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Volunteer Abroad in Kenya with IVHQ

Volunteer in Kenya

Volunteer in Kenya with International Volunteer HQ on a wide range of volunteer abroad projects including Teaching, Childcare and Women's Education. Volunteers are based throughout a variety of Kenyan communities, volunteering in and around Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa, Maasai and surrounding rural villages. With volunteer program fees starting from US$280 (approximately £225), you will not find a more affordable and trustworthy volunteer travel organisation.
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Watch IVHQ volunteers abroad in Kenya

At a glance…

  • Available year-round
  • 11 meaningful project options
  • Projects based in and around Nairobi, Mombasa, Maasai or Nanyuki
  • Accommodation in local homestays or a volunteer house
  • Between 15 and 30 volunteers start in Kenya each month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Program fees from US$280 (approximately £225) for 1 week
  • Safari weekend options available
My first experience living and working in another country was fully satisfied through IVHQ. My host mom, fellow volunteers and local staff made the transition very easy and accommodating. Without hesitation I would recommend IVHQ for first timers abroad as well as people who are very experienced travellers, you will be hosted with the best Kenyans around.
IVHQ Volunteer - Myranda Laursen
Myranda Laursen
Nationality: American
Age: 20
Destination: Kenya
  • Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organisation in Kenya to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
  • Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Kenya will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
  • Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
  • Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
  • Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organisations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
  • New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travellers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
  • Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Kenya with your new-found friends.

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. While the IVHQ Kenya Wildlife Conservation project is based in Nanyuki. 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.

Our Wildlife Conservation project has a maximum duration of 2 weeks and the start dates change each month, refer to the project description below for more information.

Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and East Africa’s most cosmopolitan city. Volunteer projects are located in this bustling city as well as in surrounding urban areas such as Kibera and Nakuru. Placements can be up to 1.5 hours from your accommodation, which allows for an exciting opportunity to explore the greater region.

Childcare

Childcare centres in Nairobi can host between 15-100 children at any one time, making them unpredictable and busy places. As a result, there is a high demand for volunteers who love children and have the energy to keep up with the number of children in these centres. The children love interacting with volunteers and will be sure to keep you on your feet!

Childcare volunteers in Nairobi can expect to help out with the day-to-day operations in a range of pre-schools, baby daycare centers and kindergartens. Each centre caters to children of differing ages, however, you will typically work with children between the ages of 1 and 6 years old. You are often required to teach basic English and math, and you can expect to assist with the general running of the centre and daily chores such as cooking, cleaning, helping with farm work, caring for children and babies and assisting with meal times.

This project is open to all volunteers - a background in childcare is not required as you will be working alongside local staff. Childcare centres are closed during school holidays in April, August, November or December, so those looking to volunteer in these months will be placed on another project.

Teaching

Teaching volunteers in Nairobi are valuable additions in both local and rural schools, as outside influences open the minds and broaden the horizons of students, as well as provide valuable exposure to the English language. Volunteer placements are located in both community schools and government schools, where you will assist local teachers with lessons each day.

This project is well suited to aspiring teachers as well as volunteers with an interest in education and supporting youth development opportunities in disadvantaged communities.

Your tasks may include taking classes alongside local teachers in math, English, science, social studies (geography and history), art and physical education. Some schools also offer additional, after school lessons in health and hygiene education, and volunteers can choose to assist with them. These classes were established by volunteers and rely on volunteers to continue. There is also the opportunity to participate on a computer support placement. If either of these after school opportunities interest you, please make note of this on your application.

Volunteers don’t need to be a qualified or experienced teacher to participate, as work is done under the supervision of local staff. 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-recognised TEFL certification at a discounted rate.

Schools are closed during school holidays in April, August, November and December, so those looking to volunteer in these months will be placed on another project.

Music

Music is a universal language and a colorful representation of the rich cultural heritage of Kenya. The aim of this project is to support local children to embrace a positive form of self-expression and to let their voices and songs be heard.

