AVIF Volunteer Handbook

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                             (ABLe Volunteers International Fund)

                                              Volunteering Policy


AVIF exists to :

        aid vulnerable children, their communities and families in Kenya.
        assist with sustainable development via online & onsite volunteering in rural Kenya, East
         Africa. We are an innovative online charity, with a promise to Invest in our Volunteers.
        Operate with negligible administration costs for worldwide impact. We believe in efficiency,
         honesty and transparency.

In line with this AVIF seeks to involve volunteers to:

        Ensure our services meet the needs of our target groups
        Eradicate corruptive influences within communities
        Provide new skills and perspectives
        Increase our contact with the local communities to enable them to live more dignified and
         fulfilling lives, further participating in their countries development.


This Volunteering Policy is underpinned by the following principles:

        AVIF will ensure that volunteers are properly integrated into the organisational structure and
         that mechanisms are in place for them to contribute to AVIF’s work.

        AVIF promises to invest in volunteers in their role as Ambassadors.

        AVIF recognises that volunteers require satisfying work and personal development and will
         seek to help volunteers meet these needs, as well as providing the training for them to do their
         work effectively.

                   Donated teaching resources taken to Imani Agape near Kisii, Kenya Summer 2006
                                         Volunteering Handbook

                                          The Volunteer’s Voice

Volunteers are encouraged to express their views about matters concerning AVIF and its work.


All volunteers will have a named person as their main point of contact. They will be provided with
regular supervision to feedback on progress, discuss future development and air any problems. (Liaison
in Kenya and Volunteer Co-ordinator at placement). We want to make sure your volunteering
experience is the best it can be but if something does go wrong you can get support from AVIF.

                                    On safari with GDS in the Maasai Mara


It is crucial that we have all your correct contact details (if you’re a student then both a university and a
more permanent address if possible). We’ll also need an emergency contact person. Please make sure
your Liaison has this information.

There are no contracts to sign but we do ask that if you commit to a certain role or placement, you are
able to give the amount of time required to fulfil its responsibilities.

We recommend you learn some conversational Swahili and/or Luo and read books / surf the internet
about rural Kenya.


AVIF believes and actively promotes equal opportunities in all aspects of its activities. Equal
opportunities is about recognising, valuing and respecting differences. It is important that as part of your
commitment to AVIF you also commit to equal opportunities.

We want to make sure that everyone stays safe during their experience with AVIF. Whatever
activity/event/role you are taking on please be aware of the need to take into account the health and
safety of all volunteers, participants and members of the public involved as well as yourself. Also
remember to report any risk, hazard or incident to both the volunteer/project coordinator and your AVIF
Liaison. AVIF will insist you obtain adequate insurance to cover your involvement.

While volunteering is an incredibly rewarding pursuit, the very nature of development work means that
you are likely to be exposed to injustice, human suffering and deprivation.
Most illness contracted abroad are preventable or easily treated.
Pre-trip health preparation greatly reduces the risk of ill health which will interfere with the enjoyment
and effectiveness of your experience. Filling out the medical form attached also allows AVIF to carry out
our Duty of Care to You and to your hosts to minimise the risk of avoidable illness & promote a great


AVIF works with STA Travel to provide the cheapest most efficient route to Kenya from anywhere in the
world. Mona Elawasi is your Account Executive and is experienced in booking any flights from point to
point, multistop and round the world tickets and can also advise on additional products such as
accommodation, tours and insurance. Please contact Mona on the details below :

Phone Number: 00 44 (0)8714 680 668

On arrival Do Not take a taxi from the Airport to the Hotel unless you are a very well travelled person
and can handle a Kenyan scam. Read the Tourist Blog on our website (Join Us page). In case of delays
please telephone/ text your Liaison.
Taxis to the Orientation hotel are at most Ksh 1200 from Jomo Kenyatta Airport, do not pay more.

Try to avoid Matatus (vans or mini-buses). They are very affordable (Ksh 20-30) but accidents are
frequent. Make sure you ask how much it costs to go to your destination, and make sure the matatu is
going in that direction ! Be prepared to wait for loading and note that a matatu will not leave until it is
COMPLETELY full. Please travel by day. Night travelling is dangerous! Have your money ready before
you get in, so you don’t have to pull out a wallet or pay with a large bill. Pay with coins and preferably
the exact amount, otherwise you may not get change. It is never advisable to display your wealth. We
recommend flying for longer distances e.g. trips to the coast. Roads are not good in Kenya. Check with
your Liaison for details and always let them know your plans.

All up-country allocations require an internal flight to be booked at your own cost. Our inland partners fly Nairobi to Kisumu, we have an agreement to provide excess baggage allowance up
to 45kg and you can book online. The cost is approximately GBP60 (March 2007) and takes less than 1
hour, as opposed to over 7 hours by road.

                              Mercy Childrens Home with the team, Summer 2007


Vaccinations must be taken for :

        Polio; a viral disease, usually transmitted via contaminated food and water.
        Hepatitis A; a virus, usually transmitted via contaminated food and water, attacks the liver and
         may lead to jaundice and a prolonged illness.
        Typhoid Fever; when ingested, the bacteria which give rise to typhoid fever, pass through the
         intestine wall and cause a high fever which may progress to coma.
        Tetanus; a serious bacterial disease is usually contracted following contamination of wounds
         (especially deep puncture wounds). The UK Department of Health recommend the use of
         combined tetanus/diphtheria/polio vaccine when tetanus boosters are indicated.
        Yellow fever; a virus transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. This disease may only
         affect part of the country you are visiting, check with your travel health adviser. The risk is
         highest in rural areas.

