Social Innovation

Applications Closed

Applications Closed!


Social Innovation

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  • Get an inside look at the hotbed of social innovation and entrepreneurship taking place in Tanzania’s urban areas.
  • Sit fireside while sipping chai with our new-found families during our village homestays at the base of Mount Meru.
  • Run entrepreneurship and leadership workshops while getting a firsthand view of a women’s microfinance organization in rural Tanzania.
  • Camp and hike the Usambara Mountains, part of the unique and the incredibly biodiverse Eastern Arc chain.
  • Snorkel and explore marine reserves in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.


40-DAY ↑

Fees + Community Contribution  

$2,860 USD + $615 USD
$3,135 CAD + $750 CAD

Program Dates

July 10 – August 19, 2017

Applications Closed!

May 22 – June 30, 2017

Applications Closed!

Sample Itinerary

Orientation – Dar es Salaam

After getting picked up at Julius Nyerere International Airport, we will have an in-country orientation in the capital city of Dar es Salaam. We’ll acclimatize to life in East Africa, trying local cuisine, getting in some Swahili lessons (the local language), and acquainting ourselves with the city and culture. We will engage with NGOs and local groups, as well as government departments regarding issues of gender and entrepreneurship both in urban and rural areas. It’s an intense but incredible introduction to the fast-paced life that is metropolitan Africa!

Trekking the Usambara Mountains – Tanga Region

From Dar, we’ll get our first lesson navigating the Tanzanian bus station as we head north to the Usambara Mountains. Our team will spend two days and two nights hiking and camping in this unique tropical region. Get ready to take in some jaw-dropping and largely untouched vistas while sleeping under the immaculate night sky! We’ll begin to get to know the different cultures and peoples of Tanzania, as well as each other!

Social Innovation Hub – Moshi
After getting our fill of trekking, we will settle into Moshi, Tanzania—the country’s hub of social innovation and home to many new and established NGOs. We’ll spend the majority of our time partnering with Femme International (whose co-founder is an OG alumni!) Femme works to advance the rights of women and girls through programs that address sexual health, menstruation, and feminine hygiene – topics that are largely stigmatized and taboo in the region. Besides learning about the upstream factors affecting these issues, we’ll help Femme execute workshops in the area and engage with other actors focused on social entrepreneurship and youth empowerment.

Community Connections – Ngongongare

From urban to rural Tanzania, we will make our way to the village of Ngongongare. The village sits in the foothills of Mount Meru and is the home community of our second partner, Jifundishe. Jifundishe is a local non-governmental organization focused on providing access to educational resources for all ages. We will join them in running entrepreneurship and leadership workshops in collaboration with their women’s micro-lending program and other groups in the community.

Beyond our projects, we’ll delve deeper with our community connections by participating in homestays while in the village. We’ll sip some delicious chai, learn how to make chapatti, and yes, even eat by candlelight!

Another bonus? We’ll be right on the edge of the Arusha National Park with some great hiking spots! This area is safari central! Don’t be surprised at the giraffe and elephant sightings on our way into town!

Independent Travel Time

A staple of all Operation Groundswell programs is Independent Travel Time (ITT). You can travel independently if you desire but we encourage everyone to travel in pairs or small groups. ITT is the ideal time for you to learn more about your specific interest — volunteering, traveling, or even just relaxing!  You might choose to visit Zanzibar or head back to the coast to explore the unique and eclectic Arab-Indian-African cultural mix. You could also challenge yourself by climbing the epic Mount Kilimanjaro. Or get back to nature by going on safari through the Serengeti! This will be an opportunity to use the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired over the past month to navigate East Africa on your own or in small groups.


**Please note that you are not under the auspices of the organized program during ITT. Team members will be given the emergency contact number of program leaders during ITT for any advice.

Disorientation – Pangani Beach

Our group will reconvene for a program debrief known as ‘disorientation’ prior to flying home. Following ITT, we will meet up on the Tanzanian coast in the tiny town of Pangani, where its namesake river meets the Indian Ocean. After a whirlwind few weeks, this is our chance to kick back and relax, snorkelling at marine reserves, and taking sunset dhow rides! Most importantly, it’s on these beautiful beaches that we will re-live memories of the program and our experiences together, discuss how to stay connected, and collaborate on projects in the future.

Then off to the airport for some tearful goodbyes!

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What’s Included?

A comprehensive program itinerary and educational curriculum focused on the issues facing your specific region

Experienced and caring program leaders with you 24 hours a day

All lodging and accommodations throughout the program

Three local meals a day

All group tours, entrance fees, and excursions

All group transportation on the ground.

Regular discussions and workshops to help you internalize and reflect on your experience

Support from OGHQ whenever you need it


Independent Travel Time is your opportunity to go out there and explore on your own terms!

  • Climb the epic peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • Visit Zanzibar Island’s Stone Town and relax on the beaches of the Indian Ocean.
  • Engage further with our partners by taking on an independent project with them.
  • See lions, elephants, rhinos, and other big game animals at one of East Africa’s many national parks.


With OG, you live like the locals.
Traveling as much as we do on the Tanzania program, there will be a number of different styles of accommodation. Whether it’s at a youth hostel in Dar es Salaam or under the stars in the Usambura Mountains of Northeast Tanzania, you can expect to be cooking together and learning to make chapatti with our team. In addition to hostels and camping, we will be staying at guest houses in Moshi and Arusha. In Ngongongare village we’ll be staying with host families, giving us the opportunity to really delve into the local culture and integrate into the communities we spend time with.

Meet Our Regional Director

Samira has always been interested in learning about, and from, different cultures and life experiences. Her inquisitive nature continued to evolve as she grew older so when she learned about sociocultural anthropology, everything changed. She considers herself an anthropologist, and has conducted research in Germany, Madagascar, and Tanzania. She thoroughly believes in immersive and educational travel, and is beyond excited to be working with OG in a region that is near and dear to her heart. She is eager to help bring backpacktivists to this wonderful region!

If Not Now, Then When?