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Teaching at Maasai Schools in Tanzania

Praktikum und Volunteering möglich
The Maasai (or Massai, Maassai, Masai) are a nomadic and pastoral people that migrated from northern Africa to East Africa in the 16th century. Today, they are the most famous tribe of East Africa, residing in the Kilimanjaro region, southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. There are around one million Maasai, evenly located between the two countries. We arrange volunteer stays and internships at Maasai schools in the West Kilimanjaro region (Siha District) and inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The schools are public, following the national syllabus.

Project Details


Maasai schools in the West Kilimanjaro region (Siha District)

The Siha District is the region between Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. The region is scarcely populated, particularly by Maasai who stay in the area mainly during the rainy seasons. During dry season, the male Maasai pastoralists move with the cattle to other areas in order to find food for them, leaving the area with only women, children and elderly Maasai.
The centre of Siha District is the village of Sanya Juu which has developed considerably since 2010, when the road from Boma Ng'ombe was paved, reducing travel time, and improving the connection by public transport (Daladala). Within half an hour, one can now reach Boma Ng'ombe, which is located half way between Arusha and Moshi, and is close to Kilimanjaro International Airport.
The public nursery, primary and secondary schools, where it is possible for you to volunteer or do a teaching internship, are located in the rural area behind the village of Sanya Juu. In Tanzania, children aged 6 to 15 years attend primary school (standard 1 to standard 7) and then continue with secondary school, form 1 and 2. The ratio of boys and girls is relatively well-balanced. The education department of Moshi Town chooses where you will be placed as an intern or volunteer.
Ekenywa Nursery and Primary School (up to Standard 2; age of the children around 8 years) is attended by around 200 children out of whom 70 are nursery school children. The school can be easily reached by the children by foot, within a few minutes from the surrounding Maasai villages. There is only one teacher at the moment at this school. Next to the school there is a house where teachers and volunteers stay, with access to electricity and water. The schools which are described hereunder can be reached by bicycle within 30-40 minutes.
Mawasiliano Primary School has around 700 children; there are around 70-90 children in one class. 80% are traditional Maasai, 20% are Wameru and Waarusha, who are Maasai who started cultivation of crops and stopped their semi-nomadic lifestyle several generations ago.
The approximately 490 students of Lekrimuni Primary School are distributed in similar class sizes.
Kandash Primary School is located near the village of the same name. There is a bigger village nearby called Karansi where one can find several grocery shops, and where there is a connection by public transport to Sanya Juu. From Kandash you can reach Karansi by motorbike taxi in 10 minutes, by bicycle in 30 minutes, or by foot maybe within around an hour. English language is taught at Kandash Primary School for all age groups.
The schools are equipped in a simple way. Generally, there are just wooden benches and a blackboard.
You are free to specify which subjects you can teach together with a Tanzanian teacher, or on your own and for which age group. All schools follow the national Tanzanian syllabus. All subjects are taught in Swahili language, which is the first foreign language for the Maasai children whose first language is Maa.
English is taught for all age levels, and it is a subject where foreign volunteers usually participate. During the breaks and after school, you can do sports with the children (typically football/soccer) or play games.

Maasai school in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area

This is a really unique volunteer activity in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where you experience living "in the bush".
You will have to accept a lower level of living standard and we only recommend this placement to participants who are prepared to stay in a rural place with Maasai who have been little influenced by "western" life so far.
Besides the Maasai, which have been herding their cattle on the plains of the Ngorongoro for centuries, no other Tanzanians or foreigners are allowed to reside in the conservation area. The only exceptions are teachers who are teaching at the few government schools which exist inside the conservation area. As there are few Maasai becoming state-approved teachers, most of the teachers at these schools are non-Maasai Tanzanians.
Due to the complicated formalities to be allowed to reside within the Conservation Area, we only recommend this placement to individuals who stay for a minimum of 3 months, which however, can be a long time if you are used to western comforts.
As a volunteer/intern you have to be aware of what it means to teach at these Maasai schools: Water is brought through a tube into the house; and the water pump only works for half an hour every day. During this moment you will have to collect your water and store it in a bucket. The water is safe to wash yourself, but not for drinking. There is no electricity; night-time illumination will have to be done using candles or gas lamps; cooking is done using charcoal. Mobile phones however, can be charged at the house of the head teacher, where there is a solar panel.
There is no real “village” but just an assembly of several “bomas”. As the Maasai don’t have “professions“ or division of labour, there are no shops or service providers that you could make use of. As the Maasai food for a prolonged period of time probably doesn’t correspond to the ideas of nutrition of most foreigners, it means you will have to buy your entire food supplies for 2-4 weeks in Karatu Town and then store them at your house, just as the Tanzanian teachers who will live with you at the accommodation for teachers, do. By car, Karatu is around an hour’s drive. As there is no public transport, you will have to come to some arrangement with the other teachers.
The primary school is under the national syllabus and classes are taught in Swahili, which is the first foreign language for the Maasai children whose native language is “Maa”. The syllabus also includes English classes which is a subject that can be taught by foreign volunteers.

