Rural Medical Centre Volunteering

Medical volunteering in Africa is a truly unique experience! Shadow local doctors and learn about their healthcare sysem, as you assist staff in a rural hospital in Kenya. IVI's Medical Program is aimed at volunteers with a medical background or those who are studying a related field. Based on your level of experience, you’ll be given a variety of tasks, helping those with limited access to affordable quality health care. This is an incredible opportunity to make a real difference.


project photos –

Program Description

Kenya is a developing country, with a health care sector that remains to be a work in progress. Local communities, particularly those living in rural and less developed areas have little access to affordable health care.

Volunteering with IVI on our medical project, you will gain hands on, practical experience, whilst assisting the local people to be able to receive health care that is readily available and affordable.

There are some government-owned health care centres and hospitals in the smaller villages but unfortunately, they are often understaffed, with limited equipment and facilities.

Your role will be to shadow and work alongside the local doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. Depending on the needs at the time, you will be placed at either a district hospital or a small health care centre. The tasks you will be given will greatly depend on your prior experience, skills and ability.

Program Duration & Availability

Min duration (weeks):1

Aims & Objectives

  • Gain valuable work experience
  • Exchange knowledge and work practices with Kenyan nurses and doctors
  • Interact with the local community through service-based communications


Monday to Friday

You will spend up to five hours volunteering at the hospital with a break for lunch. A typical day would be:

  • Breakfast
  • Assisting/ shadowing professionals at the local centre/hospital
  • Lunch
  • Assisting/ shadowing professionals at the local centre/hospital
  • Dinner

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age:18

Maximum age: none

Minimum English level: Basic

CRB required: On Signup

Passport copy required: No

Resume copy required: On Signup

Required qualification: Medical Background

Additional Requirements

  • A medical background or related work experience is required for this project – Nursing and medical students are welcome to apply

Additional Equipment

  • Modest clothing – You must have your knees and shoulders covered, expect to wear scrubs and/or other appropriate clothing for medical staff.
  • Surgical gloves, appropriate closed-toe shoes, scrubs, coats and masks for yourself.
  • Feel free to bring along additional material or supplies that could be beneficial for your project.


Gatanga Village will be your new home and allows an incredible opportunity to experience an authentic, rural Kenya. Close by is the industrial town of Thika, where you will be able to find any supplies you need. Nairobi is just over an hour away by car so can easily be visited for weekend nights out and sightseeing. You can also explore many of the natural areas nearby Gatanga, for example, Fourteen Falls, a set of powerful waterfalls.

Accommodation & Food

About the Accommodation

Your accommodation will be at our volunteer house in Gatanga Village.  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.

You will have all meals provided and rooms cleaned on the weekends. 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.

*Please be advised that in the event of an excess number of volunteers, we may use other accommodation houses in the area that will meet a similar standard to the main accommodation.

Available Room Types

Standard Room
All meals includedYes *
Free beveragesYes **
Persons per room2-4
Wifi in public areasYes
Laundry facilitiesYes ***
Safety boxNo
Lockable roomsYes
Hot showerYes
Private bathroomNo
Bed linenYes

*   3 meals on weekdays, 2 on weekends
**  Drinking Water is provided
*** Limited – expect to hand wash or pay for launder services

Food Arrangements

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.


Thika town is located a 30-minute drive away from the volunteer house and is packed with supermarkets, shops, ATMs, local markets and good restaurants. You have a choice of local transport available in Thika, such as bicycle and motorbike taxis, van taxis and buses. The local minibuses called “matatus” are very tightly packed but a great way to experience local culture. They can be found near the local market during the day and can drop you off in Thika town. The bus station in Thika is the base for many tour companies, departing on tours and day trips to various parts of Kenya.

Mandatory Orientation Day

On your first Monday in Gatanga, you will join our orientation day. This is an important day to help you become familiar with your surroundings, as well as learning about the local customs. Your program will continue like usual from Tuesday and throughout the rest of the week.


  • 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.
  • You will be shown around the house, local area and where you can find nearby shops. This is where you can buy a local SIM card if required.
  • Lunch
  • Tour to a Coffee Factory
  • Hike to a local Waterfall

Activities & Events

No scheduled activities outside the project.

Sights & Surroundings

During your free time, 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 gorgeous Mombasa beach or head out on a weekend of sightseeing in Nakuru or Nairobi and explore the national parks.

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