Community Tourism with Hosting Volunteers from Abroad; Potential Benefits;

Community Tourism in Uganda, Hosting Volunteers from Abroad
Volunteers from Abroad in Ugandan meaningful projects

Uplifting Communities Through Tourism; How do you invite tourists to visit your villages and earn economic benefits from them;

A community by definition implies individuals with some kind of collective responsibility, and the ability to make decisions by representative bodies. 

While majority visitors who come to Uganda want to spend time on the wild safaris, there is a huge number of visitors who want to spend their time with local people in their community, to experience daily life of local people, learn from them, but also make bonds with communities they visit through participation and service. Some come as tourists while others come as community volunteers. Ugandan communities that made strategies for Community Tourism in Uganda have gained a lot of economic and social developments from such programs. Most of the hosts for Community Tourism and Hosting Abroad volunteers are NGOs and CBOs.

The Government of Uganda is developing a framework to train local people to engage in community tourism; The aim is to develop the capacity of the people to start using what they have locally to attract tourists to their communities.

We have got one of the richest and most unique cultures in the world, but we still are trying to find ways of making the most of it. Community tourism is one of the most viable ways of marketing our country.”
Community tourism is not yet a widely understood concept in Uganda, perhaps “because our people do not have the skills to package products in a way that can attract the attention of tourists.”

Community tourism is where people within their communities use the materials available to them; things like food, culture, housing, environment as tourism resources for foreign visitors.

The African Diaspora World Tourism Awards and honors leaders in the field of black culture and heritage as an influence on tourism. It recognizes the service and dedication of key people from around the world who have significantly influenced world tourism and the exploration of the global places of black culture and heritage.

Community Tourists and Community Volunteers- the Relationship;

In both cases the tourists have an opportunity for complete immersion into the African culture and local environment, support the communities while learning a wide range of lessons. The small difference is explained below;

Community Volunteers need to have the specific qualification that match with the program and the needs of the communities they are going to work with. On the other hand, the Community Tourism doesn’t need any specific qualifications; the guests are moved by the desire and willingness to learn while supporting communities.

Community Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age; those below this age are only accepted in groups of adults. On the other hand, Community Tourism accepts guests irrespective of age.

Community Volunteers are hosted in specific professional programs such as teaching in a school, serving in a health facility, supporting a youth group or women group, working with a research team and other specialized Community empowerment programs, while guests on Community Tourism can engage in none professional projects such as painting a school, work alongside technicians, work on agriculture, environmental conservation projects, worker with sports groups and others.

Community Tourism

The Community Tourism Projects are aimed at empowering Local Communities in sustainable development through small-scale tourism and local enterprises, also known as community tourism. The projects put emphasis on utilizing local resources, indigenous knowledge and traditional skills that have been passed down for generations to produce authentic products and experiences.

Through training, local people come to appreciate their culture, way of life and rural environment as valuable assets in tourism development. Community tourism involves local people in planning, decision-making and implementation of tourism products. This form of tourism assures that the benefits stay as much as possible in the local community.

Community Based Tourism

A community by definition implies individuals with some kind of collective responsibility, and the ability to make decisions by representative bodies. 

Community Based Tourism is a form of sustainable tourism that allows visitors to connect closely with the communities they visit. This emerging form of travel gives guests authentic experiences, while allowing revenue generated to remain in the often rural, poor, or economically marginalized community.

The communities run these tourism enterprises that provide services such as village tours, nature walks, cultural performances, and meals on their own initiatives. Community ecotourism is a particular facet of community based tourism, where at least some of the experiences are natural resource-based. Community ecotourism benefits both environmental conservation and local communities, the former generating financing for the management of the natural resource area.

Community tourism not only encourages cross-cultural understanding between host and visitor but also embraces the bottom line of environmental protection, cultural conservation, social responsibility, economic health, and the enhancement of livelihoods. Because communities are the owners of these tourism enterprises, they have the incentive to establish standards for international tourists and invest in a quality tourism product. As such, Community Tourism is promoted as a means of development where the social, economic, and environmental needs of local communities are met through the offering of a tourism product. 