This project is well suited to volunteers who have a passion for music and are able to independently create and implement their own music lesson plans.

Volunteers on the Music project are placed in schools, where you can expect to provide students​ ​with a basic understanding of musical theory, as well as​ ​instrument and vocal training. Volunteers are also able to teach music on specific instruments, however schools are generally not well equipped so it’s recommended you bring that instrument with you to Kenya.

Previous volunteers have ​​taught a general introduction to music or have focused on teaching specific instruments, such as the guitar, flute or maraca.​ ​Singing is popular among the children, and if ​you have experience in singing or choir directing, this can be highly​ ​beneficial. In addition, you can facilitate​ ​traditional music lessons, where students share and learn​ ​cultural and tribal songs from each other. The Music project is mainly ​run ​after school, so you may be required to teach other classes ​​​such as math, English and social sciences during the day.

This project is open to all volunteers, though a background in​ ​music, a basic knowledge of musical theory and practical​ ​ability are imperative to be a successful volunteer on this​ ​project.

Schools are closed during school holidays in April, August, November and December, so those looking to volunteer in these months will be placed on another project.

Women’s Education

More than 1.6 million Kenyans live with HIV/AIDS, and women make up a disproportionately high percentage of that number. As a volunteer on the Women’s Education project in Kenya, you will work closely with centres that commonly support women affected by HIV/AIDS in providing companionship, guidance and sometimes childcare. The primary aim of this project is to empower women through income-generating projects, education and skills training.

Volunteers assist in a range of areas, including counseling, skill training and campaign/education development. This project is particularly good for those with skills and interests in arts and craft-making, as well as an interest in supporting women to become self-sufficient. At many of the centres, women are able to learn sewing, tailoring, candle-making and jewelry-making through subsidised courses. The women also have access to finance and small business management courses, enabling them to start their own craft-making or tailoring businesses to generate an income and provide for their families.

Not all of the women this project works with suffer from HIV/AIDS; some have joined the centres to help improve their overall living situation and learn vital skills to help become self sufficient. While volunteering you may also have the opportunity to help on outreach work in wider local communities and slum areas.

As you will be volunteering alongside local staff, you do not need previous experience or training in HIV/AIDS support or women’s education, however we strongly recommend you gain some understanding of these areas prior to your arrival in Kenya.

Special Needs Care

Due to lack of support and education around disability awareness in Kenya, many disabled children and adults are hidden from public view by their families. The Kenyan culture is built largely around family values and beliefs, and it is expected that children should be able to contribute while at home and ultimately provide for themselves when they reach adulthood. However, there are large numbers of children born with either mental or physical disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome, who do not have access to support and cannot provide for themselves. There are also many Kenyans who become disabled through the course of their lives.

As a volunteer on this project you will assist with providing daily hands-on support and disability education among families and local communities. This project is well suited to caring and open minded individuals, with an interest in helping those with special needs.

Your tasks will depend on your experience and any relevant qualifications but may include assisting with physiotherapy and rehabilitation for the children or adults, teaching, general supervision, interacting and providing training for the family and their community.

You are not required to have previous experience or training in special needs care to participate as you will be working closely alongside local staff, though relevant experience is required for physiotherapy tasks.

Sports Education

Sport plays a big role in the lives of young, enthusiastic Kenyans. Many children grow up with very little, but by using sport as an outlet for fun and competition, they gain skills and coordination while enjoying themselves at the same time. As a volunteer on our Sports Education project, you will help to broaden their knowledge of sports, teach foreign sports and educate them about general fitness, health and wellbeing.

If you are someone who has a passion for sports and wish to work with children in schools, but would prefer not to spend all of your time teaching in a classroom, this project will be well suited to you.

Your tasks may include teaching both local and international sports. Many volunteers have found it rewarding to teach children from their home countries, such as baseball, lacrosse, basketball, cricket and rugby. You will need to plan ahead and bring the required materials and equipment with you, as it is unlikely you will find this equipment at the local stores in Kenya. The children are extremely enthusiastic and willing to learn, and it’s important to come prepared with your own lesson plans.

