English Teaching in
Rural Kenya

Help Provide A Free Education

Teach children from disadvantaged backgrounds & assist their families with income-generating projects.

Experience A Different Culture

Discover what life is like living in a rural, traditional Kenyan community while making new friends.

Affordable Long-Term Volunteering

Accommodation, breakfast & lunch are provided, with dedicated free time for you to explore the area.

 Project Overview 

Help benefit a local community and learn about Kenyan culture by supporting the running of a small primary school and assisting families with enterprise projects.

As a volunteer at teaching English at a school in rural Kenya, you will be assisting with activities centred around the running of the primary school, on a part-time voluntary basis for a minimum of 3 months.

Your goal is to provide a free, quality education for children who may otherwise be excluded from school due to their background and circumstances. As well as teaching English, you’ll be helping the school in many other ways, such as guiding other teachers on their methods, participating in other subject lessons, and assisting with the running of the school. You will also assist guardians and parents rise out of poverty by developing small income-generating projects.

It is recommended that you stay for a minimum of 14 weeks on this project, allowing you time to form a good bond with the pupils and teachers to enable them to teach effectively. We would also be very happy to have you stay longer should you want to. This project provides accommodation and breakfast, lunch and a mid-day snack on volunteering days throughout the duration of your placement.

 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 

By taking part in this volunteering project, you are helping to support the SDGs, which provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The specific SDGs this project impacts are:

 Location 

This project is located at a primary school for orphans and disadvantaged children in the rural area of Kambirwa. It is 6km from the nearest town, Murang’a, in the Central Highlands of Kenya. Murang’a town is 90km north of Nairobi.

Murang’a town was known as Fort Hall in colonial times and is the capital of Murang’a County. It is acknowledged as the home of the independence movement as it was home to the first administrative post set by the East African Protectorate in 1895. The majority of residents belong to the mainstream Christian denominations. The economy is deeply rooted in agriculture, practice on small family land holding. The residents engage in small scale farming and livestock keeping, and over 60% grow cash crops tea and coffee. Macadamia farming is also popular, as well as dairy farming.

Nearby attractions include the Aberdares National Park, a protected area with rich wildlife such as elephants, rhinos and monkeys, and diverse landscapes from mountains to rivers. Hiking and camping are popular activities, particularly at Rapid Camp Sagana which offers adventure sports bungee jumping and water rafting. Muran’ga is home to many cultural heritage sites that have a rich history on the origins of the Agikuya people, for example Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine.

To travel to the area, you will need to fly to Kenyatta International Airport, which is close to Nairobi. From there, regular mini-bus services operate between Nairobi and Murang’a town. There is a mini-bus station in Murang’a town which has services to other major towns in the Central Highlands. Bike taxis run from the school in Kambirwa to the town Murang’a. Travelling is cheap and the 90km trip to Nairobi will cost less than £2 and takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

 Dates & Duration 

You can volunteer from a minimum of 3 months to a maximum of 12 months. This project follows the school term times, with three terms per year. Check below for our upcoming start and finish dates for this project.

  • 2019

    May – July 2019.

    August – October 2019.

  • 2020

    January – April 2020.

    May – July 2020.

    August – October 2020.

 Costs 

To join the project, you will need to pay a project fee. The cost is £300, plus an additional amount for insurance (approximately £1 per day). Please contact us to find out how much this would be.

  • What's included?

    During your volunteering placement, you will have furnished private accommodation in a basic two-bedroom apartment with a bathroom, kitchen, balcony and living room. There is free internet access at the school, and WiFi is available in the accommodation at an additional cost. You will also be provided with two meals a day – breakfast and lunch – and a midday snack at the school. While volunteering you will receive support from our project partners in Kenya.

  • What's not included?

    Once your placement is confirmed, we can help you to organise your flights, travel insurance, and tourist visa but you will need to cover all costs. You will also need to organise and pay for any required vaccinations and medications you need while volunteering. You will need to pay for your police or background check. While volunteering, you will receive two meals a day during working days (breakfast and lunch) but dinner and meals during days off are self-catered. You will have access to a kitchen and supermarkets and restaurants are within travelling distance. We also recommend that you have a little extra money for any travelling and additional activities you may want to take part in while in Kenya.

