Are you good with your hands and fancy putting them to good use?
Get your hands dirty building homes on projects in the stunning area of Nakuru. Get stuck into building one of the community development projects or help build houses for poor communities. Whichever building venture you embark on, this is a fantastic opportunity not only to live and work alongside the community who will benefit from your efforts, but to also learn something of the difficulties facing those in the developing world.
When you book this trip US$75 of your fee is used to purchase resources for the project through our Big Giving scheme.
- Getting your hands truly dirty working with the local community!
- Spending time in this stunning part of the world
- Exploring National Parks at weekends
- Dancing to Kenyan music - some of the catchiest in Africa!
What's not included
Day 1 (Saturday) – Karibu Kenya! Arrive into Nairobi (airport code NBO)
Welcome to Kenya! You’ll be met at the airport by our smiling team holding up an i to i sign who will take you to your accommodation in the bustling capital of Nairobi for your first night.
The drive from the airport to the hotel takes under half an hour and then you’ll be able to relax in your new settings for the night and enjoy an evening meal in the hotel with your new fellow travellers. The hotel has two beds in each room, lockers in reception for your valuables, hot water in your own bathrooms and is in a great location if you want to go out and explore Nairobi. There are internet cafes, shops and cafes just around the corner to keep you connected to the Western world.
If you aren’t able to arrange a flight to get you into Nairobi (airport code NBO) on the designated arrival day then we’d recommend you fly in a day early. We can arrange an early airport pick-up for you including one night’s accommodation for an additional fee. Please call us for more information.
Day 2 (Sunday) – Orientation and transfer to Nakuru
The orientation is a crucial part of settling in to life in Kenya and will take you through what it’s going to be like at your project, do’s and don’ts, how to stay safe and it’s your prime opportunity to ask any burning questions that you haven’t yet had answered. After the orientation you’ll have some time to relax and prepare before your first day at the project tomorrow.
After your orientation, you’ll be transferred to your accommodation in Nakuru. The journey takes around half a day and is by private minivan. Sit back and relax as you watch Kenya whizz by your window!
Once you reach Nakuru, you’ll be introduced to your accommodation hosts and be given time to unpack before enjoying a delicious meal altogether!
Day 3 – Day 7 (Monday to Friday) – Starting at the project!
Good morning! Today is your first day at your new project! Rise and shine to a local hearty breakfast and head off to the building project. Depending on which building site you’re working on, the journey time can be either a short walk or a short matatu journey away.
You’ll be introduced to the local team who work on the sites, shown how to use your tools and get building! The following days will follow a routine of building for up to six hours a day, Monday to Friday.
Days 8 and 9 (Saturday to Sunday) – Free time
Hooray it’s the weekend so time to down tools and see some of Kenya’s sights and sounds! Saturday and Sunday are yours to spend as you please, but you might like to take our recommendations on board?
How about heading on a weekend safari? If you’re planning on going on safari whilst in Kenya, we’d recommend waiting until you arrive there before arranging anything. The costs are cheaper in country and there are so many different locations, durations and accommodations to choose from that it can be baffling! Let our team help you choose when you get here and we’ll make sure you have the safari of a lifetime!
Don’t forget that you are right on the doorstep of Lake Nakuru National Park! Now is your chance to go and see the famous sight of the flamingoes in the shallows of the lake! If you’ve always wanted to go and visit a dormant volcano, why not head to the nearby Menengai Crater. Continuing with the Lake theme, we also have Lake Bogoria and Lake Baringo nearby too! There’s a lot to cram into your weekend!
However long you’ve booked on, you’ll be thrilled to be involved in the ongoing building work! Even if you don’t get to see a family move into a house that you’ve help build, be reassured that you are part of an ongoing process with many painstakingly slow processes involved; meaning houses take time to be built properly. You should still see improvements made and see the results of your hard work during your building time – you’ll also see your muscles take shape too!
Your Last Day (Saturday)
Wow! How has it come to your last day already? Today is the last day of your project with us and we’ll bet good money that you don’t feel ready to leave…
If you’re heading back to Nairobi, you’ll be heading back by a private transfer again and this transfer is not included in your project fee so please budget around US$15 for this cost.
If you have booked an early morning flight on your last day, you might want to consider heading back to Nairobi the previous day. Our team can help you to arrange this when you arrive in Kenya.
What does the project do?
There is no social housing scheme in Kenya which means that those people that cannot afford their own home will be forced to live on the streets, in caves or in slums. The need for simple housing in Kenya is great as is assistance in building for the community itself. This can include classroom building or repair, orphanages or educational centres, accommodations or churches to name a few. These are community run projects and as such the community will decide on the priorities at the time based on funds available and who is available. This is a great opportunity to interact, socialise and work alongside Kenyan people to help them build a better and more prosperous future.
If you are building in one of the established community development projects near Nakuru, you may be laying or repairing the foundations for the community projects with children (orphanages), which will provide an educational centre, accommodation and medical care for the children and community who make their living on the local city dump.
You may find that you are asked to work in the community of Hilton, directly beside the city dump, to build shelters for the people living there, usually single parents, or grandparents caring for their orphaned grandchildren.