As you will be volunteering alongside local teachers, volunteers do not need any previous teaching experience, however it is important to note that you may be required to teach other classes, such as math, English, science or social studies.

Schools are closed during school holidays in April, August, November and December, so those looking to volunteer in these months will be placed on another project.

The Mombasa projects are located approximately eight hours drive south-east of Nairobi on the picturesque coast of the Indian Ocean. Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city, but as it’s based on the coast it can offer more of a tropical, beach-side experience. Volunteers are accommodated in a local homestay, which allows for an exciting opportunity to get fully immersed in the local culture alongside a local family.

You will need to arrive into Nairobi where you will be met by our local team and stay for your first night and program orientation before transferring to your Mombasa homestay.

In Mombasa, volunteers can choose to participate on one of the following projects:

Childcare - Mombasa

Childcare centres are important bases for families and children in rural neighbourhoods around Mombasa, such as Likoni and Ukunda. Children from these backgrounds are often disadvantaged, and these centres provide a welcome place for children to go during the day, taking pressure off other family members that go to school or work. If you love working with children and are willing to help out wherever support is needed most, this project will be a good fit for you.

Your tasks may include cooking, cleaning, feeding, washing and caring for the children, as well as entertaining and playing with them. Each centre caters to children of a range of ages, however, volunteers generally work with children between 1 and 6 years old.

This project is open to all volunteers and a background in childcare is not required as you will be working alongside local staff. Childcare centres are closed during school holidays in April, August, November and December, so those looking to volunteer in these months you will be placed on another project.

Please note the Childcare project in Mombasa has an extra cost of US$100 for the additional transport, supervision and logistics required. This will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.

Teaching - Mombasa

Many schools in under-privileged areas of Mombasa are run on extremely tight budgets, but the education they provide can be critical to helping disadvantaged children to get away from the poverty they can face. The aim of the Teaching project in Mombasa is to help increase access to education within community schools in the slum-like areas of Likoni and Ukunda. Volunteers make up an important part of the education these schools provide simply by being unpaid teaching assistants that can help students achieve more.

This project is well suited to aspiring teachers, as well as volunteers with a keen interest in teaching and education. As a Teaching volunteer in Mombasa, you can expect to assist local teachers with daily classes in math, English, science, social studies, geography, history, art and physical education.

This project is open to all volunteers with an interest in teaching, and you do not need to be qualified or experienced to participate. However, IVHQ offers volunteers the opportunity to upskill for their teaching projects by gaining an internationally-recognised teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) certification at a discounted rate.

Schools are closed during school holidays in April, August, November and December, so those looking to volunteer in these months you will be placed on another project.

Please also note the Teaching project in Mombasa has an extra cost of US$100 for additional transport, supervision and logistics required. This will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.

Women’s Education - Mombasa

Gender inequality continues to be a challenge in Kenya and it impacts not only women, but also their children and families for generations to come. However, community centers play an active role in enhancing the prospects of women by empowering and supporting women to become self sufficient.

Volunteers are based in community centers in the neighborhood of Bamburi, focusing on providing support and mentorship for women needing help with small business management, financing and educational development. This helps to increase independence among women, which, in turn, allows them to better support their families.

Most women are involved in a variety of crafts including basket weaving, sewing, tailoring and jewelry-making, and the craft​s they make are then sold in order to generate income and provide for their families. Volunteers who enjoy arts and crafts or have a background in managing finances or small business projects are perfectly suited to assist on this project.

Volunteers are encouraged to create sustainable educational training materials on topics such as managing​ finances, vocational skills and building self-esteem to ensure future generations can continue to receive valuable support and basic training. There is also an opportunity to help with childcare-related tasks, as some women bring their children to the center.