Community based tourism is tourism in which local residents (often rural, poor and economically marginalized) invite tourists to visit their communities with the provision of overnight accommodation, feeding and laundry services within accredited host families. 

The residents earn income as land managers, entrepreneurs and service providers and employees. At least part of the tourist income is set aside for projects which provide benefits to the community as a whole. 

Community based tourism enables the guest to discover local habitats and wildlife, and celebrates traditional cultures, rituals and wisdom. The community will be aware of the commercial and social value placed on their natural and cultural heritage through tourism, and this will foster community based conservation of Natural resources. 

The guests’ accommodation and facilities have to be of sufficient standard for Western visitors, albeit those expecting simple rural accommodation.

In community tourism project implementers partner with the community and other local partners to provide clients foods, marketing, accommodation or other expertise. Subject to agreement to the ideals of supporting community development and conservation, and to planning the development in partnership with the community; this community tourism has two goals to achieve;

Goal 1: Community Tourism benefits local people

Community tourism which is community-based is a form of tourism which aims to include and benefit local communities, particularly indigenous peoples and villagers in the rural communities. For instance, community people might host tourists in their village, managing the scheme communally and sharing the profits. In this community tourism project, the ‘community’ works with the implementer (the host organization), ensuring that all community tourism projects give local people a fair share of the benefits/profits and a say in deciding how incoming tourism is managed.

Goal 2: Community Tourism benefits visitors

These community tours open up a world of adventure and opportunity. Sometimes guests take the opportunity to visit the National Parks at some days, trek through the mountains; experience the magic of the Uganda’s hot springs, enjoy happy moments with local art and music while learning a great deal of Ugandan tradition and cultures.

Good community-based tours take visitors beyond mainstream tourism. Tourists meet people from different cultures and learn far more about them and their culture than on conventional tours. Tourists feel better knowing that their visit is genuinely helping their hosts. And if they want to simply lie on a beach…. well, there are tours here that feature some of the best beaches on the planet.

Community tourism ensures that it….

  1. Is run with the involvement and consent of local communities. (Local people participate in planning and managing the tour).
  2. Gives a fair share of profits back to the local community. (Ideally this includes community projects (health, schools, women groups, child care centres, refugee settlements etc).
  3. Involves communities rather than individuals. (Working with individuals can disrupt social structures.)
  4. Is environmentally sustainable. (Local people are involved if conservation projects.)
  5. Respects traditional culture and social structures.
  6. Briefs guests before the trip on appropriate behaviour.
  7. Doesn’t make local people perform inappropriate ceremonies and events
  8. Gives communities the right to accept or to reject tourism activities. 
Community Tourism Development Strategy Most institutions in Community Tourism Use Community-based Tourism development strategy to mobilize communities into action to participate in broadening the scope of offerings in the tourism industry. The goal is socio-economic empowerment and a value-added experience for local and foreign visitors. This process opens new niches for Destination Uganda, most notably for the nature, culture, and adventure traveler. Most hosting organizations encourage local entrepreneurs to reap the benefits of the tourism industry. This concept gives visitors an opportunity of a ‘home away from home’ with Ugandan families – participating in, and learning about the Ugandan way of life while experiencing warm Ugandan hospitality. This fosters greater interactivity, build cross cultural bonds, respect and understanding, and gives authenticity to Ugandan lifestyles, while creating a source of income for the host community. Tourism-based development is being formalized as a developmental tool for building not only the tourism industry, but the entire region, by opening up communities as attractions with definable modus operand with achievable goals. The process is guided by industry standards of health, safety and regard for the environment.  Community-based tourism development empowers people to be more aware of the value of their community assets – their culture, heritage, cuisine and lifestyle. Communities are mobilized to convert these into income generating projects while offering a more diverse and worthwhile experience to visitors. Every citizen is a potential business partner to be trained in small business management, environmental awareness, product development and marketing. This type of ‘people-centered’ tourism promotes a sense of ‘ownership’ which augurs well for the industry’s sustainability. Benefits of community based tourism are in two-fold: Benefits to the Community Brings recognition and attention to the community Adds value to a community’s economy Diversifies economic activity in a community Provides an alternative to unsustainable forms of income such as poaching or logging, thus helping safeguard the livelihoods and well being of both locals and indigenous peoples Natural resource-based conservation, where the main product is wildlife or natural-resource related Cultural conservation Tourism income is more likely to remain in the community Encourages community pride and protection of community resources Involves and encourages the participation of women and youths e.g. Women in tourism associations, Youths in tourism associations, Association of PWD in tourism etc. Benefits to the Guests: Receives an authentic experience and learns first-hand about the community from   a local guide Has an opportunity to create a deeper connection to the community Knows exactly where the money will go and can feel good about it In the case of ecotourism, achieves a win-win benefit for supporting natural heritage conservation Gets a unique look at a particular destination of choice Receives personal tour, individualized service, and attention Opportunity to make a long lasting impact in the hosting community