What’s the project like?
The project is located around a slum area where there are terrible living conditions for locals, with no sign of respite anytime soon. What is most heartbreaking about this, is that the surrounding scenery around Nakuru is breathtaking and a pleasure to look at; the mountains in the backdrop invite you to stare.
Everyone you meet has a smile on their face and will be polite, friendly and welcoming – this project will definitely help you to remember and appreciate what you have back at home. The children in particular will follow you everywhere chanting your name and try to hold your hand! Nakuru is a fairly developed town, although the building sites you’ll be working on are further out of the town and in the poorer areas of Nakuru. It’s not uncommon for several generations of one family to live together in one house with only two rooms.
Why does the project need volunteers?
The projects depend on the goodwill and donations from the local community and sponsors from around the world to keep things moving. They will always welcome additional labour – but don't worry - strong muscles aren't a must. Any particular skills you may have, such as building, organisational, engineering will be gratefully utilised but we can’t stress enough that just being motivated and enthusiastic is all you really need for this project!
You will find yourself getting involved in many aspects of the building process, depending on the stage you join the project at. You could find yourself getting stuck into a number of mucky tasks, ranging from helping to renovate established buildings, to finishing off work well under way, or starting a building completely from scratch!
Activities and schedule
Whilst on the building project, your help would be appreciated between Monday and Friday for around six hours a day. Of course, any additional help that you would like to give will never be turned away, but it’s important that you have your time to relax and see more of Kenya too!
You will need to have an appetite for hard work, be very hands-on, and willing to get involved with a variety of tasks. You should be an outdoors person and be prepared to work in different weather conditions. While building experience is not necessary, if you have a specific skill it will be welcomed! The ability to view the bigger picture and long-term goals on the project are essential to the understanding of activities that may seem repetitive and a little insignificant at times.
Very few community building projects have a set timescale for their construction, as local communities will raise some money, use it to buy materials and build until these materials run out. Then they will wait until they have raised more money to start on the next phase. For this reason, building projects in Kenya may change with quite short notice, so you must be prepared to fit in with whatever is currently going on.
You'll find there are many types of building processes in Kenya, ranging from traditional styles using locally found materials such as wood and stones, to the bricks-and-cement style you may be more familiar with, so you'll need to adapt to the materials you're working with.
Project resources and advice
Based on previous returned volunteer feedback, we would recommend you bringing the following items with you to Kenya:
- Plenty of mosquito repellent
- Work gloves – there will be a limited supply at the project but not necessarily in your size
- Closed toe shoes
What type of accommodation will I be in?
You will be living with a local family in a homestay. Nakuru is Kenya's fourth biggest town, about 160km from Nairobi, and is a fairly laid-back and modern town. Nakuru has a good transport system and is well linked to the rest of the country. Nakuru has plenty of facilities, with several banks, internet cafes, Supermarkets, tour operators, and hotels. Water and electricity may occasionally go off, but its all part of the Kenyan experience!
During your stay in Nakuru, you’ll be staying with a local Kenyan family in their home. You’ll soon feel like part of the family, as all of our accommodation hosts are very welcoming and have been receiving our volunteers for many years.
The accommodation has all the basic amenities that you would need during your stay; running water, Instant shower with hot water, a kitchen, electricity when the sun goes down and there are power points to charge electrical gadgets. The bedrooms are shared single sex on a 2-3 bed basis. Occasionally, as often happens in Africa, the running water may stop, and you should be prepared for electricity cuts – so please bring a torch/flashlight! You will also need to budget to buy bottled water, or bring purification tablets as tap water is generally not safe to drink in Kenya.
It is a 10-15 minute walk from accommodation to the main road where there is regular public transport into town and project.
There is a living room to relax and socialize in with your homestay family and share stories. It can get cold during the evenings, so it is recommended that you bring warm clothes to keep you nice and warm. You can wash your clothes here too, so don’t worry about having to bring a truckload of clothes.
Breakfast and dinner will be provided for you, but you should budget a few dollars each day to purchase your own lunch. You can always use the facilities in the kitchen if you wish to do so to make a packed lunch to take with you. The diet in Kenya revolves around meat and fairly stodgy and filling foods such as potatoes, rice, Chapati, pasta and bread. Vegetarians are welcome but be aware that Kenyans love their meat.
Things to bring from home
Bedding is provided but you may want to bring a sleeping bag if you are planning on travelling around at the weekend as not all places will have bedding available. Don’t worry about bringing a mosquito net as these are provided as well (although if you are travelling around Kenya after your trip with us, you might want to consider bringing one). It is also fine to spray plenty of mosquito repellent as an alternative!
It is worth bringing your own towel with you as these are not provided. It’s a good idea to bring a torch/flashlight as there can be power cuts. Please remember to bring a warm jumper for the evenings as it can get chilly at high altitude.
Where is the accommodation?
There is good access to public transport and other facilities. The house is close to a main road, and only takes about 10-15 minutes’ walk to board Matatus which drops you to into the town centre. In Nakuru town, there are internet cafes, supermarkets, banks, cafes and restaurants.
