cards, especially the VISA are widely accepted by most banks in Jinja,Entebbe and Kampala. Most people prefer this to bringing a large amount of cash with them. If you bring American dollars, you will get a better exchange rate for larger bills ($100s and $50s). Be sure to bring bills dated 2000 or newer, as older bills attract lower rates .Do not bring traveler's checks as they are not widely accepted here, and it's difficult to find a place to cash them.

Q. What about meals while I am at Gidcco?
A. There are many supermarkets around town that offer the basics, such as rice, bread, milk, cheese, ice cream, spices, sodas, etc. Most schools where our volunteers work give an authentic Ugandan lunch to volunteers free of charge. There are also a variety of restaurants around town. If there is packaged food you cannot live without from home, bring it with you, as you probably can't get it here.
Bottled drinking water is readily available for purchase, or tap water boiled for 3 minutes is safe for drinking. Fresh fruits and vegetables here are wonderful and readily available at fresh markets around town. Fresh produce that will be eaten without cooking should be washed and soaked in a very weak bleach solution before eating to destroy any microorganisms that can make unfamiliar stomachs sick.

Q. What do I need to bring with me? Is there a dress code?
A. More and more things westerners are accustomed to are available here, however, there are some things that are hard to find. You will need a flashlight or candles, as electricity is sometimes cut off. These can be obtained here, as can a mosquito net, rain gear, insect repellent, and basic toiletries; but you probably want to bring your own cosmetics and sun protection lotion.
Electrical current is 240volts, Electric/electronic appliances that only work on 110v will need a converter. Many electronics, computers, etc run on either voltage in which case only a plug adapter is needed. Multiplug power strips are available here which accommodate any type of plug from around the world.
In regards to clothing: bring clothes suitable for a relatively/generally hot climate. There are however no extreme hot or cold temperatures here; normally temperatures are within the range of 12-35 degrees centigrade. You may need a light jacket during the rainy season; You should bring a swimsuit for rafting or swimming. Ugandans traditionally dress very modestly. In the villages, women still only wear skirts and dresses reaching well below the knee. Dress by some young people, especially in the larger cities is becoming more westernized.
Gidcco advices you to dress smartly and respectfully whenever you go out, whether you are at work or not, as people will judge and respect you on the basis of your appearance. Females should wear long non-transparent skirts, and avoid low-cut or very tight tops. Current summer wear in western societies is not appropriate here (spaghetti straps, low cut or showing stomach). For guys, shorts are ok for around your area of residence or for sports, but you will not be respected doing any business in town in them, and you will see very few if any Ugandan men in shorts.

Q. What language is spoken in Uganda?
A. English is the official language here and is spoken by everyone who has been to school, and by most Ugandans who live in the cities. The local languages spoken in our area are Luganda and Lusoga. You can get by with only English unless you travel deep into the village when you bring a translator with you.

Q. How available is international communication?
A. Mobile phones are very common here. You can get a mobile phone here for under $100 or bring an international one from home (be sure it is really international compatible with an SMS card).Emailing is available at Internet cafes. It is usually reliable, but the connections are very slow.

Q. Can I come at any time of the year?
A. Yes, you can come anytime of the year.

Q. What happens in case of an emergency?
A. In case of an emergency you can be reached through the Program Director. Telephones and Email are very accessible in Jinja-Uganda, and regular contact with your friends and family can also take place through postal mail. In addition, Uganda has adequate medical care, including international hospitals to address most illnesses that you might face while you are abroad.

Q. Can I fund-raise for my trip ?
A. Yes, you can certainly fund raise on your own!
We are a registered Uganda non-governmental organization and you can use this fact when fundraising. Please let us know if you would like to receive fundraising ideas, and we will email you further information. Fundraising can often be quite a challenging task but Remember that with effort and dedication, you can be a successful fundraiser.

Q. Will I be able to join the program with a friend or family member?
A. Yes. We encourage participants to come with a friend or spouse.

Q. How do Gidcco volunteer participants educate about HIV/AIDS?
A. In terms of content, the focus of the message is prevention. This requires that we teach the basic biological facts about the virus, the progression of the disease in the body, the primary modes of transmission, and the most effective methods of prevention. While teaching, we encourage students and community members to share with us what they already know. This allows us to assess their knowledge of HIV/AIDS and design an appropriate workshop. In the end, the goal is to give the audience the tools that they need to make informed decisions.

