Educational Elective Placements & Student Volunteering


Knowledge for Change (K4C) has over 5 years of experience of running student placements in low and middle income countries, hosting over 150 students from the UK, USA, Australia, Kenya, Poland, Norway and the Netherlands. Over the years, our placement projects have been supported and promoted by world renowned organisations such as Health Education England, the UK NHS Blood and Transplant Service, the UK Department for International Development, the Royal Colleges of Midwifery, Nursing, Obstetrics, Anaesthetics, Paediatrics and Child Health and more than 10 international Universities from around the world. All our placements are organised through negotiation with prospective students and our in-country partners. Students have the opportunity to make a real difference to the facilities within which they are based, contributing to sustainable and meaningful long-term projects run by K4C. As a registered UK charity, ethics and sustainability are at the core of all of K4C’s projects and activities; we do not make any profit and endeavour to invest all surplus funding in achieving our charitable objectives: to improve the health and well-being of the poorest members of society in developing countries and improve the skills and experience of health professionals and students worldwide.

What do we Offer?

We are currently able to offer placements in Kampala and Fort Portal in Uganda. We welcome students from any study discipline and level of study, particularly those from health related courses such as medicine, nursing, midwifery, allied health professions, social work, biochemistry and microbiology. You can complete a placement for any length of time, however the minimum duration we offer is 2 weeks. All placements are health related, however we welcome students from any study discipline or background to take part and will endeavour to design a stimulating, meaningful and effective placement regardlessof your background which suits your needs and interests. The bespoke nature of placements means they are designed with consideration of your own personal and professional interests aligned with the long-term strategy and values of K4C and our partner organisations. Our current placement locations (many of which are listed on our partners page) include: ward and operating theatre based placements in large urban hospitals and small rural health centres; community outreach programmes with local non-governmental organisations (charities) focusing on mental health, children’s health and women’s empowerment; teaching placements in local Universities; placements in prisons, juvenile centres and refugee settlements; placements in schools for disabled children and children’s development centres. Where possible, students are able to experience multiple placement locations depending on the duration of their placement and the needs of our partners.

To hear what past students had to say about their placements with K4C, click here to watch our most recent evaluation video (opens new window).

Why do a Placement with K4C?

There are many reasons why you should complete a placement with Knowledge for Change; here are what we think are the top 6 that you should take into consideration:

  1. You will gain greatly beneficial knowledge, skills and experience: over 80% of students thought their placements in Ugandan and India had a ‘strong’ or ‘very strong’ impact on their skills in areas such as communication, compassion/empathy, resource awareness, cultural awareness, appreciation of good healthcare and the UK NHS, health systems thinking and their personal and professional commitment and motivation*
  2. You will have the ability to make a real difference: students are not ‘fly on the wall observers’ during placements; they get stuck in under direct, high quality supervision from our professional volunteers and local partners. This is why 91% of students who completed a placement with K4C in 2015/16 believed they’d had a ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ impact on the individuals, facilities or health system within which they were based*.
  3. Our placements are a great addition to your C.V: 96% of students believe their placements have a ‘very positive’ impact on their career!* This is incredibly important at a time when competition for jobs is becoming ever more fierce and you need something unique to make you stand out in interviews.
  4. Our placements are safe: all placement locations, accommodation and travel arrangements are fully risk assessed to ensure your comfort and safety. Support is provided where necessary by our professional long-term volunteers and our in-country project manager who will be with you for the duration of your placement.
  5. Our placements are fun and exciting: you will have the opportunity to meet many new and interesting people throughout your placement. You are also free to do as you please on evenings and weekends; the more adventurous travellers often go mountain hiking or on safari park adventures deep into the African bush. Others prefer to relax in the sun by a beautiful lake or swimming pool at plush lakeside lodges and hotels. Whatever your preference, we are happy to advise and assist you to minimise costs and maximise enjoyment!
  6. Our placements save you money: The placement we offer are far cheaper than other private companies found online, and the money you pay goes towards improving healthcare systems in developing countries instead of high staff salaries and administration costs. We’d be extremely surprised if you could find a cheaper similar placement online – please let us know if you can prove us wrong!

*You can find a full report on our most recent student placement survey by clicking here (opens new window)

What Support and Supervision will be Available if I need it?

No matter where you are based, you will never be far from the support and supervision (should it be required) of our professional volunteers and project managers. In fact, it is a requirement that any students engaging in patient care or working with vulnerable adults or children must do so under the professional supervision we provide (this is part of our ethical commitment to protect both you and the patients!). At the beginning of your placement, you will be given a mobile
phone with a pre-loaded local sim-card in case you need to contact a supervisor or colleague. WiFi will be available at your accommodation to allow you to stay in touch with friends and family at home (if you want to!)

For more information on our staff and professional volunteers in Uganda, click here (opens new window)!

How much would it Cost?

As a charity, K4C does not make any profit from running student placements and we keep the prices as low as possible to be able to cover our costs. A minimum of £150 per student is invested in local health facilities, along with any other surplus in funding generated from student contributions. The amount paid by students also funds posts for long-term professional volunteers who not only supervise students whilst on placements but also make a real difference to local facilities, their staff and patients as a result of their training, mentoring and co-working.

We welcome students from outside of the UK – if this applies to you, please contact us via email for more information.


Funding / Bursary Opportunities

We understand that funding an international elective placement can be expensive, so to make this exciting opportunity available to as many people
as possible, we regularly offer grants and bursaries that you may be able to benefit from (eligibility criteria do apply). However, these are by no means the only funding streams available should you not be eligible, or fail in your application – the majority of universities have their own travel funding available for their students, so start by asking international offices, placement managers and personal tutors. External funding can also be found by asking friends, colleagues, tutors or searching on Google!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

How can I find more information or apply?

For more information, please use the contact form below or email: