About Rustic Volunteers Kenya

Volunteer in Kenya

A Life-Changing, Rewarding and Affordable Kenyan Experience!

Volunteering in Kenya and experience this opportunity of a lifetime! What better place to volunteer than the original safari destination? Kenya is overflowing with excitement for explorers, adventurers and travelers with its tropical beaches, coral reefs, snow-capped mountains, unparalleled wildlife, enchanting landscapes and rich culture. Rustic Volunteer invites you to volunteer in Kenya, explore a diverse culture and ultimately, enrich the lives of those who desperately need your help.

Through Volunteering Kenya programs, you will have the unique opportunity to serve local communities by working in schools, orphanages, clinics/hospitals or with local organizations. Take advantage of the endless opportunities to explore this East African adventure-land which is revered by anthropologists as the cradle of humanity.

Begin your African journey and email us now! We will be happy to send you more information so you can soon travel to an astonishing country and improve the lives of those you touch.

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Fees and Dates

Start Dates:

All volunteer programs start on the second and fourth Monday of each month.

If you are tired of expensive volunteer programs but want to make a positive contribution in the world, look no further! Rustic is dedicated to offering high-quality, well-organized and meaningful programs at the most affordable price in the United States. We work hard to keep costs as low as possible, focusing on the effectiveness of our projects, the safety of our volunteers and the quality of participant experiences. We currently offer the most competitive price possible in today's market including an application fee (of $299) AND a small weekly fee as follows:

Weeks Nairobi/Maasai Health/HIV
  1 Week   $150   $175
  2 Weeks   $250   $300
  3 Weeks   $350   $425
  4 Weeks   $450   $550
  5 Weeks   $550   $675
  6 Weeks   $650   $800
  7 Weeks   $750   $925
  8 Weeks   $850   $1050
  9 Weeks   $950   $1175
  10 Weeks   $1050   $1300
  11 Weeks   $1150   $1425
  12 Weeks   $1250   $1550

Mandatory Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day

Airport pick up/transfer (45 miles) $50 Nairobi

Airport pick up/transfer (75 miles) $75 masai

Summer volunteer and adventure (4 weeks include safari) $2269

  • Program fee covers
    • Accommodation
    • 3 meals a day
    • Donation to project
    • In-country office expenses
    • Field support
    • Project coordination
    • Emergency support
    • Airport welcome
  • Program fee does not cover
    • International flights
    • Passport and visa fees
    • Immunizations
    • Personal food and beverages
    • Entertainment
    • Local transportation
    • Laundry
    • Communication (telephone, internet)
    • Personal items
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Volunteer Programs in Kenya

Work in an Orphanage (Nairobi )

Kenya has an increasing number of orphans who have been affected by diseases such as HIV/AIDS, poverty, abuse and abandonment. Orphanages need your help now to help care for these children and provide them with the healthy childhood that every child deserves. Rustic Volunteer is currently working with more than 13 local orphanages in Kenya. If you are passionate about children and enthusiastic about helping others, we invite you to volunteer in an orphanage in Kenya and help provide care and support to underprivileged children. Help is needed to improve living conditions and provide educational activities for the children. This is a rewarding opportunity for Rustic volunteers/travelers to work on the front lines in Kenya and feed and provide assistance to these forgotten little ones. Volunteer in an orphanage in Kenya and brighten the lives of these children. You will have an unforgettable experience.

Project/Volunteer's Life

As a volunteer/traveler in Kenya working in an orphanage, responsibilities will vary depending on individual skills and interests and the needs of the orphanage, but may include:

  • Teaching English
  • Teaching other subjects such as math, science, health, etc.
  • Helping home-schooled children in the orphanage
  • Assisting/educating children in areas of personal hygiene (i.e. brushing and flossing teeth, etc.)
  • In the afternoons/evenings, organizing activities, games, sing-a-longs and dances as well as other creativity-based activities to teach the children
  • Helping children with homework
  • Observing academic progress
  • Playing with children
  • Helping orphanage staff with administrative tasks
  • Cleaning and helping children with daily chores
  • Helping to maintain orphanage garden
  • Cooking and helping local staff during meal times
  • Assisting local staff with fundraising and grant proposals
Skills and Qualification

There are no specific skills or qualifications needed to volunteer in the orphanage project in Kenya. However, volunteers are expected to be passionate about working with children. You should also be flexible, patient, caring and open minded.