Immunisations to be considered:

        Hepatitis B; a virus transmitted sexually and by puncture of the skin with contaminated
         instruments such as needles. The disease can lead to liver damage and eventual liver failure.
        Rabies; transmitted via the saliva of infected animals. Human rabies usually results from dog
         bites but many animals can be infected and a scratch or a lick may be sufficient to transmit the
         disease. Rabies is invariably fatal once symptoms begin.
         Cholera; transmitted by contaminated food and water. This infection is rare in travellers as
          disease outbreaks tend to be associated with slum areas.
         Meningococcal Meningitis; a potentially fatal illness transmitted by close contact with infected
          persons. There are a number of different strains of the disease. Risk may be confined to
          certain geographical areas but outbreaks are occasionally reported in Kenya. Outbreaks are
          more likely to occur during the dry season. Long stay and rural travellers may wish to consider


There is normally little risk in the city centre of Nairobi and in the highlands above 2500 metres. Risks
overall are high in rural Kenya.

You are responsible for bringing your own (50% DEET recommended) insect repellents. Research
repellents thoroughly using one of the many search agents or Travel Clinics, including
Insect repellents and nets will reduce the possibilities of being bitten by a carrier and therefore protect
you beyond any vaccination. Regarding anti-malarials please seek advice from your GP.

The children and residents of Kenya take no anti-malarials because they have very well developed
tolerance. They are still at risk in low health but taking anti-malarials for periods over 2/3 months can be
harmful. Remember that contracting malaria can be fatal. The best way to avoid it is to avoid being
bitten in the first place.

Use a 50% "Deet" repellent spray on all exposed skin, reapplied often, wear long sleeved/ legged
clothing after sunset or if outside at dawn. You can treat clothing with the same spray.
Leave windows / doors closed, use plug in vapourisers and burn coils closeby if outside.
Tuck your nets into the mattress to avoid other insects climbing up the net from the floor !

Only air conditioning precludes the need for a mosquito net, preferably one treated with

Avoiding mosquito bites
        Use an effective insect repellent and apply it regularly.
        Wear long sleeved shirts and long trousers; especially in the evening.
        Clear your room at night with a knock-down spray (fly spray).
        Plug-in insecticide vaporisers are very effective.
        Air conditioning provides an effective deterrent; otherwise consider sleeping under a mosquito
         net impregnated with a residual insecticide.

We recommend Doxycycline as a cheaper alternative to Malarone 250mg atovaquone/100mg
proguanil. Take 1 tablet daily however cost is an issue. Malarone is £44 for 12 tablets (2010) when
Doxycycline is only £3 but Malarone can be bought in Kenya much cheaper. Doxycycline, as with
all anti malarials, has possible side effects of nausea on an empty stomach
and increased skin-sensitivity to sun i.e you’ll burn quicker. It is primarily an
antibiotic which is another plus and worth taking as the alternative is a not-so-
pleasant stay in hospital on a drip!

Remember that we recommend MMS to rid yourself of anything you may pick up. You can still get
malaria even when taking prophylactics, in fact the disease kicks you worse if you are taking
preventatives!! But MMS kills 99% of pathogens. The discoverer, Jim Humble has cured thousands of
Africans from malaria unfortunately until the water supply is cleaned up it will always reoccur.

Malaria symptoms and treatment

The most important symptom to remember is a raised temperature of 38 °C or higher starting at least 1
week after first potential exposure to malaria (the minimum incubation period). Other symptoms are very
variable and cannot be relied on. If you do develop a fever a week or more after exposure to malaria,
you must seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you cannot get to medical attention within 24
hours and your condition is deteriorating, you should consider emergency self-treatment:

For Adults, 4 tablets of Malarone as a single dose on each of three consecutive days can be taken if you
are not already taking Malarone to prevent malaria.
Travellers´ diarrhoea

There is a significant risk of travellers’ diarrhoea on your journey. Take care with food and water
hygiene. Avoid high risk foods such as salads, shellfish, raw / undercooked meat and fish and
unpasteurised dairy products. Drink bottled water with intact seals or boil / purify water. If you do get
travellers’ diarrhoea, drink plenty of non alcoholic fluids to avoid dehydration. Oral rehydration solutions
such as diarolyte are useful for children who can become dehydrated quickly in hot countries. Continue
to eat if you feel hungry but avoid fatty foods. You may wish to consider taking a treatment pack with
you containing an antidiarrhoeal agent such as loperamide (always read the instructions) and an
antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin. Most cases of travellers’ diarrhoea are self limiting within 3-4 days, a
single dose of 500mg ciprofloxacin can often reduce this to 1 day (a prescription is needed).

Media reports commonly state that 20-30% of drugs entering Kenya are either counterfeit or illegally
imported. These drugs include antibiotics and antimalarials. Travellers should buy any required
medication from recognised clinics if possible.

For full Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice visit the FCO Website at

Muggings and armed attacks are prevalent, particularly in Nairobi and Mombasa. You should avoid
travelling at night outside Nairobi and remain vigilant.

You must obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check
any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Things to consider taking:

        First aid kit containing plasters, bandages, antiseptic spray, thermometer
        Emergency dental kit
        Record of your blood group
        Insect repellent
        Mosquito net
        Plug in insecticide vaporiser
        Knockdown spray (fly spray)
        Water purification tablets
        Sun block
        Painkillers
        Antimalarial drugs
        Loperamide and oral rehydration salts for travellers diarrhoea

If away from medical attention consider emergency malaria treatment.

If you take regular medication: take more than you need and split it between your baggage.

Consider taking a copy of your prescription or a generic list of the drugs you take.

Travel with a copy of your insurance policy and emergency contact numbers

For an up to date health brief, contact MASTA

                               Children at Imani Agape, 2006 (Rebecca’s photo)
Electricity: 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are UK-type square three-pin.
GMT+2 in Summer

Telephone: IDD service is available to the main cities.
Country code: 254 (followed by 20 for Nairobi, 41 for Mombasa and 51 for Nakuru, etc).
Outgoing international code: 000.
International calls can sometimes be made direct or operator-assisted by dialling 0196.

Mobile telephone: The main network providers are Celtel (website: and Safaricom
(website: It is MUCH cheaper for you to buy a Kenya SIM card and inform AVIF
of the number as soon as possible so we can keep in good communication.

Post offices are identified by Telkom Kenya (Kenya Posts & Telecommunications Corporation). Office
hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1700, Sat 0900-1200 (main post offices).
Post boxes are red.

