There are some who want to go to Tanzania and volunteer there for a short period of time. There are good ways to do this, and there are those who will take advantage of your goodwill and turn this desire into a business opportunity. Be very aware of this.
There are, unfortunately, many so-called charities who have somehow duped the IRS in the US into giving them 501(c)3 non-profit status (and other non-profit status in countries other then the US) that you need to be aware of what they actually do; and not what they say they will do. They will sometimes make you think that all you need to do is to pay them and they will find you a place to "volunteer" at for a specified period of time. They might do this and it might be successful for you; and they might not be capable of doing this like you think they should and it might turn into a disaster for you.
Some of these so-called non-profit volunteer organizations charge ridiculous amounts of money, calling it organizational charges, administration charges, etc. If the organization you intend to use charges you much more than $25 a day for room and board, and perhaps much more than $200 or $300 in total for administration costs, or much more then $40 for an airport pick-up when the airport is close-by, they are probably doing this as a business and you might be better off to look to others for making your arrangements.
For example, the International Health Partners Tz is an organization who are doing all kinds of health care work, and work with widows and orphans, in the Nyakato area a village just outside Mwanza Tanzania. They are an example of an organization which takes seriously volunteering. Their web site is www.ihptz.org. You can look on there and see a Tanzanian organization who is interested in obtaining volunteers because they need volunteers to get their work completed. And you can learn that they find work for anyone to do; and it won't cost you an excessive amount of money to go there and work. You will pay for room and board charges, and perhaps for them to come and get you and the charge for that will be reasonable. If others are charging you much more then this, they are probably doing it as a business, not because they want and need volunteers.
I could provide many examples of those doing this for a business; but I don't want to promote them.
When you begin to think about volunteering in Tz, please think about what it is you want to do, and why you want to do it. It may be that you are someone who wants to help others, and it may be that you are doing this for yourself and what you will get out of it. Both are legitimate, but just make certain that you know why you are doing this.
I am of that group who thinks that there are many who go to Tz to do some good work, and much of this is for the person themselves. Of course the hope is that there will be others to benefit from this also. I've seen the ugly side of volunteer work there and it is very distasteful to say the least. I've also seen the wonderful side of volunteer work there and it does one's heart good. However, the realism of volunteer work is that when one goes there and expects to make an impact in a week or two, or even a month then this is probably something which will not happen. Whatever you expect to happen for an impact will most probably wither and die when you leave. Are there exceptions to this, of course there are. But by and large, unless you are doing some kind of construction work it's impact will be gone before you get back home.
Other areas where volunteering has been rewarding to both the recipient and to the giver is when someone has special skills that they will share with the people there for a couple of weeks. For example, I have seen eye health care people go there and dispense lenses to over 5,000 people, and make arrangements for over 500 eye cataract surgeries in a two week time period. I have also seen a team of orthopedic surgeons go there for a short period of time and perform and train local surgeons to perform surgeries such as hip replacements and club feet corrections; that has been terrifically successful and ongoing. I have seen business people go there and assist local business people to the point of where they have become tremendously successful and an asset to their local community; and in these cases there was follow-up contacts over a longer period; but the on-the-ground there was two to three weeks. I've seen people go there for several weeks and help with the daily chore of cataloging books to be distributed to schools and libraries there, overseen by a "volunteer" who dropped out and stayed there for the past 7 or 8 years. I've seen teachers who came there and worked with local schools to provide their teachers with special skills and their work became ingrained into their teaching there for many years. And I could go on with many many more examples of volunteers with special skills who came there and made a lasting impact.
Of course the other side of this coin is that what do you do if you really don't have any of these special skills needed there. I've seen some come to Tz and volunteer several weeks of time helping to construct or repair some buildings at a local hospital. I've seen some come and just do inventory work. I've seen some come and get some records caught up and up to date. And many other rather trivial things like this, but important things which needed to be done. And these make a lasting impact.
Now for those who advertise to come and work with HIV/AIDS orphans, those are key red flag words IMO. How can someone who has no special skills do this. Well in a nutshell they can't; oh they can come and kind of baby-sit for them, perhaps cook some of their meals, clean the children, look after them, play with them. Does this make a lasting impact, I don't think so; it was a helping hand for a short while. This is the realism of volunteering in Tz. Is it helpful, of course it is. Is the work long lasting, of course not. Will you feel good about doing this, probably.
At the risk of walking out on a limb which is close to being cut off; let me try to help all those who wish to do some "volunteering" in Tz.
Assess your skill set and truthfully ask yourself; Do I have some skills which would benefit people in Tanzania? If you do truly have some skills which you think might be helpful to the people in Tz, then begin a search for organizations (both global and local to Tz) which you might be able to work with on this venture. For example, if you are a certain business person who has some export experiences then you might contact the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce and ask them how you might be of assistance to people in Tz. If you have some kind of medical or health care experience then perhaps by contacting some hospitals in Tz then they might suggest some things which will be useful. If you have some teaching experiences, especially with some special skills then perhaps by contacting the Ministry of Education you might find some places where you would be of great assistance. If you are involved in the computer sciences then you might be able to contact various volunteer organizations operating in Tz and see if they could use your skills for a short period of time (perhaps this could even be done via telecommuting). Or perhaps you are a farmer of long standing and you could contact the Ministry of Agriculture or any of the regional organizations for agriculture and ask if they might be able to make use of your skills and experiences. In other words, if you truly want to use your skills to help the people there (and not just something for you to do and experience) then begin by thinking out of the box and don't turn this over to others, they will hardly know what you are capable of doing. This will take some time and energy; but the results will be great, both for you and for the people of Tz.
And on the flip side, if you find that you have very limited skills (such as just being out of school) then go there and merely assist in some way there. Perhaps this is what these so called volunteer organizations are really for. They will take your money and hopefully will place you with somewhere where you will be kept busy for a week or two.
Will this work? I know from personal experiences and from those personal experiences of others that it will work, and the results for the people of Tz are tremendous.