In "More Info", see a newpaper article (PDF, German language) about our participant Christina at Olbalbal Massai village.
Olbalbal Primary School has 7 classes, one for each grade, from Standard 1 (age around 6 years) to Standard 8 (age around 12 years). There are 90-130 pupils in each class. This number of children are being taught by just one teacher. 6-8 kids have to share one bench. Typically, there are around twice as many boys as girls in the classes, because many Maasai still don’t consider it necessary for girls to attend school.
The school is very basic. The library only has a few books and leaflets which are normally not handed out to students to prevent loss or damage. The doors of the toilet building have been eaten by termites; therefore a simple fence has been built to give at least minimum privacy.
Volunteers can also teach sport; there is a football (soccer) ground behind the school building. Only boys are allowed to play football; they play on their bare feet as the typical Maasai sandals which are cut from old car tires are inappropriate for playing football. The problem is that the ground is not smooth and is full of thorny plants, resulting in many injuries. Furthermore, many more children participate in the games compared to the number of players in a typical football team. As they don’t have any jerseys or sports clothes, they wear their regular school uniform which poses a challenge of distinguishing teams. The girls play their version of “basketball”; two baskets exist behind the school.
For the Non-Maasai teachers who are teaching at the school, regular stone houses have been built, of the same kind as exists elsewhere in Tanzania. Volunteers can live in a room in these houses.

Background Information About The Maasai
The Maasai are semi-nomadic people who lived under a communal land management system. Originally, the Maasai were known primarily as warriors and shepherds. The movement of livestock is based on seasonal rotation. A major source of their diet is their livestock.
They feed primarily on the meat, milk and blood from cattle, for their protein and caloric needs. The milk - blood mixture is a traditional Maasai specialty. Vegetable dishes are typically not eaten by Maasai . However, one can see Maasai who live outside the protected areas, resort to agriculture for their income, growing wheat, corn, beans, tea and potatoes . Only in periods of drought (as in the summer of 2009 ) corn flour or wheat is donated into the protected areas where traditional nourishment is preferred.
There are no chiefs or leaders for the Maasai; they are organised by the age group of males. The transitions from one age group to the next are crucial moments in the life of a Maasai man and his reputation is very dependent on the number of cattle and women. It is not uncommon for a Maasai to have 50 cattle and five women. Numerous ceremonies, including the much criticised female circumcision, mark the life if the Maasai.
The Maasai live in Kraals arranged in a circular fashion. The fence around the kraal is made of acacia thorns, which prevent lions from attacking the cattle. It is a man's responsibility to fence the kraal, while women construct the houses. Traditionally, kraals are shared by an extended family. However, due to the new land management system in the Maasai region, it is not uncommon to see a kraal occupied by a single family. The Inkajijik (maasai word for a house) are loaf-shaped and made of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and cow's urine. Women are responsible for making the houses as well as supplying water, collecting firewood, milking cattle and cooking for the family. Warriors are in charge security while boys are responsible for herding livestock. During the drought season, both warriors and boys assume the responsibility for herding livestock. The elders are directors and advisors for day-to-day activities. Every morning before livestock leave to graze, an elder who is the head of the inkang sits on his chair and announces the schedule for everyone to follow.
The Maasai speak among themselves their own language , Maa, which belongs to the group of Nilotic languages . However, most can also communicate in Swahili, which they have learnt in schools since the 60's.
Info Box
Location: Siha District or Ngorongoro, Tanzania
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: Siha District - 1 Month; Ngorongoro - 3 Months
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: English
Further Languages Of Advantage: Swahili, Maa
Teacher House
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Teacher
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
Further Contribution To Project None
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: Teacher
Further Contribution To Project: None
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?


The accommodation is in a simple Teacher House. For more information, refer to the Project Details. The conditions in terms of available accommodation and rent are unfortunately changing regularly and we have to double-check for every inquiry. Please contact us and we will be able to inform you about accommodation options.



I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
  up to 31 Days
32-60 Days
61-90 Days
91-120 Days
5 Months or longer
 wu servicepackage
1 Person
350 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR 800 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Rate per Person)
300 EUR 400 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 650 EUR
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The World Unite! Service Package includes:

  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Preparation Session via Skype, together with further participants
  • Arrangements for your Residence Permit or similar permit and other official permits (if required), but not the official government fees for it/them (See costs below)
  • Pick-up and Transfers from/to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) on arrival and departure
  • Personal support staff at your location and at our international office
  • Orientation and Introduction in Moshi
  • Accompanying you to your placement on your first day
  • 24 Hours emergency support by local support team
  • 50 USD Contribution to your project
  • Local SIM Card with 10,000 TSH air time
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university
  • 15% Discount for Safaris, Kilimanjaro Climbs, Excursions and Watersports Activities offered by "Budget Safari Tanzania"

The Rates do NOT include:

  • Accommodation and Meals (see below)
  • Travel to/from Tanzania (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Official fees for Visa and Residence Permit (see below)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Local Transport (Estimated amounts see below)
  • Please note that for supervised/mentored internships, some organizations charge further contributions. You find this information in the "Info Box" below the respective internship description.

II. Accommodation Costs

You can choose between the following options:
All Rates in US-Dollar!
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 All durations of stay
(1-365 Days)
Shared House/Apartment or Hotel  
House/Apartment shared with other participants
1 Person
(Single Room)
10 USD/Day
2 Personen p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
7 USD/Day
4-Share Dorm Room p.p. 4.50 USD/Day
Hotel incl. Breakfast
1 Person
(Single Room)
 400 USD/Week or
1360 USD/Month
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
 240 USD/Week or
880 USD/Month
Host Family
Host Family of Middle Standard
on Full Board
1 Person
(Single Room)
15 USD/Day
2 Personen p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
15 USD/Day
Host Family of High Standard
on Full Board
1 Person
(Single Room)
18 USD/Day
2 Personen p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
18 USD/Day
Host Family of Simple Standard
on Full Board
1 Person
(Single Room)
10 USD/Day
2 Personen p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
10 USD/Day
In case of 3-4 person: Same rate as in case of 2 Persons. 5 or more persons: Contact us for group rates.

Overview of other costs:

  • If meals are not included: around 110-200 USD/Monthfor self-catering (eating out at affordable yet good restaurants and/or cooking by yourself; you are much more flexible in this way compared to if we would serve food at your accommodation)
  • Visa and Permits (mainland Tanzania): In case of stay of up to 90 days: Visa 250 USD for most nationals; In case of stay of 91-180 days: Visa (incl. extension) 550 USD; 181-365 days: Visa 50 USD (for most nationals, except US and Canadian Citizens who pay 100 USD) + Residence Permit 200 USD + Work Permit 500 USD.
  • Small local expenses (e.g. Internet, local transport): around 30-50 USD/Month (Estimate)
  • Insurances around 30-50 USD/Month


How do I pay?

Once all your questions have been answered and you confirm that you want to participate, we will email you an invoice. You can pay it via bank transfer or via Paypal. You will pay a deposit of 200 EUR when the invoice is issued. One months prior to your arrival you will pay the remainder for your Service Package.
The payment modalities for rent and possible further costs (e.g. internship supervision fees, as stated in info box of the respective project description) depend on your host country and placement. We will inform you beforehand. In many cases these costs are paid on site, but for some countries and placements they need to be paid partially or fully in advance.



Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more! Check out our other listings in the areas of "World Learner" and "Active Travel" at your travel destination to make your stay even more interesting.

Safaris, Kilimanjaro Climbs, Day Trips, Watersports

budgetsafaribannerAs "Budget Safari Tanzania" we are arranging cost-effective yet high-quality safaris, Kilimanjaro climbs, excursions, and watersports activities in Tanzania and Zanzibar. You will group with other World Unite! participants and further travellers.
As a World Unite! participant, you get a 15% discount on all offers of Budget Safari Tanzania. We will share a Discount Code with you that you can use with the online booking of your safari, Kilimanjaro climb, excursion or watersports activity.

