Why Volunteer in Kenya?

Why Volunteer in Kenya?

It is true that my educational background gave me the information (theories etc.) I needed to understand the process of development, but being here has helped me to better understand and participate in development on the ground.  – Rita Togba – final year student in Development Studies and African Studies at SOAS London University 2015

Why volunteer?

At the heart of Volunteerism are the ideals of service and solidarity and the belief that together we can make the world a better place. – Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

Children leaving schoolThere are many reasons people choose to volunteer – for some it is to give something back and to be of service, and for others it is to develop skills and gain experience, as well as to meet new people. For many volunteers it is a combination of all of these, however we have found that for the vast majority of volunteers we have worked with, the desire to participate in positive change is the strongest motivation. Our Volunteers Testimonials page provides an example of what motivated the volunteers who have worked with us.

 

Why Kenya?

Forty-two percent of Kenya’s population of 44 million live below the poverty line. Access to basic services such as health-care, clean water and education is largely a luxury. Several factors contribute to increased poverty: an unstable agriculture, very few employment opportunities and education fees that are too high for many families. The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Kenya is a shocking 6.3%, one of the highest figures in the world, and over a million children have been orphaned due to AIDS (source: Unicef).

Children outside KACHVolunteering in Kenya provides an opportunity not only to experience an amazing country, its culture and people, but to make a difference to some of those affected most by poverty as well as HIV/AIDS. The need for volunteers in Kenya is great, in fact on 22 October 2015, the National Volunteer Community in Kenya held “The CEO’s roundtable on national volunteerism”, which called for the swift adoption of the National Volunteer Policy as well as encouraging the creation of a framework for promoting volunteerism in the country.

Kenya is also a beautiful country. With incredible coastlines and many wildlife parks and reserves teeming with wildlife such as giraffes, zebras and lions, as well as woodlands, grasslands, marshes and swamps, there is much to see and experience.
OTEPIC Kenya

Volunteering with Ecologia at IPI

Children at IPI: Volunteer in KenyaInternational Peace Initiatives (IPI) was established in Meru by Dr Karambu Ringera, in 2002, in order to mitigate the effects of poverty, HIV/AIDS and discrimination in the local area. She set up a grass-roots community-building project, with a particular focus on improving the lives of vulnerable children.

Volunteering at IPI provides a fantastic opportunity to become immersed in Kenyan Life and Culture, and gain first hand experience of working in the field of sustainable development in a cutting edge community empowerment organisation. Whilst volunteering at the project you will have the chance to:

IPI polytunnels: Why Volunteer in Kenya
Polytunnels on the farm at IPI
  • Help care for children who live at Kithoka Amani Children’s Home (KACH)
  • Help teach English to children in the local schools or adults in the surrounding community
  • Work on the project’s organic farm
  • Support skills-training and empowerment workshops
  • Study, understand and participate in the process of development on the ground
  • Explore the local area with trips to the local town
  • Take part in a safari (optional)

Students of International Development

Rita Togba helping at Tie and Dye workshop
Volunteer Rita Togba helping at a Tie and Dye workshop

Students of International Development will be interested in an ethical, grassroots-led project aimed at ensuring support for the local community to find solutions to it’s own problems. Some examples include skills training such as catering, tailoring, jewellery and detergent-making for vulnerable women; other examples include community-building initiatives mobilising people to challenge issues including HIV/AID, women’s rights and alcohol addiction among youths.

I believe that development occurs through people and education. In her work at International Peace Initiatives (IPI) Dr Karambu Ringera incorporates these two important concepts. I also believe that education is a powerful weapon that transforms and does impact people’s lives. Without this empowerment and knowledge it would be difficult to spearhead the fight against poverty. In IPI, Dr. Karambu makes these happen in people’s lives. Dr. K is dedicated through her work to empower the vulnerable in the community.

My main purpose of coming to Meru, Kenya was to learn from this wonderful and courageous woman who believes that problems are opportunities in order for people to grow, move forward with their dreams and wishes. So far I have learnt so much and I have enjoyed my stay. The children here are amazing and the people very hospitable. It is true that my educational background gave me the information (theories etc.) I needed to understand the process of development, but being here has helped me to better understand and participate in development on the ground. And it’s a better feeling. – Rita Togba – final year student in Development Studies and African Studies at SOAS London University, 2015

Find out more about our Volunteer in Kenya programme.

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susie Kemp

Susie has 30+ experience as a creative copywriter, editor, and proofreader, starting out as a 20-year-old copywriter in the Mad Men world of early 1990s advertising in South Africa. Ever since, she’s had a love affair with creative conceptualisation, thinking outside of the box, writing to a deadline, and being thrown in the deep end!

She took an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University as a mature student, in 2015, and continues to keep herself busy working as a copy-editor, proofreader and copywriter in book publishing, corporate communications, and publishing project management.

Apart from her love of working with independent authors, Susie has a fondness for working in the third sector and likes to use her corporate communications and marketing experience to support projects close to her heart. She has lived and worked in the Findhorn area for 25 years, and has been involved in a number of third sector projects and organisations, and family businesses.

Working at Ecologia Youth Trust helps Susie to live in integrity with her values of supporting the next generation to be the best that they can be, and she sees it as a way to give back to Mama Africa, the beloved continent on which she was born.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen joined the Ecologia team in June 2018 as Marketing and Communications Manager. Ellen has lived in Scotland for 6 years and has worked for non-profit and charitable organisations across varied fields. She currently shares her passion for helping young people through Ecologia Youth Trust and she works as a dancer and dance teacher in her spare time.

Robyn Cooper

Robyn is the Associate Director of International Projects, having previously worked within the team as a Project Development and Marketing Officer from April 2019 until May 2021. As Associate Director, Robyn is co-leading the International side of Ecologia with Founder and Director, Liza Hollingshead, bringing a new energy into Ecologia as they look towards the future of the charity.

Liza Hollingshead

Liza is the founder of Ecologia and Director of International Projects. She was born and educated in South Africa and worked there as a high school teacher. She moved to live in the Findhorn Community in 1974. She started Ecologia in 1995 after being introduced to Dmitry Morozov, the founder of Kitezh Children’s Community in Russia, and was inspired to support the community in its mission to rescue orphaned children from institutions and give them homes, families and education in a supportive environment.

This led to projects supporting disadvantaged youth and children in South East Asia and in East Africa. TRead more about Liza’s story here.