Want to experience a new and unique culture in Africa? Do you want to help people in need while learning about a different way of life? Then put Kenya on your bucket list of destinations to volunteer abroad!
With children making up nearly half of the country’s inhabitants, Kenya has one of the highest rates of population growth in the world, which leads to having some of the world’s poorest communities as well. Although Kenya has been experiencing economic growth in recent years, many citizens living in impoverished areas face disease and a lack of education on a daily basis – with few physicians and teachers to support their care and education.
This is where you come in as a volunteer. Through the volunteer abroad programs listed below, you will find many health care, child care, and teach abroad programs that need your assistance to build a better life and future for the people of Kenya.
But it’s not all work: as an international volunteer, you’ll get to experience the incredible beauty of Kenya. This country is home to wildlife that’s nearly unmatched both in numbers and in variety of species. Lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, crocodiles, hippopotamus, gazelles, cheetahs, hyena, a wide range of birds, and so much more can be found in Kenya – meaning you have the opportunity to see so many different animals firsthand through personal explorations and guided safari tours!
From the ocean to the mountains, you will see the typically beautiful African terrain with a mix of deserts, swamps, and forests. Along with the diverse terrain and animal species, you can also listen to the beauty of 60 different languages spoken by Kenyans throughout the country, in 40 different ethnic groups.
From teaching basic education, to reuniting children with their families, to addressing the drug crisis hands-on, there is an impactful project available for everyone who wants to experience Kenya while helping community members in need. So brush up on your Swahili and prepare for the journey of a lifetime as you look for the perfect volunteer trip to Kenya!
8 Great Volunteer Programs in Kenya
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is one of the most affordable and most-trusted volunteer abroad organizations in the world, with more than 80,000 volunteers placed overseas since 2007, on impactful programs starting from just $180. Right now, IVHQ has a variety of volunteer opportunities in Kenya, including teaching, childcare, sports and music, special needs support, and women’s education. As part of IVHQ’s Kenya volunteer programs, you’ll stay with a local host family, sharing a bedroom with two to four other fellow volunteers. No matter where you volunteer – in an urban or rural environment – you will get a truly immersive Kenyan experience. Plus, weekend safari options are available if you’d like to go on an extra adventure!
Teach Music in Kenya
One of the amazing volunteer opportunities you can take on with International Volunteer HQ is their music program in Kenya. It’s widely known that music is a universal language, and in East Africa, music is a key part of the culture. By teaching children basic music theory, as well as instrument and vocal training, you can give them the chance to have their voices and songs be heard, and an excellent outlet for their creativity. If you’d like to focus on teaching a specific instrument, IVHQ recommends that you bring that instrument with you on your trip – and choir singing and directing experience in particular is ideal for this project, with singing being the most popular musical activity enjoyed by the children you’ll teach. To sign up, you must have a background in music and a basic knowledge of music theory. You should also be able to show that you have the initiative to plan, prepare, and implement lesson plans. Since the music project is primarily run at the end of the school day, you will have the opportunity to teach other courses throughout the day, such as math, English, and social sciences. Learn more here!
Educate Women in Kenya
Another way you can volunteer in Kenya with IVHQ is through their women’s education project, where you’ll work alongside other volunteers and staff members at community centers to support women. Unfortunately, many Kenyan women are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, and although they can meet their needs on a day-by-day basis, they require a lot of support over the long-term. Through this program, you will help to provide counseling, guidance, and occasional childcare to support these women and their families. The goal of IVHQ’s women’s education program is to empower this population by helping them to become independent through income-generating projects, education, and skills training. You may find yourself assisting with sewing, tailoring, candle making, and jewelry-making while also providing counseling and educational services. While you don’t need previous experience in HIV/AIDS support or education to sign up, you should get a strong understanding of these issues and how communities are responding before you travel to Kenya. Click here to learn more about this project.
What Volunteers Say: Review from Junaid
I really enjoyed volunteering with my organization in Nairobi, Kenya on my women’s education project and could not have done it without the support and help from IVHQ! The experience was memorable as it allowed me to meet amazing people from all around the world and exposed me to different ways of living and cultures. IVHQ made my volunteer trip much easier so that I could focus on the issue I was faced with. The staff was accommodating and energetic and the resources prepared me well for what lay ahead of me. I will definitely be volunteering again with IVHQ and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in doing service work and making their trip memorable!
Agape Volunteers is another organization that you should check out if you’d like to volunteer in Kenya on a budget. Agape’s Kenya volunteer projects start from just over $500 for your first week, and include housing and meals, airport transfer, orientation, Nairobi city tour, travel insurance, and much more. Your housing varies based on where you’ll volunteer, and may be a homestay or at a shared volunteer house. When you arrive in Kenya, you’ll have an orientation to ensure that you’re prepared for your work and understand the culture, customs, language, and more.
