Is volunteering with children in Kenya right for me?
Childcare volunteering in Kenya is ideal for you if you enjoy working with children, and want to support early childhood education in disadvantaged areas. This is also a great way to add practical experience to your CV, all while giving back to those who need your help most. It will help you stand out in applications and interviews if you’re pursuing a career in childcare or early childhood development.
You don’t need previous experience to join. You’ll support the work of local teachers and caregivers, and you’ll receive a thorough introduction when you start. We’ll teach you everything you need to know. We also run regular workshops where you can exchange ideas and discuss challenges. In addition, you can reach out to Projects Abroad staff for guidance at any time.
This project runs all year round, and you can join at any time for a minimum period of two weeks. We do recommend that you stay longer so that you can make a bigger impact. Please be aware that some placements close for long periods over Christmas and other national holidays. Chat to us directly about when the best time would be for you to come to Kenya.
What will I do on this project?
We have a number of volunteer opportunities with children in Kenya for you to join. You will work at a daycare centre, nursery, school, or special needs school, and support the work of local teachers and caregivers. Here are a few of the tasks that you will do:
- Help teachers and staff run activities and games to support early childhood development and literacy
- Make educational resources, like flashcards and posters
- Share ideas with other volunteers and staff members
- Encourage children to practice good hygiene everyday
- Help children and staff with their English
Your work will be divided into five main categories:
Help teachers and staff run activities and games
Many of the teachers and caregivers in Kenya are overwhelmed by the number of children present in the daycares and schools because they are understaffed. You can help by planning and running activities designed to teach skills, and improve literacy and numeracy. This could involve activities like:
- Play a ball game to improve hand-eye coordination
- Do arts and crafts to practice colouring in between the lines
- Sing a song to learn the alphabet
- Teach a chant to practice counting from 1-10
You will work with small groups of children to give them focused attention and improve their levels of stimulation.
Make educational resources
Most of the centres we work with have limited resources, so you will need to get creative and come up with practical solutions where you can. You can make a lot of the educational resources that you need, such as flashcards and posters. Projects Abroad provides materials for this at the office. This is important work, as teachers and future volunteers can continue to use them long after you’ve left.
There is also a need for new creative and educational games and activities for the children, so you can brainstorm new ideas for you and the local staff to implement.
Share ideas with other volunteers and staff members
Open communication is very important in this project in terms of activity creation and skill sharing. We encourage you to share your ideas and bounce concepts off other volunteers and staff members throughout your stay. You will learn from the local staff, and they can also learn from you.
It is important that you share any ideas or advice that you may have for teachers and carers from your experiences in your home country. Due to past volunteers sharing their ideas, some of the teachers have been able to improve their skills and caregivers have learnt more effective ways of dealing with children.
Encourage children to practice good personal hygiene
Practicing good hygiene everyday is vital for keeping yourself healthy. Part of your role will involve encouraging the children to practice good hygiene everyday. This could be something like making sure each child washes their hands before a meal, and brushes their teeth properly at least once.
Help children and staff with their English
English is one of Kenya’s official languages. Speaking it can greatly increase a person’s employment opportunities. During your stay, you will teach the children new words and teach them songs to help with their pronounciation. Your main focus will be on encouraging them to speak so that they gain confidence.
You can also use this opportunity to teach local caregivers and teachers if they’re interested in learning from you.
Where in Kenya will I be working?
You’ll work at a daycare centre, primary school, or special needs school in Nanyuki. Many of these placements are overcrowded, and the ratio of children to teachers and caregivers is too high. The work you do here is important, as you give local staff the support they need, and help give the children a safe space to learn and grow.
Located in the centre of Kenya just north of the equator, the market town of Nanyuki sits at the foot of epic Mount Kenya. Renowned for the plethora of national parks and wildlife conservancies nearby, you will have plenty of weekend safari options to choose from during your stay.
A typical day doing volunteer work with children in Kenya
A typical day will begin with you enjoying breakfast with your host family before you head off to your placement to begin work at around 9am. You’ll travel to your placement using public transport, or walking if it’s close enough. On your first day, Projects Abroad staff will accompany you to show you the way.
No one day will be the same when you work with children in Kenya! You might spend one day focusing on activities to teach the alphabet, or counting from 1 to 10. On another day, you could get creative and do arts and crafts with the children.
We also set aside community days, where you’ll work away from your regular placement and help with all kinds of different tasks in the community.
After your work day ends between 3pm and 4pm, you will be free to explore Nanyuki and relax until dinner time. You will then go back home for an evening meal with your host family.
Spend your free time exploring with your fellow volunteers and taking in your beautiful surroundings that are rich with wildlife.
What are the aims and impact of this project?
The aim of this project is to support early childhood development and raise the literacy levels of disadvantaged children living in Nanyuki. Projects Abroad has elected not to work with children in orphanages in Kenya, but rather focus on community-based programmes that allow children to remain within their families.
In Kenya, many of the daycare centres, nurseries, and schools we work with in Nanyuki are over-crowded. While local staff are dedicated, the student-teacher ratio is too high, and they need extra support. With your help, we can make sure that each child learns the skills they need to succeed at school. We do this by working toward four specific, long-term goals at our Childcare Project:
- Promote early childhood development
- Increase literacy
- Improve English
- Improve the level of stimulation of each child
Help us work towards these sustainable goals by doing volunteer work with children in Kenya.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Leisure activities and free time
Volunteering in Kenya is the perfect opportunity to explore this extraordinary country. With such a vast array of different activities, you’re sure to find plenty of ways to fill your evenings and weekends.
A trip to East Africa wouldn’t be complete without a safari. You can see wildlife like elephants, lions, and even the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, as you explore the savannahs.
Our projects are based in Nanyuki, which is known as the gateway to Mount Kenya. With this majestic mountain on your doorstep, it’s worth taking a day to hike around the base.
You can spend evenings at buzzing restaurants, listening to live music and trying some of the local dishes. Kenya also has must-see markets, with bright textiles and hand carved sculptures.
You can spend your free time exploring independently or travel with a group. With so many volunteers joining us throughout the year, you’re sure to make some new friends and travel buddies during your trip.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in Kenya
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