Volunteering in Kenya with ELI Abroad has proven to be a life changer for so many of our participants. Working with orphans, at-risk or impoverished youth, women's groups, public health, microfinance, deaf education, or even a youth soccer program will change the way you see the world, and Africa in particular. Get involved in community development in Nakuru, or work with one of the CCIVS (Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service) programs that we offer throughout the country.
Orphanages and Youth Centers:
UNICEF estimates that approximately 2.3 million children in Kenya are orphans. Many of these children move in with relatives after the deaths of their parents. Orphans are often put to work, denied the opportunity to attend school, and suffer physical abuse. Many run away or are forced out of the house. These children turn to the street or an orphanage for refuge. ELI partners with orphanages in Nakuru, Nairobi, and the base of Mt. Kenya, as well as with day centers for street children in Nakuru. These organizations all place a large emphasis on the education and empowerment of the children. The orphanages are very good at providing the children with basic daily needs, but the children are often lacking the personal attention they need to really thrive. Volunteers have the chance to serve as a role model and mentor as well as to motivate the children to study.
Kaptembwa Soccer Club:
The sprawling Kaptembwa Slum is home to an estimated 140,000 people on the outskirts of Nakuru. The children of the slum face many serious challenges in their day-to-day lives. By some estimates 30% of Kapetembwa's population is HIV-positive. Many of the children are the main wage earners in their families and do not know when their next meal will come. Others are forced to care for their younger siblings when their parents succumb to disease or abandon the children. The Kaptembwa Soccer Club was started to give adolescents the opportunity to play in regional soccer tournaments with the goal of empowering the local kids. The soccer games give them the opportunity to play with more well-off kids in Nakuru – a valuable and rare social interaction in this city of disparities. Volunteers assist with daily practice and attend matches. Please note that this is a part-time, volunteer placement. It may be combined with another volunteer opportunity.
Kenya is home to many strong and inspiring women, but many Kenyan women find themselves marginalized by lack of education, sexual violence, and limited opportunities. Volunteers can work with a women's center that provides support services for women in the largest slum of Nakuru. The center supports women by providing counseling, education, short term accommodation, vocational training, and a positive environment. Volunteers may teach English conversation, adult literacy classes, vocational training, basic financial literacy, and also support the women in their group meetings.
As in many countries, the Kenyan school system is facing many challenges including limited resources, overcrowding, and lack of qualified teachers. Volunteers can work in a primary or secondary school in Nakuru. The primary schools are especially in need of English teachers. English is one of the official languages in Kenya and students must pass an English proficiency test to move on to secondary school. The schools also warmly welcome volunteers able to assist subjects such as math, geography, the sciences, and entrepreneurial classes. Volunteers are also encouraged to assist with extra-curricular activities in order to serve as mentors and role models to the children.
For people looking to be fully immersed in rural Kenyan life, the long term community development internships are designed to give participants the opportunity to gain significant experience in international development through working with local organizations in small communities far off the tourist trails of Kenya. These internships have a three month minimum time commitment and can last up to a full year. All projects are initiated by the community and designed for long-term sustainability without outside donations. Projects are available in the areas of education, capacity building, social work,
HIV/AIDS education, environment, public health, microfinance, conservation, human rights, cultural heritage, female genital mutilation, and performing arts.
As in many countries, the Kenyan school system is facing many challenges including limited resources, overcrowding, and lack of qualified teachers. Volunteers can work in a primary or secondary school in Nakuru. The primary schools are especially in need of English teachers. English is one of the official languages in Kenya and students must pass an English proficiency test to move on to secondary school. The schools also warmly welcome volunteers able to assist subjects such as math, geography, the sciences, and
entrepreneurial classes. Volunteers are also encouraged to assist with extra-curricular activities in order to serve as mentors and role models to the children.
This internship provides practical classroom experience and insight into Kenyan Deaf culture in one of Kenya's few schools for the deaf. Interns will assist with day-to-day classroom activities, especially focusing on one-on-one tutoring. Participants in this program must be conversational in sign language and have past experience in the field of deaf education. The minimum time commitment is eight weeks. This internship is a great opportunity to gain insight into strategies for deaf education, an understanding of attitudes toward the deaf in Kenya, and the challenges deaf people face in a developing country.
