Uganda

Last updated July 9, 2021

Today’s Status, Looking Towards Fall 2021 — Blue

Travel to Uganda is open, and all school grade levels started classes only to have the government order another complete closure on June 7 for 42 days. It is still hoped that all grade levels will be attending classes by the beginning of August. The government will assess the situation and will be making an announcement by the end of July. 

Check below to get more details on some key aspects that we’re watching. Each of these components help us determine when we’ll be able to send volunteers to Uganda again (it’s stuff you’re going to want to know). Also, this info changes often. Our goal is to keep things current with weekly updates, so check back frequently.

Getting There

Entry is allowed for most travelers who either take a test upon arrival (and wait for their negative test results), or have proof of full vaccination (where you can skip the test upon arrival).

Airports re-opened in October, and visas are being processed again.

Flights to Uganda began happening in the Winter of 2021.

Daily Life

Uganda has seen its fair share of outbreaks before Covid-19: Ebola, Measles, Yellow Fever, and the Marburg Virus, just to name a few. Experts are saying their past experience is part of the reason they were so prepared and have seen success minimizing a COVID-19 outbreak. The country has kept casualties low and saw its first deaths months after other countries. 

Currently (as of July 9th), Uganda has an average of 54.4 active cases per 100,000 people. 

Testing equipment and capabilities are available in Uganda, unlike some other African countries. In February, the President announced that vaccinations had begun for teachers and the elderly.

President Museveni issued a statement that made it apparent that schools for students at all levels (not just older students) will open for in-person classes in early August. This was the primary obstacle for re-opening the program, so this bodes well for a Fall semester in Uganda.  

It looks like teachers will need to be vaccinated, so we’ll keep you updated if that becomes a mandatory requirement for ILP volunteers as well.

Most businesses are open and some public transport options are, too. There is currently a pause on some things until July (things like weekly non-food markets, some public/and cultural gatherings, communal prayers in churches, etc).

We’re seeing a mixed bag of things currently open, but are happy to see some of our favorite things to do in Uganda are available or are projected to be available soon.

Out & About

Right now, measures like wearing a mask when out in public is required, as is social distancing. Public transportation is generally up and running, just at half-capacity. There are some tighter restrictions that are a part of the 42 day lockdown which include a curfew at 7:00 PM, and venues like churches, shopping centers, and sporting centers are closed.

Previous to the lockdown, tourist sites all over the country were open, which means when things open up, you’re fine to white-water raft the Nile river, abseil down Sipi Falls, spot elephants, giraffes, lions, and more on safari, and do a few other favorite in-country adventures.

Additionally, our Local Coordinator anticipates our service projects surrounding springs for clean water are planning to be available for volunteers (pending any major, unexpected changes).

In past semesters, volunteers spent most of their vacation time in Uganda, and maybe one or two vacations exploring Tanzania or nearby Kenya. We’ll have to wait and see what the entry/exit policies are for surrounding countries and how that works with Uganda’s re-entry requirements. Things may change but for the time being, there’s lots and lots to see and experience in Uganda on vacation time.

Okay, now what?  Should I still apply for Uganda?

If you’re thinking “that’s all really good to know, but what does that mean for me?” we have some good news to share: time is still totally on your side.

We’ve seen policies change without notice that have made the difference between us thinking we’ll need to wait longer and helping us determine that a semester in that location is something we’re pretty optimistic about. Sometimes that has happened in the span of just a couple of weeks or even in a single day. We’re thinking a lot can change for the Fall 2021 semester.

So we say start your application now so that you’re ready when the time comes. We are going to need volunteers who are ready to go right when things change for the better, which is why we think it’s a good idea to have your application in (even if things potentially look uncertain right now). Time really is on your side.

We’re also here for all of your questions. We’d love to talk about deferring to a later semester if things still need more time or finding a country right now that’ll be a good fit for you. You can bet that once things open up, you’ll be the first to know!