In this case, the host institution markets community based tourism destinations and enterprises in their location. When we speak of community-based tourism, the most popular image tends to be a rural village far from the beaten path, and for good reason, most are. Examples include Kigezi and communities in the Rwenzori region.

Rural community tourism in the Rwenzori region, for example, is a showcase of conservation of large tracts of virgin rainforest, reforestation work and organic agriculture. Travelers can support this work through their visits. While it’s a romantic notion to limit one’s notion of community tourism to rural settlements, the concept of ‘community’ can easily be linked to urban populations.

Successful community tourism is mutually beneficial — for the communities and for the travelers. The big question is where to go? Community-based tourism succeeds when it achieves mutual benefits for locals and visitors.

Popular Community Tourism Destinations

  • Schools (Kindergartens, Primary Schools and Secondary Schools
  • Universities and other Tertiary Institutions
  • Religious institutions (Churches and Mosques)
  • Children’s day care centres
  • Health Institutions such as hospitals and clinics
  • Refugee settlements and Displaced person’s camps
  • Community Based Organizations and groups
  • Media and Broadcasting institutions
  • Business Centres and Markets
  • Agricultural and agro-processing centres
  • Environment and Nature conservations projects
  • Herbal Medicinal Processing centres
  • Cultural and other entertainment centers
  • Natural resources and attractions
  • Home based activities
  • Sports centers and sports activities

Abroad Volunteers Programs         

Now is the golden age of volunteerism in the world; As more people especially from Western countries than ever want to find ways to give back to the communities, to offer their support to the less fortunate, volunteer work is encouraged, from small to large institutions. 

Although, embarking on a journey to offering self to serve free of charge can be quite a daunting experience. However, with the right mindset, tools and preparation, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience with many lessons along the way. That’s why most organizations have developed comprehensive volunteer programs so that volunteers have a safe, enjoyable, productive time that is helpful to the communities and rewarding to the volunteers.

African countries like Uganda are excited to see what people from abroad can do to stand up against social forces and injustices among the local communities, offer their skills, resources and valuable time to create lasting change in a poor community!

Most volunteer programs enshrine their vision towards encouraging creativity and empowers all their teams to function synergistically, and enables them to be flexible in their work, create space for learning and reflection and be responsible to the changing realities of the poor and the poverty context in which they work.

Organizations involved in hosting Abroad Volunteers put in place handy guideline on how volunteers must be sensitively responsible to the vision, principles, values and the work culture of the hosting organization. Most such organizations are community based and have a mission that works with partners, the poor women, men, boys and girls, the local civil society and other development players in the quest for Physical and social well being of all people.

Most volunteers’ destinations are the community based institutions, groups and families that most need volunteers. This is where Volunteers from abroad can offer their support and help and at the same time where they can learn valuable lessons. Therefore, like in Community Tourism, a Volunteers program is symbiotic in nature designed to benefit both the guests and their hosts.

The Volunteers Program Description:

The focus of a service-learning volunteer experience is for volunteers and interns to expand their own knowledge while at the same time helping to educate local community members in sustainable developments. Volunteers have the opportunity to become fully immersed in Ugandan culture as they live, work, learn, and play among local families, staff in both rural and semi-urban settings.

While there is a large concentration of Volunteer programs in Kampala, most good volunteer programs are in rural setting. Working on these volunteers’ projects is always challenging, but ultimately very rewarding. Also by hosting volunteers in your community on given community projects you help improve the Quality of Life for People in the rural communities.