 Eligibility Requirements 

To join this project, you will need to be a native speaker of English. You’ll have an enthusiasm for teaching, including developing a curriculum of activities and study topics to engage the pupils and improve their written and oral English  language skills. While no previous experience of teaching is necessary, you’ll need to be flexible in your approach, and willing to organise your work in accordance with the varying needs arising from the students and teachers of the school.

You will need to be resilient and able to cope with change and to embrace the unexpected! You’ll need to be willing to adapt to different cultural situations, including working in different ways and different living conditions. You’ll need to have a strong motivation for helping others, and an enthusiastic and energetic attitude.

To be successful, you will need to clear relevant Police Record checks (such as PVG, DBS, ICPC) and understand and abide by our Safeguarding Policy. You will also need to eligible to apply for Kenyan Tourist Visa.

If this sounds like you, we would love to hear from you!

 How To Apply 

If you’d like to apply for this volunteering project, please send your CV along with a Covering Letter to rosalie.short@ivsgb.org.

 Teach English in Rural Kenya 

 Project Details & FAQ 

  • What kind of work will I be doing?

    As a volunteer at teaching English at a school in rural Kenya, you will be assisting language learning activities and additional duties centred around the successful running of the primary school, on a part-time voluntary basis for a minimum of 14 weeks.

    During that time you will get to know another culture and provide a quality education to disadvantaged children through teaching voluntarily while assisting their families with small income generating projects for the benefit of a local community.

    You will be teaching English with the expectation that the pupil’s written and oral English skills will improve. You will also guide teachers on ways to improve their teaching methods and enable them to deliver more efficient lessons, improving literacy and the student’s skill development.

    You will help with running the new computer lab and IT lessons for both pupils and staff, and with general office work, dealing with administration, accounting and funding proposals so that projects can be enhanced and improved upon.

    You will also assist with P.E., art and music lessons, as well as helping on agricultural projects growing fruit and vegetables.

    Working with the community, you will provide assistance to parents and guardians who are struggling to get out of poverty by developing small income generating projects.

  • How many hours and what days will I work?

    A typical day at the primary school includes:

    • Breakfast at 7:45am.
    • Morning activities from 8:20am-12:30pm.
    • Lunch between 12:30-2pm, with library or computer activity optional between 1:15pm-2pm.
    • Afternoon activities until 3:20pm when the school closes, then after school one-on-one reading activity or help with homework until 4:10pm. The children go home at 4:30pm.
    • Dinner will be prepared by yourself at home. In the evening you will have free time.

  • Will I get support throughout my volunteering placement?

    Yes! You will receive support from teachers at the school and our project partners in Kenya.

    They will help you get to know the local culture and customs of the country and community. You will also have a short orientation when you arrive to help you settle in.

    If you ever have any questions or need any help, they will be there for you!

  • How long can I volunteer for?

    The placement can last for a (recommended) minimum of 14 weeks to a maximum of 12 months. It is entirely up to you!

    It is suggested that volunteers stay for a minimum of 14 weeks because this is the length of a school term and for a volunteer teacher it is enough time to form a good bond with the pupils and teachers to enable them to teach effectively.

    Many hosts can be flexible, so if by the end of your volunteering placement you’re not ready to leave, there may be an opportunity to extend your placement too! If you would like to stay longer, please speak to us.

  • How old are the students and what are they like?

    The children who attend this school may be orphans and/or from disadvantaged backgrounds.

    Education in Kenya is meant to be free but there are a growing number of children who are excluded from school due to their parents and/or guardians being unable to pay extra charges which may occur.

    The goal of the project is to provide a free, quality education for children who may otherwise be excluded from school and assist their parents and/or guardians out of poverty with small income generating projects.

  • What are the benefits of joining this project?

    By taking part in this volunteering project, you will develop new skills, develop or even learn a new language, make an impact on the local community, learn about different cultures, make new friends, gain confidence and much more!

    You will also be contributing to these specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: 4. Quality Education, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, 16: Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions, 17: Partnerships For The Goals.

  • How much will it cost?

    To join the project, you will need to pay a project fee. The cost is £300, plus an additional amount for insurance (approximately £1 per day). Please contact us to find out how much this would be.

    Once your placement is confirmed, you will need to organise and pay for your own flights, visa, vaccinations and medication. If you prefer, we can help you to make these arrangements through our dedicated partner organisations.

