When people think of Kenya, African wildlife come quickly to mind - but Kenya’s domestic animals also need our help. As in many countries, the unfortunate reality is that domestic and farm animals are often abused and abandoned. Some have been used in dog fighting, others have been used in political protests and then left on the busy and dangerous downtown streets and many others are just mistreated and neglected. Our partner in Nairobi, Kenya provides shelter and care for many of these animals. All of the animals that have been brought to the centre will have the chance to be adopted in the community. To ensure these adoptions are successful, the staff and volunteers do everything they can to make these animals feel safe again. All dogs are socialized and taught to walk on a lead, sit and stay. The cats live in completely enclosed catteries so they can feel safe outside but also not prey on local birds. The donkeys, pigs, goats, horses and sheep are free to move around paddocks and graze as nature intended. More than 300 animal adoptions happen every year and countless school groups come to the centre for presentations about caring for animals in a safe and loving way. This centre has also been a strong and loud advocate for the humane and gentle care of donkeys that are traditionally seen as beasts of burden. The centre will outfit any donkey owner with a humane harness and help the donkey to be trained to be of service without negative reinforcement and abuse.
The centre is open air and out of the congested downtown, making it a true sanctuary for anyone looking to spend time in a world class city. Volunteers stay in the home of a local supporter of the centre and are escorted to and from the placement by the host family or by someone from the centre. This placement is for anyone who is looking to help domestic animals but doesn't mind getting a little wild. Sometimes the commute to the centre takes longer because baboons need to cross the local roads. There is a giraffe centre located down the road that you can visit. And a monkey or two have been known to stop by and take food - or even wait outside of the vet's office for his turn to receive medical attention! This placement is a “chose your own adventure” experience as we are looking for volunteers to help in many areas - such as fundraising, event planning, animal socialization, cleaning and vet services.
Volunteers at this centre help with all aspects of care for the animals – which can number as many as 200 at one time. Daily volunteer duties include the cleaning of dog runs, paddocks, enclosures, and the catteries. Volunteers help with cooking, preparing food for and feeding the animals at the centre, as well as the ongoing training and socialization of each animal who will be adopted out. Rescue ride-alongs, event preparation/attendance and educational presentations and tours may also be part of the volunteer experience if you are interested. Volunteers who are veterinary professionals can also assist with medical duties as appropriate. This may include diagnosing and treating medical conditions, administering vaccinations, and providing anesthesia and surgical services as needed.
Shifts are 8 hours in length each day, with a break for lunch. Volunteers have one day off per week.
You will be staying as a guest in the home of a family that supports the work of the animal rescue centre. Staying with a family allows you to learn first hand about the culture of Kenya and helps you feel like a part of the community rather than a tourist. All of our homestays have been visited by us and we can assure you that you will be safe and comfortable. You will be staying close to the centre in a very safe and beautiful part of Nairobi. Transportation to and from the centre is included in your fees. Your family will ensure that you are brought to your placement and home again at the end of the day. All meals are provided for you.
Airport pick up and drop off (at the closest airport), accommodation, meals, on-site training, donation to Placement Partner, AEI Travel Manual, emergency support while at placement, carbon credits to offset 3 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, premium Individual Travel Insurance (up to $500, 000 USD in emergency medical coverage), travel discounts (through automatic membership to a volunteer only travel discount program), 24/7 travel and emergency assistance, enrolment with the Global Travel Academy to earn a certificate in International Volunteering. This 3-hour online course is curated by travel professionals and is designed to help you get the most out of your adventure.
Flights, entry visa costs, international and domestic airport taxes, immunizations and medications. Note: The rabies vaccine is required for this Experience. Please note that the average cost of pre-exposure rabies vaccination is $600- $1000 in North America.
What is Serious
Our partner is the only charitable animal welfare organization in Kenya that deals for the most part with domestic animals. As such, the centre is very busy trying to make a difference, and they couldn’t do it without help from volunteers like you. Each week the organization is involved in cruelty investigations, animal rescues, and adoptions. They run a shelter for animals which are abandoned, homeless, lost or victims of cruelty. They provide medical treatments and vaccinations for the animals in their care. And they aim to educate members of the community on the proper treatment and care of their animals. Our partner strongly believes that overpopulation of cats and dogs should be controlled by sterilization rather than by killing of healthy animals.The organization conducts spay and neuter campaigns in lower income areas when funds are available, and sterilize the animals at the shelter. If you are a veterinary professional or veterinary student, there will be opportunities to help with medical procedures and to learn about veterinary medicine in Kenya. This placement is very hands-on, and all volunteers are involved with the care of the animals. You will become very comfortable working with the animals at the shelter and will be able to use this experience as a springboard for future work with domestic species.
What is Fun
Traveling to Africa is a life-changing experience. There is so much to see and do - and this is the perfect opportunity to explore Kenya while volunteering with a friendly and helpful organization. The area where you will be staying is home to a large international community, and is a great place for newcomers to Kenya. You can enjoy “western” comforts (like fast food) while having very Kenyan experiences, such as seeing the Masai walk through the streets in their colourful traditional clothing. The shelter is located in a very safe part of Nairobi, and you will have the pleasure of getting to know the community around you. Your homestay and fellow volunteers will make you feel right at home!
Dates and Details
This is an ongoing program with operations every day of the year. There are no specific start or end dates. We work with you and your schedule so you can serve this community and help animals when you are available.
Are you thinking of fundraising for a portion, or all your fees? Many of our clients have been very successful with their fundraising efforts. To learn more about their successful fundraising projects and see how you can fund raise for your experience, please visit our fundraising page!