Teaching English ( Nairobi)

Volunteer as an English teacher in Kenya and help enhance the futures of your students! There is a lack of teachers in most schools located in the outer city areas and villages. The Kenyan education system recently went through major changes and free education is now provided to the primary level. More students are now going to school, is there is a shortage of teachers in the public schools. To fill this gap, your contribution as a volunteer teaching English would be highly appreciated by Kenyans. Rustic Volunteer currently partners with local schools to place volunteers in a number of roles from teaching formal to informal English programs in Kenya. This is a great opportunity to travel to an astonishing country while gaining professional experience and enriching Kenyan education.

School will remain closed in Kenya in Apr-May and Aug-Sep. Volunteers can teach in orphanage during this time.

Project/Volunteer's Life

As a volunteer teaching English in Kenya, your job responsibilities may vary depending on the needs of each school (secondary or primary). The schools will provide the curriculum and teaching materials. Volunteers work mostly as an assistant to the main English teacher. Daily activities may include:

  • Teaching basic English to the children
  • Teaching other subjects such as math or science
  • Playing with the children
  • Organizing extracurricular activities such as music, dancing, sports, art, games, etc.
  • Teaching life skills such as painting, sewing, cooking, etc.
  • Promoting nutrition and health
  • Helping to fundraise for schools
  • Working on curriculum development
  • Assisting school administrations with daily tasks
  • Helping with basic maintenance of schools
  • Aiding local school staff in any way possible
Skills and Qualification

There are no specific skills or requirements necessary to volunteer teaching English in Kenya. You do not need previous teaching experience or a degree in teaching to enroll in the project. However, you should be a fluent English speaker (if you’re not a native English speaker) and be flexible, as working in Kenya will be very different from working back home.

Health Care Project (Nairobi)

This is the perfect project for healthcare/medical students and professionals to gain international work experience and most importantly, help Kenyans live healthy and productive lives. There is an extreme lack of manpower and resources in the local hospitals, which are located in the outer city areas and villages. For this reason, Rustic Volunteer invites you to volunteer in the healthcare/medical project in Kenya to work alongside doctors, nurses and local staff. We partner with local hospitals in Kenya to place volunteers who want to share their knowledge, time, skills and talents with patients who may not otherwise have access to healthcare. Participating as a health care volunteer opens tremendous opportunities for volunteers to experience new opportunities in their lives and careers. In addition, volunteers have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves into another culture and positively contribute to communities where the need is the greatest.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Each volunteer in Kenya working in the community health/medical project will have varying responsibilities and tasks and volunteer projects will depend on one’s qualifications and certifications as a medical professional. Duties may include:

  • Helping with routine check-ups
  • Assisting in the lab
  • Helping patients with physical therapy
  • Working in rehabilitation centers
  • Providing basic first aid and care
  • Shadowing health workers, therapists, nurses or doctors
  • Working with organization administrations
  • Helping in the pharmacy
  • Recording patient details
  • Measuring vital signs such as blood pressure, height, weight
  • Distributing medicines
  • Assisting with medical procedures
  • Helping incoming patients
  • Performing and assist in the in-day emergency room
  • Partnering with local doctors
  • Qualified doctors can diagnose and treat patients
Skills and Qualification

Rustic Volunteers/travelers interested in joining the volunteer health program must possess a health care certification such as an ID as a medical student, EMT or paramedic certification, or nursing or physician's credentials. Medical volunteers without credentials are not allowed to work in this program because of the potential risk. The hospitals require a copy of your resume, clearly stating credentials and education before your arrival to the project.

HIV/AIDS Awareness

Every years AIDS claims the lives of thousands of Kenyan children and adults. It is estimated that about 900,000 Kenyans are infected with HIV/AIDS and sadly, that number is expanding rapidly. In collaboration with local groups, Rustic Volunteer has established HIV/AIDS projects seeking to foster awareness among the local communities. Rustic Volunteer is urgently asking for volunteers to step up and promote awareness against the deadly disease. As a volunteer in the HIV/AIDS Awareness Project in Kenya, you will work alongside local experts and engage in training, education and demonstration activities to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in the local Kenyan population. This project is very challenging, however volunteers gain the opportunity to help save lives and prevent further human disaster in this country.

