Work and Travel in Kenya
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN KENYA FOR TRAVELLERS
Kenya has long been one of the most popular backpacking destinations in Africa. But why not consider doing something out of the ordinary and making a difference in the lives of the people living there. The volunteer opportunities in Kenya will leave you with a life changing experience and the chance to advance your skills at the same time.
Work and travel in Kenya is the best way to open your eyes to new experiences and to put your skills to the test. This guide goes beyond the standard travel guides for Kenya and will reveal some of the incredible volunteering opportunities in the country.
1. Work in Child Care
Travel in Kenya and you’ll soon notice that there are a lot of orphaned children. Help within childcare centres is desperately needed. You’ll be entertaining the kids, supporting trained staff members, and having a great time. You could be teaching them skills, playing fun games, or just acting as a comforter.
There are many child care centres, but most are centred on the capital of Nairobi and Mombasa. You’ll find plenty of organizations offering these programmes.
2. Teach Music in Kenya
Studies have shown that learning an instrument can be extremely beneficial for children, regardless of where they come from. If you have some musical talent, travel in Kenya and teach the children how to play. It could be a guitar, a violin, or a wind instrument.
Programmes for teaching music in Kenya tend to be combined with child care centres. But you can also teach within private music schools and even independently, if you know the right host in Kenya.
3. Sports Education for Health and Fitness
You don’t need to have a qualification to participate within a sports education programme in this country. You could be helping out in a camp for underprivileged children or working within private sports camps for wealthier Kenyans.
It doesn’t matter where you work because sports education is crucial for fitness and well-being. You can make a huge difference to the lives of people, and all while playing a game of soccer.
These programmes are often based in the major cities, but you can also find such sports education opportunities in the rural villages.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR KENYA
The only citizens from countries that can enter without a visa are those from East Africa. South Africans are also able to enter Kenya without the need to have a pre-arranged visa.
However, practically every country in the world (minus a few countries in the Middle East) can apply for a visa via the Kenyan e-visa system. It comes with a small fee, but you don’t need to attend a visa and you can get your visa within seven days from the comfort of your own home.
This includes citizens of the EU, United Kingdom, Canada, the US, Japan, South Korea, and Russia.
You may also apply for the East African Tourist Visa. This is a single entry 90-day visa that covers all of Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. It’s a great option if you intend to work and travel in Kenya and some of the other East African countries.
Just make sure to apply for your visas well in advance as the online system has been known to have glitches in the past. You should also be aware that a lot of these
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN KENYA
The spring is perhaps the worst season for work and travel in Kenya as this is when the worst rainy months hit the country. Most things, including the game lodges, close for this period after the main tourist season.
If you do want to come and work in Kenya this is the season to avoid. Even a lot of traditional volunteer projects, such as construction, close at this time of year as working in those conditions is much too hazardous.
Summer time still brings a lot of rain, but the coastal areas of Kenya see a break in the rain. Much of the seaweed and choppy seas around the Horn of Africa clears and both diving and snorkelling camps appear again.
You should know that the chances of finding paid work in Kenya are low. But volunteer opportunities in Kenya are abundant when it comes to the coastal areas. The relative safety of the country, despite bordering Somalia, has brought a burgeoning tourist industry and it’s possible to find work at this time of year in the resorts.
The autumn months see the end of the rainy season and the resurgence of the safari industry. You should look into finding work on construction projects and sports education camps in the later months of autumn within the interior. It can still get cold around the Masai Mara, but many of these projects begin to operate at full capacity again.
The winter time is the high season for activity in Kenya. Whether it’s an English speaking camp for children or a women’s education project in Mombasa, you’ll find something throughout the winter months. You can often find medical interns looking to expand their experience within makeshift pharmacies at this time of year.
Just make sure you apply for your projects well in advance of the winter months as places get taken up quickly.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN KENYA
Understand that Kenya makes a huge amount of money from rich tourists and even volunteers in Kenya will be considered rich. It’s not uncommon to be harassed by locals, particularly in the touristy areas. This shouldn’t put you off because they’re not dangerous or violent just insistent.
But Kenyans are largely a welcoming people, as is the case with the majority of East Africa. As long as you’re not taking on unskilled paid work you won’t be seen as a problem and you won’t experience any issues when joining up with your volunteering project in Kenya.
Are you ready to take on the challenge of a volunteering opportunity in Kenya?