International Volunteer Camps
The International Work Camp Program is a low-cost alternative that gives volunteers the opportunity to work on a three week long project with other volunteers from all over the world. The projects are organized by the Kenya Voluntary Development Association and serve all areas of Kenya. Volunteers meet in Nairobi for a 1-day orientation before heading off to the work camp site as a group. We work with many other organizations worldwide to provide volunteers for these projects.
Participants in these projects need to be ready to adapt to life in poor communities in Kenya. This is a program requires participants to be flexible and ready to camp for the duration of the program. Sleeping arrangements are made in spaces provided by the community and there may not be cots or beds available, and toilet facilities consist of pit latrines. Bath shelters provide privacy for taking bucket baths. Participants must plan to not have access to running water and electricity. All meals are included in the program fee, but please keep in mind that the meals will be typical Kenyan meals and may not include luxuries such as meat with every meal.
Internships in Kenya? Not a destination that immediately leaps to mind, but Kenya offers some amazing experiences for interns in many fields, whether wildlife, conservation, medicine, public health, small business development/microfinance, or law. Experiential learning opportunities abound! ELI International Volunteers has always emphasized the value of experience in the global community, and has found our Kenya in Nakuru to be an ideal location.
Wildlife & Conservation
ELI partners with the Kenya Wildlife Service to set up exciting internship and volunteer placements working with wildlife and conservation! Participants work directly with park rangers and conservationists in the beautiful Lake Nakuru area, assisting with all aspects of the operation of a full-sized wildlife reserve. Participants should be in good physical health and exhibit an interest in conservation issues.
This program has a maximum length of 8 weeks.
The field of microfinance has received a lot of attention since Muhammed Yunus received a Nobel Prize for founding the Grameen Bank. Thousands of microfinance institutions (MFIs) provide financial services at a community level in Kenya and have changed the lives of many small scale entrepreneurs. Interns work with the staff of MFIs in Nakuru to learn about all aspects of microfinance, from assessing credit-worthiness to assisting with education programs and working on the day-to-day tasks within the main office. Placements are made with successful MFIs that place an emphasis on entrepreneurial development in the education of their clients.
Health & Medical
Kenya has one of the smallest health worker to population ratios in the world. Kenyan health professionals are stretched thin by the demands made on them and welcome qualified volunteers to assist with day to day tasks in a hospital or small clinic. Conditions are very basic, and due to the lack of staffing, many patients are forced to endure long waits before receiving treatment. Tasks are assigned by the local staff based on what they feel is appropriate given a volunteer's background. Many volunteers also assist with educational outreach programs in addition to time spent with patients in the clinic. This is a great opportunity for doctors, nurses, PAs, and other health professionals to learn about Kenya while also giving back to the community in a very appreciated way. Please note that this volunteer opportunity is designed for experienced medical professionals.
Medical and Pre-Medical Students:
ELI works with the Nakuru Provincial General Hospital and Municipal Health service to create programs for pre med and medical students. Interns will shadow the doctors and other medical staff in order to gain an understanding of the day-to-day practice of healthcare in Kenya. Participants in this program will have no medical responsibilities, but may be given tasks such as assisting with patient histories, taking vitals, and anything else the permanent hospital staff feels is appropriate. Interns at the hospital are encouraged to get involved in the health education outreach programs in order to give back to the community as well as learn first hand about the health challenges the community faces. Pre-dental and dental students have the opportunity to work with a Kenyan dentist in a private practice. Interns shadow the dentist to gain insight into the practice of dentistry in Kenya as well as gain valuable work experience. This opportunity is ideal for participants wanting to gain first hand experience working in a government hospital in Kenya, learn about tropical diseases, and learn about public health issues in East Africa.
Legal issues vary widely in different areas of the world. The Court Systems are not always as efficient, organized, and fair in some countries. For this reason, experience in a legal internship in another country provides valuable insight into the workings of Justice issues both at home and abroad.
In Kenya, law and pre-law students have the opportunity to work with local lawyers and justice officials working in Legal Aid type fields. Interns work closely with lawyers who are actively representing under-served communities in the region. Participants attend courtroom proceedings and assist with client interviews and dealing with the bureaucratic paperwork that exists everywhere. This is the chance for interns to experience the differences, and more surprisingly, the similarities between the courtroom process at home and abroad.