Project/Volunteer's Life

As a volunteer in the HIV/AIDS project in Kenya, your responsibilities will vary with your education, skills, experience and qualifications. While partnering with local clinics and organizations, daily volunteer activities may include:

  • Counseling
  • Promoting support groups
  • Helping with the feeding program (if the center has one)
  • Visiting patients and their families
  • Participating in public awareness
  • Teaching patients about health, nutrition and sanitation
  • Keeping records of patients
  • Providing educational trainings to increase and generate awareness on HIV/AIDS and stop it from spreading
  • Assisting organizations establish various community outreach programs
  • Fundraising
  • Helping local organizations and clinics with administrative tasks
  • Teaching English, business skills and life-skills to affected families
Skills and Qualification

There are no specific skills or qualifications needed to join the HIV/AIDS awareness project. However, volunteers are expected to be flexible, patient and have passion and love for people. You should also be open-minded and flexible during the project.

Meals/Accommodations

Rustic Volunteer arranges volunteer meals, accommodations and strong field supervision for the duration of projects and optional travel packages. In Kenya, most volunteers stay in our home base, a permanent home established for our international volunteers. Our home base in Kenya is located in a very safe and clean neighborhood. There are internet cafés, restaurants, local bus stations, a police station and supermarkets near our home base. The home base provides is a comfortable place to relax after a long day. There are several bedrooms (which may be shared with a same-gender volunteer) and community areas. There is a shared kitchen and shared bathrooms, which have running water and "western-style" toilets.

Depending on the influx of volunteers, accommodations could be with a host family. Host family accommodations are simple and clean homes in safe neighborhoods. Volunteers usually have a private bedroom, but occasionally rooms will be shared with a same-gender volunteer. Our host families are well screened and are respected members of their communities who live in affluent neighborhoods. Most of our host families have experience with hosting international volunteers. Host family stays are a great chance for cultural immersion and exchange.

Volunteers receive three local meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We can provide vegetarian meal options, but needs must be detailed in a volunteer's application. Snacks and beverages outside of mealtimes are not provided; however, there are local restaurants and grocery stores near the residences in which we place volunteers.

Rustic offers unparalleled field support to volunteers to ensure a safe and rewarding experience. There are many layers of support for you. The most important support comes from our country coordinator/field staff. The secondary support comes from the host project staff and members of host families and/or a home base staff. Volunteers will have access to our country coordinator's mobile number and they are available 24/7. Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. Our field staff will visit regularly (every 2-4 weeks) to make sure things are going well and as planned. However, if placement is far from our local offices, staff members will stay in touch via email/ phone. Volunteers are also welcome to stop in the offices at any time.

Specific details regarding accommodations, food and contact details for our local coordinator will be provided in a personalized volunteer placement documentation prior to arrival.

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Project Locations:

Rustic Volunteer Kenyan ProjectsRustic Volunteer Kenyan projects are available in the town of Nairobi and Watamu. Nairobi is the nation's capital and is famous for its proximity to safaris and national parks. Watamu is a beach town on the coast of the Indian Ocean and is known for fishing, snorkeling and diving. Kenya's multicultural metropolitan cities are renowned for their deeply-rooted cultural atmosphere where visitors are always welcomed. It's full of contrasts from traditional culture and history to modern infrastructure and the amenities you would expect from a modern city. Volunteers can organize several excursions during and after the project to visit attractions. There is a tourist infrastructure already in place that the volunteers can use during weekends and free time such as national parks, markets, museums, restaurants, nightclubs, tourist villages, mausoleums, art galleries, golf courses, crocodile farms, nature trails, hotels, Bombolulu workshops and much more.

Major FAQs - Kenya

  • Application Process
  • Please read Rustic Volunteer's 5-step application

    • There are two options for applying to volunteer/travel in Kenya through our program. You can apply online or you can download an application, fill it out and mail it in to us. You will need to submit your application with a $200 application fee. This fee is required to make an application valid.
    • Once we get your application, we will immediately send it to Kenya for processing. They go over your application carefully and find the best project possible for you. The decisions for room and food are made at this time, Arrangement for room and food depends on the location of the project. The vast majority of our volunteers stay in full immersion home stays though some orphanage projects are residential.
    • Once we get the details of your placements, we pass it on to you with a final invoice. Your final payment is due six weeks before your start date, and in expedited cases, as soon as possible. The placement details have local contact information use them for contacts on your Visa application or to get in touch with the local staff and host family.
    • Preparation for trips should include reading about Kenya, immunization, travel Visa (entry permit), and booking airfare. If you face any problems our Program Manager is always available for assistance.
  • Arrival Information
  • Arrival Point:

    Jomo Kenyatta International Airport , Nairobi

    Airport Pick-up

    Upon the receipt of your flight information, our in-country coordinator or other project staff will greet the volunteers in the airport and take you to your project site. The address and telephone number of the local contact hotel will be given before departure just in case volunteers miss our representative in the airport. Please make sure to e-mail your flight information to both the USA office and the local in-country coordinator's office.

    Departure Point:

    Jomo Kenyatta International Airport , Nairobi

    Airport Drop:

    Rarely, a few do request an escort back to the airport; this is an extra expense of about $75. Most are very familiar and comfortable with their stay and have great ease taking their own taxi or bus back to the airport.

    Internal Transportation:

    Rustic Volunteer manages one-way transportation to project. Volunteers will be responsible for their own personal and return travel. We do not cover daily transportation from host family/hotel to the project. Our program is designed to save you the volunteer as much as possible.

    Start Dates:

    1st and 3rd Monday of each month

    Arrival Before Start Date:

    Rustic Volunteers/Travelers coming to Kenya are advised to arrive one day before their program start date. If you arrive more than one day early or stay after the program, you will be responsible for your room and food expenses.

    Working Hours:

    30- 40 hours per week

  • Visa
  • Rustic strongly suggest that all volunteers apply for a tourist visa, in a timely manner before departing for Kenya. Please call our office or contact the local Kenya embassy to learn more about visas, visa fees and visa extensions. Getting your tourist visa is your responsibility.

  • Health & Safety
  • Being informed is your first defense against disease and safety risks. We recommend visiting some of the following websites for health and safety information:

    WHO website for international travelers ( http://www.who.int/csr/ihr/en/ )

  • Vaccination
  • Rustic Volunteer closely follows the Center for Disease Control's traveler's health recommendations ( www.cdc.gov ). Discuss your travel plans and personal health with your health-care provider to determine which vaccines are necessary.

    Recommended

    The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to East Africa - including Kenya

    • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
    • Hepatitis B especially if you might be exposed to blood or bodily fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment. The Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years of age who did not receive the series of vaccines as infants.
    • Malaria: your risk of malaria may be high in all countries in East Africa , including cities. See your health care provider for a prescription anti-malarial drug. For details concerning risk and preventive medications, see Malaria Information for Travelers to East Africa .
    • Meningococcal (meningitis) if you plan to visit countries in this region that experience epidemics of meningococcal disease during December through June, (see see Map 4-9 on the Meningoccocal Disease page ).
    • Rabies , pre-exposure vaccination, if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling, or engaging in certain occupational activities.
    • Typhoid vaccine. Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria , measles , and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults.

    Required Vaccinations

  • Money Matter
  • The local currency in Kenya is the shilling and Kenyans use shillings and cents. You might need $5-20 per day for your personal expenses like water or soft drinks, taxis, traveling and shopping. The best way is to carry a debit card as ATM machines are available in Nairobi and Mombasa (in airport and major hotels) where you can withdraw local currency. Another alternative is traveler's checks, which are secure and can be cashed in local banks, during business hours.

    In Kenya, people of US or European decent are considered rich regardless of your true circumstances. This will make you a target for pick pockets and scam artists ('fly catchers'). Participants are required to be smart about their money matters when traveling through Kenya. Please be advised to pay attention to these suggestions.

    Your credit card information can be stolen and used fraudulently just by making a credit card payment. For this reason, cash and travelers checks are suggested to settle most accounts. You will have trouble paying with traveler's checks, but you will be able to exchange them at local banks. Traveler's checks are recommended as a safe way to carry money with you, make sure you write down the check numbers and contact information you need to cancel stolen checks. Different brands of traveler's checks work better in different countries so consult your local financial institution about which company you should buy your checks from.