    During your volunteering project, accommodation and two meals per day (during school days) are provided free of charge. Dinner and meals during days off will be self-catered. It is recommended that a budget of around £15-20 per week would be enough to buy food for evening and weekend meals, costs of travelling to town, and doing a small activity such as using a cyber cafe.

    We recommend that, should you wish to partake in any excursions, tours, travel or activities while in Kenya, you have your own additional funds to pay for these while on the volunteering project.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    Your accommodation will be provided by the school in Kenya. You will have a basic two-bedroom apartment with a bathroom, toilet, kitchen, balcony and living room.

    The accommodation is situated approximately 4-5km from the school. You can travel to the school by walking or travelling by the school bus.

    You will have access to WiFi in the accommodation at an additional cost. Internet at the school is free.

    Murang’a is the nearest town and is located approximately 6km from the school and accommodation. You can travel there by bike-taxi. In the town, you will be able to shop at supermarkets (two) and markets (twice-weekly) or eat at many restaurants and cafes. There are also two hotels with pools and many banks.

    There is a small medical clinic located near the school in Kambirwa. The nearest hospital is in Murang’a.

  • Are meals provided?

    Two meals per day (breakfast and lunch) and a midday snack will be provided by the school kitchen staff during work days. Breakfast is usually served at 7:45am and lunch is served between 12:30-2pm. The food is traditionally Kenyan and mainly consists of beans, maize and rice. The cooks prepare lunch on two large wood burning stoves for the school.

    For other meals (evening dinners and meals during days off), the volunteer should budget a small amount per week (we recommend around £15-20) to be able to buy and/or cook your own food. There are many restaurants, shops, markets and supermarkets located in the town of Murang’a.

  • What is the weather like?

    Kenya is known for having dry and rainy seasons. Temperatures are mostly in the mid-late 20 degrees Celsius.

  • What do I need to bring?

    You need to wear polite or conservative dress while you are teaching and at the school. Shorts, skirts, spaghetti straps, singlets are not suitable. Casual, light, loose and natural fabric clothing is recommended.

    It is recommended that you bring: flip flops, trainers, a light rain jacket, a towel, sunscreen, toiletries and sunglasses.

    You will need to bring your own medication with you.

    No smoking, drugs or alcohol are permitted at the school.

  • Do I need to have a TEFL Qualification or experience teaching English?

    It is not required to have any experience of teaching English or a TEFL Certificate. However, you will need to be a confident self-starter with enthusiasm for teaching and education, as well as flexibility to support the primary school in other capacities, such as agricultural activities, administration and community projects.

  • Can I volunteer with my friend/partner?

    Yes! There may be opportunity for you to do this volunteering project together. Please contact us for further details.

  • Do I need a visa?

    You will need to check your visa requirements. Generally, a Tourist Visa is sufficient. Please check at the Kenya High Commission for further information.

  • Do I need any vaccinations?

    You will need to check your vaccination requirements. You will have to pay for your own vaccinations, although many are free through the NHS. For more information visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Please note the following:

    • Yellow Fever: When you arrive in Kenya, you may be asked for a yellow fever vaccination certificate at the airport because yellow fever is in Kenya.
    • Malaria: Malaria is not common in Murang’a due to the altitude. Tests for malaria are easy to obtain and medications are available.
    • Typhoid: Typhoid vaccinations are recommended.

  • How can I travel around while in Kenya?

    From your accommodation and the school located in Kambirwa, you will be able to travel to the nearest town (Murang’a town, approximately 6km away) by bike-taxis.

    There is a mini-bus station in Murang’a town with services to major towns in the Central Highlands region, as well as direct mini-bus services to Nairobi. Travelling is cheap and a 90km trip to Nairobi will cost less than £2 (250 shillings) and takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

    The nearest international airport is Kenyatta International Airport, which is close to Nairobi. To get between the airport and Nairobi, you can take a bus which will cost around 70p (100 shillings) and takes approximately 30 minutes.

  • What cultural differences and customs do I need to be aware of?

    Kenya is a Christian country where socially acceptable behaviours may differ from the UK, so please keep in mind the following:

    • It is strongly recommended that female volunteers avoid short shorts and/or skirts, spaghetti strap tops and singlets.
    • Kenyan people are polite and greet each other with handshakes – it is considered impolite not to do so.
    • Smoking in the street is illegal. There are shelters set aside on streets for passerby to stop and smoke.

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