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Be part of an exceptional volunteer project in Tanzania that has grown from supporting street kids and coaching sport at a centre in Mwanza to a much broader sports initiative, involving the wider community.
With the help and support of volunteers this programme is able to bring sports and games to vulnerable children, or from disadvantaged backgrounds. Due to its popularity in Tanzania and across Africa football is currently the main sport that is being coached to both boys and girls. However, other sports are encouraged and we hope to develop these over time with the involvement of future volunteers.
A long-term aim of the project is to identify and nurture young talent and provide these children an opportunity to develop their skills and possibly be selected for scholarships to train or play at a professional level. However, it is the more short-term benefits for all of the children who are actively involved in sport that are the main motivation for the programme. The project was initially focussed on providing support, care, basic education and sports coaching to boys at a street kids’ centre in Mwanza. Mwanza has a large number of children who are orphaned, or have run away from home and are living on the street. The street children’s centre offers a refuge for them and the volunteers help with the provision of the activities there.
However, this project has evolved into a broader outreach initiative that benefits children from across the community, including street kids, vulnerable children and children from local schools. Sport gets these children involved in activities that are more positive than those they may otherwise become caught up in, due to boredom, such as drugs, alcohol, underage sex and crime. The importance of hard work to achieve goals and team spirit are values that the children learn, enabling them to become better players and members of the community.
There are obvious health implications as well in terms of fitness and exercise. Team sports also offer a good forum for education and awareness about important issues, such as diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
You will be actively involved in coaching football to street children, vulnerable children and in local schools. You will also teach other subjects, sports and provide additional activities for the boys at the Street Children’s Centre. You will be working alongside locally trained coaches during most of the organised football sessions, who will be able to offer advice and help with translating if necessary. There are some training plans and ideas available at the project, but it is great if you also come with some of your own ideas for drills and to practice skills.
In addition to coaching, you will help to plan and organise tournaments and identify children who are particularly talented. The most talented players will be invited to join the academy that has now been established to further develop their skills. If you are an experienced coach you may also be involved with this training.
If you have a particular interest, skill, or experience in coaching another sport please let us know. It would be great to encourage and develop additional sports that are less common in Tanzania and we can plan a programme for you accordingly.
A large part of the project is still very much focussed on support for the boys at the street children’s centre. You will help out with activities and duties at the centre, including teaching, assisting with homework, playing games and providing care for the kids. As a volunteer you are expected to be quite flexible. For example, one day you may be helping to teach English, whereas the next there may be some building or painting work at a school that you will be asked to help with. Whilst we ask you to be adaptable, you will not be expected to do anything that you are not comfortable with. If you do have any concerns please discuss these politely with the project managers who will be happy to help and offer advice.
There is not really such a thing as a ‘typical day’ as a volunteer at the Tanzania Street Kids Sports Project. However, the following will give you a rough idea of the daily routine. Your day will get off to quite a relaxed start, as you will generally leave the house to arrive at the centre, schools, or sports club by 10.00. In the morning, until about 12.00, you will commonly be playing sport and games with street children who are not currently attending school. Afternoon sessions commence at 15.00, so you will have a long lunch during the hottest part of the day. You may either return to the volunteer house, or go into town to get something to eat. You may also use the available time to plan and prepare your afternoon training session, which will involve both school and street children. The afternoons are also when you will assist with much of the teaching that is done at the centre. This does offer some flexibility in your programme in the afternoons, depending upon your personal interest and experience. At about 18.00 you will return to the house to evaluate the day and plan the following day’s schedule and activities.
Your own initiative, motivational skills, patience, flexibility and a good sense of humour are all valuable traits to have as a volunteer in Tanzania. If you don’t have them already you probably will do by the end of your volunteer programme. If you come with an open mind it will not take you to settle in and you will enjoy the experience and find it very rewarding.
If you would like to bring any sports equipment or educational materials with you these will be very much appreciated. Please let us know if you do wish to and we will let you know what will be of most use at the project at the time. Please speak to the project managers on arrival about anything you have taken out as a donation, so that they can ensure that it is given in an appropriate manner.
You will receive a comprehensive orientation with one of the project managers on arrival. This will cover the following areas:
You will stay at a shared volunteer house close to the playing fields where the sports academy is based and only a short distance from the Street Children’s Centre. The house and garden are gated for security.
