Social impact work in Tanzania: multiple programs

Program Overview

You will live in the small village of Karanga, which is nestled in the shadow of Africa's most epic peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. This topographical giant is just one of the incredible wonders of nature that you'll find in the region. During your time as a volunteer with the Chagga community in Moshi, you'll work in a landscape full of waterfalls, coffee plantations, and banana fields.

Among the most prevalent issues in Tanzania are those presented by the lack of resources, residual effects of a colonial past, and the impact of HIV/AIDS. Only a little over half of children attend school, and high levels of infant and child mortality prevail. With Mount Kilimanjaro as a stunning backdrop for your volunteer work in Tanzania, you'll have a chance to work side by side with vulnerable people to build better, healthier futures.

home base tanzania

Where you'll stay in Tanzania

On a clear day, you can see Mt. Kilimanjaro from your home away from home. Yeah, it's that good. Located in a safe and beautiful neighborhood, your Home-Base in Tanzania boasts gardens with avocado trees, and a huge outdoor eating area.

Take a tour of the volunteer living space and you'll see that almost every room has a connected bathroom, and all rooms are equipped with a full-sized mirror. Whether you're nesting on the first or second floor, there is an abundance of shared space to enjoy, both indoors and out. Living areas are communal and you'll have plenty of space to keep your belongings.

With the fresh avocado, the delicious popcorn snack that you'll wonder how you ever lived without, the homemade ugali -- a tasty side dish -- served with each meal, and over 70 types of bananas, you'll have a chance to taste it all. There is always chai tea, Tanzanian peanut butter, hot chocolate, and Tanzanian coffee around, so help yourself!

Who will support you

Born in the Kilimanjaro region, Thea Mushi came to the program after serving as Country Director for eight years at the Irish Agency for Personal Service Overseas (APSO). She’s been at the Kilimajaro base since 2003, and has plenty of experience working with international volunteers like you. She is a trained accountant and social and community development worker, and is particularly passionate about the power of education on her community’s youth. Mama Thea, as she is called, loves to dance and has a huge, warm smile. She’s known for her contagious laughter and beautiful singing voice.

Volunteer Options

Female volunteer with children in tanzania

Education and Literacy

Education is highly valued in Tanzania, where you’ll find children with a true love of learning. But sadly, many children are only able to attend school until age 14. Work with The Education & Literacy Project and you'll support schools where the teaching staff is highly under-resourced and often unavailable. Help inspire children to foster a lifetime love of learning by introducing engaging new techniques, games, and enthusiasm. Be a part of the transformation; turning an educational system based on rote memorization into a vibrant setting where children can learn and develop on their road to maximizing their human potential.

female volunteer with kids tanzania

Child Development

In Kilimanjaro, many children have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. These children are often abused or abandoned as their families struggle to provide for their most basic needs. The youngest generations are forced to grow up too quickly. Recapture and share the joy of childhood when you work with The Child Development Project. As a role model, you’ll challenge a child’s imagination and open it to new possibilities. Your love and attention may be the only opportunity for one-on-one interaction in a child’s day, sparking newfound interest for both learning and play, and contributing to often-needed self-esteem.

Male volunteer with child in tanzania

Support for People with Disabilities

In the Kilimanjaro region, where families sometimes struggle to provide 3 meals a day, children with disabilities often don’t receive the tools and resources needed to realize their full potential. Individual attention is much needed as children with a range of physical, cognitive, and learning disabilities are placed side-by-side in the same classrooms or care centers. The Support for People with Disabilities Project works to provide a safe and nurturing space where a community of educators and nurturers join together to support children and their families, while also breaking down harmful community stereotypes.

Female volunteer with two kids in tanzania


The impacts of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania are felt across the Kilimanjaro community. Children may be orphaned or even become the primary caregiver in their home. Individuals and families struggle to find support and information to cope with the day-to-day challenges of this serious disease. When you support The HIV/AIDS Project, you’ll work with the community to promote education, awareness, and fight stigmas. Join hands in solidarity with women, children, and families in Tanzania to encourage understanding and care for those impacted by HIV/AIDS.

local woman with child tanzania

Girls' & Women’s Empowerment

When you educate a woman, you also educate a family and a community. In Tanzania, your work to empower women through education will impact academic success, school attendance rates, and strengthen economic opportunities. Whether you’re teaching English, math, and computer skills to young girls in a child care center, or working with women on small-scale agricultural microfinance activities, your work with The Girls' & Women’s Empowerment Project will strengthen the role of women in communities, while improving the self-esteem and self-reliance of individual women and girls.