Western Uganda is a rural community, with dirt roads that turn to sticky mud in the rainy season and dust in the dry season. Boda-Boda or taxi bikes share the road with bicycles, pedestrians and animals. As in most parts of Uganda, the community members struggle to meet their basic needs and strive to put their children in school. Main jobs include agriculture, hand craft making, brick making, selling fruits and vegetables, small-scale animal rearing and other manual labor jobs. All these make what Volunteers from abroad are looking for.

Volunteers who come on these programs experience traditional Ugandan life and participate in daily activities such as visiting elderly villagers, collecting water from a well, teaching children in and outside classrooms, assisting in the brick making programs, feeding animals as well as health outreach programs. These programs serve the most vulnerable community members in the region.

The main focus areas include providing education to hundreds of children in the surrounding villages. Village schools provide English, Math, health lessons to children 3yrs-14yrs old and high school for 15yrs-18yrs. The schools provide not only needed education but opportunities for sports activities, health talks, feeding center and meeting places for the communities, which all contribute into resources that are used in hosting volunteers.

Most community development projects including pig and poultry house construction and repairs, home repairs, health/HIV/AIDS workshops, youth education, animal rearing, water and sanitation (including well and waterway construction) and project planning and management or other skills that can help us transform communities are available for use as areas for volunteers from abroad.

The women and youths need skills for self reliance and sustainable livelihoods. They need training in the most valuable and marketable skills for employment in the market place and self employment in their homes and business. Most volunteers like working in this area.

Volunteer hosting programs allow volunteers to discover the wonders of East Africa, while doing meaningful and rewarding community work. This is a great opportunity for them to explore life in rural Africa, live and work amongst the locals and realize one person can make a difference.

It is always important for potential volunteers to understand that the culture in Uganda is quite different from what they are accustomed to. Volunteers should bring with them an easy-going, open-minded and relaxed attitude. Locals are curious, very friendly and social people. While host organizations endeavor to maintain a daily routine, volunteers should be made to understand that things move slowly in Africa (and indeed in rural communities). Volunteers should be prepared to relax and enjoy the slow pace of people they visit. Life in Africa is not as organized and predictable as life in developed countries. Although volunteer work can be very busy and active, at other times work is determined by many number of factors including weather, availability of resources, whether a relevant contact has turned up, cultural activities among others.

Potential Volunteer Destinations

Like in Community Tourism, hosting volunteers from abroad targets similar destinations. They include;

  • Schools (Kindergartens, Primary Schools and Secondary Schools
  • Universities and other Tertiary Institutions
  • Religious institutions (Churches and Mosques)
  • Children’s day care centres
  • Health Institutions such as hospitals and clinics
  • Refugee settlements and Displaced person’s camps
  • Community Based Organizations and groups
  • Media and Broadcasting institutions
  • Business Centres and Markets
  • Agricultural and agro-processing centres
  • Environment and Nature conservations centres
  • Herbal Medicinal Processing centres
  • Cultural and entertainment centres

Volunteer programs should be designed in a way that allows volunteers to discover Uganda first-hand, since most times they are living with a Ugandan host while serving as the family’s and community’s teacher and learner at the same time.

Volunteering in Western Uganda can be a fantastic opportunity for students, high school graduates as well as professionals who want to reach for a world beyond their horizon. They therefore want to experience Uganda first hand and share the experiences life has taught them, while immersing into one of the world’s oldest and richest cultures. It is an adventure, a challenge, an investment in a volunteer’s future. Western Uganda Communities are focused on the future and volunteers are interested to be a part of it.

Therefore, Volunteers who come to Western Uganda communities need to experience a wonderful new perspective of this incredible part of the country. They need to be living with Ugandan hosts, an opportunity to learn while serving. They will make an important contribution, whatever their skills, by improving standards of living, offering skills and giving confidence to local people that comes from being able to communicate with an international native.

Most volunteers leave a mark and a name in Uganda when they reach out to the young people in schools or in community and provide their practical skills for their future carriers.

Working with especially Women and Youths, volunteers can teach them handcraft, computer, carpentry, cooking, tailoring, fabrication, metal-works, mechanics and driving or gardening. These are the skills that Ugandan youths and women need most today.

