Volunteer Experience & Eligibility
As a volunteer, your primary responsibility will be to run an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in your assigned partner community. During orientation, you will be divided into teams of 3 or 4 volunteers with 2 Tanzanian counterparts. With your team, you will be responsible for teaching HIV/AIDS educational seminars and training peer educators and community leaders within your village. Each team will work with several school and village groups.
We provide a teaching framework, but deciding which parts of the curriculum are most important for different groups, and for planning the details of your lessons are up to your team. Program staff will set-up your teaching sites for you in advance, but you will be responsible for scheduling educational seminars, peer education trainings, and HIV testing days within your communities. Depending on your teaching schedule and the needs of your village, you may also choose to be involved with extra projects. SIC staff will be available to provide advice and support as needed.
After the second week of orientation you will move into a homestay with a host Tanzanian family. We select our homestays carefully, and the families are very excited to have a volunteer stay with them. Families can accommodate most dietary preferences, including vegetarianism. Most volunteers will share a homestay with another American or Tanzanian volunteer, and all volunteers will have a private room to sleep in and keep their belongings. Most volunteers cite their homestay experience as one of the highlights of their time spent in Tanzania. Your host family will provide an insight into Tanzanian culture and village life, and your relationship with them may last for many years.
As well as their pre-arranged teaching assignments, we encourage volunteers to take on extra projects related to our work. SIC staff can provide help and support, as well as limited funds, but the initiative and organization comes from the volunteers. Examples of projects undertaken in previous years include condom distribution in our partner communities, small start-up business projects with HIV support groups, school and roadside health announcement murals and prevention education through soccer teams and tournaments (just to name a few). Many others are possible and we encourage volunteers to be creative in addressing the problem of HIV in Tanzania.
In addition to preventing new HIV infections, SIC tries to improve the quality of life for people already infected with the virus, especially those in the later stages of the disease. Many AIDS patients are stigmatized by their communities and abandoned by friends and family. Along with another volunteer and a Tanzanian counterpart, you will have the opportunity to visit an AIDS patient in their home. SIC will provide basic food and supplies, but the support you provide by visiting can be just as valuable. There also may be opportunities to schedule teachings at local orphanages both in Arusha and Babati districts. Many of the children in the orphanages have lost their parents to AIDS.
Many volunteers combine their work in Arusha with visits to some of East Africa’s many attractions. These include the game reserves of Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, the snowy peak of Kilimanjaro and the palm-fringed beaches of Zanzibar Island. It is also possible to travel to Uganda to raft the White Nile or track gorillas. SIC does not officially organize these activities, but we will facilitate volunteers traveling together before and after the program. Each program also includes at least one long-weekend off for travel. Staff members have traveled extensively in East Africa and can help you make plans.
Health and Safety
We understand that many people are worried about the dangers and health risks associated with a trip to Africa. In addressing this it should first be emphasized that not all African countries are the same. Tanzania has one of the most stable governments on the continent, and has been peaceful for many years. Tens of thousands of tourists visit Arusha every year. Daily, non-stop flights to Europe with connections to North America depart less than an hour from Arusha, so emergency travel can be easily arranged if necessary. Staying in touch with friends and family is easy via Internet and telephone facilities. With appropriate behavior volunteers can live safely and remain healthy.
SIC takes the following safety precautions:
- Volunteers will be required to register their presence in Tanzania with the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam. This means that the Embassy will provide instructions directly to volunteers in case of a major international event.
- Transport to and from the airport will be arranged and paid for in advance for all volunteers flying into the Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro International, or Nairobi airports.
- Volunteers will have the use of an SIC cell-phone for the duration of the program. It is possible to call direct to and from the US using these phones. Volunteers can also use their phones to communicate with each other, and with program staff.
- Health and safety procedures will be discussed in detail during orientation.
- A staff member will be “on-call” at all times during the program.
- Volunteers will be required to take malaria prophylactic medications for the duration of their stay in Tanzania.
- Volunteers will be required to obtain the following pre-trip immunizations: Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Polio.
- Volunteers will be given detailed instructions to follow in case of a health emergency.
All of our coordinators are former volunteers – ask them for a personal perspective on health and safety in Arusha.
- Applicants must be a registered student of recent alumnus/alumna (Class of 2005 or later) of Arizona State University, Cornell University, Claremont Colleges, Emory University, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Arizona, University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, University of Southampton, University of Southern California or University of Washington. Applicants outside of these universities will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Current Atlanta Teach for America corps members are also eligible.
- Applicants must be at least 18 years of age on their program start-date.
- Applicants must be capable of walking 4 miles each day unassisted.
- Successful applicants must plan their travel so that they are in Arusha for the entire duration of the program. Failure to do so may result in loss of place in the program.
- Successful applicants must attend pre-field meetings at their University. Failure to do so may result in loss of place in the program. Exceptions may be granted for applicants who will be away from the home campus during Spring Semester/Quarter.
- Applicants who have completed at least one semester/quarter of college level Swahili will be at an advantage.
- Applicants with previous HIV prevention teaching experience will be at an advantage.
- Students will be selected based on their application and interview. Previously demonstrated interest in international health, volunteer work, leadership and ability to work well with a team under challenging conditions will all put applicants at an advantage.
- No student will be discriminated against on the basis of sex, religion, race, sexual orientation, national origin or economic background.
- All selections decisions will be made by the selections committee, whose decision is final and not open to appeal.
- A wait-list will be created and used in case of volunteers dropping out between selection and departure for Tanzania.
- A $500 non-refundable deposit will be due within two weeks of acceptance. The balance of the program fee will be due on the date specified on the program summary page. Failure to meet these deadlines may result in loss of place in the program. All payments are non-refundable.
- Accepted applicants will be required to sign a liability release form. Failure to do so will result in loss of place in the program.