Jinja, UgandaJinja, Uganda

Jinja, Uganda

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Uganda is GESI’s longest-running location. Students are situated in and around Jinja, the fifth largest town in Uganda, and are placed with organizations through the Foundation for Sustainable Development. While Uganda has made significant progress as a nation, many problems remain, such as poverty, lack of basic human rights, and health epidemics. As such, Jinja provides work opportunities for students with diverse interests and skills.


Foundation for Sustainable Development

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The city of Jinja is located in southern Uganda, right at the mouth of the Nile. Historically a fishing town, Jinja is a mix of an urban and rural environment. The soil is very fertile, and much of the food sold in markets is produced nearby. Students fall in love with Uganda for its hospitable communities, readily available fruit and coffee, and beautiful waterfalls and landscapes.


Many GESI students work with financial institutions called Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) set up by the community to solve a common problem. Other GESI students have worked with jajas, grandmothers raising their grandchildren who are orphaned as a result of AIDS. More than 80% of all jobs in Uganda revolve around agriculture, and students might be directly or indirectly working in this sector. Learn more about past student work.


Host families in Jinja often have three to five children, as there is a cultural preference for large families. In Uganda, you might spend a lot of time listening to the radio with your family, watching and cheering on soccer matches, and having conversations. Extended greetings are really important in Ugandan culture, so you might get used to being stopped for conversation quite often! Many homes have gardens, chickens, fruit trees, or animal sheds.

Fast Facts

  • Work areas: microfinance, income generation, agriculture, health, nutrition, women’s empowerment, and youth & education.
  • Length of partnership: GESI location since 2007
  • Official language: English is the official language, and Luganda and Ganda are also widely spoken. Students learn Luganda at pre-departure.
  • Popular excursions: Itanda Falls, the Source of the Nile Gardens and Speke Monument, and Sipi Falls.
  • Climate: From June to August, the average is high 85℉ and average low 65℉.
  • Major religion:Protestant 45.1%, Roman Catholic 39.3%, Muslim 13.7%, other 1.6%, none 0.2% (2014 est.)