Volunteer in Kenya
Volunteer in Kenya with Involvement Volunteers International and help disadvantaged communities in the vibrant and awe inspiring country of Kenya! With IVI you will be immersed into the local culture in a safe, loving, supportive and fun environment with other like minded international volunteers to meet along the way.
Our projects in Kenya aim to address the issues affecting rural parts of the country where economic disparity is a significant issue. Our projects allow you to share your unique talents while living like a local in a setting and culture that is likely very different to what you know back home. This inter-cultural exchange can be life changing for all involved.
IVI projects are based in 2 destinations in Kenya. A rural village setting in central Kenya approx 1 hour north of Nairobi, and a southern Kenya, deep in the Maasai Mara tribe region. In both areas you are very close to incredible natural parks with amazing scenery complete with all the African animals such as Lions, Zebra, Giraffe & Elephants, Wildebeest etc. Kenya is famous for wildlife safaris, and we can connect you with ‘less touristy’ options at a fraction of the price you’d pay through the standard tourism methods! Ask us how when you apply.
With IVI choose from projects involving english teaching & early childhood development in the Maasai Mara or get involved in medical clinic & community medical outreach projects, food security & farming assistance, woman’s empowerment projects and special needs teaching.
Volunteer Projects in Kenya
MAASAI MARA SCHOOL TEACHING
Right in the heart of the Maasai Mara! Assist dedicated teachers & deserving students, in English, Maths, History, or even with Sports Coaching. With your help we can provide a quality education to the local people & you may be lucky enough to see wildlife in the distance. A National park with the Big 5, is just minutes away!
FOOD SECURITY & FARMING
This unique project in Kenya will allow you to assist on local farms, learning how they practice sustainable farming, through both traditional and hydroponic methods. Tasks can include working on avocado, mango, macadamia, coffee and tea farms. You may also get the chance to help with livestock such as cows, goats, pigs and poultry. A great way to get a feel for the local lifestyle.
MEDICAL CENTER INTERNSHIP
Shadow local doctors & learn about the healthcare system as you assist staff in a rural hospital in Kenya.This is aimed at volunteers with a medical background or those who are studying a related field. Based on level of experience, you’ll be given a variety of tasks, helping those with limited access to affordable quality health care.
Assist local teachers by taking care of the kids, teaching English, and other various activities. On this project you'll work alongside teachers at a rural school in Kenya to children aged 3-6. Share your knowledge of basic English, numbers, colours and help teach, alongside drawing, singing and other techniques adding to the fun lessons. You will also help with the caretaking of the classroom.
SPECIAL NEEDS TEACHING
Teach special needs kids for a truly rewarding experience in Kenya. Help and assist the local teachers in a rural school for children with special needs, and contribute to their confidence, knowledge and social interaction. You will be working with kids from different age groups and different levels of ability. Assist with teaching and engaging in fun, creative, educational and engaging activities.
MAASAI MARA WOMAN'S EMPOWERMENT
Help Maasai women utilise their skills in beadwork to create accessories they can sell. This helps them earn extra income & provides quality meals & schooling for their children. Inspire the next generation of girls who want to have opportunities, other than marriage and motherhood at a young age. Support these women into earning a living.
Why Involvement Volunteers International?
30 Years Experience
IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally.
Affordable Volunteer Travel
Safe & Responsible Projects
Work Experience & University Credits
Kenya is a stunning country, featuring almost every terrain and climate from desert, beach, cities and forests.
There is something for every traveler here, particularly for wildlife lovers. It has over 40 National parks throughout the country and holds the some of the world’s most loved and endangered animals. Here you will find lions, leopards, elephants, hippos and so much more! Kenya is famous for its incredible safaris, which are the countries main source of tourism.
Also well known is the semi nomadic Maasai tribe- a hugely symbolic tribe known for its colourful adornments and traditional clothing. Kenya is a nature lovers paradise, with a visit to the Great Rift Valley being a must. For those who enjoy a gentler pace then Kenya also offers some beautiful beaches, its coast stretching almost 80,000 kilometres.
The beach is also sunny for most of the year! The capital, Nairobi is the fifth largest city in Africa, with unique vibes and a vibrant nightlife. This bustling and cosmopolitan city will throw you into Kenyan way of life and be an interesting eye opener.
Kenya is a huge country with its climate changing from tropical along the coast, to arid in the northern regions and then mild inland temperatures.
Kenya receives a large amount of sunshine year-round but generally, the hottest months are between February and March while the coldest months are July to mid-August. The “long rains” start from March to June, while the “short rains” are between October and December.
Due to Kenya being a major hub for migration over the years, it has now become one of the most culturally diverse countries with many different languages spoken.
There are over 40 different ethnic groups in Kenya, including Luo, Kamba, Maasai and more. Each have their own of mother tongue, although Swahili remains the most widely spoken language. You will also find ethnic groups from European, Arab, Indian and Pakistani, who migrated to the country in the 19th century.
Religions such as Christianity and Islam are widely spread, however many local people still believe in the ancestral world, where the dead have a bearing on the living. Today, the majority of Kenya’s culture, dress, music and food has taken strong influence from other parts of Africa, India, Europe and the United States.
In certain parts of the country however, many local communities hold onto their traditional lifestyle and customs. They still wear the clothes, animal skins and jewellery as they did centuries before. Many remote tribes remain completely isolated and indigenous.
Gatanga Village, located about 1 hour by car from Nairobi is the main volunteer center were many of the projects are run from. This is a quiet village where you will have an incredible opportunity to experience the authentic, rural Kenya. It’s a lovely little Close by is the commercial town of Thika, where there are many restaurants, supermarkets etc. In this region you’ll also find the famous Fourteen Falls which is a powerful set of waterfalls with lots of natural attractions and sightseeing.
Narok County, (Maasai Mara country) in the southwestern region of Kenya is where the Maasai Mara placements are located. The wilderness landscape in this region is well preserved and as a national reserve area bordering Tanzania, is home to all the typical African animals we know and love. Buffalo, Elephants, Leopards, Lions, & Rhinos, Wildebeest, Cheeats, Crocs & Zebras). This region is home to the yearly wildebeest migration where millions of Wildebeast make their way to Tanzania across rivers dodging crocodiles, lions etc.
Click on the individual projects to see detailed info and pictures of your accommodation
In Gatanga Village, your accommodation is in a dedicated volunteer house where you will share with other international volunteers. All volunteers are asked to be environmentally aware and use all resources with restraint, particularly water, paper and electricity. There are occasional power and water cuts during the day (this will just add to your experience of living like a local!). The accommodation is very simple but comfortable and with all of the necessities you will need while here.
In Narok County, you’ll be housed in the school grounds in a homestay. The living arrangements here are very simple with few amenities, but the locals are very friendly, safe and welcoming to help make you feel at home. Adjusting to a more simple way of life can be challenging with limited resources, but can also be liberating to see how happy life can be without all the ‘stuff’ we’re used to in our daily lives. Highly recommended experience!
You will be expected to clean up after yourself and play your role in keeping the accommodation neat and tidy. The volunteer house is not far from the local Police station and a short walk to markets and shops. Please be aware that smoking is not accepted in public areas or even within the sight of local children and officials. Please refrain from smoking in these public places. The local dress is quite conservative. Small shorts, miniskirts and sleeveless tops are not considered appropriate to wear in the village. Women in particular should cover shoulders and knees.
You will have all meals provided and rooms cleaned on the weekends.
Traditional Kenyan meals usually consist of corn, potatoes and beans. A staple and popular dish is Ugali, a porridge made out of maize. Another typical meal is irio, which is a blend of corn, potatoes and beans dipped into meat or vegetable stews.
Your daily meals will consist of mainly Kenyan cuisine, which will be of vegetables, potatoes, eggs, bread, pancakes (commonly known as “chapati”) and fruits such as oranges, bananas and avocados.
- Introduction meeting, General/ house rules, Setting Expectations, Advice on Health and Safety and handling of documents.
- Kenyan Do’s and Don’ts, Introduction to Kenyan culture & history and Swahili Language Lessons.
Complimentary Arrival Transfer
Arriving by Plane
An arrival airport transfer is included when you arrive on Sunday before 2pm. For Saturday arrivals, a transfer is included free of charge, but you will have to pay for an additional nights accommodation at US$50 p/night including meals. For transfers outside of standard times, a transfer can be arranged for approx US$45.
There are four meeting times as follows:
Option A – Saturday 10:00am
Option B – Saturday 2:00pm
Option C – Sunday 10:00am
Option D – Sunday 2:00pm
Kenya Airways fly daily between Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Kisumu and Nairobi. Another popular airline is Air Kenya, which flies regularly between Nairobi, Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Amboseli, Maasai Mara, Meru, Nanyuki and Samburu.
Kenya has a large bus network between many of the country’s popular destinations but be advised that roads will be bumpy. For safety reasons, we highly advise to use the long-distance buses during daytime only, as crime increases after dark.
Minivans, locally known as “matatus” are another way to get around for short and medium distance journeys. Taking a matatu is a fantastic way to experience the real Kenya and you will often find them decorated in bright and fascinating colours. You can flag down a matatu from the side of the road and nowadays routes and schedules are provided on Google Maps, making it much easier to get around.
The train in Kenya is often named the “Lunatic Express”. It travels between Nairobi and Mombasa three times a week. It is without a doubt a unique experience to travel by train and see the local Kenyan way of life as you pass by. Do be aware that trains have a bad reputation for being extremely slow, often with delays. If you have time on your hands though, this can be a great way to experience the country.
During your free time after hour and on weekends, there are many places to explore in the surrounding areas.
For example, you can visit the Fourteen Falls in Thika, go trekking up to Mount Kenya (a stunning snow-capped peak), visit the amazing Mombasa beach or head out on a weekend of sightseeing in Nakura or Nairobi and explore national parks rich with native African wildlife.