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Maasai Teaching Volunteer Program in Kenya

With the introduction of free primary school education in Kenya, the Kenyan government was faced with a dilemma: a larger number of students with access to an education and not enough teachers to accommodate the growing class sizes. The majority of Maasai schools are required by law to have at least one teacher per class, however low teacher numbers mean there are often up to 75 children in one class.

The Maasai Teaching project is based approximately two hours south-west of Nairobi in rural Maasailand. You’ll be based in schools, helping teachers to manage large classes and delivering a better quality education to students between 4-15 years old. On top of that, you’ll have an immersive cultural experience in the African heartland.

Teaching volunteer in the Mombasa, Kenya with IVHQ

Teaching volunteers in Maasai assist with a range of lessons each day, including math, English, science, social studies, geography, history, art and physical education classes. You can help to provide one-to-one assistance for students who need it, and relieve the teacher of a class or two per day.

This project is for volunteers looking for a teaching experience like no other. Giraffes, gazelles and dik-diks often wander freely across the school grounds. It’s also not unusual for wild animals to burrow holes in the school field overnight.

This project is open to all volunteers - you don’t need to be qualified or an experienced teacher to participate on this project as you’ll be under the supervision of a local teacher. However, we encourage you to come prepared by completing relevant training, such as a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.

Please note, this project is not available during the school holidays, so if you apply during this time you will be switched to either Special Needs Care or Women’s Education, which are in Nairobi.

School Holidays 2020:

  • February 17th - February 21st
  • April 11th - May 3rd
  • June 15th - June 19th
  • August 8th - August 30th
  • October 31st - January 4th, 2021

Volunteers will spend your first day in Nairobi for project orientation, before being transferred to your placement location. You’ll be accommodated in a homestay with a local family where living is basic but authentic. It also presents a unique opportunity to fully immerse yourself in a rural African community and live like the locals do.

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Apply now
Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $280 for 1 week
  • Based in the rural Maasailand

  • Help local teachers in schools for 4-15 year olds

  • Stay in homestays and live like the locals do

  • Suited to volunteers interested in education, who want a unique cultural experience

  • Volunteer for up to 6 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Kenya at a glance
  • Based in the capital city Nairobi, with some projects in coastal Mombasa and Maasailand

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in local homestays or volunteer houses

  • Between 15 and 30 volunteers start in Kenya each month

The IVHQ Kenya volunteer program is based in the capital city, Nairobi, and this is where all volunteers will arrive.

As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to support projects in several locations around Kenya, including in and around Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa and Maasai. You can find the right volunteer opportunity for you based on the location or the type of volunteer work you want to take part in. Explore the project and location options below.

The majority of the volunteer projects begin on the 1st and 15th of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks.

The program orientation begins on the 1st and 15th of every month and volunteers need to arrive in Nairobi on the day before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Kenya prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Nairobi on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our local team in Nairobi. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Kenya – Introduction to Kenya, Kenyan Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Kenya, Introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing. Once your orientation is complete, you will be transported to your homestay and introduced to your host family.

First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays: A typical volunteer day would be as follows:

7.30 AM Breakfast with the host family.

8.30 AM - 2.00 PM Volunteers travel to their placements and meet with the placement staff. Work and hours at the placement are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at. There is usually a morning tea break and lunch break.

2.00 PM - 5.00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel back to their homestays, go sight seeing or do some shopping.

7.00 PM - 8.00 PM Dinner with the host family.

Please note, this schedule can vary depending on the particular project the volunteer is participating on.

Volunteers on most projects are accommodated in homestays with local families, who have been​ ​approved by our local ​team in Kenya. Volunteers can expect to share a bedroom​ ​​with two to four other volunteers, comprised of single beds and bunk beds. Bedding is provided.

Living is comfortable and most homestays have electricity,​ ​running water and western bathrooms. It is important to note that​ ​there are often power outages and water shortages​, and ​​volunteers need to be prepared to have the occasional bucket shower or​​ ​some time without power.​ Some rural homestays​, ​​and all homestays in Maasai, do not have electricity or running water​. In these locations you​ ​​can expect to find​ ​squat/pit toilets​.​

Our local team gives your host family a fee for your support, food and board. It is exciting to​ ​stay with a host family, providing you with a​ ​unique opportunity to learn about the​ ​Kenyan way of life, meet local people, try local food, speak the local language and​ ​engage in local customs and traditions​.​​

WiFi can be accessed from local cafes and restaurants within walking distance of most homestays in Nairobi. If you’re volunteering on the Teaching - Maasai project, WiFi can be difficult to access, so it’s recommended you purchase a local SIM card with data during your program orientation in Nairobi.

The wide range of Kenyan tribes, ethnicities and cultures are reflected in the diversity of the local cuisine. Volunteers are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), which are served at the accommodation.

Breakfast is served around 7am and generally consists of chai (tea), toast, fruit and sometimes mandazi (African donuts). A typical lunch can include vegetables with rice, occasional meat and fruit and is served around 1pm. If you are not returning home from your placement for lunch, you will need to pack your own lunch in the morning. Dinner is usually served around 8pm and usually includes traditional food, such as ugali, chapati, mboga and irio, alongside meat and vegetables.

Tap water is not safe to drink in Kenya, though bottled water is readily available. Volunteers typically drink around half a gallon, or two liters, per day, which adds up to cost around $10 per week.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please make a note on your application so arrangements can be made. However, it is important that volunteers do not expect to eat as you normally do at home.

“I felt like the local staff were family, even though I really did not know them! They always made sure that we were aware that we could contact them no matter what. The orientation was excellent! It was a great time to meet with other volunteers, get familiar with the staff, and start to feel at home in an unknown country! My favorite moment from the volunteering experience was spending time in my project, getting to know the kids, staff, and doing my best to help around with chores.” - Romie Garcia (Teaching Volunteer in Kenya)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Kenya here

Kenya

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
1 week $280
2 weeks $400
3 weeks $520
4 weeks $640
5 weeks $760
6 weeks $880
8 weeks $1,120
10 weeks $1,360
12 weeks $1,600
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • The Mombasa projects have a one-off extra cost of US$100 for the additional transport, supervision and logistics involved in these projects.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Kenya generally find US$50 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals

During the weekends, volunteers have free time to relax or take the opportunity to explore Nairobi, wider Kenya and Eastern Africa. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield (i.e. Mombasa, Uganda or Tanzania), or to embark on a safari. Sunday is a religious day of rest. If you wish, you can accompany your host family to their local church, as a Kenyan church service is a unique and special experience for many volunteers.

See our Kenya Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Kenya!

Capital Nairobi
Population 43.18 million
Languages Swahili and English
Currency Kenyan Shilling (KES)
Time zone UTC+03:00

Weather and climate: Kenya enjoys a tropical climate. It is hot and humid at the coast, temperate inland and very dry in the north and northeast parts of the country.

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this program, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.

All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Kenya.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!