Volunteer in Kenya

Volunteering with ICYE is to integrate into the life and work of the hosting organization and wider community. Volunteers are encouraged and supported to get involved in planning, managing and executing activities and taking on responsibilities according to their skills and interests, as well as the needs of the project.

ICYE Kenya offers both long-term and short-term opportunities both in Kenya and abroad.

Volunteering With ICYE Kenya

ICYE’S main programme is the long term exchange of young people, aged mainly 18 to 30, with or without qualifications, who want to live in another country with a host family or within a residential project and work as volunteers in a wide variety of voluntary work placements. Opportunities for older volunteers are available in most countries.

Information About ICYE Volunteer Programmes

Long-Term Programmes

Short-Term Programmes in Kenya

The ideal participant
  1. Are you interested in other cultures and languages?
  2. Would you like a unique opportunity to live with a host family and volunteer with a local NGO – and become totally immersed into the local community?
  3. Are you thinking of taking a gap year?
  4. Would you like a career break?
  5. Have you recently graduated and hoping to volunteer before finding work in Kenya?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, then ICYE Kenya has a unique solution for you.

Our long term programme provides volunteers with the unique chance to get to be a real part of the culture and language both locally in Kenya and in another country; as well as develop exceptional interpersonal skills.

Volunteers do not need to have any formal qualifications or language skills to take part in the long term programme.

Departures for the Programmes

Departures take place in August and January every year.

Volunteers from Kenya, as well as other ICYE partner countries, will arrive together at their destination during set ‘Window Dates’. This is to enable all volunteers to receive training and language lessons provided by the ICYE host country, before starting their individual projects.

ICYE Kenya's programme requirements
  • Age 18-30 (with some flexibility on the upper age limit)
  • Pay the participation fee (find out more here)
  • Have a valid passport
  • Be willing to volunteer for 6-12 months

Please note that ICYE volunteers do not need formal education requirements, foreign language skills or prior international travel experience.

Volunteers with disabilities are asked to submit applications early – at least six months prior to the start of the programme. This enables ICYE Kenya to make appropriate arrangements with the National Committee in the country of your choice. Please note that Personal Assistants must be recruited and funded by you, or an appropriate organisation.

To find out about the type of voluntary service opportunities offered in the distinct countries, have a look at the ICYE Database of Long-Term Voluntary Service Placements, where you can browse through more than 600 available organisations.

Types of projects and accommodations

ICYE Kenya sends volunteers to work with local NGOs, which are run by local staff. Projects include Teaching, Human rights programmes, HIV and AIDS awareness and other health related projects, Environmental conservation, Disability support NGOs, Indigenous community and Women’s Rights groups and much more.

For a full list of projects available in each of our programme countries, please contact the ICYE Kenya office and let us know which country profile you would like to receive.

Long-term volunteers can choose their project preferences and it is the projects themselves who decide if they are able to host the volunteer, based on the volunteer’s application form, particular skills and interests.

ICYE will organise for the volunteers’ accommodation during the duration of the stay. However, this depends on the preference of the volunteer (living alone or with a host family). It is very common that volunteers stay with a host family as they volunteer as this enables them to gain a unique cultural experience and also have a ‘home away from home’ experience. They also get to practice the local language.

Many of the host families have had their own children or family members also volunteer abroad on the ICYE programme.

Selection, camps and training

Our worldwide network of ICYE staff and co-workers carefully select and prepare programme participants before departure. Each ICYE national committee organises information and recruitment days and pre-departure training where you can meet fellow volunteers and share excitement and fears about the experience abroad.

Long term ICYE volunteers are entitled to a number of training sessions, all included within their programme fee.

Your stay abroad and returning home

Upon arrival, you will attend a one-week  “orientation camp” during which you will have the chance to learn more about the people and culture of the host country, the local ICYE and your work placement. You will also receive an introductory language course to help you get by. After the orientation, you will be off to work and to move into your new home. You will be either living with a family or in a shared living situation and work as a volunteer in a local project, for 6 or 12 months.

The “mid-year camp” is a chance to catch up with other volunteers and join with your ICYE hosting committee to evaluate your first six months. Sometimes this may be combined with a conference on an issue relevant to your host country. We usually combine our Mid- term camp with a work camp ( camp at which community work is done, especially by young volunteers for one week).

The last official meeting for the volunteers is the “Final Evaluation”, where you will discuss your experiences and prepare to return home – which is often the hardest part! After the evaluation, you have a free month before returning to your home country. Most volunteers take this opportunity to travel and see more of the country.

Upon your return home, your sending national committees will organise a “Returnees Day” together with other returning volunteers.

You will also be invited to join ICYE’s membership scheme in your country that will give you access to national and international events, meetings and seminars.

The Short-Term Exchange Program

The Short Term Exchange Program (STEPs) is designed to offer you a combination of reliable and meaningful volunteer work with a direct exposure to the rich cultures of the host countries.

All volunteers participating in this project will be expected to meet in Nairobi for one-day orientation before going for the project. All volunteers will be expected in Nairobi at least one day before the orientation.

Programmes duration

The STEPs program can last between 2 and 16 weeks – all year round and placements are open to all persons aged 18 years and older – no maximum age limit.

Programme inclusions

All the programmes include the following:

  • International flights to your host country
  • Airport pick-up in host country
  • Board and lodging in your host country
  • Pre-departure information
  • Support from ICYE Kenya prior to departure and during stay
  • Travel insurance and visas (if applicable)
  • National and international administration costs
  • Fundraising support
Selection, camps and training

Our worldwide network of ICYE staff and co-workers carefully select and prepare programme participants before departure. Each ICYE national committee organises information and recruitment days and pre-departure training where you can meet fellow volunteers and share excitement and fears about the experience abroad.

Long term ICYE volunteers are entitled to a number of training sessions, all included within their programme fee.

Living arrangements

Volunteers will be living with a host family (this is to allow the volunteers to experience real Kenyan culture and way of life in Kenyan families) and live-in projects.

In-country support

ICYE Kenya staff will:

  • Pick you up at the airport and provide you with an in-country orientation.
  • Take you and introduce you to your host family and voluntary service placement.
  • Stay in touch and provide assistance throughout your stay – emergency numbers provided.
  • Evaluate your project and drop you off at the airport at the end of your stay.

Volunteering With ICYE Kenya

What can volunteering do for you?

Programme Locations Across Kenya

The map below shows the various locations where ICYE Kenya works with a diverse range of partner host organizations where volunteers can be placed during their exchange programmes

Nairobi

Kenya Red Cross, Kericho Branch

Several Projects, Ngong Town, Kenya

Kibera

Pumwani

Kariobangi

Child Welfare Society of Kenya Isiolo

Ngong Road

Don Bosco Boys Town

Eldoret Children’s Rescue Centre

Gamba Mixed Secondary School

Happy House Preparatory School

Kanga Primary School

Kangalu secondary school

Kapchepkoro Primary School.

Kwa-Mulungu Primary School.

Manga girls primary school

Mutukya Secondary School

Shinyalu Market, Kakamega, Kenya

St Pauls Lugari Secondary School

Kinungi Primary School, Nakuru, Kenya

Obama Community Development Project

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