November 12, 2006 11:59 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking very seriously about moving to Kampala, Uganda.

I'd like to get a job either with an NGO (I'd like to do work with legal aid or education, would start out probably on a volunteer basis), at a school (probably a middle- or high-school), or with a newspaper or journal of some kind. I have a degree in literature from a reputable university in the US, and some work experience, but none of this sort. So my question is a two-part deal: first, any thoughts or advice on the job element, and second, any thoughts or advice on living in that city in general?
posted by clockzero to Travel & Transportation around Kampala, Uganda (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In doing any location-specific search, you'll probably be asked "Why there?" and I suggest you have a good answer for it. Actually, it may even help others answer this question to know what your reasons are (local connections? speak the language? had a great visit there? whatever) (I say this from personal experience, and a lot of it)

Job-related... a friend of mine has worked there for the last two summers on a computer skills education program that they're working on actually building a long-term site and getting long-term funding for. If you email me a bit about what your background and interests are, I can pass it on to her to see if there's a connection to be made with her program or one of their local partners.
posted by whatzit at 12:45 PM on November 12, 2006

Best answer: I lived in Kampala from 2003-2005, so I feel like I'm pretty well qualified to answer this question! (I'm back home in Toronto now.)

The job part: Try to find an NGO that with offices in New York (your profile says that's where you are) that can place you in Kampala. That will be tough, because they will want to just send you where you're needed, rather than where you want to go, but it's worth a shot. Just apply to every posting you see for Uganda, and hopefully one will work out! (If you're under 29 it wil be easier - you'll qualify for youth internships.)

If you want to work for a local newspaper/journal you will need to be prepared for extreme poverty - local journalists are paid about 7 bucks an article, and they don't have the budget to pay foreigners more. They will be more than happy to take you on as a volunteer, I'm sure, but you'll need to completely fend for yourself upon arrival (something that doesn't happen if you have a more official type of placement), and you'll need to be entirely self-supporting, financially. Becoming a freelance 'foreign correspondent' for american/british publications will allow you to actually feed and shelter yourself, if you can be industrious and make that happen!

There are several international schools that pay teachers a pretty good wage, you'll do best by contacting them directly. You might have trouble without any teaching experience, but it's definitely worth a shot. Try contacting:

The International School of Uganda (formerly 'The Lincoln School')
Kabira International School (Owned by a man with 'ethics problems', dot your i's and cross your t's, should you sign a contract with them)
The Ambrosoli School
The Rainbow International School

Legal aid type jobs/internships/volunteering are typically taken by canadian/british/american law students on placements from their schools or law societies, so that's probably a no-go.

Your other option is to get a volunteer position in Uganda, and then, once you get there, try to get a job with a local office of an NGO or a local company. (Keep in mind that you'll get paid less than someone who was hired from abroad.) Like with anywhere, people are more likely to hire someone if they've seen your face, and the only places that hire foreigners sight unseen are international organisations that can do interviews anywhere in the world.

I loved living in Kampala - its exciting and challenging and something interesting happens every single day. Life there can sometimes be frustrating and difficult, but most of the time it's worthwhile. For some accounts of day to day life in Kampala, feel free to check out my blog (in my profile), or my awesome friend Kelly's blog, (she's still there.)

Why are you seriously considering moving to Kampala? If you're serious, then you probably have some more specific questions?

Good luck!
posted by Kololo at 6:40 PM on November 12, 2006

Oh yeah, and feel free to email me with any of those more specific questions.

Also, I am pleased to have noticed that you mispelled "kampala" (as the 'tag') in the exact same way that I always always mis-type it.
posted by Kololo at 6:48 PM on November 12, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the responses so far. I'm e-mailing the two respondants with more details.
posted by clockzero at 7:41 PM on November 12, 2006

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