Where are VICDA’s projects located?
VICDA has projects in many parts of Kenya, rural and urban alike. We have orphanage, medical HIV/AIDS counseling and school projects all over Nairobi for volunteers who would like to stay in the city. There are also many projects nearby Nairobi, in Thika, Machakos, Limuru and the like. The Maasai projects are, obviously, located south of Nairobi in Maasailand. All of the IDP projects are located northwest of Nairobi in the Rift Valley region, with the nearest city being Nakuru. VICDA also has a handful of projects located in the Central Highlands region. For volunteers outside of Nairobi, public transport is available back to the city, usually taking anywhere from 2-4 hours.
How many people are at VICDA’s projects?
VICDA’s projects range dramatically in size. We work with some smaller projects like orphanages of only 30 or so kids and we also work with entire communities, like the Giwa IDP camp where about 3,000 people live. Volunteers who come with GVN through the Kenya Volunteer Program will be sent a list of available projects as well as the number of people at each project. Volunteers coming through the Voluntourism program will be working with the IDP’s at Giwa, but will be given a specific task while there so it won’t seem so overwhelming.
If I’m unable to travel to Kenya, how can I help VICDA’s projects from where I live?
How old do I have to be to volunteer with VICDA?
GVN requires volunteers coming through the Kenya program to be 18 years of age or older. Younger volunteers are welcome if they come with a parent or guardian. VICDA will also consider younger volunteers coming through the Voluntourism program, but they are subject to a screening process. Families are encouraged to volunteer together.
Should I bring supplies or funds to my project?
While bringing supplies and extra funds to your assigned projects isn’t required they will certainly be welcomed and put to good use. VICDA recommends bringing funds and waiting until you’ve been introduced to your project before you purchase materials and supplies. Each project has different needs and volunteers won’t know exactly what they are until they arrive. VICDA also recommends that you and a member from the VICDA office shop for the supplies rather than giving money directly to the project. If your school needs pencils and exercise notebooks, then purchase those directly rather than giving the money to someone at your project to purchase them for you. This way, you can be certain that the money is going directly where you intended it to go and it avoids problems.
What language is spoken in Kenya? Will I be able to communicate with the people at my project?
Kenya has two official languages, English and Kiswahili, but some 40+ other tribal languages are also spoken. Most educated Kenyans are trilingual, their first language being their tribal language or “mother tongue.” Depending on where you volunteer, you will encounter different Kenyan languages. Regardless, at least one Kenyan at each project is an English speaker and can serve as a translator. Kenyans are very eager to learn English, especially the children, and you’ll find that day to day, language is not too much of a barrier.
Where will I be sleeping during my volunteer time?
VICDA offers many types of accommodations for their volunteers, depending upon the location. In Nairobi, there are various home stays with trusted Kenyan families and a volunteer house. Outside of Nairobi, volunteers either stay onsite at their projects, with a host family or with a staff member from your project. Accommodations and details will be sorted before your arrival in Kenya.