The Experience

The Experience

CGD offers volunteers a unique opportunity to engage with the Tanzanian healthcare system through rotations at various clinics and hospitals, while also learning about local culture through direct interaction with community members. Throughout their stay, volunteers visit multiple healthcare facilities, ranging from the lowest level of care in a local dispensary to a large regional referral hospital. Additionally, volunteers will gain a greater understanding of social determinants of health by visiting a Maasai women’s group, which aims to empower its members to combat challenges in the community, and a local orphanage, which strives to provide food, shelter, and education to children in need. Volunteers also aid CGD in developing materials for their future resource center, such as educational flyers and newsletters. Finally, volunteers enjoy weekends off to explore all that Tanzania has to offer, including safaris, hiking, and trips to the historical island of Zanzibar. Below you will find a sample monthly schedule. We hope to see you in the near future!

Sample Schedule

Week 1: Volunteers spend the week at a community health center, which offers a variety of services including primary care, maternal care, inpatient wards, and minor surgeries. Volunteers rotate through multiple aspects of the clinic, such as shadowing physicians, helping to fill prescriptions in the pharmacy, learning about diagnostic techniques in the laboratory, and observing prenatal care in the maternity ward.

Week 2: The first part of the week may be spent at a government-sponsored dispensary, which serves a more rural population. This site allows volunteers to experience other aspects of care, including a multitude of family planning services, maternal care, and post-natal and pediatric care, such as vaccinations. The later part of the week may be spent at an orphanage that provides services to over 70 children. Volunteers meet the directors and learn more about their goals and challenges, tour the facilities, and play with children.

Week 3: Volunteers experience a hospital setting at Mt. Meru Hospital, where they can choose to shadow in different wards, including surgery, pediatrics, labor and delivery, and gynecology, amongst others. Volunteers can attend morning rounds and observe procedures, during which they will see many unique cases and encounter patients with rare conditions.

Week 4: Volunteers will visit a local Maasai village, where they will meet a women’s group that supports one another in bettering the community. Activities of the women’s group include initiating a clean water project, caring for vulnerable children, and selling handmade crafts in entrepreneurship efforts.

Weekends: Students can organize weekend excursions. Past volunteers have visited nearby hot springs, taken a local coffee tour, hiked through remote villages, gone on safaris, and visited the beaches and historical cities of Zanzibar. Volunteers have even arrived earlier or extended their stay later to climb the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, Mt. Kilimanjaro. See photos and more on ‘About Arusha, TZ’ page.

Photos are courtesy of CGD students