In Uganda most business entrepreneurs look for great numbers of extra staff, and they should be happy to accept volunteers from abroad. Work placement for volunteers can range from hotels and catering, agro-processing, to business management. There are also opportunities available in childcare, conservation work, schools and health care. Institutions hosting volunteers from abroad need to arrange suitable accommodation and food. Most volunteers from Abroad pay good money for the services and hospitality they get from the hosting institutions and communities.

This is a new form of income for host institutions and communities. However, most of the benefits for the communities come from services and skills offered by volunteers, and chances are high that a volunteer will continue to support their host institutions and communities with many projects when they return to their country of origin. Most volunteers will always recommend their friends and colleagues to come to your community if you treat them well.

How to Invite Community Tourists and Volunteers to Your Community; Market your product:

Simpler than most businesses, tourism is easily marketed online using online platforms including website, blog and a host of social media platforms. You need a simple Website or blog for marketing your Tourism products; Whereas each tourism product can have its own website, tourism entrepreneurs in one region can use a joint website to market the regional tourism destinations as one block.

These days, almost even any small business should have a website. With costs being extremely low at the entry level, it’s becoming difficult to imagine a reason for any business of any size not to have a website. Any business that does not have a website is missing out on one of the most powerful marketing tools available to them.

The Internet Age is in full swing.  However, many small business owners have yet to adopt the methodologies of this trend.  It is so surprising that, quite a number of business owners in Tourism and Hospitality Industry do not even have a website for their business. 

Perhaps the cost of developing a website, maintaining that website and purchasing a domain name keep businesses from taking advantage of these powerful tools.  If you find yourself in this boat, it’s incredibly important that you jump ship. At Kitara Foundation for Regional Tourism we build websites at an affordable price. In truth a website can be built for very little money. Remember you don’t need a giant ten-thousand-page website for your business, just a simple site that tells people about your company and your products will be more than enough. We support Small businesses to develop and maintain cheap websites including training those leaders to do it by themselves. Every Tourism business need to have skills to manage their own marketing through websites without the need to depend on expert website developers.

Why do you need a website? In today’s world, consumers are more and more likely to expect a business to have their own website, especially tourism businesses.  In the eyes of a consumer, having a website is a measure of viability, and of stability. 

In short, if you do not own a website, then your customers might not take you quite as seriously as they would if you did.  Why is this?  What’s so important about having a website for your even small business?

To the eyes of a consumer, having a quality, professionally designed website is a measure of how successful your business is and how likely you are to remain in business.  Small businesses without a website seem ephemeral – fleeting. 

If you do not have a web presence, consumers are likely to think that you are not making enough money for one and are likely to suffer the consequences of that lack of income.

Another excellent reason to have a website for your company is that it provides you with numerous options for cost effective (or even free) marketing. 

In addition, having a website provides your current and potential customers a means by which to measure your worth to their needs, without actually having to visit your centre in person.

Finally, owning a website enables you to grow your business on a global scale, rather than simply in the local or regional market. 

As consumers the world over can visit your business website, peruse your goods and services and make a purchase decision, this can be an invaluable tool for increasing your profitability and incurring growth. 

In short, if you do not have a website, you need one.  If you opt not to develop this powerful tool, you could find that your business suffers considerably.

The main reason that it is important for businesses to have a website is how people are likely to find you. These days most people will go online and research products and companies around their places of choice before they make a purchase, if you don’t have a website you are missing out on all of this potential business. Even if people don’t buy your product online they are still likely to research it online so you have to have a website so these people can learn about your business.

A website is also important because it helps you establish credibility as a business. Most people just assume that you have a website since the vast majority of businesses do, at least the vast majority of tourism businesses do. There are actually still quite a few small businesses that don’t have a website and without one this is exactly what they will remain. If you don’t have a website that you can refer people to potential customers are going to assume that you are a small time company that does not take their business seriously. Once you establish this reputation it is going to be hard to make sales.

A website will not only give you credibility but it will also help to give the impression that your company is bigger and more successful than it may actually be. One of the great things about the internet is that the size of your company does not really matter. There is no reason that you can’t get your site to rank in Google ahead of a large multinational competitor and funnel off some of their traffic. This is a big part of the reason that a website is even more important for a small business than a big one, it tends to level the playing field.