Using generators is very expensive, you must all be prepared to live without electricity and be
happy to use kerosene lamps, cook over fires and live traditionally.

It is inexpensive to access the internet using a mobile phone with a local SIM card, phones are very
cheap, do not bring an expensive western phone it will very probably be stolen.

                       Marie & Nick building the new dorm at Mercy Home, Summer 2007


Approach with consideration and tolerance. Tell them your name first, ask them their name, give bread,
milk, bananas, etc. but please OPEN anything before you hand it over to children otherwise they will
simply sell it.

Locals WILL ask you for money .. white skinned people are “muzungus”, western foreigners are always
assumed rich. Do not give gifts of money to children as AVIF would rather ensure the US$10 note you
hand over goes directly on repairing the families roof, or a school sponsorship, not on beer for an uncle!

If you want to offer anything then trade with them for something. A pair of socks will buy a fantastic wood
carving. A child in a classroom may well be able to keep the notebook you gave them, rather than hand
it to their parents to be traded for food. Pens and biros are also valuable commodities so be careful if
you are planning to donate these.


Smoking is illegal in public places. Do not smoke in public.
Do not drink alcohol where children are present.
Please use common sense and women should cover up as much as possible, Kenya is very Christian.


Kenya is marred by corruption, so "be prepared and make sure you don’t get over-exploited". Make sure
what you give actually goes to the needy and not to greedy individuals that you will encounter. "Take
your time before you commit any of your funds and investigate costs through trusted individuals".
(Ben Leonello, ACAS Senior Consultant, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, AVIF
Volunteer Sep-Nov 2008)
You SHOULD also read this important blog article.

Pass on valuable information & techniques in the simplest way, distributing these posters :
Teaching basics about health & hygiene, farming & cooking techniques.
We also introduce solar cookers, full details here :
Teaching or assisting a teacher
Constructing a tree nursery
Painting: many of the school buildings need to be brightly decorated
Building: if funds are available
Recreational; dancing, crafts, music, sports.
Help the children with computer studies
Your own ideas…Teach art classes, play football.
We also hope to help distribute malaria-prevention literature & nets from KeNAAM (WHO).

AVIF partners can offer either Safari or a climb to Mt Kenya or Kilimanjaro summit or Diving on the
coast, staying at Stilts Backpackers. Please visit the links and mention AVIF for discounts if interested.


The primary children's English will be good enough to get the gist of what you say, but please try to
manage expectations, the children WILL believe anything you tell them.


When you first become involved in AVIF you may not know much about Kenya. This doesn’t matter; it’s
all about learning through experience. But some volunteering opportunities will need a basic
understanding of the issues in order to ensure sensitivity and a positive experience for everyone.
Do plenty of internet research, a great place to’s resource centre.

AVIF will try to prepare you for the role but it is important to equip yourself with the knowledge and skills
needede. You can also talk with other experienced volunteers via the FaceBook group.

There are a few simple things to always keep in mind:
        Rural Kenyans are ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances, which makes them
         a vulnerable group with specific needs. Some will need specialist assistance but many just
         want to build a stable life for their family.
        You will be in direct contact with children who have been abandoned and battered by family
         and society, growing up knowing little about love, kindness, justice, and security. Some may
         have had contact with family members, others are orphans or have no contact with their
        Most have very little to live on and WILL ask you for help financially or otherwise. Please
         ensure that you are not out of pocket in these circumstances, use your own personal
         judgement but also remember that it is not your responsibility to provide this type of assistance.
         AVIF strictly promotes sustainable development NOT hand-outs. Buying a chicken will
         provide more than giving a few dollars.


Remember that the people you are working with are often in great need and you may be around
sensitive information. Most children in homes come from very difficult, abusive backgrounds. This
makes them very sensitive to relationships with people. They will cling to you, or may have a hard time
trusting you. You are encouraged to embrace them, talk to them, counsel them, etc. Some of their
backgrounds are confidential, so don’t be offended if a staff member doesn’t share their details. Be
aware that personal information should not be discussed or given out. In any case where you are
concerned about sensitive information you should contact the project/volunteer coordinator or the AVIF

                                  Laura decorating the walls, 2007, Maseno


Carry money and documents in a hidden money-belt.
Bring travellers cheques (you won’t need more than US$200 during the 4 week program) and cash them
in Nairobi before leaving the airport. Banks “up-country” are very slow. You will need cash in small
denomination notes (50/100/200) so make sure you have them before you leave Nairobi.
Visa/Mastercard are acceptable in most large towns. There are many branches all over Kenya.

        International Airfare : Variable between £400-£800 (to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Airport code:
        Internal flight if travelling up country : for safety and convenience volunteers should book 1
         hour flights with our partners between Nairobi & Kisumu (Mar 07 GBP60) rather
         than a 6-8hr road trip, though the decision is ultimately yours
        Visa and Insurance : Visa between £15-£40, and comprehensive travel & health insurance
        Essential medications : Anti-malarials variable between 50p - £1 per day, insect repellent
        Subsistence (food & drinks) : Allocate at least $25 / £18 a week to contribute to meals from
         your host and buy essentials like Fanta, popcorn & chocolate!
        Orientation : $100 for the Gracia Guesthouse for 2 sharing, 2 nights, taxi to ($15) and from
         ($15) the airport, meals, drinks
        Meals & fuel payable to the host range from $100-$140/month (it is far cheaper to have your
         host buy goods than yourself).
        Meeting up with other groups. The average cost of shared rooms at a budget hotel for 2
         nights, transportation via matatu, and some sort of entertainment or park or guide fee would be
         between about $30-$50. (More if you have taken to Tusker beer!!!)


In order to make sure everyone is clear about what they are getting out of and putting into the AVIF
volunteering experience, you’re entitled to add to, discuss, complete, sign and adhere to the Volunteer
Agreement (included in this handbook). This is not a legal agreement but will help to make your
experience the best it can be by identifying the rights and responsibilities of you as a volunteer and
those of your project.

