Volunteering in Kenya is an amazing opportunity to experience the traditional Masai culture, national parks with rich wildlife and support a good cause. Protect the endangered animals like lions, rhinos and many more and do volunteer work for a wildlife rescue project. One of the most popular volunteer opportunity in Kenya takes place at an elephant orphanage. Are humanitarian projects your passion? Many volunteer projects and schools across the country need the help of skilled and experienced long-term volunteers to assist in childcare. From the capital Nairobi to remote villages, you decide where the volunteer work in Kenya will lead you!
Kenya is a stunning destination that offers everything from white sandy beaches and famous national parks with rich wildlife to bustling metropolitan cities. No wonder it attracts more and more visitors every year with its long history and amazing nature. Especially, a great number of people are interested in volunteer opportunities in Kenya since Kenya is the perfect place to go on a safari or to volunteer with its diverse wildlife. Get involved with exciting volunteer work in Kenya and wildlife research activities. Kenya is a country of internationally significant habitats where wildlife roams freely. It is home to rare, unique species and the Big Five (African elephant, Cape Buffalo, African leopard, and White/black rhinoceros). But it is also a developing country, with a great range of poverty and health issues. If you are not quite sure yet about the cause you want to support in Kenya, we will guide you in your decision and give you advice about the safety and cultural considerations to have in mind, before visiting and volunteering in this great country. One thing, however, is for sure: your volunteering project will be a great experience and at the same time, it will support others.
Kenya hosts a great number of globally important and internationally recognized species and habitats; this includes savannah rangelands and forests, as well as a variety of habitats in the coastal and marine environment. Hence, the conservation of animals and the environment is a topic of concern for many projects in Kenya. But not only the animals are in need of your help: the local communities, as well as the country’s infrastructure, could use some support, too. If you’re thinking about volunteer opportunities in Kenya, you might want to know a little more about the people and riches of this beautiful country and the ways to help and conserve them.
One of the ‘Seven Natural Wonders of Africa’ takes place in Kenya every year between June and September: the annual animal migration, a unique spectacle that cannot be missed! Andthat’s just one of the reasons why Kenya’s wildlife diversity has attracted worldwide fame. Tourists visit Kenya especially for its populations of large mammals.
Unfortunately, many of these wildlife species, such as lions or rhinos, are suffering habitat loss and this, together with illegal hunting, has significantly decreased the numbers of many of the wildlife species that inhabit Kenya. This is another area of volunteer work in Kenya. As a wildlife conservation volunteer in Kenya, you would:
The vegetation types in Kenya vary between extremes, and they change accordingly to the variations in climate and altitude. This creates a unique biodiversity. On one side of the country are the plains of the Nyika plateau, as well as large parts of north-western Kenya and the Mara river which feature dry forests and savannah. On the other side, in the northern part of the country, we can find arid deserts that foster different types of forests.
To help and protect these landscapes as a volunteer in Kenya, you can join a conservation project and get involved in some hands-on work. Some projects focus on teaching modern agricultural skills to alleviate poverty and hunger in the less fortunate areas of Kenya. The use of organic and sustainable farming techniques as well as the promotion of alternative sources of energy ensure that the environment does not suffer under this progress.
Kenya’s health infrastructure shows a disparity between urban and rural regions. Rural areas lack investment and medical institutions are way too understaffed. Additionally to this, Kenya struggles against tropical diseases (especially malaria and tuberculosis), and in recent years, HIV/AIDS have also become a public health problem. In the year 2004, it was announced that HIV/AIDS had surpassed malaria and tuberculosis as the leading disease killer in the country. This is the reason why Kenya’s life expectancy has dropped dramatically, some data indicating that it dropped by about a decade. Maternal mortality is a health issue in the country as well.
Being a volunteer in health care can be a great opportunity for you to really make a difference in the lives of the unfortunate and offer you some hands-on medical experience. Coming from a medical background, your help is always well received. As a volunteer in Kenya you can join many medical projects in areas such as:
Kenya’s education system has certainly experienced a development and the country has worked hard to create a great number of public and private universities; as well as middle-level colleges. Nevertheless, literacy levels in Kenya are low. 5% of all children are not enrolled in school, and this is particularly bad in rural regions. Schools also struggle to offer quality education. As a consequence, many children are older than expected for their class level. This is mainly so because schools don’t receive governmental support on a regular basis and are severely understaffed.
Volunteering as a teacher and mentor in these schools is not only rewarding, it will also help pursue your academic career. You will be working alongside teachers and other volunteers with students of all ages and backgrounds. Among others, your teaching tasks can consist of:
Given that Kenya is the most powerful economy in East Africa, it is still a developing country and poverty and inequalities continue to be a great social concern. You might like to consider becoming a community volunteer, in Kenya and help to tackle the many social issues the country has to face.
There are many social volunteer programs in Kenya that aim to work on these community issues. Volunteering at one of them gives you the opportunity to make a great difference for local communities and to improve various aspects of the local people’s lives. Volunteer opportunities in Kenya in the field of community development are:
Before you decide on one of the volunteer programs in Kenya that are concerned with orphanage-work, make sure you are prepared for your task and understand what to expect. Many of these children have experienced violence or abuse and are traumatized. For this reason, it is essential that volunteers MUST have appropriate skills. If not you could be putting yourself and the children at risk. Therefore, if you wish to work at an orphanage, you should meet at least one of the following requirements:
The suggested daily budget for living as a volunteer in Kenya is between US$ 16 and US$ 70. This is an estimate made considering the average price of some of the services you might need and things you might want to buy. It gives you a general overview of how much things cost in this country, so you can be prepared and save the money you will need.
When you travel to a different country for voluntary work it is important to familiarise yourself with its culture and social characteristics. This helps you to settle in quickly and avoid misunderstandings. These are some tips that you might find helpful when preparing for your volunteer work in Kenya:
First of all, you should be aware that there is a bigger risk of being mugged in a big city than in small cities. You should exercise common sense, be cautious and don’t risk being pickpocketed! This is why we want to give you some travel advice, so you can travel safely and make the best out of your experience as a volunteer in Kenya:
As with every country, it’s always good to get a heads up on the laws that apply for your destination. When traveling and doing volunteer work in Kenya, please keep the following rules and regulations in mind:
It is annoying to get sick when traveling and volunteering and although it is a common concern for travelers to get a stomach illness when traveling to Kenya, there are some basic precautions you can take to avoid it:
Some codes of etiquette determine social behavior expectations and are considered to be very important in Kenyan culture. Be aware that you will need to adapt to these socially accepted interactions during your volunteering journey and volunteer programs in Kenya. These are just some of the common examples of social etiquette in this country:
It’s nice to have a slight idea of what to expect from a foreign country. It’s even nicer to know, which packing essentials should definitely land in your backpack! This makes life a whole lot easier when it comes to preparing for your time as a volunteer in Kenya.
You might have noticed by now that there are many different volunteer opportunities in Kenya that require different skills and abilities from their international volunteers. While you can find out the specific requirements for each project on their profiles on Volunteer World, here are some general requirements that apply to most volunteer programs in Kenya:
You have made it to the last section of this guide, which is another really important aspect while planning your volunteering trip: getting your volunteer visa for Kenya.
Please consider that the following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. That’s why you should please make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your project coordinator on Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in contact with the Kenyan embassy or consulate in your country .
There are some general requirements volunteers should comply upon their arrival in Kenya:
If you are a resident of Australia, Switzerland, the USA or EU (including the UK) you are able to work as a volunteer on a single entry visa for up to 90 days. Make sure that your nationality is eligible for this visa. There are two ways to get it:
To receive the stamp at the airport, you can state tourism as your reason for traveling and immigration will stamp your passport. The E-Visa costs USD $51 and needs to be applied for prior to your departure. Please note that the fees for this visa are not refundable, so make sure to submit all of the documentation necessary.
If you’re planning to stay and volunteer in Kenya for more than 90 days, your stay period may be renewed for a further 90 days at the immigration headquarters in Nairobi. This way you can stay and volunteer in Kenya for up to 6 months.