    • Avoid external money pouches, dangling backpacks and camera bags
    • Don't flash money, your wallet or jewelry
    • Travel in pairs or groups to the ATM
    • Remain aware of the exchange rate and cost of items
    • Take requests for 'donations' with a grain of salt
    • Store money in a secure, well-hidden place or safe
    • Carry money in different pockets and places
  • Field Support and Supervision
  • How does Rustic Volunteer help me when I am in the field? How can I maintain communication? Does Rustic Volunteer visit volunteers?

    Once the volunteer program starts, our local staff will stay in touch with volunteers. In Kenya, our projects are approximately 10-25 km from our office (and usually located in rural settings outside of the highway). Our coordinators stay in touch with volunteers via personal visits, telephone calls or emails. The director of each project will serve as the participants' immediate supervisor. Rustic Volunteer's Kenya coordinator maintains a mobile phone so participants are able to reach him with questions and concerns.

  • Communication
  • How do I communicate with my family and Rustic Volunteer staff? Is there internet?

    Volunteers are requested to bring their mobile phones. Upon arrival in Kenya, participants can purchase and change sim-cards as there are 2-3 electronic shops in the airport. Sim-cards can be placed into almost any internationally capable cell phone and provides service in Kenya. Participants are encouraged to ensure that they are bringing the right telephone. This is the perfect way to stay in touch with your family and Rustic Volunteer's office. Internet Cafes are widely-available in most areas of Nairobi and Watamu.

  • Climate of Kenya
  • Kenya has various topographical regions which experience distinct climates.

    Generally, the hottest time is in February and March and the coldest in July and August. The coastal region is largely humid and wet. The city of Malindi, for instance, receives an average rainfall of 1,050 mm (41 in) per year, with average temperatures ranging from 21° to 32°C (70° to 90°F) in January and 20° to 29°C (68° to 84°F) in July.

    The low plateau area is the driest part of the country. There, the town of Wajir receives an average annual rainfall of 320 mm (13 in) and experiences average temperatures ranging from 19° to 37°C (66° to 99°F) in January and 19° to 34°C (66° to 93°F) in July.

    Nairobi, in the temperate Kenyan highlands, receives an average annual rainfall of 790 mm (31 in) and experiences average temperatures ranging from 9° to 29°C (48° to 84°F) in January and 7° to 26°C (45° to 79°F) in July.

    Higher elevation areas within the highlands receive much larger amounts of rainfall. The Lake Victoria basin in western Kenya is generally the wettest region in the country, particularly the highland regions to the north and south of Kisumu, where average annual rainfall ranges from 1,740 mm (70 in) to 1,940 mm (80 in). Average temperatures in this region range from 14° to 34°C (57° to 93°F) in January and 14° to 30°C (57° to 86°F) in July

    The average annual temperatures in the main areas are:

    Mombassa (coastal): Max 30°C, Min 22°C
    Nairobi: Max 25°C, Min 13°C
    North plain lands: Max 34°C, Min 23°C

    Rainfall occurs seasonally throughout most of Kenya. The coast, eastern plateaus and lake basin experience two rainy seasons:

    - The "long rains" extends roughly from March to June,
    - The "short rains" lasts from approximately October to December.

    The highlands of western Kenya have a single rainy season, lasting from March to September.

    All parts of the country are subject to periodic droughts or delays in the start of the rainy seasons. Kenya's climate has had a profound effect on settlement patterns and for centuries, the population has been concentrated in the wettest areas of the country.

  • Materials to Bring
  • Usually, items of daily use are available in Kenya at a cheaper price. However, we suggest volunteers pack the following things:

    • Camera
    • Mobile phone (participants can use mobile phones after changing sim cards)
    • Sleeping bag
    • Mosquito repellent
    • Insect repellent
    • Sun-block/sun-screen
    • Map of Kenya
    • Toiletries
    • First-aid kit
    • Flash light
    • Electricity adapter/converter
    • Sunglasses
    • Footwear (for work and travel)
    • Towel
  • Gift for Host Family and Project
  • It is a common courtesy to bring a small gift for the family that will be hosting you. You are not required to do so, but if you choose to bring something it can be pretty simple. We suggest a box of chocolates, a t-shirt with a hometown logo, pictures of your family and some local post cards.

    If you want to bring gifts for your project (and if you are working for an orphanage or a school please bring pencils, pens and paper or art supplies like markers and construction paper and games. Remember that every child will need these items so you may wish to bring a bunch of one thing.

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