A local minibus (matatu) around Nakuru costs less than a US dollar and a taxi home from town costs around US$3. The famous Lake Nakuru National Park is only 5 km away, and it is easy to arrange safaris from the town.
How far is it from my project?
Depending on which building site you’re working on, the journey time can be either a short walk or a short matatu journey away. Please budget around US$20 per week for this cost.
We work in partnership with hundreds of established projects that are run by local communities. The information on our website comes directly from the projects and we work with them to ensure this information is as accurate as possible. However, due to the very nature of the projects themselves the exact details of what happens on a daily basis can change with little or no notice. If you have travelled with us and have any updates to this information, please let us know.
What you get
What exactly do i to i Volunteering provide?
It may seem like a strange concept to pay for your volunteer experience. You'd be right if you think you shouldn't and the truth is you actually don't! Your placement is free; it's the benefits around it that you pay for. It's important to note that i to i Volunteering is a travel company and not a charity. We provide a professional travel service. We are responsible for finding and assessing worthwhile projects across the world, preparing you for the volunteering experience and supporting you whilst you're there.
Project sourcing and assessment
We work with hundreds of locally run partner projects around the world and are constantly sourcing new opportunities. We visit all projects to check that they are worthwhile and legitimate and we also conduct a thorough safety assessment before we'll send volunteers there.
Almost everyone who works for i to i Volunteering has traveled extensively or worked overseas. This means we're a goldmine of information; we're always available to offer support and guidance before, during and after your trip.
Thorough project briefing materials
Once you book on to a project you'll receive an online account that contains loads of general information about volunteering, about your chosen country and how to have fun and stay safe. We'll also give you advice on visas and inoculations.
It can be pretty daunting arriving in a different country for the first time - especially after a long flight! If you arrive on your project start date, there'll be a welcoming face at the airport to pick you up and take you to your accommodation.
Soon after you arrive you will attend a thorough orientation with our in-country team. This is to cover important safety and security information. You'll also get some tips about sight-seeing options for your time off and maybe even learn some of the local lingo!
Accommodation and meals
Accommodation is included with all projects and meals are even included with some. We only use locally-owned and operated accommodation so that part of your placement fee is filtering back into the local economy. Most projects offer homestay, guesthouse or shared volunteer houses as standard accommodation, but some offer the chance to upgrade to a more comfortable living standard.
Local in-country coordinators
Your in-country team will arrange a pick-up for you at the airport and will conduct your orientation upon arrival. All coordination teams are English speaking and are locals of your destination country. They won't be at your project every day, but will be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you need them.
24/7 emergency support
Aside from the local support from your in-country team you'll be given access to a 24/7 emergency phone line manned by our response team in case any problem should arise while you're overseas. We also hire crisis management professionals to be on hand in case of a situation that requires additional expert support.
The safety and security of our volunteers is paramount. For this reason we provide ongoing crisis management and emergency response training to our local teams around the world. We also fly in our in-country coordinators to the UK regularly for thorough training to help them offer the best safety to the thousands of volunteers they support each year.
Supporting our projects
We don't fund our projects directly from the project fee that you pay us. Instead we choose to support a number of projects through our Helping Hands Foundation to provide resources to those projects that really need it.
Recruiting people like you
We make no secrets of the fact that part of your placement fee is reinvested in to recruiting volunteers just like you! The volunteers recruited in one week will typically deliver over 2000 man-days of service. The difference this makes to projects overseas is immeasurable. Many of our overseas projects rely on assistance from international volunteers, so it's necessary for us to put together brochures and websites to find the people who can support them. This recruitment process is vital to ensure programs have a constant stream of reliable volunteers.
Please note: You may be the only volunteer at your chosen project at any one time. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us.
What we will do after you've booked:
- Once booked on you will instantly receive a welcome email confirming your booking with access to your online account
- Community Development and Teaching customers will be requested to complete a police check (where relevant)
- We will contact you if we require anything else e.g. CV/resume for some projects, doctors note for medical conditions etc.
- We will prepare for your trip and you will receive all information required to prepare yourself in your online account
- We will ask you to complete personal information and pay your final balance if they are still due when required
- We are available for any questions you may have on email@example.com
What you need to do after booking your place with us:
- Book your flights
- Arrange suitable travel insurance
- Fill out your personal details through your online account
- Complete your police check if requested
- Make final payment at least 90 days before you go
- Make sure you have a visa for your trip if it's needed
- Visit a nurse or travel clinic for advice on inoculations and malaria prevention
- Read all details and prepare as much as you can for your trip
- Take contact details of the in country team and where you're going in your hand luggage - just in case!
- Get on the plane!
Flights & insurance
It's important that you get adequate travel insurance for your i to i Volunteering experience and as many of you will be working this often means standard policies won’t work. The good news is that no matter where you're coming from we have already found a policy to suit you.
The best time to get your insurance is when you book your project as this means you can get a fully tailored policy exclusive to i to i Volunteering, just ask your consultant for further details at the time of booking.
For prices, policies and key facts click here
As with insurance we advise you get these booked as early as possible to avoid high prices and to make sure you arrive on the right day. The i to i Volunteering team is right up to date with the best deals no matter where you’re flying from; their insider knowledge could save you some time and money.