Learning Swahili in Moshi!

Swahili TeacherIt is always helpful to know Swahili while doing your project here. Swahili is a relatively easy language for participants and some start to follow it within the first few lessons. You can choose the intensity of the lesson. We would, however, recommend a maximum of ten hours per week. The lessons are conducted individually; in some cases, 2-3 participants with similar levels of knowledge may be given combined lessons. The number of participants does not affect the cost of the lessons.
The cost for Swahili lessons: 1 Student: 6 EUR
Please check "Language Training Required" in the registration form and specify your desired duration (minimum 20 hours).

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.


The details provided are of the locations nearest to the largest villages (Sanya Juu in Siha District and Karatu in Ngorongoro).


Karatu is a large village in the immediate vicinity of the Ngorongoro Crater. Surrounded by forests, coffee plantations and cattle herds, this site extends over a long distance along the dusty red road connecting Arusha Ngorongoro and Serengeti. All safari tourists who are traveling to the north of Tanzania pass Karatu. Hence, Karatu has experienced in recent years, a revival and development thrust. Some hotels and other services such as restaurants, small supermarkets, Internet cafes and garages have recognized the proximity advantage of Karatu. There are even several ATMs and surprisingly, a nightlife that you do not expect in such a place.
Karatu is also the "capital" of the large-scale Ngorongoro/ Lake Eyasi area and has therefore, also shops with products aimed at the rural population. A special attraction is the market in Karatu on 7th of each month, one of the largest markets of Tanzania. Besides, many members of the various tribes of the region such as Maasai and Iraqw Datoga travel to Karatu to sell their products. Part of it is the cattle auction.

Sanya Juu

The village of Sanya Juu has grown significantly since 2010, when the road was paved to reach Boma Ng'ombe. The travel time has since, significantly reduced and has improved access by public transport (Daladala). In half an hour, you reach Ng'ombe in Boma, located midway on the great road between Arusha and Moshi and close to the Kilimanjaro International Airport. So, while you are in the rural areas, you have quick and easy access to larger cities. In Sanya Juu, the commercial center of the Siha District, there are now a variety of small shops where you can buy the most necessary things.
The Siha District is the region between Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. The region is sparsely populated, mainly by Maasai, who are there with their herds during the rainy season. Wameru and Waarusha are other tribes of the region; they are Maasai, who started with agriculture generations ago.

Tsavo, Kenya

In Tsavo, Kenya, we offer volunteering and internships in a private wildlife sanctuary - the Taita Hills Sanctuary. This is a private reserve, which borders the Tsavo National Park and the Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary without any barriers, i.e., the wild animals roam freely between the National Park, Taita Hills and Lumo. It is a savannah landscape with rocky island mountains. The Sanctuaries are full of wild animals including elephants, giraffes, zebras, eland, kudu, lions, leopards, ostriches, etc.
Near the protected area, there are four villages; accommodation for participants will be given in the village of Mwoshumo. The drive from Moshi, Tanzania to Mwoshumo is about 3 hours.

Getting There

In the case of an insert in Siha District you will be picked up from Kilimanjaro Airport and taken directly to your accommodation in Siha District where you will be introduced to our coordinators.
In the case of an insert in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, travel to Moshi, where you spend 1-2 nights and receive an introduction by our coordinators. From there, you travel by bus to Karatu. In Karatu you will be picked up by one of the Maasai at the bus station. The onward journey is usually by bus to the interior of the protected area, where you are dropped off along the road and enter the village from there by motorcycle.