A website will help you to connect with thousands of clients/visitors both in the country and globally. Tourists and volunteers from Abroad are searching internet every day to see potential hosts in Africa they can book for their travel. More benefits of a website to any business include;

Low-Cost Advertising: The Web has a far wider reach than any other form of advertising. While it takes time to build up enough traffic to your website to make a worthwhile impact on your business’s online presence; through it, you advertise your business around the Web on social networking sites, forums and through pay-per-click advertising programs.

Visibility: Increasing visibility is one major factor that makes having a website important. Even if people have heard about your programs, they may want to carry out research online first, before leaving the house. Provide clear directions to your locations or offices on your website so that visitors are less likely to have trouble finding the place.

Accessibility: A website is online and accessible 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Because of this, your visitors and potential visitors can visit your site for support or information about new and upcoming products and services whenever it is convenient for them. Your website will act as an invaluable and always-available resource for information which would otherwise only be accessible during your organization’s business hours.

Sales: Your website can sell products at any time. Potential visitors are not restricted to business hours. Instead, they can go online and purchase their travels whenever they want. A website can provide a dramatic boost in bookings

You stop being invisible.

By creating a website, you stop being invisible to the people trying to find you online. More and more studies are telling us about the ROBO effect where customers are learning to research online before buying offline. They’re typing their problems or needs into the search engine of their choice and are researching the companies that appear for those queries. If you don’t have a Web presence, there’s no chance of you showing up and you never even enter into their thought process. In 2023, you can’t afford to be invisible.

You help control your rankings.

By creating optimized content, building relevant links and creating a brand that tourists want to engage with, you set yourself up as an authority in the eyes of the search engine and increase your chances of appearing for the right queries – the ones paying tourists are using to find products just like yours. Creating an optimized website helps you to gain important visibility for the right terms.

You create another sales tool.

A website is a powerful sales tool and one that allows you to address your visitors’ concerns, give them the information they need to make a decision and create compelling calls to action. Your website is your home turf where people can go to seek out trusted information about your organization and engage with you on a more personal level. Use it to build confidence in your brand and to give customers important buying information (and incentives).

You build authority.

Though the Web has been around for some time, it’s true that you didn’t always need a website to find your audience. It was a lot easier to market via direct mailings, radio ads and local word-of-mouth. However, today your website and your social presence are the factors that customers are looking for when they research a small program like yours. They want to know that you’re stable enough to have a dedicated Web presence. That you’ll be around tomorrow should something go wrong. That they can get hold of you when they need to; By creating a website, you set up shop on the Internet and show customers that this is where they can come to find information about you. All of these things build authority. Without a website, you’re at a huge disadvantage as a small business owner trying to speak to your customers.

A website is intended to link your business services with prospects. A well designed website accomplishes four main areas of business advertisement:

  1. Raise awareness (people know about your services)
  2. Capture attention and support of prospects
  3. Position your business favorably versus competition
  4. Compel prospects to take a next step

That is the reason Kitara Foundation for Regional Tourism is available to assist with Web design, so it is even possible to build a basic small Tourism website at a low cost with our Web designers.

Why don’t you have one? Simply write to us or call us on phone, we shall work it out for you and the world will be at your command. Contact; 0392156562, send an email at

Care for your Volunteers and Community Tourists

When you start to receive volunteers and community tourists, establish standards; standards will put you in the market and will keep you in the market.

  • Ensure that Volunteers are fully deployed from the day after their arrival. Most volunteers hate redundancy
  • Provide suitable accommodation with bathroom facilities. This can be dormitory-type but must have separate male and female quarters.
  • Be flexible on facilities provided – and give guests chance to inspect them before the start of a program.
  • Payment for accommodation facilities and other program fees can be made by the volunteers themselves upon arrival. However, booking fees can be paid before they come
  • Provide three meals daily. This can be provided in the same locations as provided for our full time volunteers. Western food may need not be provided, but local food can be traditional and not exotic.
  • Most programs don’t provide Alcoholic beverages. A facility that allows volunteers to augment their consumption at their own cost can be identified (such as access to a local store to buy Coca-Cola and cigarettes) but is not always so a requirement.
  • When you receive a volunteer or community tourist, match them with an experienced mentor to work with him/her to show him/her the ropes. This helps the volunteer get up to speed faster and, if the mentor does job well, the volunteer will feel more like a part of the team from the start.
  • On the arrival, make sure the volunteer/tourist is availed with a binder with information on your most common activities including resources, tools, key steps and the itinerary. It also has items like tips for safety in place, meals arrangements, using the pit latrine, how to handle cash, common local greetings etc.
  • Together with the volunteer share expectations from the start; don’t be formal and businesslike with volunteers, but let them know some things we expect like punctuality, a positive attitude, that they abide by group rules and family procedures, and maintain confidentiality, if applicable. Likewise, make sure your team knows what the volunteer expects from you such as the tools and training to do the job, a positive work atmosphere, respect for their time, and an understanding of how the task relates to overall goals.
  • Give your volunteer/tourist a warm welcome to make the volunteer’s heart feel at home. Introduce volunteers to other people in place. Show them where the restroom is and how to use the resources. Include them in conversations. Ensure that the work environment is pleasant, so the volunteer is much more likely to come again.
  • Help your volunteer understand how his/her role relates to your overall goals or mission. We want them to realize that they are part of the solution to the communities you serve. Some activities have immediate results and the volunteer will be glad to see what they have contributed before they leave.
  • Try to let your volunteer know you appreciate their help, whether they donated an hour or a week, whether they did the most difficult task or the easiest. They could have spent time with their family or at the gym or with the tourist guides in adventure sites.
  • Appreciate that people have different styles and abilities. Let volunteers take ownership of the process. Give them the goals of the project or the desired outcome, and let them choose their own way to get there. Don’t say “we do things this way,” especially if there’s no compelling reason to stick with the status quo.
  •  Try as much as possible to ensure that the volunteers’ work is a learning opportunity for all of you. Once you get volunteers make sure there is something you learn from them and they too have something to learn from you. Whichever way it goes; whatever time it takes great lessons must be learned.
  • Know that when volunteers show up they are ready to help. Make sure there is work for them to do. However much you know that the African time is different from the Muzungu time, try to keep within your time schedules.
  • When the volunteer shows up to do some work, make sure all of the materials to do the job are in place. Don’t keep volunteers standing around and waiting. Get full use of their time.
  • Provide guidelines. Being given a job to do without proper instruction or the tools to do the job properly can be very frustrating—especially if you leave your volunteer on her own to figure things out for herself. At Work it out together so that you together do the right job.
  • When you agree with the volunteer to donate an hour of her time; don’t turn it out to be the great elastic hour—you don’t have to stretch until the job is done. Working beyond agreed time is just the volunteer’s wish.
  • Don’t expect human beings without error. When there is a mistake harmoniously correct it. Advise, mentor, coach and give information.
  • Keep volunteers motivated by giving them chance to make their own idea a reality. Offer them an atmosphere that encourages new ideas and keeps the group fresh and injecting excitement.
  • Make your volunteers feel like part of a team, so they are more motivated to do their part. A team atmosphere means making sure everybody feels wanted and participates. Don’t keep up cliques.
  • Use volunteer’s talents, not just their time. Don’t keep everyone constantly being on the cleanup committee. Allow the person who loves carpentry build your carnival booths and the one who’s interested in graphic design create your newsletter; that way, they’re much more likely to do a great job and want to continue.
  • Check in with volunteers occasionally. Make sure their needs are being met and they haven’t become disgruntled. Avail them with personal contacts of all your team members to let them know you care about them individually, and this catches potential problems before they become significant.
  • Ensure that when things go right, you share the successes with your volunteers. A shared sense of accomplishment is a powerful motivator.
  • After each volunteers’ work do together an evaluation of what was done to find out whether your goals and their goals have been achieved. It is always an exciting moment to get feedback from the entire team. Also encourage your volunteers at this time to share a brief report either verbal or written.

By Sabiiti Fenekansi

@ Kitara Foundation for Regional Tourism, Phone: 0772888149/0752888149

Email: , Web: