P.O Box 1464, Mwanza, Tanzania
(+255) 783 090 370 info@tanzaniarurahealth.info

International Students Elective Program

International Students Elective Program

Tanzania Rural Health Movement has great opportunities for international students to gain new skills and knowledge within Africa settings. Our lifesaving programs have attracted international attention through CNN’s Vital Signs with Dr.Sanjay Gupta, BBC News and DW Radio with Ross Velton together with The MainPost by Ramona Seitz. Our organization can provide practical experiences in community healthcare programs and clinical experiences through Bugando Medical Centre

Before you join us for the best elective ever in Mwanza. You can read briefly about Mwanza and the nearby areas for you to plan a great learning adventure in Tanzania.


Tanzania’s second largest city and the lake region’s economic heart, Mwanza is set on Lake Victoria’s shore, surrounded by hills strewn with enormous boulders. It is notable for its strong Indian influences as well as for being major industrial centre and a busy port. Yet, despite its rapidly rising skyline, Mwanza manages to retain a casual feel. Source: lonelyplanet.com

For visitors, the city makes a good base from which to explore the nearby Rubondo Island National Park and the western parts of the Serengeti. Rubondo Island National Park offers pleasant day-hikes and bird watching around the lake shore.

Mwanza’s proximity to the western Serengeti makes it a necessary stop for visitors who want to experience a less bust part of the park and see the magic of the Serengeti without the parade of safari vehicles and seasonal crowds.

Mwanza is also the centre of the Sukuma tribe, the largest tribe in Tanzania, who have inhabited and farmed the region for centuries. Cultural tourism programmes to their local villages and farms can be arranged through the local cultural centres.

Export and transport among the countries is a foundation of mwanza’s economy. Around the city of Mwanza, the land is primarily devoted to agricultural enterprise. Tea, cotton and coffee plantations throughout the area produce large volume of cash crops that pass-through Mwanza on their way to market. The town’s industrial harbor and busy streets make it a prosperous and busy place to explore.


Tanzania is a big African country, overlooking the indian ocean and lying just south of the equator much of the country is covered by a plateau, in which a large number of world famous tourist attractions are found with several parks and nature reserves, in the savannah environment.

This plateau has a tropical climate, warm but not too hot because of altitude. On the contrary, the thin coastal stretch is hot and humid throughout the year especially from November to April. Source: climatestotravel.com

Mwanza city lies at an altitude of 1140 meters above the sea level with mean temperature ranges between 25.7C and 30.2C in hot season and 15.4C and 18.8C in the cooler months.

The city also experiences the average annual rainfalls between 700 and 1000mm falling in two fairly distinct seasons, short and long rainfalls. The most short rain season occurs between the months of October and December and long rain season last between February and May.


The Serengeti House is the nearest hostel from Bugando Medical Centre and Tanzania Rural Health Movement respectively.The rooms are well ventilated and secured. It has regular electrical supply, water supply, solar power supply, bathroom/toilet, normal bed, mosquito net,kitchen, bed sheets, pillow and cupboard.

The rooms are within fenced hostel and there is a guard at the gate.

There are nearby restaurant/cafeteria either at TRHM office or within Bugando Medical Centre. The breakfast, lunch and dinner ranges from US $1- 2.5 per single meal.Also, volunteers can access vegetables and fruits at Mwanza Market which is walkable distance from Hostel.


The volunteers can wash their own clothes, or they can pay women who work at the Hostel to wash for them. The price ranges but doesn’t exceed US $ 1.00/apparel.

Also, there are machine laundry services in town and price starts from US $ 1.00 depending on the quantity of clothes.

Local Trips

Tanzania Rural Health Movement can support to organize trips nearby city.

Saanane Island National Park.

Saanane island is an amazing attraction sight. The island is described as a breathtaking scenic settings, natural growth and marine attraction. It has been pulling in many residents from Mwanza city and other surrounding areas. Some fascinating activities visitors can enjoy include rock hiking, picnics, game viewing and bird watching along the shores of Lake Victoria.

The island is home to mammals like the impala, rock hyrax, velvet monkeys, wild cats, clawless otters and De-brazzas monkeys. The aquatic part of the park offers all types of fish, crocodiles, water snakes and monitor lizards. Source: tourismsaut.ac.tz

Rubondo Island National Park

Lying in the southern west corner of Lake Victoria, the whole of Rubondo island is given over to conservation. It is Africa’s largest island national park. Over three-quarters of its 25,000 hectares are blanketed in untouched equatorial forest- an unusual protected habitat for Africa’s wildlife. It’s a rare privilege to set a foot on Rubondo.

Serengeti National Park

Few people forget their first encounter with Serengeti national park. Perhaps it’s the view from Naabi hill at the park’s entrance, from where the Serengeti’s grasslands appear to stretch to the ends of the earth. Or maybe it’s a coalition of lions stalking across open plains, their manes catching the breeze. Or it could be the migration of wildebeest and zebra in their millions, following the ancient rhythm of Africa’s seasons. Whatever it is, welcome to one of the greatest wildlife watching destinations on the earth.

Serengeti is also renowned for its predators, especially its lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and jackals are on the hunt here, too, feasting on zebras, giraffes, buffaloes, gazelles, topis, elands, hartebeests, impalas, and more

Local Culture

Mwanza is known as Sukuma land because most of the population comes from the Sukuma tribe, which main covers the region of Mwanza, Shinyanga and Tabora. Apart from speaking their native language, residents speak Swahili, which is the national language. Sukuma people are famous for traditional ngoma (drum music) and dancing.

Dressing Culture

In Mwanza City women should try not to dress in what the local people might interpret as provocative which includes short skirts and shorts, transparent tops. Tanzanian women are very rarely to show their knees.  Same as with local men, you will find local men rarely wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts.

General Information

Tanzanian currency is called Shilling. It cannot be bought and sold outside the country, but it can be found in the neighboring countries like Kenya or Uganda. Credits and Debit cards are not accepted in shops. Volunteers who have come with their dollars or pounds will be able to exchange them from different Bureau De Change shops along Mwanza City.

Health and Safety

Malaria is a common disease that is found in Mwanza City and around the country. Volunteers should prevent mosquito bites as the best way to ensure you remain Malaria free, it is highly recommended volunteers bring mosquito repellent containing at least 30% DEET. And it also recommended for you to visit a clinic at least four times before your depart.


(Testimonial 1) –

In 2015, I spent four months in Mwanza-Tanzania with Tanzania Rural Health Movement (TRHM) as representative of Trek Medics International. The goal was to facilitate the creation and operation of a free and accessible out of hospital care program. With the help of Dr. Marko Hingi (Director of TRHM) we were able to accomplish this to a greater degree than either of us thought possible. TRHM is an amazing grassroot NGO run by volunteers comprised of doctors, nurses and healthcare students. Through their willingness to learn and determination they have been able to foster real change in Mwanza despite significant obstacles. Some of the programs of TRHM run include their Beacon project (In conjunction with Trek Medics International) and their wound care program which aim to treat wound and infections in homeless children of Mwanza.

I travelled to Mwanza with a goal of imparting knowledge however, I soon realized that it was me who would be doing the majority of learning. Marko and TRHM looked after me throughout my stay and were nothing but warm and welcoming throughout. If anyone is considering volunteering or travelling to Mwanza to work with Dr.Marko and TRHM, I would encourage you to do it! It will be an experience you will never forget and one that you can’t get anywhere else.

Scott Campbell

Representative of Trek Medics International

Medical Student, University of Southampton, UK

(Testimonial 2) –    

On January 18th 2017, I arrived in Mwanza City after a series of flights from New York, with a loose idea of what I would be doing for the following (almost) two weeks. The next day, I met with Dr. Marko Hingi at the Ministry of Health building, to discuss the Tanzania Rural Health Movement, and the work I would be doing during my stay in Mwanza. The day after, I began teaching piki piki (motorcycle taxi) drivers about emergency care and first aid. With the help of TrekMedics International, Marko implemented a system that uses Beacon gps technology to send messages to nearby drivers, to have them assist in case of an emergency. I provided the training so that the drivers would become capable of providing assistance. The training occurred over a Saturday and Sunday, and finished with the drivers receiving certificates and kits containing medical supplies.

While in Mwanza, I also helped continue training for the fire department, as its commander aimed to improved its emergency medical training. This took place during the week, Monday through Friday. During that week, I also went with the fire fighters and various emergency calls, although that part involved more observation than anything else, as I learned much from the fire fighters during those moments. Lastly, I helped with the wound care project, helping to ensure that the wounds of street children living in Mwanza city were adequately treated. My experience working with Dr. Hingi and Tanzania Rural Health Movement was excellent. I was excited to contribute my knowledge and skills in a meaningful way to the Mwanza community, and I received a very warm and kind welcome from everyone I met during my time in Mwanza. I consider myself very privileged to have contributed my knowledge to the organization, and to have been part of a group that creates such a positive impact on the community.

Samuel Lidsky (USA)

(Testimonial 3) –

I am a Masters of Public Health student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center with Public Health Administration concentration. I went to Tanzania through Suzanne and Ward Chamber’s Global Health Fellowship offered by my college for 5 weeks. Tanzania Rural Health Movement (TRHM) had some great programs that perfectly matched my interests. Working with Dr. Marko Hingi was the best experience any student can gain in his/her professional life and Tanzania has so much scope for public health.

Tanzania is a country with diverse culture and religions. It won’t be wrong to say that I found a second home in Tanzania. Even having no knowledge in Swahili (official language of Tanzania), I never felt left out. Tanzanians are very friendly and welcoming people. I lived in Mwanza for 5 weeks and I always felt safe. Dr. Hingi had arranged a wonderful accommodation in private hostel which made my stay more comfortable.

I was mainly working on the BEACON program; SMS-based emergency dispatch system where my study concentrated to identify the barriers faced by the first responders trained by TRHM. Other than this TRHM has Wound Care Project which provides free wound care to street children. TRHM has great scope for research and program analysis. Any student or volunteer would be lucky to work with TRHM and Dr. Hingi.

Sachi Verma (University of Nebraska Medical Centre,Omaha. USA)