Female volunteer with young girl tanzania

Global Health

Education is essential for communities, particularly when health issues such as malaria and HIV/AIDS are prominent. As part of The Global Health Project, your efforts to provide education and outreach surrounding important health topics, and support women and communities in factors that impact the social determinants of health will improve the health of entire communities. By connecting and sharing resources and information, communities are better prepared to take charge of their own healthcare needs.

Things to do

Cultural Activities

Tour Kilimanjaro

volunteers with group of kids in tanzania

Say hujambo -- hello -- to your new home on a staff-led tour of Kilimanjaro. You'll learn where to find the internet cafes and money exchanges, and how to catch the bus. You'll also pick up some useful tips on how to navigate the market crowds and haggle with local vendors. You'll kick your Tanzanian street smarts up a notch or two, and in no time, start to feel comfortable and at home.

Learn Swahili

swahili lesson in tanzania

Practice your Swahili, the official and national language of Tanzania, twice a week with a local teacher right in the comfort of your Home-Base. Start with the basics before graduating to the advanced lessons. You’ll find yourself communicating more effectively at your volunteer assignment, and haggling like an expert at the market in no time.

Cook Tanzanian Cuisine 

cooking in tanzania

Learn how to prepare traditional Tanzanian dishes during cooking classes with our amazing cook. You’ll become acquainted with common ingredients like cardamom, saffron, and coriander, as well as how each dish fits within broader cultural traditions.

Learn About Tanzanian History

maasai tribe group photo

Weekly discussions hosted by staff and guest speakers will help provide context to your experience. You'll enjoy an incredible variety of relevant topics including common greetings and local slang, everyday dress, rituals and ceremonies, “Tanzanian Flex Time,” gender issues, education, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Weekly Excursions

mt. kilimanjaro

Each week, you and your group will venture out for a staff-led adventure. You may have a chance to take a day trip to rural villages in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro and learn about traditional trades or perhaps you'll learn about the indigenous Chagga tribe when you visit a Chagga museum. No matter where you go, you'll likely have a chance to wrap up the day with a nice hike through the uniquely Tanzanian landscape.

Visit a Local Family

local family in tanzania

What better way to learn about life in Kilimanjaro than from the experts – local families. Visit the home of a local family to learn first-hand about family structures and cultural norms, including the significance of being a guest in someone’s house. Join a family for tea and take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions and share your own story, too.

Free Time

Safari in Serengeti

giraffes tanzania

If you're not yet familiar with Africa's "Big Five," study up. Soon you'll be reciting this list of the five most sought after animal encounters on command, and after a visit to Serengeti, you'll have your own stories to share. Watch as water buffalo graze along a river's edge, herds of elephants walk out of the African night and into view, leopards zip across grassy flats, rhinos wander between shady oases, and lions sun themselves on rocky outcrops.

Visit Ngorongoro Crater

ngorongoro crater

Ngorongoro Crater is not only a prime safari destination, it’s also an incredible natural and historical wonder as the site of the oldest known human fossils. Start with a day trip to Lake Manyara and rent a canoe for an afternoon paddle. Next, head to Ngorongoro Crater and camp out under the star-filled sky in the birthplace of mankind. Drift to sleep to the distant sounds of roaming lions.

Summit Mt. Kilimanjaro

summit of mt. kilimanjaro

Whether you opt for a day trip or the more rigorous week-long summit, Kilimanjaro is right in your own back yard, so take advantage! Climb to the top and count yourself among those few adventurers who have summitted Africa's highest peak. If you're interested in a day hike, the site of the Tanzanian landscape from 8858 feet will be worth it.

Lounge in Hot Springs

hot springs in tanzania

In Swahili, "Chemka" means boiling, or bubbling. Visit Chemka Hot Springs for a tranquil dip in the warm mineral spring water. Fig trees line the natural pool's perimeter and make the setting a perfect spot for a peaceful picnic or a relaxing afternoon soak.

Befriend Maasai

volunteer with maasai warrior

Spend a day among the Maasai, a people who have sustained their traditional practices and semi-nomadic lifestyle for centuries. Maasai elders guide you through their village and explain their rich culture and way of life. Sit spellbound as you watch a powerful drumming and dance performance, and don't pass up a chance to join in.

Live Like a Local

volunteer in local village in tanzania

Hit the markets to pick up some beautiful kangas -- brightly colored fabric with popular sayings or morals printed on them -- and take them to the local seamstress and you’ll be decked out in a custom-made outfit in no time! Join your new friends from Kili at a downtown café, where you can share some fresh Tanzanian coffee and socialize in Swahili, or just jam to some East African reggae.