Immerse yourself in the captivating culture of East Africa along Kenya’s southern coast on the breathtaking Shimoni archipelago while you learn Swahili and collaborate with others on vital public health programs at a grass roots level.
The public health awareness initiatives will be in collaboration with the local community health officers, and will take place at schools, community centers and at times local homes. There is a variation in topics covered, but generally they include: HIV/AIDS awareness, sanitation, pre and post-natal care, nutrition and exercise.
By increasing awareness and focusing on preventative care this program is able to tackle crucial health issues that affect areas faced with poverty and poor education resources.
We are always looking for enthusiastic and dedicated people to join our team. This program offers qualifying and high-performing volunteers the chance to stay on the program for a longer duration on a GVI Scholarship free of charge and as part of the staff team in the field. If you would like to work towards a field career and make the very most of your time abroad, you might want to work towards a place on a GVI Scholarship. Successful scholars may find themselves offered full time employment with GVI, and many of our current staff have come through this route. Contact us for more information!
Please note, the awarding of scholarships is at the sole discretion of GVI and may be offered immediately after the completion of your program or at a later date.
GVI is real volunteering
Our projects are constantly evolving according to the needs on the ground at any given time. All the information displayed here will give you an overall feel for the project, but you should be prepared for any changes in the field when you travel. An evolving project means that we can constantly meet the needs and requirements of our partners, who dictate the work that we do. The way it should be.
Time on the program will be divided fairly evening between researching, planning and preparing public health workshops and educational sessions that you will deliver to community members.
Please bear in mind that the days can be long, hot and leave you tired after working with limited resources. However, the reward of working on such a life-changing project is worth every bit of energy poured into your work, and then some!
The provided accommodation will be in shared rooms of up to eight people in a remote location with limited access to running water and electricity. GVI has capacity to host up to 30 volunteers on base at any time, but the participants will not all be part of the same program. During your time off you can enjoy relaxing with other volunteers or exploring the surrounding area.
The ultimate goal of this program is to develop and provide public health workshops which requires you to get involved in various projects such as:
- Researching information
- Lesson planning
- Preparing resources
- Liaising with community partners
- Organizing community meetings
- Teaching – both informal and classroom based
- Development of outreach workshops
- Supporting the delivery of lessons and workshops
Your audience will vary from school to adult groups with the potential to also do private household visits. Other times you may be stationed at a local healthcare center to support local staff with administration and skills development, construction work, clean-ups and other public disposal management projects.
Additionally you may have the chance to lend a hand in a wider selection of community development work such as alternative income projects and environmental education.
How this project makes a difference:
The local communities have limited access to healthcare and are, for the most part, unable to tackle common health related issues through awareness and education. By working alongside community health officers and local organisations we can help them research, plan and deliver health outreach programs that will make a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of these rural communities.
Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.
Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Shimoni field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Kenya!
Included Side Trips
During project you will embark on the fascinating community-based eco-tourism Slave Cave Tour in Shimoni village, exploring the natural caves that are currently home to bat colonies but over the years have served as a refuge for local people during tribal clashes, a slave holding pen on the way to markets in Zanzibar and more recently a kaya shrine.
Optional Side Trips
Please note these additional side trips are not included in the program but can be easily organised on the ground after arrival.
Closer to base, you can support various eco-tourism initiatives in the surrounding communities, such as traditional fishing trips with the Mkwiro fishermen in their dug-out canoes, Swahili cooking classes or trips through large underground limestone caves at Tswaka.
An amazing day trip is to Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, a community reserve in the hills near Shimba where game drives will bring you close to herds of protected African elephants. You can also see how the community turn elephant dung into recycled paper products for sale to tourists as an income generating scheme.
For something longer than a day, you should consider an overnight trip to Shimba Hills National Reserve, home to African elephants, buffalo, giraffe, warthog and Kenya’s only breeding population of sable antelope. The south coast of Kenya is dotted with several stunning white sand beaches where some of the more popular beach towns offer ocean sports such as kite-surfing, kayaking and diving. Tiwi Beach offers a more relaxed experience with very few tourists present.
Mombasa can also be visited over a weekend, a city that combines the historic old town and traditional Swahili culture with modern city life, restaurants, bars and clubs. As well as its beautiful beaches, the nearby Haller Park is an ecological restoration project that offers opportunities to get close to giraffe, hippopotamus, buffalo, waterbuck, crocodile and the giant Aldabra tortoise.
Further Travel Opportunities
Kenya is a large and extremely diverse country in terms of both culture and nature. Over three to four days you can undertake a safari that takes in the vast Tsavo East and West National Parks, or the famous Amboseli or Maasai Mara National Parks, all home to incredible wildlife viewing opportunities. You can journey further up Kenya’s coastline to visit Watamu and Malindi home to the Gedi Ruins and Arabuko Sokoke Forest National Park. Or for something less active, try Lamu Island, a tranquil getaway, steeped in Swahili history, tradition and culture.
Even further afield in Kenya including Lakes Naivasha and Victoria and national parks such as Nakuru, Hell’s Gate and Samburu. Our operations lie close to the Tanzanian border and onward travel here offers some of Africa’s most famous names; the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Mt Kilimanjaro and the Zanzibar Islands.
Build Your Program
- Pre-departure support and discounted services
- 24-hour emergency phone
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- Arrival orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
- Welcome meeting
- Location orientation
- All necessary project training by experienced staff
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- 24-hour in-country support
- Full orientation to the community and their socio economic and health issues
- Formal training in relevant teaching and training techniques, health and safety and swahili language
What's Not Included
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal kit
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes