We are Community Transformation Foundation Network, in short COTFONE. We are striving to transform the lives of the vulnerable on a daily basis.
To succeed with this ambitious goal, we founded several initiatives such as a primary school, an early childhood development centre, a library, a children home, micro-finance groups, a social centre and community gardens. With several partner organizations in the area, we also cover the areas of youth development, women empowerment and agricultural learning and food security.
The organization started in 2003 and from the beginning, it focused on helping orphans, abandoned, disabled, HIV positive and vulnerable children and youth. As children are the basis of the community and, according to our belief, have the right to education, we started with providing free education to 80 children in the primary school and the early childhood development centre for the ones which couldn't and cannot afford to pay school fees. We quickly realized that only education is not sufficient to pave a way for children out of poverty. To provide shelter and protection as well as to increase accessibility to school, we founded the children home. So far, more than 50 orphans and abandoned children have been cared for and were reintegrated into families. At the moment we provide shelter to ten orphans who visit our primary school.
As important as helping the children directly, we believe that their families need to be empowered as well. This is why we set up micro-finance groups to introduce people to the concept of saving and give them access to loans. We created 43 community and school gardens in the area so far to promote farming skills among all ages. We support our partner TWOSI (The Women Support Initiative) in empowering women in the communities, educating them about their rights and providing a point of contact they can reach out to as they are often victims of domestic violence and fully dependent on their husbands. The library was founded with the objective to provide long term learning opportunities even after school, to address illiteracy among the community members and to provide IT training and internet access. Our social centre accommodates teachers and volunteers, cares for their well-being and also welcomes visitors.
Besides all that, we currently engage in sensitizing and support citizens in rural areas, who are affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project, to know about their rights in the entire process. We regularly organize HIV education and testing events for the community and are currently conducting research on factors obstructing adherence to HIV treatment as preparation for future projects in that area. Overall, we are constantly conducting and looking for new projects to develop the community, their capacities, livelihood, health and education to help them to escape the vicious circle of poverty.
We want you to feel like home and show you the real rural Ugandan life. Since we exist, we hosted more than 100 volunteers from many countries and continents! How much you involve yourself and work will depend on you and we are very flexible to adapt to your needs. Besides work you will have chance to meet citizens, talk, laugh, play with children and discover Uganda (see below). We consider it important for your experience to meet local communities, discover how they live and how we can help them (this is the reason why we are going for home visiting).
We are still growing and every year we start new projects and enter cooperation with new partners. Volunteering here is not like any other structured programme – we are very flexible and it is up to you in which activities you involve yourself. If you want to volunteer with us or have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Come and visit us!
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Helping with Tourists
Help with Computers / internet
- Our staff can teach you the local language – Luganda - it will be usefull for you to know as it will be help in local communities and not everybody from the village knows English. Just request it and find some time. They will highly appreciate your interest.
- You will have the opportunity to try local cuisine – if you are interested in food and you would like to know new ingredients and tastes we have some really good cooks of local cuisine on site! If you want you can join our kitchen staff and help them cooking with firewood.
- You can experience real Ugandan life: you will live near or with locals and you will have the same challenges they face.
- You can learn how to make local handcraft – for instance ropes, baskets from bananas fibres and beehives.
- You can learn how to make a sandal from used cartyres – we started a recycling project and now our staff can teach you if you are interested!
As we have several initiatives on site and around Kiwangala, you have a broad variety of tasks you can engage in depending on your interests:
If you want to focus on children, spend your time in the Primary School, Early Childhood Development Centre and/or Children Home, e.g. engaging in the proposed activities below:
- Teach children
- Engage in vocational training including handcrafts (sandal making, rope making, etc), sports, music, dance and drama, debating and gardening
- Work on the structures and services of the school
- Teach teachers how lesson planning and structures can be improve
- Drive our sponsorship scheme for the children forward
- Organise activities with the children from school and the children home
- Improve sanitation, the learning atmosphere and the compound
- Develop a sustainable nutrition plan
- Visit children at home
- Refurbish the Early Childhood Development Centre
If you have an interest in helping us to drive our library/ IT learning center forward, you can do the following.