                        Nic & Laura fetching water, Mercy Home, Summer 2007


Should the need arise AVIF has established strategies to deal with any problems.


We’d like to know how everything went, did you enjoy your volunteering, do you have any suggestions
of how to improve the experience for others, would you like to stay involved with AVIF? Please complete
the Evaluation Form included in this booklet once your volunteering role/project is complete.
Before you finish volunteering assess your experience and give us. We are always pleased to provide
references and don’t forget that by volunteering you are building up important skills for your CV. Lastly
please remember to complete your course of anti-malarials and have a health check with your GP.


The DEA works with AVIF to bring a Global Dimension to your classroom, no matter where you teach.
Please visit the website and read details below for further information on the issues which you will have
experienced and making a difference, for example, supporting pupils all over the world to challenge
stereotypes and consider global interdependence and the root causes of poverty. (details later)

TEACHERS BLOG (see JOIN US section of website)

Many more updates and blogs on the site :

Angela’s Review

Marie’s update

J Smith & S Kimber, Uhunda village, 7km from Usenge, Bondo District, Nyanza Province, Western
Kenya. Summer 2007

                                Soraya’s brilliant photo of the kids in Uhundha

Our experience:

The community of Uhunda is about a 30 minute walk from the main road from Kisumu that carries on to
Osieko. The community has its own beach on Lake Victoria, called Honge, which is about a 5 minute
walk from the school itself, which provides stunning views over the lake. This beach is the lifeblood for
the community, which relies on the fishing trade, mainly catching tilapia, Nile perch and omena (or
daga). There are wooden boats lined up on the beach and it is well worth asking one of the fishermen to
take you out for a trip; it is interesting to see the various fishing methods and the views are fantastic.

Nyanza province is dominated by the tribe Luo. They are one of the largest tribal grouping in Kenya and
along with Kakuyu hold many of the most influential positions in the state. They speak their own
language, as so many of the Kenyan tribes do, which is very different to Swahili. Sharon can provide a
helpful list of common words and the people are appreciative and often amused by any attempt to
converse in their mother-tongue. Having said this, you will not need to speak it to teach in the school.
Even the small children in the orphan centre and nursery learn some English and latterly all lessons are
given in it. Even exams are set in English, so it is helpful for the children to speak to you in English. This
will at least help them become more confident speaking it and will provide a good reason for them to do

The people are extremely generous and they will bring you presents from their shambas (their small
allotments) or whatever they can afford: fish, fruits, milk. It is very difficult to turn down these gifts, even
though you may feel bad accepting them. But they will be very pleased to give them. We were made so
welcome that we really felt that we had an African home and even an African mama in Priscah.

As with any small, rural community, everyone knows everyone. They have large extended families and
so people are always round each other’s houses. The Luos are polygamists and it is still common for
men to have more than one wife. Traditionally the man lives in a house in the middle and provides
separate houses around him for each of his wives. As you can imagine, this can lead to huge families
and you will find brothers (strictly half-brothers) who could be father and son.

We are 'muzungus', or white Europeans. The kids shout it and wave as you walk past. Some of them
had never seen white people before and were either terrified or fascinated by us. This was made
amusingly clear when we went to visit a community project up the road in a very rural area. Soraya saw
a particularly cute little boy and went over to him with hands outstretched, cooing. His smile was
immediately replaced by blood-curdling dread; he ran away as quickly as his little legs could carry him.
Soraya was keen to cheer him up and tried to pick him up again and the closer she got, the more
terrified he became.

In some ways it was quite fun being a muzungu because when we walked around the village we were
greeted by everybody and generally treated as washed-up z-list celebrities might be at home. But with
that comes the assumption that we are made of money and could, if only we were that way inclined,
solve all of Africa's problems with a swish of our Pound Stirling. What we have learnt though, and what
we were keen to stress during a 2hr school committee meeting, is that the most pressing problems of
poverty and HIV/Aids cannot be solved instantly by anyone, or any amount of money. This was a
problem of communication and when we arrived they had been waiting for 4 muzungus (we were two)
for a year and a half. There expectations were out of proportion sadly, but hopefully in the future they
will know what to expect having had us there for a month. The things that we were most impressed with
have been the community projects which are run, organised, and established by locals, but which are
sometimes funded by charities. There are lots that try to educate and raise awareness of various issues,
and they seem to me to be making more integral progress than carpet-bomb charity involvement.

I had had no previous teaching experience and was not a little nervous about the prospect, especially
when I met some of the other volunteers who were professional teachers at home. But the experience
was really satisfying. The fact that muzungus are teaching them is an intriguing novelty factor for the
pupils and they are keen and receptive. They were extremely shy to begin with and it took a while for
them to get them to put up their hands and say anything they wanted, but it is worth the effort because it
makes the lessons more interesting and stimulating for the children and for you. You will probably want
to buy all the materials you will need to teach. We ended up travelling to Kisumu every weekend to pick
up various things. The chairman of the beach, Henry, a very respected man, has a car and is always
willing to help with transport from Usenge if you have heavy things.

Even though we were not able to teach the orphan centre kids the irregular past tense in English, we
could help with their learning by rote (A is for Apple) and with games and drawing, something which they
seem not to have done before. They were adorable and we both had our favourites, who we wished we
could pack in our bags and take home. I think they also took something from the relationship and were
pleased to have us with them.

We both thoroughly enjoyed our time in Uhunda, made a lot of real friends, and learnt a lot about Kenya
and Africa. I almost wish I could vote in the upcoming presidential election because we learnt a great
deal about the politics of the country and came to hold strong views of our own.

I would recommend this experience to anyone. We will definitely go back. And we feel quite proud to be
the first of many people who will go back and forth in this relationship between Nyayo and AVIF.
                                    Siobhan & Jackson, August 2010

We were met by Jackson and Julius at Upperhills on the first day, who escorted us by taxi to the 'bus
station'. This was where our adventure began - why, it was not a bus station but more like matatu
madness, it took us a few hours to actually get on one to Namanga (there is no queuing system in
kenya!) When we got to Namanga (2 and a half hours later), a small dusty town on the border of
Tanzania, Jackson took us to a 'supermarket' and said we had to buy our food for the next month.
The next month!
We thought there must have been a language misunderstanding but we went with it anyway, just incase.
This 'supermarket' was not super, it was a tiny little place the size of the average english bedroom, we
mass bought our supplies, cleaning some of the shelves in the process! We mostly picked up rice,
maize and pasta - and glad we did as this was our last trip to a shop for the next month.

