Sustainable Development Internship at a Nonprofit in Uganda

Create sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions to issues these communities deal with

Gain valuable work experience in environmental management and sustainable development while being part of an inspiring nonprofit initiative on Bugaba Island, a stunning little island on Uganda’s Lake Victoria. Addressing a range of issues on a group of small islands, this organization runs dynamic projects with a multi-faceted approach; they manage education and medical programs, encourage vocational diversity through skill-development workshops, build a sustainable environmental infrastructure, and run female empowerment initiatives. As an intern, you’ll assist with a range of programs that create sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions to issues the villages deal with, such as managing and developing a permaculture farm on the island, helping with the design and construction of water filtration systems, and create alternative energy solutions. Your tasks will be customized to your skills and desired learning outcomes. You’ll also have the opportunity to experience and contribute to other projects that are happening, which will give you a thorough understanding of the day to day running of a grass-roots charity. On top of this, you’ll be living in an idyllic permanent camp on the island; a unique experience!

“All you need to know is that once you decide to leave for Uganda and take the leap of faith, you will find welcoming people, loving children, also weird animals and wild nature, but it will surely be the experience of your life!”  – Simona, Italy

Sustainable development Internship Uganda  Volunteer work Uganda


Quick Facts

  • Destination Bugaba Island, Uganda
  • Type of Organization Nonprofit
  • Work Focus Community Development, Sustainable Engineering, Organic Farming
  • Length of Internship 3-6 months
  • Accommodation Tented Camp
  • Fee As from EUR 2,325

You’ll be part of an NGO that is working with small villages on Uganda’s Ssese Islands to find long-term solutions for both environmental and social issues. The Ssese Island region is an archipelago situated in Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. It is formed of 84 islands, 48 of which are inhabited. The organization is situated on Bugaba Island, a small haven approximately one square kilometer in size, teeming with wildlife. Banda offers the ideal environment to develop development projects, and to host international interns in an idyllic permanent camp.

The villages on the islands face a number of social challenges; there are roughly 100 villages with a total population of over 100,000 people, which is served by only 1 secondary school and 6 primary schools, nowhere near enough to serve all the children. The region also holds some of the highest rates of HIV and primary school to secondary school dropouts in the world, 80%, and 75% respectively. To start addressing these issues, the nonprofit opened a primary school that with both local teachers and international volunteers, which provides a diverse learning environment for a large number of children on Banda. Moreover, they are working to make healthcare and sanitation accessible all the island communities through purification and composting methods, the introduction of sewage systems, and through floating medical services.

On top of addressing social issues, the organization works to promote a lifestyle that is environmentally sustainable and welcomes innovation. Their current and future projects include creating composting toilets, installing micro solar power stations, and setting up permaculture farming programs.

community development Uganda Volunteer work Uganda Banda

Your tasks during the Sustainable Development Internship

You’ll be part of a small organisation and while your main focus will be on sustainable development, you’ll have the opportunity to be involved in a range of areas, including some practical assistance on different on the ground programs. Your tasks are likely to include the following:

  • Manage and maintain a small-scale permaculture farm
  • Work alongside local women and train them in permaculture
  • Assist in creating an income-generating micro business out of the farm, which will directly benefit the women who are running it
  • Assist with designing and/or constructing environmentally friendly infrastructure systems, such as water filtration systems and sewage systems
  • Assist with developing alternative energy solutions

This organization also offers internships in fundraising, teaching, digital media and communications, and it’s possible to do an internship with a combination of focus areas.

NB. Please note that the internship is based on a volunteer work placement, so you are not receiving any payment or stipend.

You’ll stay at the camp where the organization is based; a small permanent camp with safari tents, a bathroom, a kitchen and a dining area. The camp has running purified water, hot showers and solar energy to supply the whole site with electricity. You’ll be at 5 minutes walk from the main village, and right next to the lake, which means swimming is easy and safe. It’s a basic but comfortable camp, with a pretty incredible setting.

Internship Uganda accommodation  Internship Uganda accommodation


  • Good English speaking and writing skills
  • An interest in environmental management and innovation
  • An interest in development work
  • Some experience in permaculture, organic farming, or horticulture would be great
  • Experience in (environmental) engineering would be great
  • Carpentry/building skills are highly appreciated
  • A flexible attitude and willingness to adapt to village life on a small island
  • Please note that you’ll need to have your own laptop

The Application Process
If you’re keen on this work placement and feel that you could make a good contribution to this organization, we’d love to hear from you! Here’s what to do:

  1. Fill in the   (it will show in a slider pop-up!) and send us your CV.
  2. If we might have a placement available for you, we’ll chat with you on the phone or Skype to go through your application and make sure it’s a good match.
  3. We’ll set up a call between you and the person who would be your supervisor during the work placement.
  4. If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, get started with a detailed booking form, and we’ll give you all the information you need to prepare for your upcoming adventure.
  5. Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.

Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just shoot us an email, or fill in the contact form. We’ll be happy to assist!

When can you start making an impact?
There are internship opportunities throughout the year, and the start dates are flexible.

At Roots, we do everything we can to make your internship experience smooth and hassle-free. We offer an all-inclusive service, which means we will help you find the right internship (we believe we are great matchmakers!), help you with visa arrangements, book accommodation for you, give you all the pre-departure information you need before arriving, pick you up from the airport and check in with you while on your work placement to ensure you feel supported.

8 weeks – EUR 2,325
12 weeks – EUR 2,745
16 weeks – EUR 3,165
20 weeks – EUR 3,585

What is included in the fee?

  • Assistance with your visa arrangement & other preparations
  • Accommodation in safari tent in permanent camp
  • All meals
  • Airport transfers (by car and boat)
  • An orientation program
  • A weekend safari in one of the nearby national parks
  • A weekend trip to Kampala
  • Leisure activities such as water skiing and motor-boating

We'd love to hear from you! Leave a message, and we'll get back to you shortly to help find you a valuable work placement where you can make an impact.

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