Please note the Women’s Education project in Mombasa has an extra cost of US$100 for additional transport, supervision and logistics required. This will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.

Teaching - Maasai

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 50 children in one class.

The Maasai Teaching project is based approximately five hours south-west of Nairobi in a rural area of Maasai. The aim of this project is to provide teaching support in small Maasai communities which are in desperate need of volunteer assistance.

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 and it is not unusual for wild animals to burrow holes in the school field overnight.

When volunteering on this project, you can expect to assist local teachers with daily math, English, science, social studies, geography, history, art and physical education classes, providing one-to-one assistance and potentially relieving the teacher of a class or two per day.

This project is open to all volunteers - you do not 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, volunteers with a particular interest in teaching English are encouraged to up-skill before your Teaching project by gaining an internationally-recognised Teaching English as a Foreign Language ((TEFL) certification, available for a discounted rate to IVHQ volunteers.

Please note this project is closed during school holidays in April, August, November and December.

Volunteers will spend their first day in Nairobi for project orientation, before being transferred to your placement location. Volunteers are 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.

Rural Kenya is iconic for its distinctly African landscape and wildlife. Many people in rural communities still live a traditional lifestyle unique to their own customs, and these communities offer a snapshot into authentic African life, working alongside eccentric locals with genuine character.

Wildlife Conservation

The Wildlife Conservation project in Kenya is located on a 90,000 acre wildlife sanctuary approximately four hours outside of Nairobi. The sanctuary is home to the largest population of critically endangered black rhinos in East Africa, as well as elephants, chimpanzees, lions, leopards and various other wildlife. The aim of this project is to ensure the protection of these animals through monitoring their behaviors and maintaining the area and ecosystem in which they live.

As a volunteer on the Wildlife Conservation project, you will get hands-on experience in conservation management while assisting with various activities including, but not limited to:

  • Sanctuary management and maintenance
  • Black rhino monitoring, collection and data analysis
  • White rhino feeding and monitoring
  • Lion monitoring, collection and data analysis
  • Identifying animal tracks and camera servicing
  • Ecological monitoring
  • Feeding chimpanzees and cleaning their sanctuary
  • Assisting the security and K-9 unit
  • Outreach education workshops for local children

You will be working alongside sanctuary staff, and will have the opportunity to join game drives to see the variety of native wildlife you will be helping to preserve.

The Wildlife Conservation project has a maximum duration of two weeks and volunteers need to be at least 16 years of age to take part on the project. The start dates change each month, the next available start dates are:

  • Monday, May 13th
  • Monday, June 24th
  • Monday, July 29th
  • Monday, September 16th

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 travelling 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 socialising. 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.

Volunteers on the Wildlife Conservation project are accommodated onsite at the wildlife sanctuary in a room sharing with one or two other volunteers of the same gender. Living is comfortable with running water and western bathrooms. Power is supplied by a generator which is only used at certain times each day, so cold showers should be expected. However, warm outside temperatures often make this desirable! It’s important to note the sanctuary is also host to independent travellers so you can expect to share common areas with others throughout your stay. WiFi is only available when the generator is on.

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. Volunteers on the Wildlife Conservation project can expect dinner around 6pm.

Tap water is not safe to drink in Kenya, though bottled water is readily available. Volunteers typically drink around half a gallon, or two litres, per day, which adds up to cost around £4 a 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 favourite 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 $380
3 weeks $480
4 weeks $580
5 weeks $680
6 weeks $780
8 weeks $980
10 weeks $1,180
12 weeks $1,380
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee. A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To convert these prices to your local currency click here.
  • 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

Kenya: Wildlife Conservation Project

Length of program Program Fee $USD
1 week $1,145
2 weeks $1,535
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee. A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To convert these prices to your local currency click here.
  • * 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
  • Dedicated support from a volunteer expert
  • Complete MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive program guide
  • Deals on flights and travel insurance
  • IVHQ alumni membership
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, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. 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!