 We all squashed in a taxi, it was dark by this time, and were told it would be about another 3 hours
before we get to the village! But it was all an adventure, me and Emma were squashed in the back seat
between two maasai men, Jackson and the driver occasionally getting out to see where we were as we
were lost! When we got to Enkito village it was pitch black so we could not see anything, however we
were invited into the manyatta of Narakaponi (Jackson's stepmum) who made us all a very fine cup of
chai tea, and she continued to do this twice a day throughout our stay (so lovely!).

It wasn't until the next morning when we awoke from our hut (a metal one which did have beds!) that we
realised we were staying in the middle of nowhere....scenery amazing, perfect view of Mt Kilimanjaro
everyday! Jackson said that as it was sunday we were going to church, it was fantastic, the memory of
the maasai ladies singing and dancing still sends chills down my spine! It was an amazing introduction
into the maasai way of life, they are all so humble and kind and would make the effort to talk to you for
an hour even though neither understood each other (very amusing!)

Time teaching at the school was great. Joseph the school teacher is the only teacher there, and he runs
two classes - one for ages 2-5, these use chalk to write on the floor as there is no blackboard in their
classroom, and the other class were about ages 6-8. Each of us had our own subject to teach, mine was
Environment, and me and Emma both taught English. Joseph translated a lot which was handy,
however we soon realised that the kids could not even read english and were merely trying to copy
shapes off the board! So we had the task of starting back at the beginning and teaching them how to
read, going through the sounds of the alphabet and breaking up words gradually.

Even though we were only there for a month I have gone away knowing that I have made a difference,
some of the kids began to pick up basic english really well and could speak greetings to us in English - a
hugely rewarding experience!

I could go on and on about every single thing that happened whilst staying at Enkito, volunteering was
one fantastic part but to see and live with such amazing and interesting people, who are the kindest
people I have ever met is another. Living with the Maasai has outweighed anything I have ever done
and being able to help their community has been an absolute pleasure.
              Menengai, photo by Raul, part of a project with NABUUR


Fundraising promotes the work you are doing, the work AVIF is doing, the work our Kenyan partners are
doing and raises awareness of the needs of the children in Kenya. It will also cover your travel
expenses! Fundraising will draw friends and family together around a good cause and is an excellent
entry to your CV.

WHAT can you fundraise for?
Flight costs
Class equipment and resources
Visa costs
Health and travel insurance costs
Living expenses

Some tips!
Understand your reasons for volunteering. Remember you are fundraising to get your enthusiasm and
expertise to the vulnerable children in Kenya.
Think carefully about your reasons for volunteering.
Remember these reasons throughout your fundraising.
Network - this means people helping people either financially or simply with advice and support.
Friends, family, everyone you know can help with brain-storming.
Ask all the people on your Christmas List !
Ask all the people on your email list, in your address book !
Calculate how much you need from each donor to achieve your goal.
Ask for specific donation amounts and spread your requests.
Plan well in advance.
You can use AVIF's logos and images, as well as our FREE design services.
Get yourself a mature email address NOT
Be prepared for people to say NO.
Be innovative.
Name your project and who will be benefiting at every opportunity – sponsorship forms, press releases,
adverts and events.
Thank your donors.

Fundraising literature
AVIF can help with design of any digital literature / leaflets etc. Designing an interesting leaflet will help
you to market yourself and your volunteering as a worthy cause.
You must cover the costs of printing and distribution otherwise simply send leaflets electronically - costs
of an email sent to multiple contacts are negligible.

Donors will need to know who you are and brief details of your background before they can support you:

        Include your name and contact details together with the AVIF's name and contact details so
         donors know the work you will be doing has been arranged by a committed, REAL
         organisation. We will give you as much detail about the project you will be assisting with.
        Explain how your work will make a difference to the local community
        Include a short biography of yourself with your picture and reasons for volunteering abroad

Make a list of companies, organisations, places and people who you think will be interested in your
project and send the leaflet to them.

Think of venues which may have some link with Kenya, e.g. local community centres holding coffee
mornings, local primary schools that may want to be involved in the PenPal scheme. Ask to leave
leaflets there.

                                               Menengai, 2008

Letter writing
Letter writing is an essential element of fundraising.
Large businesses receive hundreds of letters asking for donations every year so you need to make sure
it goes to the right person and make sure it stands out.

Always address a particular person.

Enclose an LOI (letter of invitation) from AVIF (also useful for visa applications) verifying your status as
an international volunteer.
Business will be most interested in the positive contribution to their CSR (corporate social responsibility)
and good citizenship obligations, whereas grant-giving organisations also take into account the personal
development the experience will bring you as an individual.

Be brief and to the point. One page is enough but keep your reasons for volunteering in mind when
If you know senior members of a company, or you live close to company headquarters, your request will
stand more chance of success. Contact employers of your friends and family. Companies will be more
inclined to donate money if they have some kind of link with the individual, or Kenya.

Say exactly how much you need to raise and why and ask for a specific donation. Deadlines are also
important: give a time limit for people to make a donation.
The bigger the organisation, or wealthier the individual, the more you can ask for.

Offer something in return; a presentation of your experience after the trip for the company newsletter,
updating an online blog for donors to read about your progress week by week, company
acknowledgement on AVIF website, wearing the company logo on a T-shirt during your trip.

Telephone prospective donors. Many companies may read your letter and put it to one side – they may
only be reminded about your request once you phone them to follow up.

Make it as easy as possible for people to make a donation; directly to you by cheque or cash.

Sample Letter :

Dear [Mr/Mrs/Ms Lastname],
[Project name] – [place name, Kenya]

My name is [Firstname Lastname], and I have lived in [##] for [##] years. Before continuing my
[career/study] in [##], I want to fulfil an ambition to help the vulnerable children in Kenya through
volunteering. After thorough research I have chosen to support the work of ABLe Volunteers
International Fund (AVIF).

AVIF is an innovative charity, assisting in sustainable development. They initiate projects by sending
volunteers to assist in children's homes and orphanages throughout rural Kenya. I intend to spend
[project duration] on an AVIF volunteer project [next/ later this] year to further their work. I will be
devoting my time to assisting the children at [project name and description]. I will be fully supported by
AVIF, who specialise in bringing voluntary help to areas where it is needed most (see
for details). On the project, I will be teaching the children english, arts, sports, IT and life skills as well as
general mentoring. All AVIF's projects, including the one I will be working on, rely solely on the support
of volunteers, and without them, the children would simply not receive adequate education enabling
them to further their own futures.

To participate in this project, I will need to raise [£XXX]. This covers my airfare, vaccinations, visa and
living costs. AVIF covers my in-country accommodation and transport. I have saved [£XXX] already from
my current job and the rest I am hoping to gain through fundraising. [As your organisation has an
interest in Kenya, ] I would be extremely grateful if you would consider donating a maximum of [£XXX]
towards my venture to teach the children in rural Kenya. I require funds by [month of year].
During my volunteering I will record my experiences in a [weekly diary/ blog/ with photographs]. Upon
my return this will be published on the AVIF website to encourage other people to consider such a
worthwhile experience. AVIF will also be happy to acknowledge your support with a link on their website,
and I would be very happy to wear your company logo on a tshirt during my time in Kenya.

[To further my fundraising efforts, I will also be holding a special event on [date, at time, in place], at
which I will also be giving thanks to all those who have given their kind support.] I very much hope
you will be able to contribute to my cause. Details of how to make a donation are enclosed.

Yours sincerely,
[Firstname Lastname]

Use the media
For help with media contacts, photographs or writing your press releases, contact AVIF.
If you know of any specific publications or contacts you would like to target, highlight them in your

Send press releases to the appropriate editor or other media contact. If in doubt telephone, explain what
you are doing and ask for the contact details of the most relevant people.

Newspapers are interested in the local community and as a member of the local community your story
will be of interest. Also, if your fundraising event incorporates the local community the newspaper will be
Keep the message clear and to the point within the first paragraph (Who, what, when, where and why).
Write in the third person, in a professional news style.
List your contact details at the top.
Double-space the text so that the journalist can make notes.
One page max – journalists are busy people.
Include a good photo of yourself.

News is about “new” things and people.

Target your local newspapers, specialist magazines, company newsletters, local radio stations.
Create your own website e.g.
Put leaflets on your old school/college or on your university notice boards.

Ask your university or employer for their support.

Sample Press Release :

For immediate release
Press Release:
[Some kind of FUNDRAISER]
[Your full name], [age], of [area you live], is [details and date of fundraising event] to raise money for a
volunteer teaching placement she will be joining in Kenya this [month. year].
[your name] will be [brief detail of fundraiser activity] to raise both money and awareness of the need for
educational support in Kenya for children hugely less fortunate than our own. All proceeds will go
towards the work [s/he] will be doing in Kenya.

[your name] is travelling to Kenya with AVIF, a specialist volunteer charity which sends volunteers to
Kenya to highlight and aid the needs of schools and orphanages within rural Kenya.
On the [duration] volunteer experience, [your name] will be teaching English, arts, IT and sports to
disadvantaged school children in [name and area of project].

For more information on [your name]’s volunteer placement and to pledge support, please contact the
AVIF office on [or your own contact details]. [your name] is available for
interviews and photographs on XXXXX XXXXXX.

(Travel, charitable, educational, local interest magazines)

They will want a personal account from you – your reasons to volunteer, how you think it will help you,
what you are leaving behind.

Most magazines are printed monthly and often work three to six months in advance so keep a close eye
on editorial deadlines.

Individual trusts
These have been set up to help people with worthy causes.
You will need to identify which society best suits your financial needs and make an application with a
letter, offering updates during your placement and a presentation on your return
Useful websites :

Print :
The Directory of Grant Making Trusts – check your local library as this is expensive to buy. The CD
ROM version is very useful as the directory lists 3,500 grant making trusts with extensive indices
including geographical area, field of interest and type of beneficiary.
The Directory of Smaller Grant Making Trusts – covers more than 1,000 smaller trusts and is
useful for small-scale, local fundraising.
The Educational Grants Directory – contains a list of 1,200 local and national educational charities that
support students.

The Guide to UK Company Giving – a directory of companies that donate to charities, community
projects and voluntary organisations including types of grants, support given, typical grants and
application advice.

Hollis Sponsorship & Donations Year Book – a guide to corporate donors, including contacts,
donations, sponsorship budgets and each company’s preferred area of support.

                Marie donating solar cookers to the RABUOR Community after a demo from SCI

Preparing for volunteering, volunteering itself and reflecting on the experience on your return
are all likely to impact on your teaching.

The issues which you will be thinking about are very complex, for example, supporting pupils to
challenge stereotypes and consider global interdependence and the root causes of poverty.
There is support available.
Information follows about the DfES (Department for Education and Skills)
guidance booklet; the Global Dimension website of resources; and development education centres.

This booklet is recommended action from DfES, and shows how the global dimension can be integrated
into both the curriculum and the wider life of schools. It has been published by a consortium of
government bodies and NGOs: DFID, DfES, QCA, DEA and the British Council.

To order multiple free copies, email with your name and address, contact
telephone number, and number of copies required. Alternatively, contact DFID's public enquiry point,
tel: 0845 300 4100. It is also available to download from

Global Dimension is a unique guide to educational resources that bring a global dimension to teaching.
From climate change to poverty, water to fair trade, you can find resources for all age groups and
subject areas. There are also case studies and information about local support, professional
development and school speaker services.

