Volunteering Opportunities in Kenya

As a short-term or long-term volunteer in Kenya, you would responsibly assist and gain experience in healthcare, childcare, teaching, disabilities or community development while immersing yourself in local cultures.

Why Volunteer In Kenya?

Kenya, the most industrialized country in Eastern Africa, with leading industries of agriculture and tourism, is most famous for its safaris, diverse wildlife, and national parks. It is a leading country in the conflicted East African region in terms of peace and stability. Since its independence in 1963, it’s been holding regular elections every 5 years.

Unfortunately, poverty levels remain high. Healthcare in the slums and the rural areas needs improvement,  to be more accessible to the people, and to reduce the high ratio between doctors and patients. The area of education also needs attention. It’s on the track of positive development as the country now offers free education; however, there are still many things in that area that need to be sorted out. Of course, it’s the rural areas that are affected the most by all of this, which is why most of our Kenyan projects are in rural areas.

Volunteer Projects In Kenya

 

Caregiving – Orphanage

Duties

Volunteers at Kenyan orphanages will join local staff in showing love and affection to the children, which they need most; helping out with housekeeping, cooking, and serving food; assisting with administrative work; teaching basic conversational English; helping the children with their homework; organizing creative/fun activities such as games, dance, art, music, games, and sports; educating about personal hygiene; assisting in the dispensary and helping to look after the children when ill.

Why?

Extra hands are in demand in order to continue providing proper care for a good number of children in orphanage homes due to the overstretched local staff and available infrastructure. The children who reside at these homes have either been abandoned, have HIV/AIDS, have lost their families, or have relatives who are not able to fully take care of them due to extreme poverty. The handlers of these homes are providing meals, shelter, clothing, and education for these children with the help from the community and volunteers.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Orphanage homes across Kenya.

Season

All year round.

Education – Teaching

Duties

Volunteers will assist the local staff with teaching one or more of the following subjects: English, math, sciences, computer science, geography, etc.; developing new teaching materials; providing extracurricular activities for students; promoting HIV/AIDS education.

Why?

Free basic primary education was introduced in Kenya in 2003 to enable all Kenyan children, regardless of their background, to get an education. In 2008, government-sponsored secondary education was introduced. Families that had lost hope of ever sending their children to school because of high-cost school fees turned out in large numbers to enroll them. The fact is that some important issues were overlooked before the introduction of this program, which has been facing a number of challenges since, such as provision of quality education, inadequate teaching facilities, lack of teachers or unmotivated teachers, lack of teaching assistants to help the children study, and poor school infrastructures that sometimes don’t provide ample academic environments. Most public schools have high enrollment without adequate classrooms, teachers, and learning materials. The classrooms are overcrowded; hence, most children do not get enough attention from the teachers.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Public schools across Kenya, primary or secondary.

Season

School holidays are in the following months: April, August and December.

Caregiving – Disability Program

Duties

Volunteers will have the opportunity to interact with children/adults through teaching arts and crafts, fun games, English, and/or sports; assist with physiotherapy and rehabilitation; provide training for families with disabled children; educate families and communities about disabilities.

Why?

Due to lack of support and education about disabilities in Kenya, many disabled children and adults are hidden from the public by their families. There is an increasing number of children born with either mental or physical disabilities in Kenya, such as cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, who do not have access to support and cannot fend for themselves. The government of Kenya has a number of institutions to assist such children, but there aren’t enough rooms to accommodate all the children who need their services. This has, therefore, resulted in well-wishers coming up with centres and institutions that are aimed at assisting the growth of these disabled people. As a result, many of these children and adults with disabilities are able to acquire skills and also get care from these centres.

We are working with some community centres in Kenya that provide support for people with disabilities to overcome their physical limitations, and empower them socially and economically to become useful members in their communities.

Requirements

You must have an interest in working with special needs children. You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

Centres for the disabled across Kenya.

Season

All year round.

Community Development

Duties

Alongside with locals, you may teach community members about specific skills; work with locals to preserve and document their traditions; help with renovating or constructing a new school, heath centre or other building projects belonging to the community; support women’s groups; assist in educating community members to cultivate organic gardens and farms; help the local farmers with the use of alternative agricultural methods to reap better crop; aid in educating farmers and students to co-exist with the forest; join local teams in providing public education about sustainable farming and environmental protection; take part in tree planting exercises; teach basic business skills; strengthen local marketing strategies; assist with community clean-ups.

Why?

Becoming part of an effort in advancing unity and assisting with a special skill or general labour in a local community is all this program is about. This category, therefore, covers the following projects: intensifying environmental education, creating more awareness on the importance of sustainable agriculture, conservation, enterprise development, micro-finance, youth and women empowerment, construction, and many more.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors.

Possible Workplaces

District assemblies and various local organizations across Kenya.

Season

All year round.

Medicine – Healthcare

Duties

The assigned duties vary according to the education, experience, skills and qualifications of each volunteer: Measure blood pressure, temperature, height, weight; assist doctors and medical staff with health centre tasks; help in health camps; distribute medicines; provide tips to patients on health, nutrition, and sanitation; provide counseling to patients; treat minor injuries or wounds; keep patient records; visit patients and their families; participate in public awareness campaigns.

Why?

Kenya faces major challenges in providing healthcare to its people. With the inadequate medical practitioners in the available health centres, the long distances people have to walk to health facilities in rural areas, and the high number of people living in poverty, the overstretched medical facilities struggle to provide medical services and medical treatment to the people. This is much evident in the rural communities and the densely populated slums in cities and towns. Volunteer medical practitioners will join local community medical facilities providing medical services to the local population and, at the same time, will be involved in creating awareness in general public health, guidance and counseling, as well as screenings for both communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Requirements

You should be fluent in English. Provide proof of age (copy of passport). You must be 18 years old. Those under age 18 may attend age-appropriate projects with adult accompaniment. Provide an original or certified copy of a recent criminal background check (less than 1 year old), since you might be dealing with minors. Provide an original or certified copy of required qualifications (medical degree or transcript), medical professionals only.

Possible Workplaces

Public hospitals, clinics, and community health centres..

Season

All year round.

Kenya FAQ

Start Dates

Our start dates are flexible. You are at liberty to chose a date that works for you. We’ll then crosscheck if we have a spot for you at that date.

Duration

We have both short-term and long-term volunteering opportunities, ranging anywhere from 1 week up to 1 year.

Program Locations

We have opportunities available across the country. Our projects are located in the following provinces of Kenya: Western, Rift Valley, Nairobi, Eastern, and Coastal.

When To Apply

To volunteer in Kenya, we don’t have a set deadline for applications. However, we do recommend that you apply at least 2 months before your intended departure date to ensure you have adequate time to prepare for your trip. If you have a spontaneous desire to volunteer, give us a call and we’ll see what we can do.

Visa

• Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from date of entry with two blank pages for your visa.

• You can obtain a single entry visa on arrival; passport photos are not required. If you require a multiple-entry visa, you’re advised to obtain this in advance.

• Travellers who are also visiting Rwanda and Uganda may find it more useful to apply for an East Africa cross-border joint visa, which allows entry into all three countries on a single visa.

• Kenya also has an agreement with Tanzania and Uganda to waiver visa re-entry fees if travelling between the three countries, as long as single-entry visas remain valid for each country. This means multiple-entry visas are not required if going from Kenya to Tanzania or Uganda and back to Kenya. The same applies for travel from Uganda and Tanzania.

• Click here for the appropriate foreign embassy or consulate in your country. (select your country, and then select host country)

Vaccinations

Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required. Also make sure your routine vaccines are up to date. Please note, you should also be taking preventative measures for Malaria and Cholera. Please visit your local travel health clinic to discuss this with a professional and which vaccinations are suitable for you. It is recommended you visit the clinic at least 6 weeks before your departure date. Click here to read more regarding travel health.

Orientation

As a volunteer in Kenya, you are expected to undergo a mandatory two-day orientation in Nairobi.

You will be greeted by the AIAV in-country team at the airport and taken to a hostel, where you will stay for the duration of the orientation. There, you will have the chance to freshen up. Then, you will go to the partner organization’s main office, where you will be able to meet the staff members, have an opportunity to write an email home, and meet other volunteers who have been placed on projects in Kenya. The following day, you will have a half-day session about health, safety, cultural do’s and don’ts, etc., before going on a city tour to learn more about Nairobi. The second orientation day will have a full-day session that will prepare you for your project and living with a host family. The next day, you will be transported to your project in the company of local team members, where you’ll be introduced to your host family and project staff.

Meals And Housing

You will be provided 3 meals per day (homemade local food). Typically, you will have breakfast and dinner with your host family and lunch on the project. The following are examples of food you might be provided:

Breakfast: Bread, milk tea, eggs or rice porridge. Arrow roots or sweet potatoes occasionally.
Lunch: Rice, beef/bean/chicken stew, ugali (polenta) and vegetables, githeri (corn and bean stew), fried plantains.
Dinner: Potatoes, spaghetti, chapatti (round flat bread), ugali, rice with beef or bean stew or vegetables.

As for housing, you will stay either with a local host family or at the project site. You will either have your own room or share a room with other volunteers. You will receive specifics on living arrangements before your departure.

A Typical Day's Schedule

AIAV aims to make your volunteering days in Kenya a combination of valuable voluntary work, sharing of cultural experiences, and free time to loosen up and reflect. The schedules do vary from program to program. The following is a general schedule:

7:20 am You will have breakfast with your host family or with other volunteers, depending on your living arrangements.
7:50 am You will travel to your project by matatu (mini bus) or it might be walking distance.
8:15 am – 1:00 pm Work at your project site.
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Lunch break.
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm Work at your project site.
4:30 pm – 4:55 pm Work usually ends between this time-period, depending on your project.
6:40 pm Dinner with your host family.

Free Time

You will have plenty of free time to immerse yourself in local culture. During the week, you can enjoy mingling with the locals and observing their ways of living. For example, with your host family, you could participate in preparing meals, learning how to prepare the local foods, as well as you could show them how to prepare meals from your country. On the weekends, you are free to go wherever your heart desires and explore the wonders of your host country or neighbouring countries, if possible. You could visit towns, museums, just walk around the community, climb the local hills to oversea your community’s landscape, etc.

The recommended tourist attractions in Kenya are Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Nairobi National Park, Tsavo East National Park, Tsavo West National Park, National Museums of Kenya, Giraffe Center, Shimba Hills, Nairobi National Park, and the Karen Blixen Museum. You can climb Mount Kenya and Mount Longonot. Explore Kenya’s coral coast. Help save elephants at the Shedrick Elephant Orphanage. Remember, your in-country coordinator is always available to help you plan safe, educational, and cost-saving travels.

Click here to learn more.

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