The bedrooms are shared and quite basic, but comfortable, with mosquito nets, clean bedding and pillows provided. There is a spacious communal lounge area, which has a TV and DVD player, where volunteers may socialise during the evenings. There are three bathrooms; two of which have western-style flushing toilets and the third has a squat (long-drop) toilet. The showers are cold water, but given the hot climate this is usually very welcome, especially at the end of an active day!
Two of the project co-ordinators also live at the house and there is a house keeper who keeps the place clean. However, volunteers are expected to do their bit to keep things tidy and clean up after themselves.
A simple self-service breakfast and healthy dinner are provided and prepared by the house keeper. Lunch is not included, as generally volunteers choose to eat at one of the inexpensive restaurants in town. Occasionally at weekends volunteers will need to prepare their own meals to allow the staff some time off, but ingredients will be provided. Most dietary requirements can be accommodated. However, please be aware that ingredients and supplies can be limited, seasonal or particularly expensive, so there may not always be a wide variety of food available.
Distances between the volunteer house and project sites are quite small. Volunteers will either walk or take local minibuses (‘Dala Dalas’) for most trips around town during the daytime. When volunteers are travelling back from the centre to the volunteer house after nightfall the project will pay for a taxi with a trusted local driver for safety. If you go out in the evening he will also provide you with his contact number to arrange a pick up. We advise volunteers against travelling around the town alone or by public transport after dark.
There are a couple of nice places in Mwanza at the edge of Lake Victoria that you can relax at during the weekend and a good local hotel that allows volunteers to use the pool for a small fee. Mwanza is also well located for safaris to the Serengeti National Park or Rhubondo Island. The project managers will be happy to help organise excursions if you are interested during your stay.
You should arrange your return flights to Mwanza Airport (please do not do so before we have confirmed your booking). A project staff member will meet you at the airport and will transfer you to the volunteer house, which is approximately 30 minutes drive from the airport. You will be transferred back to the airport at the end of your volunteer programme.
Please arrange your flights for the dates specified in your booking confirmation.
Whilst you are at the Street Kids Sports Project in Tanzania the project managers will be available to provide assistance and support 24/7.
Should anything arise that they are unable to resolve then you can contact our UK office by email, or telephone. You will also be provided with an emergency contact number in the UK before you depart, which should be used for genuine emergencies only and out of normal office hours.
You will be quite active on this sports volunteer project, so we recommend that you are reasonably fit and healthy to participate.
Please remember to be respectful and considerate if you wish to suggest any improvements, or new ideas that you feel would benefit the project. Local project staff may have different cultural expectations and values to you and yours are not necessarily right. Things may run to Africa time, which can be decidedly laid back, but learn to relax a little and you may find you enjoy the difference in pace. The project managers have significant experience at managing local project relationships, so ask for their advice if you are unsure about something and please listen to it.
Minimum age is 18. There is no maximum age, as long as you are fit and healthy enough to participate in project activities.
Below are some of the feedback comments submitted by volunteers on the Tanzania Street Kids Sports Volunteer Project.
“Getting to know the children at the centre was amazing and made me look forward to getting up and going to see them. They were so cheerful to see you. We took the boys to Tunsa one afternoon which was great fun, a lovely goodbye as it was on the last day.”
“Originally, I was meant to be at the Centre for just 1 month, but about 2 weeks into my trip I quickly decided to stay for 2 months! Even after 2 months I was ready for another! Being able to teach the boys and watch them grow is one of the most rewarding things ever. In the early evenings and weekends, we have so much fun just playing football, playing games, and even watching movies with them is too great! I know for a fact that I will definitely be returning. Its an experience that I think everyone should have, and one that I was very grateful to have had! So start packing your bags, your in for an adventure of a lifetime!”
“I came to the project last year for just a month but I found the experience completely amazing, what affected me most was the good friendships I made with the other volunteers and staff, the Tanzanian way of life and most of all my relationship with the boys who live at the centre. Because of this I was desperate to return and did so this year for 5 months and found it both challenging and rewarding. I am truly a different person than the girl who stepped off the plane and have learned a lot of life skills. Other volunteers who have travelled across the world to many places have told me that they never found anywhere like this, and for me it genuinely is the best experience of my life.”
The Tanzania Street Kids Sports Volunteer Project has a start date on the first and third Monday of each month.
You should arrange your flights to arrive into and depart from Mwanza Airport for the dates specified in your booking confirmation.
See the Price Guide at the top right of this page.