DECs are independent local centres that support teachers in learning about global and sustainable
development issues and how to 'think globally and act locally'. Many centres offer advice and support, a
library service, training and in-school talks. You can find your nearest by visiting


                                      Nursery children at RFCH, Yala
                                  FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the age range of participants?

What are the selection criteria and procedures?
Fluency in English
Some previous teaching experience and independent travel experience essential

How many participants will there be on my programme?
Normally 15-20 split into groups of 2-6

What will I gain from the programme?
Cultural exchange, tolerance, perspective .....

Who else will benefit from this programme?
Members of the community and children you directly interact with, and their families/ friends

Why are people needed on this programme ?
To offer skills, knowledge and experience we take for granted and to provide perspective and tolerance
to all involved

Will the programme continue after I have left?
We are dedicated to sustainable development which means when you leave we still maintain the
outcomes of each programme and initiate projects highlighted during your stay.

How has the programme been chosen, planned and vetted?
We have a wide network of Kenyan hosts and Kenyan volunteers. These people aid our continued work
and help make links with appropriate others. Planning is ran entirely online, at low cost from our UK &
Nairobi offices.

Are the host organisations paid to take me? Do they pay me?
The host organisations benefit in many ways, not necessarily financially. They do not pay for you, and
you should not cause any extra cost to them during your stay regarding food / power usage etc.

Has a responsible member of the organisation personally checked each placement?

Will I be alone or in a group?
Minimum of 2, normally 4-5 in a group

What living and meal arrangements are there?
Specific to each placement
Is there any written agreement between me and the organisation?
We have a Volunteer agreement between yourself and AVIF but no legally binding contract.

What are my responsibilities? What is expected of me? Is there a code of conduct for
Please see Volunteer Policy

Do I need a budget for extras?
Yes, if you want extra luxuries

What deposit do I have to pay?

Is fund-raising necessary in order to cover expenses and, if so, what advice is given?
Please see details on fundraising in Volunteer Handbook.
We strongly encourage all of our volunteers to do some fundraising to support the cost of their program.
If you can get past the feeling that you are raising the funds for you, and instead consider that you are
raising funds in order to provide much-needed help to others (while learning a lot along the way), you'll
find fundraising to be a much more enjoyable experience.

What are our aims, objectives, philosophy?
Please see website.

How long have AVIF been in existence?
Established March 2006

Can it give examples of successful programmes?

Can I speak to past participants?
Yes via the FaceBook group

What is the legal status of the organisation?
HMRC Registered charity XR99385, under threshold for Charity Commission registration i.e. too small

Where is the organisation registered?
Nidderdale, UK

What are the travel arrangements?
Specific to each program. Arrival in Nairobi for orientation with in-country transport to/from placement.

Who arranges visa, entry permits, etc.?
You, though we can provide a Letter of Invitation if necessary - tourist visas are adequate

What insurance cover is provided? Who provides it?
Your own responsibility for health, possessions, cancellation, repatriation though we can provide
assistance with full health / medical packages within Kenya. Unfortunately no major insurance company
will currently provide reasonable liability cover within Kenya.

What medical/health precautions are necessary?
Please see website for up to date CDC recommendations.

                                            Yala, Western Kenya
What pre-departure orientation and/or training is given?
Orientation only given in Nairobi since our volunteers come from all over the globe, though any
questions can be answered prior to departure and pre-departure meetings can be arranged if logistically

Who is responsible for me at the programme location?
In-country Liaisons and hosts

Has anyone from the organisation vetted this person?

Where is the nearest representative of the organisation?
In the community you stay with & Management in Nairobi

What repatriation arrangements are in place?
Provided by AVIF, paid by own insurance

What in-placement emergency procedures are there?
Provided by AMREF Flying Doctors, assuming subscription paid, AVIF will accompany, paid by own

Who do I turn to if I have a problem about the placement itself whilst on my programme?
Your Liaison officer or any member of AVIF

What are the living arrangements and exactly what is/is not included?
Specific to each placement but you are fully informed pre-departure

Who selects, screens and pays for the arrangements?
Managing Trustee in Nairobi

What contact will the organisation have with me on my return?
Full email, phone, text

Will my experience be used in briefings for future participants?
If you agree

                                        Hardrock Café ;-) Nakuru
LLK children, Rhonnda slums area of Nakuru
                                                         AVIF Medical Form

               Volunteer Information                                            Date ________________

               Name __________________________________
               Mailing Address_________________________________________________________
               ______________________________________ Zip/ Postcode _______________
               Birthdate _________________
               Sex: M F
               Age _______
               Nationality ___________________________
               Passport number ___________________________
               Occupation ___________________________
               Spouse’s Name _______________________________
               How did you hear about AVIF? _____________________________________________
               Whom may we thank for referring you? __________________________________________

               Cell / Mobile ____________________
               Home _____________________
               Email Address* ___________________________
               Skype username _________________________________

               *We will not release your email address to anyone.

               In case of emergency contact: ___________________________________________________
               Relationship ____________________________ Cell / Mobile _______________________
               Home _________________________ Work _______________________________

               Please answer the following questions with as much detail as possible. It is important for us to know
               everything about your health. Pre-trip health preparation greatly reduces the risk of ill health in Kenya.
               Filling out these medical forms also allows AVIF to carry out our Duty of Care to You and to Your Hosts
               to minimise the risk of illness & promote a great experience.

1)   List any health complaint(s).

2)   List any treatments, medications, or supplements you are currently taking/ have taken in past 12 months.

3)   List any treatments, medications, or supplements that have caused negative reactions.

4)   List any recent medical procedures or surgeries you have had in the past 5 years.
5)   List any history of infections (excluding common colds) and allergies to medicines or other.

6)   Please indicate vaccinations taken within last 12 months or intention to take before your assignment

     Diptheria           Y/N
     BCG                 Y/N
     Measles             Y/ N
     Polio               Y/N
     Tetanus             Y/N
     Hepatitis A         Y/ N
     Typhoid             Y/N
     Yellow Fever        Y/N

7)   Are you going to take Malaria Medicine?           Y/N
     If yes, what kind and how often ?