- Develop and implement marketing ideas for the different target groups (children & parents, community members, donors) to promote the library
- Develop IT trainings
- Train our librarian
- Set up a library organisation system
- Identify and conduct income generating activities for the library
- Renovate the library
- Develop adult education (to increase literacy and knowledge in various areas)
If you are interested or have skills in the hospitality business, you can support our Social Centre:
- Learn and help to cook local food
- Develop the premises, e.g. by building a living room
- Improve the service delivery for the initiatives
If you want to engage in gardening and agriculture you can support our partner SULIFO (Sustainable Living Foundation):
- Gardening & harvesting
- Knowledge transfer
- Organize community learning events
If you want to support the empowerment of women with our partner, the following activities are waiting for you:
- Visit and guide local women groups in different communities
- Support vulnerable women in difficult family situations
- Identify grants and write proposals to enable further projects
We always look for people who can transfer their knowledge to our staff. You can work with us and optimize processes as well as build the capacity of our staff in the following areas:
- Finance (Budgeting, Accounting & Controlling)
- Marketing (Social Media, website, traditional)
- Monitoring & Evaluation
- Organisational/Partnership Development
Our big focus is on social work in the surrounding communities. You are more than welcome to participate in these activities and support our social worker with:
- Home visits
- Visiting community gardens
- Supervise micro-finance meetings
- Conduct HIV education and testing events
- Hold civic rights trainings in different areas (politics, property, law, etc)
Of course you can engage in multiple of the above opportunities, even in different initiatives and fields. It all depends on your interest and time. You can even come up with your own activities and ideas. Let us know what you want to do and we can discuss how they fit in.
Please be aware that you cannot expect funding for your activities from us or our initiatives. It might be possible that we have a project going on in the field you want to engage but please consult us in advance. In the past we also had volunteers who did their private fundraising to realise their projects. But there is also plenty of work which does not require any money! So you can decide what suits you best and any new ideas are more than welcome. Just let us know :)
You have the choice of different accommodations depending in which activities you engage in. But no worries, no matter where you stay, you will receive three meals a day and your room will be equipped with beds, mattresses, blankets, bed sheets, pillows and mosquito nets.
- Kiwangala accommodation – You can experience Ugandan village life here. You find a lot of nice road to walk and have banana and coffee plantations as well as some animals around you. Your place will be near the office and the community schools so this is very convenient in case you decide to volunteer with us, the two community schools, the library, the children home or the social centre. The social center will accommodate you with basic accommodation, which includes either a single or shared room (one for male and one for female), electricity, pit latrines and simple showers. We have a tap right in front of the social centre where you can fetch your water and your place is just five minutes walk from the heart of the village where you can find veggies, fruits (especially really yummy apple bananas from local farmers) and other basic needs. And most especially Rolex, which is our local wrap-like fast food, consisting of a local pancake, an omelette, tomato and cabbage.
- Garden accommodation - About one kilometer away from Kiwangala, one of our partner organizations has a community garden between mango and coffee trees. If you decide to engage in actual gardening and want to help the community to learn agricultural techniques they can employ in their own gardens, you will be accommodated here. Your room on site as well as the toilets and showers have been newly renovated so all your basic needs are covered. You will be able to experience pure nature and it is only a short walk to Kiwangala.
- Masaka accommodation – We are thinking also about people who prefer to stay in the town or want to work with our partner to empower their adolescent girls and give them tools to become independent and self-reliant. They offer them vocational training, a safe space to socialize and share their feelings and problems. We are also starting to get in touch with different organizations which can be very useful and provide psychosocial support (such as domestic violence and shelter, free HIV testing, reproductive health, etc.). You will stay near our Masaka partner office with one of their employees in a family setting. The house is big and you have enough space for yourself. You will share a room with other volunteers (the same sex) and you are free to use the living room with a TV or spend some nice time in the yard to relax.
We would like to ask about 5 $ per day to cater for your accommodation and 3 meals a day. Our organisation doesn’t have money to pay for it. We hope that you can afford it and volunteer with us!
In your free time you can:
- Experience the Ugandan rural life style and try local dishes (our volunteers love matooke with groundnuts!)
- For weekends you can make small trips and visit different places in Uganda. We have a 4WD car for hire in case you
want to visit one or more of the ten game parks or explore Uganda in a comfortable way. Collective taxis and buses
are also available for little money connecting you to all cities in Uganda.
- Uganda offers an incredible nature which you can enjoy. Besides game parks, this includes lakes (Lake Victoria, Lake
Nabugabo, Lake Bunyoni) mountains (Rwenzori mountains, Mount Elgon, Mount Sabyinyo) and rural Uganda in all
its simplicity and beauty, all of which you can visit during your free time..
- You can walk around and see plantations of coffee and exotic fruits! Did you know that in Uganda we grow 54 types of bananas? In our region the most popular are applebananas (small, sweet ones) and matooke (green bananas, we are eating cooked).
- Every Saturday you can visit the local market in Kiwangala – you can find more vegetables and fruits there as well as clothes, shoes and much more. It’s just 10 minutes walk from your accommodation!
- During your holidays or after your staying with us you can visit different parts of Uganda and East Africa – ask us and we can help you with some recommendations!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
In developing countries (Where most hosts are involved in charity work or community development) some of our hosts may ask for a small donation to help the host family or charity (often less then 5 dollars per day) Workaway will allow this listing when the donation goes directly to the family or charity and is just to cover the cost of the volunteer‘s stay. (This will be clearly marked on the host listing).
We will strictly not allow listings posted by agents, “middle men” or projects who we feel are looking to profit from a volunteers stay.