Sports Coaching in Kenya
Right now, Agape Volunteers is offering a sports coaching program in Kenya, where you can mentor children in communities outside of Nairobi. Sports play a huge role in the lives of these children, helping them to develop lasting friendships, learn healthy habits, and have fun. While football is the most popular sport for these children, you’re welcome to introduce some of your own games and bring equipment to teach a new sport. These clubs usually meet in the evenings after the school day has ended, and during the day, you’re invited to teach in a local classroom. Although you do not need any background experience in teaching or coaching, you should come prepared if you want to teach a new sport – and keep in mind, while you may have a difficult time teaching new concepts to some of the younger children, they are all incredibly enthusiastic and willing to learn. Click here to learn more about coaching sports in Kenya!
Teach in Kenya
Through this program, you’re invited to teach English, math, science, religion, and social studies in a local classroom. Most lessons are taught in the local Kiswahili language, and if you’re a native English speaker, the children and teachers alike will benefit from hearing you speak conversational English and help improve their vocabulary and grammar. You’ll spend the first part of your volunteer program teaching alongside a local instructor to understand classroom structure and lesson plans, and after that, you’re invited to lead a class on your own. Outside of teaching, you’ll also be able to develop games and coach sports, and you’re encouraged to be as creative as you’d like with your curriculum. Learn more and sign up here!
What Volunteers Say
My time in Kenya was great, my experience was perfect! I went to Neemaland queens and kings children’s home, that is quite close to the volunteer house. The children are wonderful and you come really close to them. At the orphanage we spent most of the time with the children (teaching and playing) and sometimes we helped with cooking and washing. Grace, the woman who runs the orphanage, is amazing; she is so sweet and left us free to do every activity we wanted with the children. I loved staying at the volunteer house, we really had a lot of fun after placement and it’s very easy to make new friends. I enjoyed my life in Kenya and I have a lot of new friends now! It was an amazing experience and I have to thank Agape and especially the Kenyan staff that made this possible. I will surely come back!
Naturally Africa Volunteers
Another organization that works exclusively in Africa, Naturally Africa Volunteers has a variety of projects throughout Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, and Namibia. With placements for skilled and non-skilled volunteers alike, Naturally Africa Volunteers matches you with programs where you can make a difference. Based in West Kenya, the volunteer project you’ll take on focuses on improving the lives of one of the poorest areas of the country by providing for families’ basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, skills development, and more. Naturally Africa Volunteers’ Kenya placement starts from two weeks at $690 and includes airport transfer, orientation, housing and meals, and 24-hour in-country support.
Community Outreach in Kenya
Right now, Naturally Africa Volunteers is offering one placement in Kenya, where you’ll help those affected by HIV/AIDS, disease, malnutrition and lack of food, unemployment, limited education, and many other issues that plague disadvantaged communities. In fact, many impoverished households in West Kenya do not have adequate parental support (or any parents at all) – forcing children to care for their siblings and for themselves as heads of households. Along with poor living conditions comes poor health, meaning these malnourished and neglected children do not have proper support to build a better future. As a volunteer, you’ll take on any of the following projects:
- Teach important life skills, such as computer literacy, math, and English
- Take part in discussions about sexual health, HIV/AIDS awareness, and other topics
- Attend to those who are sick, elderly, or orphaned
- Demonstrate sustainable agricultural practices to help improve food production and diet
- Provide poor families with food rations and clothing
- Visit people afflicted with AIDS to offer care and support
- Provide vital care and support to orphaned children
You’re invited to stay two to 12 weeks, and in between your volunteer hours, you’ll have ample time to explore the beauty that is Kenya and learn about the culture of your host community. For more information, please visit this page.
What Volunteers Say: Review from Lindsay
Third time in Africa, and this was yet again, LIFE CHANGING. First time with NAV and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
For more than 25 years, Projects Abroad has placed volunteers of all backgrounds and skills on adventurous programs where they can truly make a difference in their communities. More than 100,000 volunteers have traveled with Projects Abroad to help with hundreds of projects worldwide.
Volunteer in Kenya and contribute to meaningful community development work in the heart of east Africa. Projects Abroad offers flexible trip options for anyone 16 and older that run year-round. The group also runs programs tailored for high school students.
Teach English in Kenya
On the teaching project, you’ll contribute to children’s education in understaffed and under-resourced schools. You’ll work as an assistant, supporting teachers and giving extra attention to the students who are struggling. You’ll help with a range of fun and interactive educational activities, such as:
- Singing songs to make lessons fun and memorable
- Building puzzles to develop problem-solving skills
- Running informal English conversation classes
- Working in small groups, assisting students with assignments
- Getting creative and making bright, colorful posters and flashcards
Learn about Medicine in a Developing Country
Kick-start your career in medicine and boost your resume with real-world experience. In Kenya, Projects Abroad offers programs in general medicine, nursing, and occupational therapy. You’ll spend your days shadowing doctors, nurses, or occupational therapists in hospitals and clinics. They’ll be available to answer all your questions and talk you through diagnoses and treatments.
You’ll also be involved in medical outreaches. These outreaches provide basic medical care to people in remote or rural communities. So on top of learning, you’ll help improve access to healthcare. Outreaches are also the perfect opportunity to gain practical experience. You’ll help medical professionals:
- Measure blood pressure
- Check blood sugar levels
- Measure weights and heights
- Administer oral vaccinations
- Test for HIV
- Clean and dress wounds
All your work will be fully supervised and you’ll have plenty of guidance from local staff.
What volunteers say: Review from Zainab
“I had the opportunity to put in use what I had learnt from university about the different antibiotics, various illnesses including neurological disorders. I was able to help the nurses with diagnosis and treatment options. Our clinic was a success and we remained in the village for longer than expected. Villagers were very grateful for receiving our support and free medication.”
Love Volunteers offers an extremely wide variety of affordable volunteer placements all over the world, with projects ranging from construction, to conservation, to healthcare, to teaching, and much more. In Kenya, programs focus on teaching, child care, healthcare, refugee support, and women’s empowerment. Depending on how long you’d like to stay, your program fee starts from just $220, including housing, food, orientation, support, and much more. During your stay, you’ll live with a host family or shared volunteer house, and can expect to work on your project Monday through Friday each week.
Linx: Reuniting Families in Nairobi
One of the many volunteer opportunities you can sign up for with Love Volunteers in Kenya aims to reunite street children who have been displaced or disconnected from their families. Through the Linx program, you’ll travel to previous homes of these children to help assess the living situation and determine if the family can safely and suitably care for their child. Depending on the household, the Linx program reunites the family or finds a more supportive educational, work, or living opportunity for the child. There are lots of different ways you can help as a volunteer, including:
- Program administration
- Assessing each child and his or her needs
- Preparing reports and findings
- Assisting with field work, such as conducting interviews and making home visits
You’re asked to stay at least four weeks on this program, which will allow you the minimum time to complete a reconnection process. As you apply, please keep in mind that individual cases do not always have positive outcomes – however, you will have local staff members working alongside you every step of the way. To learn more and to apply, please click here.
Drug Rehabilitation Program
Another unique volunteer opportunity where you can make a difference through Love Volunteers is the drug rehabilitation program in Diani Beach, Kenya. Through this placement, you’ll help to raise awareness about drug use, perform daily outreach walks to areas frequented by users, and hand out packs of clean needles, alcohol wipes, and injecting liquid. You’ll also help to safely dispose of used needles, assist with dressing wounds and abscesses from users in need of medical assistance. Because you will be working with current users – and seeing firsthand the impact of heroin use – Love Volunteers requires all volunteers on this program to be 21 or older and emotionally mature enough to provide assistance to an extremely underserved population. While you do not need a background in a medical field, doctors, nurses, and pre-med students are welcome and encouraged to apply. To learn more, click here.
What Volunteers Say: Review from Aaron
Volunteering in Mombasa was a life changing, amazing experience…Initially, I was a little apprehensive to make it to Kenya, given some isolated terrorist attacks that happened earlier in the year. But, Love Volunteers convinced me to see it through. The reality is that Kenya is completely safe. I’ve never felt so welcomed. I’m so happy that I made it to Kenya. The kids are so happy and appreciative for the time I spent with them. They send me FB messages through FB accounts I created for them. I plan on visiting them again in July, 2016. This orphanage is a part of my life now. I want to help each kid succeed as much as I can. They are a great group of kids and need more volunteers to be a part of their lives.
A Broader View
With nearly 250 volunteer projects in 25 different countries, A Broader View has no shortage of amazing programs where you can explore the world and positively impact the communities you visit. Since 2007, A Broader View has placed volunteers on programs including animal rescue, HIV/AIDS prevention, teaching, human rights, and much more. In Kenya, you can teach and provide child care services in Mombasa and Kirithani. You’re invited to stay one to eight weeks on either program, with housing provided at a local orphanage or with a host family. Volunteering in Kenya with A Broader View starts from $820 for your first week, and includes housing and meals, airport transfer, orientation, and support throughout your project.
Child Care in Kirithani
Through this program, you’ll work at an orphanage that houses 25 children and only has four full-time staff members – including a cook, night guard, general hand, and teacher. In addition to the children living at the center, there also are 60 attending kindergarten there. As a volunteer, you’ll help with daily care, including feeding, clothing, and teaching basic English to the children – you will be able to play games, organize new activities, create arts and crafts projects, and much more. This program lasts September through May, and you must be at least 18 to sign up (or 12 to 16 if traveling with parents). Click here to learn more about volunteering with children in Kenya!
Teaching in Mombasa
Another project you’re invited to check out is A Broader View’s teaching program at a village school just outside of Mombasa. With about 30 students, this school provides education to orphans, foster children, and local village children between the ages of five and 13. As a volunteer, you will help teachers with English and math classes, and help with upkeep of the school through painting, decorating, mending desks, and other maintenance tasks to keep the school in proper condition. Semester dates vary depending on the year, though are approximately mid-January to the end of April, mid-May to mid-August, and early September through mid-December. You can stay one to eight weeks on this project, and in your free time, you’re encouraged to explore the area and learn about the culture. For more information and to apply, please click here.
What Volunteers Say: Review from Abbie
It was a great experience! Everything went to smooth with no problems at all. The ABV staff is so helpful and really goes out of their way to make it an easy and fun process. The in-country director, Geoffrey, is great! He picked us up from the airport and took us right to the project site. He always asked if we needed anything and really helped the transition into Kenya. My favorite memory of the trip is all the time I spent with the children. The children are absolutely precious, so full of love and joy! I wish that I had brought more food from home to supplement the delicious food provided. Also I would learn basic Swahili phrases. My trip to Kenya is an experience I will never forget. ABV Volunteer was great and I hope to visit again!
Since 2006, GoEco has offered affordable volunteer abroad programs and internships in over 45 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Australasia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America. With more than 170 different programs, GoEco is a great organization to check out if you’re looking for a variety of impactful trips to choose from, from wildlife conservation to teaching English. GoEco was recently recognized as the Top Volunteer Abroad Organization from GoAbroad, Top Eco-Enthusiast by Greenmatch, and has been recommended by Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and more. As a volunteer, you will have 24-hour support from the GoEco team, from start to finish.
Lion and Wildlife Conservation in Maasai Mara, Kenya
Join GoEco in Kenya for this wonderful program that aims to preserve the natural environment and empower locals to build a sustainable future. Your role will be to help ensure Maasai Mara National Reserve remains beautiful and a good source of income for the community. Tasks include lion research and data collection, elephant monitoring, and running an environmental club. You’ll also help train local folks to be park tour guides and work in other positions at Maasai Mara. Ready to make a difference in Kenya? Know fees begin at $2,320 for two weeks. Apply here!
Kenya – Teaching, Maasai Mara and Beach Road Trip
Join a two-week experience in Kenya from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara Reserve to Diana Beach! Participants will gain experience teaching, learn about the Maasai Mara tribe and observe spectacular African wildlife and landscapes. Learn more here.
Founded over 25 years ago, Frontier hosts more than 400 projects in 72 countries around the world. This nonprofit scientific research organization invites travelers of all backgrounds on volunteer projects, internships abroad, gap years, and teach abroad / TEFL programs – with 27 different opportunities being offered right now in Kenya alone. A few projects you can choose from in Kenya include rural clinic volunteering, earning a TEFL certificate while teaching in a local classroom, volunteering with elephants and other wildlife, and much more. Depending on which project you sign up for, you can stay two weeks or longer with a project fee starting at $1,145, which includes project support and equipment, housing and food, emergency support, orientation and training, and much more.
Coastal Community Development and Conservation
On this program, you will volunteer just off the Kenyan coast on a small island, where you can help with a wide number of community development activities, including planting trees, helping with sustainable management, leading games and sports for a local youth group, and teaching children at a local primary school. During your stay, you’ll live in a rustic, thatch roofed house close to your project site, and provided home-cooked meals each day. Outside of your project, you’ll have the opportunity to visit local shrines, visit Mombasa, go snorkelling, and hike nature trails. To learn more and to sign up, visit this page.
Baby and Infant Care in Nairobi
Based in Nairobi, this program invites you to volunteer in a children’s home, care center, or rehabilitation center that supports children who have been orphaned, abandoned, or abused. Your role as a volunteer will be to help in the day-to-day care for babies, including feeding, changing, washing, teaching them to walk, and much more. You’ll also have the opportunity to guide some of the older children through daily chores and other tasks. Your support is vital to these children, some of whom are suffering from HIV/AIDS, are too sick to attend school, or even deprived of love and affection from their family. Throughout your stay, you’ll live with a host family, and during your free time, you’re encouraged to explore Nairobi and take side trips. To learn more, visit this page.
Ready to Travel?
Kenya offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities for you to help build communities and support people in need. While you help create a better life for children and adults alike, you’ll learn about amazing cultures, history, and so much more with each day and experience. So if you’re ready to take the leap – choose your trip, pack your bags, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
Jordyn Hotchkiss · Guest Writer
Jordyn Hotchkiss is a Guest Volunteer Travel Writer for Volunteer Forever.