8)   Do you smoke                                      Y/N

9)   Do you have any other special needs or is there any other information that may help us better understand you?


10) Do you have any objection to us carrying out an international CRB check?


 Please delete* any that DO NOT apply to you.

 *You occasionally experience unexplained tears.
 *You find you are more susceptible to pain.
 *You prefer to be left alone.
 *You feel shy with all but your close friends.
 *You feel something is missing in your life.
 *You often feel anxious for no reason.
 *You frequently feel “edgy” and it’s difficult to relax.
 *Falling asleep is sometimes difficult.
 *It’s hard to turn your mind off when you want to relax.
 *You occasionally experience feelings of panic for no reason.
 *You often use alcohol or other sedatives to calm down.
 *You suffer from a lack of energy.

                True Health with Dr Drady Hurst

                AVIF works with a registered, highly qualified practitioner in Atlanta, GA, USA.
                We truly understand the demands of humanitarian work, and uphold a Duty of Care to You. The True
                Health Clinic offer discounted services for Medical and Psychological Support to all our volunteers
                before, during and after international projects.

                Quick Chat: 5 minutes / $0.00
                Initial Consultation (in office or Online TeleHealth) : $95 covering Medical & Travel Health advice or
                Psychological Health Services ~ confidential advice before, during and after your volunteering.
                Follow up Consultation $55
                Enquiries about complex health problems or lab testing can be fast-tracked to local specialists for rapid
                reply overseas. Super-billing available through health insurance.

                                         Please be assured this information will be held in strict confidence.
                                Before returning by email please ensure you also send a recent photograph and CV.
                                                                    Asante Sana
                                          TRAVEL CHECKLIST

   Flight ticket

   Internal flight via 540 airline if travelling up-country

   Visa / passport

   Vaccinations

   Money belt - essential ! Consider securing your luggage with locks.

   Journal – Kenya can be overwhelming and it helps to write down your thoughts, alternatively, if
    you’re close to the internet, email us and we can publish your experience online for the benefit
    of the world.

   Sewing kit as hand washing clothes on boards or rocks can cause damage

   Plastic flip flops for showering and handling walking along VERY muddy roads !

   Looose long sleeved / long legged clothing & hat, ensure you bring clothes you don’t mind
    being ruined – you may well be washing yourself and clothes in the river !

   Fleece for chilly nights

   Factor 15+ Sun screen / sunglasses / hat / bandana

   Anti bacterial gel or alcohol wipes

   UK 240v power adaptor for phone/ camera charging if you are lucky to have electricity

   Sleeping bag for safari

   Pictures of family / friends / home to show your hosts & be a pleasant reminder for you

   Flashlight (batteries available cheaply everywhere)

   Pictures of family / home / friends to share with the children / staff

   Tourist guidebook / phrase book

   Anti-diarrhoea tablets

   Small camera (stock up on high powered batteries in Nairobi)

   Money for a cell phone (it is far cheaper to buy one in Kenya with a SIM card than risk
    having your own stolen)

   Anti-malarials

   Insect repellent

   Some prepared lessons with materials

   Pre-booked your stay at Stilts Backpackers in Diani on the Indian Ocean after the programme

   A smile, tolerance and diplomacy
                                    Rift Valley, Western Kenya

                                       KEY CONTACTS


Alison Lowndes
Founder Trustee
ABLe Volunteers International Fund
Fair Mount, Hartwith Avenue, Summerbridge, North Yorkshire HG3 4HT
Text: +44 777 171 2012
VoIP & IM via Skype: avif_volunteers_in_kenya


Sharon Argwings-Kodhek
PO Box 47147
Nairobi 00100
Cell +254 722 519080
                                       Volunteering Agreement

Volunteers have the RIGHT to
       choose
       have information about projects/tasks
       have equal treatment in recruitment, placement, training and support
       reasonable out of pocket expenses
       safety; no volunteer should tolerate violence, aggression or harassment towards them or a
       time limited commitment
       opt out of anything by first informing the volunteer/project coordinator
       comment on and be involved in planning projects
       give feedback during and after volunteering
       have a supervisor and someone to go to in case of grievance
       have fun
       be adequately covered by insurance and protected in issues of health and safety
       training; to be adequately prepared for the task
       join in other AVIF activities

Volunteers have the RESPONSIBILITY to
       be honest
       act under equal opportunities
       take a share in the responsibility for their personal safety and that of others
       behave appropriately – do not subject the children to use of alcoholic drinks, drugs, smoking,
        within the compound of any of the programs. In Kenya these habits may offend your hosts,
        though are not forbidden
       turn up on time and as agreed
       work in a team
       respect confidences of children, fellow volunteers and project workers
       support other volunteers as far as reasonable
       set a good example
       undertake necessary training
       remember that they are representing AVIF

signed by volunteer                                   volunteer/project coordinator


date              …………………………………………………………………….

                                      Children at LLK, Nakuru, 2008
                                 ”Finish the job ~ by telling the World”

We would like to offer all AVIF volunteers the chance to have their experiences published in a peer-
reviewed e-journal for international volunteers: RIVER OF LIFE JOURNAL (ROL)

ROL is intended to capture the efforts of individuals around the world and their acquired knowledge of
the development through volunteering process.

The Editor in Chief would like to hear from any of AVIF's volunteers with submissions in any of the
following formats:

Article categories

at WORK: For those whose placement included field visits to document the work of a local NGO in
rural/vulnerable communities and/or for those who prefer to make a first-person, journalistic submission.

in ACTION: For those who undertake an action research volunteer placement, focusing on situational
analysis and directed change, and/or for those who prefer to make a more academic (referenced)

by HEART: For those whose volunteer placement ultimately became more of a personal journey of
transformation, and/or for those who prefer to write a reflective account of their volunteer experience.

Should you wish to submit articles on other volunteering experiences outside of AVIF, please feel free.

  Please remember to complete your course of anti-malarials
     and on your return have a health check with your GP.

                          For many more volunteer photos please go online
                                We look forward to hearing from you