We cannot be there every time our students or community members hear a new myth or story about the disease. What we can do we is to help them to think rationally about HIV & AIDS and determine for themselves if what they are hearing is true. Gidcco participants use a variety of methods to get our message across including games, role-play, lectures, question and answer sessions, music, and skits. To convey basic information, an introductory talk is often necessary.
Participants should do their best to keep these talks as interactive as possible in order to keep the audience engaged. Participants should also be aware that many Ugandans already know basic information about HIV/AIDS. It is imperative that Gidcco participants try to find out the knowledge base of the focus group and adapt the workshop accordingly. As a Gidcco participant, you will receive training in both the content and method of AIDS instruction from reading materials, from workshops in Uganda, and from local health professionals who assist us on the project.

Q. Will I get sick when I am there?
A. Gidcco organization informs you about the vaccinations that you will need to protect yourself in Uganda. In addition, you will need to take two basic precautions: prevent mosquito bites and avoid contaminated water. While this sounds very hard, it is actually quite easy with just a little bit of effort and planning. Of course, the change in diet can cause an occasional upset stomach. Still, with the proper precautions, this minor discomfort is the only illness you should have to endure.
As with travel anywhere, awareness and sensibility are your best tools for preventing illness. Make sure that the meat and vegetables you eat have been thoroughly cooked. If you want fresh fruit, eat an orange, a mango - something that you can peel open. Also, always carry mosquito repellent!

Q. Is it safe to volunteer in Uganda, Africa, particularly as a woman?
A. The combination of spreading poverty and the presence of wealthy travelers has led to theft in Uganda's only capital city of Kampala. Fortunately, this activity is limited primarily to Kampala city and can be avoided with a little common sense. Those who do fall victim to crime most often find that they have only been relieved of some possessions, but have suffered no significant physical harm. However, the areas where our participants are placed are likely as safe, if not safer, than what you experience at home.
For obvious reasons, women do have to be more cautious. Ugandans have a different sense of personal space. As a result, you may at times feel uncomfortable with the amount and type of attention you are getting. Coping with this type of discomfort will
certainly be one of the challenges of your intercultural experience. However, in the vast majority of such cases, there is no threat to your person or possessions. If you take appropriate caution, it is unlikely that you will ever be in a situation that is unsafe.

Q. What about safety with respect to the current political situation?
A. The majority of Uganda with the exception of northern Uganda is peaceful and very safe, though there are occasionally demonstrations on Kampala streets. Kampala city is further away from Jinja district where Gidcco organization works. Much of Gidcco's work is in rural areas away from the cities. These areas are most likely safer than your own home area. The pace of life is relaxed, and these areas almost never experience political violence or general unrest. Many participants travel during time off or after the program, and Gidcco organization is not responsible for safety before/after the program or during activities not related to the program.
Gidcco organization develops regular national risk Assessments, by consulting a variety of sources within the country (eg. government authorities, partner organizations and the national and international media)These risk Assessments objectively analyze the levels of safety and security within Uganda .
What you may hear about on the news concerning Uganda involves rebel activity in the north, and does not affect us. We take the same precautions, of course, as you would anywhere about being alone at night, etc.

Q. Suppose I would like to extend my stay of working with Gidcco, can this be possible?
A. Yes, this is possible. However, you will need to discuss this with the Gidcco administrator before you can change your flight schedules.

Q. How best can I be of help in the community?
A. Gidcco is currently concentrating its effort and activities within the remote areas of Jinja and Mayuge districts, though we are registered as an NGO to operate nation wide. Our development programmes are not only focused on restoring people and their communities to their pre-crisis conditions, they also focus on establishing a process that enables those in need to build a self sufficient and self sustaining lifestyle as a community. Our development programmes strive to permanently break the bonds and cycle of poverty of individuals, families and their communities.

Q. Are there some Projects, which need our collective attention and funding?
A. Yes, Gidcco does not encourage handout approach when helping the community. Our development programmes are not only focused on restoring people and their communities to their pre-crisis conditions, they also focus on establishing a process that enables those in need to build a self sufficient and self sustaining lifestyle as a community. Our development programmes strive to permanently break the bonds and cycle of poverty of individuals, families and their communities. Therefore we encourage volunteers to work closely with the Gidcco administration in looking out into possible avenues to help the community.

Q. Who organizes my flights?
A. You do.

For more information about volunteering with Gidcco in Uganda, or talking to past and present volunteers send us an email at: we will gladly get back to you.


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This site was last updated 17/12/08