The Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) International Volunteer Program gives volunteers from all over the world the opportunity to the participate in Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program in Africa including Uganda.
The primary role of the volunteer program is to collaborate with local staff and volunteers to support Roots & Shoots clubs and JGI’s environmental education program. Volunteers facilitate educational activities and assist in the planning and implementation of projects that make a difference in the local environment and communities.
Read more about volunteer positions and how to apply in: http://www.janegoodall.org/volunteer/ or http://www.janegoodall.org/volunteer/volunteer-uganda/
Michael came to JGI-Uganda after teaching at St. Leonard’s College in Melbourne, Australia for seven years. Life-long environmentalists, Michael highlight an awareness of the value of our natural environment to Ugandan teachers and students. Michael spent time living and working in Ugandan forests coming into contact with some of the forest’s animal inhabitants on numerous visits.
I’m an environmental educator from the USA, who spent the first half of 2007 volunteering with JGI in Tanzania before coming to Uganda. I’ve used most of my time at JGI Uganda editing and updating a curriculum guide for Primary 6 and 7 teachers in Uganda, a project which was initiated by previous volunteers and local staff members. During my volunteer stint, I worked with our education team to edit the curriculum before distributing a draft for Ugandan teachers to pilot test with their students. After the piloting, we held workshops with participating teachers to garner their feedback for the final draft, which will be distributed during the first school term of 2008.
In addition to curriculum work, I spent a month at the Kalinzu Forest Education Center, leading environmental activities in nearby schools, and I also had opportunities to help with the construction crew at the Budongo Forest Ecotourism Site. My final project was helping to planand co-lead JGI Uganda’s first Roots & Shoots Youth Camp, a week of leadership activities and workshops designed to help young Roots & Shoots members (and their teachers) run their school clubs, and implement projects in their communities.
DUNCAN WHITTICK & TARA WARNER.
When we arrived back in Entebbe it was time to put on our office work hats and to claim a computer for all sorts of office work tasks: helping with the development of the P6 / P7 environmental education curriculum, creating guiding resources, putting together some activity resources for Roots & Shoots, producing advertisements for Kaniyo Pabidi and the Polish Church, and crafting the first ever ‘Advanced Roots & Shoots Workshop’ materials. The workshop was a highlight of our time in Entebbe as it saw 25 enthusiastic and motivated teachers in attendance at UWEC, where the workshop was held. The teachers learned practical skills and returned their respective schools ready to take action! We also had a load of fun visiting Ngamba Island, the Wildlife Education Centre and the Botanical Gardens.
Two months later, we hit the road and headed to our final field placement at Kalinzu. Although the roaring transport trucks and passenger buses shook the ground as they barreled along the highway adjacent to the forest we found Kalinzu to be a peaceful and beautiful place to call home. Bushenyi district’s landscape was incredible. The rolling hills, tropical rainforests, crater lakes, banana trees, tea plantations and vast quantities of pineapples gave us plenty to write home about.
We can only hope that future volunteers will continue to share similar experiences, and build upon what has already been laid down as they make their temporary home and lasting impressions in these important conservation areas.
KELLIE GORMAN 2007.
The main focus of my volunteer stint was to help develop an environmental education teacher’s guide for Ugandan primary school level 6 & 7 teachers. The aim of the guide was to give activity ideas that would incorporate as many aspects of the national curriculum that could be done inside or outside the classroom; using alternative teaching methods (try to encourage active involvement of the pupils in their education).
It was difficult to walk away from the project- but very exciting to see the first draft. All in all, I can look back and think fondly on the people I was privileged enough to work with, the teachers who participated in the trainings and evaluations, and the friends made along the way. All the best in the continuing education projects!
ANNA SOWTER 2007.
The education team welcomed me on board, passing me the shared baton for a short period to continue with the development of the Environmental Education Teachers Guide for Primary 6/7. This followed the uptake and success of the Primary 5 Curriculum Guide.
The work meant that my days were mostly spent researching and creating resources in the JGI office in Entebbe. There was never a dull or lonely moment to be had!
A real chance in a life time opportunity, not to be missed!
I worked in Kalinzu as a teacher and teaching assistant, with 20 schools and probably over 1000 children. With these schools I help set up Roots & Shoots programs, took students on day trips to the forest, held short lectures about biodiversity at schools (for all students and teachers) and became good friends with entire communities. I always gave a strong message of conservation about all animals. In Budongo I helped run similar programs and i even helped remove illegal timber and alerted the N.F.A. It was a great feeling to know that, I have obstructed illegal timber from being sold and being cut.
The time I spent in Uganda was the greatest experience in my life, I don’t think a day has past since my return when i haven’t thought about one of my experiences there. The adventures that just happen day to day are unforgettable. The forests are incredible, every single day you can see almost anything. I miss everyone I met there, and will have to visit them again. Uganda was everything I hoped for and more.
JOHN MAGINNESS & CONNIE LINTZ.
The trip began taking shape back in late 2005 when we attended a dinner with the famous conservationist and primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall. Each of us has teaching experience and we had done some volunteer work in South Africa and we asked about volunteer opportunities in Africa with the Jane Goodall Institute. A flurry of emails ensued and before we knew what had happened we found ourselves in Uganda in equatorial East Africa.
Dr. Jane’s goal to save the wild chimpanzees begins with conserving the rain forests which they share with an ever growing number of people. Competition for habitat is a major problem in Africa and throughout the world. Our job was to develop the sites and prepare the instructors who would teach the local school children the long term benefits of protecting the forests and the animals that live there. Our message, “The choices you make and the actions you take will determine the future,” is as valid here in America as it is in Uganda.
It wasn’t all work and no play for us. We had many quiet moments, watching the birds, butterflies and monkeys. We visited many of the national parks on our motorcycles and even rafted the rapids on the Nile River in Jinja. One of the highlights was the two days we spent at the Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary in Lake Victoria where we walked in the forest with the chimps. We made friends with several of the Ugandan teachers and joked with the students and our Congolese refugee neighbors. I think it is fair to say that despite the hardships and hard work we took away more from the experience than we gave.
EMMA JOHNSTON 2006.
Volunteering with JGI-Uganda under the Education programs was such an enriching time and I really hope to return one day. Every day there was full of amazing new experiences, even simple things like buying groceries at the local market were part of making this an unforgettable journey. Being able to learn while also feeling like I was contribution to such an important programme was an extremely rewarding experience. I’d strongly recommend it as a great way to explore Africa while making some amazing friends and having a positive impact.