Becoming a Jambo Volunteer – Frequently Asked Questions
Take into account that, although Kenya is one of the more developed African countries, the standard of living compared to the commodities that Occidental people are used to will vary from region to region. In most areas where Jambo is active, there are no toilets with streaming water for example. In the worst case scenario, you will have to do your necessities in a latrine and shower using a bucket. If you have experience in camping out and living with reduced luxuries, you will be just fine.
Program Fees are partly refundable if you choose not to travel in the end.
Reservation fee: 50 Euros (not refundable)
First payment 50% of the total amount to be paid the previous month before the date of traveling to reserve your room.
Second payment of the other 50% of the total amount to be paid one week before the arrival date. If you finally choose not to come, the refundable fee is 50% of the first payment. The reservation fee is not refundable. You can check the current fees for volunteering here.
Services included in the fees.
- Airport pick up
- Program supervision
- Accommodations and meals during volunteer placement period
- 24/7 support during your stay in Kenya
- Administration costs in Kenya
- Airport drop off at the conclusion of your stay
- Travel insurance (recommended)
- Trips or tours you make on your own behalf while in the country
- Spending money (volunteers in Kenya generally consider US $30-40 for basic weekly expenses to be sufficient.
Q: How do I pay the fees?
A: Your application fee secures your place in the program (remember this is fully refundable until one month before your planned arrival date, if you decide not to take part in the program). JAMBO requests that volunteers make their payment before arrival by transfer to La Caixa – Asociación Jambo Volunteers ES56 2100 5206 1022 0014 8127. A receipt will be provided to you after payment has been received. Soon JAMBO VOLUNTEERS will introduce a PayPal online payment option that will make payments easy.
Q: What currency is used in Kenya and how much is it worth in my own currency?
Q: Tell me more on Kenya.
A: The country is in east African region bordering Ethiopia to the North, Somalia to the Northeast, Tanzania to the south, and Uganda to the West and Sudan to the Northwest with the Indian Ocean running along the southeast border. The capital city is Nairobi, and its official languages are Kiswahili and English. The country covers an area of 580,367km2 and holds a population of 31,138,735 (2007 census) and a density of 59 people per square Kilometer. HIV/AIDS still remains a national problem in Kenya, alongside other diseases like cholera and malaria epidemics.
While Kenya’s ethnic diversity has produced a vibrant culture, it is also a source of conflict that has led to ethnic fighting. Other pressing challenges include high unemployment, crime and poverty; most Kenyans live below the poverty level of $1 a day. The country has 42 local tribal groups that are distributed all over the entire country.
Q: How safe is it to volunteer in Kenya?
A: Kenya is a safe and peaceful country. However, political rallies such as those held in Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu in early 2008 have become violent and crime has increased. Travel advisories recommend that visitors exercise a high degree of caution, with some even recommending avoiding non-essential travel. While in Kenya, visitors should avoid rallies or demonstrations and stay aware of the current situation as the details and dates of rallies may change. Jambo volunteers will be accommodated in Maasailand which is the safest ever place in Kenya. But volunteers are cautioned not to make night trips unaccompanied by somebody from the host family.
Q: What is the climate like in Kenya?
A: The climate varies from tropical along the coast to arid in the interior. Kenya enjoys a tropical climate. It is hot and humid at the coast, temperature inland and very dry in the North east parts of the country. The country receives a great deal of sunshine all year round and summer clothes are worn throughout the year. However, it is usually cool at the night and early in the morning. The long rain seasons occur from April to June. Short rains occur from October to December. The rainfall is sometimes heavy and often falls in the afternoon and evenings. The hottest period is from February to March and coldest from July to august.
Jambo Volunteer programs.
Q: What kind of volunteer work is available?
A: The volunteer opportunities are in: teaching, working in children’s homes, primary healthcare, community development and HIV/AIDS programs.
Q: What immunizations/vaccinations will I need?
A: This is a suggestion of what may be needed – please consult with your medical professional or travel specialist for more details. You will need the following vaccinations:
- Hepatitis A & B
- Yellow Fever
- Diphtheria and tetanus
- Meningococcal (meningitis)
- Malaria (needs to be discussed in detail with your doctor)
We recommend volunteers to inform themselves with their physician during their vaccination, and explain where you are going to be volunteering, in which season you will be in Kenya and any side trips you are planning to take.
Q: Do I need to speak English to volunteer?
A: Yes, you need to speak English to volunteer. Kenya’s two main languages are English and Swahili. Unless you are hopelessly lost in the bush somewhere, you will probably be able to find someone who speaks English. It is also useful for volunteers to have a working knowledge of Swahili, especially outside the urban areas and in remote parts of the country.
Q: What are the criteria for volunteers to be accepted into the program?
A: An applicant is considered by the information they provide in the application. If further information is required, the applicant will be emailed. We especially look further at your application for skills and experience specifically related to the program you have applied to.
Q: Can I bring my own family with me to the program?
Volunteers are welcome to bring their family members with them on the program. Each application will be considered on a case to case basis. Partners will also need to apply if they wish to take part in the program.
Q: How many volunteers are there on site at the same time?
A: This depends on how many people volunteer at any one time. At least two volunteers are usually at the same host family at the same time.
Q: Are there more expenses once I arrive?
A: The in-country fee covers your accommodation and three meals per day as well as transportation to your program. You will need to have additional money for bottled water, extra food, for days off, departure from the program, airport departure tax, and any personal shopping you may do.
Q: What is the course content of the orientation?
A: Orientation takes place two days in Kimuka and in Nairobi. Volunteers are given a general introduction to Maasai and Swahili language and a cultural orientation.
Q: How many hours is one expected to take part in the program daily?
A: Volunteers are required to work between 4 and 6 hours per day, 5 days a week. Weekends and school holidays are free time.
Q: What resources will be available?
A: In most cases resources are limited. You may like to bring donations of goods with you to distribute or use in the program. If you intend to do fund raising, it is very much appreciated. Aks the JAMBO local staff to find out the shortages and needs in the community.
Q: Are we able to do any sightseeing?
A: Yes, you can take part in visits to other volunteers in other organizations. You can also take part in a Kenyan safari to explore Kenya and east Africa in general. During school holidays, it is a good time to do your sightseeing.
Q: What clothing is appropriate for the program?
A: Considering the hot temperatures in Kenya, we recommend light colored cotton clothing that covers your body modestly (knee-length or longer). Comfortable sturdy footwear and a pair of sandals for light walking are recommended. Bring sunglasses and a hat as well as sun cream.
Q: Does JAMBO have any partner in Kenya?
A: Yes. Jambo Volunteers has some other partners that send us volunteers and work on community development such as Greenheart, Carlson Foundation and AIF (Asociación Infancia por el Futuro). Jambo also interacts directly with local communities and volunteers.
Q: Who organizes my visa for my volunteer placement?
A: You must organize your visa through your travel agent or independently. For citizens of most countries, you can do this at the airport when you arrive or before you get to Kenya on-line or at Kenyan Embassies. Also our detailed program guide includes links to Kenya Embassies throughout the world.
Q: Where will I be located?
A: In the rural part of Kenya. Maasailand and its environs. You will be picked at the airport and taken to Kimuka for orientation and the following day taken to your placements. This all depends on your program. For teaching, you are going to be taken to school for introduction to local teachers and be given a duty roster for your daily activities. Medical volunteers are introduced to the dispensary by the JAMBO staff.
Q: Tell me more about flying into Kenya?
A: Volunteers fly into Nairobi (Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport) and will be met on arrival by a member of the JAMBO staff. You are required apply for a visa at the Kenyan Embassy, on-line before your flight or to pay for a visa after you arrived at Jomo Kenyatta airport ($ US 50 though the fee may go up).
Q: Is there any time of the year when I can’t volunteer?
A: Well, volunteers can participate in the Kenya JV program all year round. For the teaching program, school holidays run during April, August and December/early January. Volunteers can work during school holidays if the majority of their placement is during the school term. These volunteers need to come prepared to volunteer in the community during holiday times.
Q: When do I need to arrive in Kenya?
A: The Maasai program has one volunteer intake per month, at the end of every month. Volunteers fly into Nairobi and should arrive the day before, so they are ready to take part in a training program by the last day of each month. Accommodations can be arranged for you if you arrive earlier than the day before orientation begins. You will have to pay your own expenses for any time you stay in Kenya outside of training and volunteer time. Normally volunteers arriving two days before their program starts have to pay the host Kes 800. If no one is at the airport to pick you up, call LUIS +254729299998, TOBIKO +254722683017 or ANNE OLOO at +254722644799.
Q: Do you make provision for special diets?
A: Yes, it is possible for special arrangements to be made if you are a vegetarian. You need to inform the JAMBO staff before arriving and during orientation.
Q: How do I get to the project?
Orientation will be held at KIMUKA (JAMBO school). Volunteers will then be transferred to the program areas at the conclusion of orientation – the costs are included in the program fee.
Q: Can I live with relatives/friends in Kenya during my volunteer period?
Q: No. All volunteers must stay in accommodation arranged by JAMBO. This will encourage focusing on the project and provides the opportunity to interact with other volunteers.
Q: Are there holidays or festivals I should be aware of when travelling?
A: There are many festivals in Kenya however this will not hinder your volunteering as when they occur you will most likely be invited to celebrate with everyone. Some of them include Jamuhurion on December 12th, Kenyatta Day on October 20th and Madaraka Day on June 1st.
Q: What age is required to volunteer in Maasailand?
A: You must be 18 years to 65 years to volunteer in Maasailand. We recommend volunteers to be in good health.
Q: How many bedrooms are there and how many beds in each room? Are they single beds or bunk beds?
A: There is one (1) bedroom with two (2) individual beds.
Q: Do the doors lock and are they reliable? Can I leave my stuff without worries?
A: Yes the doors can be locked with a key and the security of your possessions is reliable.
Q: Are there bathrooms and how many are there? Are they sit down toilets? Do you dispose of showers/taps?
A: Yes there are bathrooms. There is only one (1) community bathroom in each village. They are however not occidental toilets with seats. There are no showers, instead buckets are used.
Q: Is there a living room/terrace or patio?
A: Some houses have living rooms while others have a patio.
Q: Do you have a TV or radio for common use?
A: There is no TV but there are radios.
Q: Is there some kind of curfew?
A: There is no curfew, but after dark it is recommended to stay inside.
Q: Is there electricity in the bedrooms? Is there electricity in general?
A: There is no electricity, but in some villages there is solar energy.
Q: Do volunteers need to bring their own bedclothes or are these provided?
A: Volunteers should bring their own sleeping bags; bedclothes are provided.
Q: Do male and female volunteers have separate rooms?
A: Yes, the male rooms are separate from the female rooms. Couples may share the same room.
Q: Is it possible for couples or older volunteers to dispose of private rooms?
A: Yes couples and older volunteers can dispose of private rooms at previous request.
Q: Is there a cleaning service in the accommodations?
A: Yes there are cleaning services available. However, the volunteers will have to pay the person who will give service to her/him themselves.
Q: Are there cooking facilities (kitchen/microwave/pots/pans etc.)?
A: Yes but no cooking facilities that use electricity.
Q: Do volunteers need mosquito nets?
A: Yes, they do.
Q: Is there internet/mobile coverage available?
A: Yes there is mobile phone coverage. Internet is found in Ngong and Karen town, at about a 45 minute drive.
Jambo Coordination team
Q: Is the support team close to the volunteer accommodation?
Q: How many staff members are present and what are their responsibilities?
A: There 4 staff members to facilitate whatever the volunteers need.
If you have a doubt or a question that has not been answered in this FAQ, please contact us through our Contact Form, so we may resolve any question(s) or doubt(s) you may have.