Getting To Moshi

tanzania map
You book your flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). If the flights to Dar-es-Salaam (DAR) are much cheaper, you can also fly there and then book a separate connecting flight from DAR to JRO with FastJet. From JRO airport, we pick you and take you to your accommodation in Moshi.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
No, you can arrive at any date and you can hence, plan your trip according to your availability and the prices of flights. We can pick you up from the airport even at night.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Of course you can travel around, almost all of our participants do so. In Moshi and Zanzibar, we ourselves often offer day trips, for which you can join other volunteers and interns when you travel there. We share these trips with you in our monthly subscriber list and you can book them. Participants often organize on-site travel together. In Moshi and Zanzibar, you can stay at the same low rates as our Zanzibar or Moshi participants in accommodations provided by us. If you plan to travel during your volunteering/internship period, you should seek permission in advance. We recommend that you plan your travel after your volunteering/internship. For this, you can also stay longer in your accommodation at affordable rates.
Is it safe to travel in Tanzania alone as a single female traveller?
Approximately 80% of our participants are female and many of them, only about 20 years old. Not a single instance of a serious security breach has occurred. Our coordinator will advise you on how you should conduct yourself in order to avoid problems - your dressing style, valuables, and in dealing with local men. Our preparation materials elaborate on this matter. If you follow these basic rules that apply equally to many other places, the risk in Moshi is not great.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Moshi?
The total number of participants that participate simultaneously with an organization depends on the size and activity of the organization and responsibilities of volunteers/interns. We try to avoid too many volunteers/interns in an organization at the same time. It may be that you are alone in your work site, but usually there are, throughout the year, other participants in Moshi, who you can meet in your spare time, if you desire so. Moshi is a small town, where you walk around quite a bit. In addition, there are well-known places such as the Coffee Shops, where you actually meet with other participants. We also have regular meetings with all participants and you will get a list of participants in the country at the same time, with their contact information. You need not be worried about being "alone" in Moshi, nor should you avoid contact with the locals because you spend all your time with other foreign participants.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info-PDF that you get as a participant gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations
Where will I live?
You can find details in the tab "Accommodation".
Can I choose my accommodation?
We give you choices (Most popular!, Comfort +, Adventurer) and you can tell us if you prefer a shared accommodation or homestay; we will then seek an accommodation for you. We organise accommodation, taking into consideration the distance from your work site. However, since Moshi is not a very big city, is relatively easy to reach locations in other parts of the city by public transport ("Daladala") or by bike.
How free or bound am I in my accommodation with the host family?
With the host family, you can have your freedom, and do not need to join them during meal times or have any other obligations. If you will return late in the evening, you need to let them know in advance, so that they can unlock the doors for you (which are locked at night for security reasons). Bringing home casual acquaintances is taboo. They look to integrate our participants into their family life, but you can determine to what extent you want to be part of it.
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
In Tanzania, Internet is accessed via the mobile phone networks. With smartphones, you can use the Internet. For laptops, there are USB modem sticks for about 10 EUR. There are no flat rates; you use data packets, depending on your needs. You might consume 2 GB of data in a week, which costs about 4.50 EUR. In the centers of cities (Moshi Town, Dar-es-Salaam, Mwanza, Zanzibar Town, Karatu, etc.), the connection is good, the speed is satisfactory and sufficient for Skype phone calls. In the suburbs and in the country, there is connection, but usually almost impossible or very slow and unreliable. We will provide you information on the use of mobile Internet in Tanzania. At Twiga Home, internet is available to our participants at a small additional fee.
How can I do my laundry?
In general, laundry is washed by hand in Tanzania. You can ask your landlord or host family if they have someone who can wash your clothes. Usually, someone offers that to you for a small fee. Please ask your local supervisor, what the appropriate thing to do is. You can use the washing machine at Twiga Home, even if you live elsewhere, for a small fee.
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Tanzania is a meat-eating country and Tanzanians do not usually understand that someone who could afford meat and who is not sick, volunteered to give up meat; but the host families are familiar with participants, and understand that some are vegetarians, and prepare appropriate food. In Dar-es-Salaam, there are Indian vegetarian restaurants, with a wide choice of dishes. In the market, there are a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Special dietary needs (e.g. Vegan, allergies to certain foods) can be expressed to the host families, and many foods are available in the supermarket.
What language skills do I need?
You should be able to make yourself understood in English. The national language of Tanzania is Swahili, but knowledge of English is widespread, especially among people who have a better education or work in tourism. In everyday life, there is usually no problem to be able to communicate in English; if you should come across someone who can not speak English, you can almost immediately find someone who offers to translate in English. If you are in a social project for a longer duration, you will have to deal with people who have little or no education. For this, it is useful to acquire at least a basic knowledge of Swahili before your arrival through any book (or audio CD). You can also take basic Swahili lessons while on site. We also have vocabulary lists with useful words that can help you.

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