Q. Do I need vaccinations?
- Yes, most likely you need vaccinations. Depending on your country of residence, you are required to take some vaccinations before you can enter Kenyan. You should contact your preferred medical practice to be consulted on all medical issues. Please prepare on time, as some vaccinations need several injections.
Q. Can I come together with a friend?
- Yes, you can come with your friends. Usually we try not to place too many people from the same country in one project. If you want to be placed together with a friend, please indicate it clearly be in the applications for the both of you.
Q. How long can I participate in one of the VACK Jitolee Afrika projects?
- VACK Jitolee Afrika offers projects of different durations. Our monthly Workcamps last for 3 weeks. Medium and Long Term projects last from one month up to one year. Many volunteers also choose to participate in a Workcamp first, before starting a Medium or Long Term Placement.
Q. What do I have to bring with me?
- Necessary goods: Mosquito net; Mosquito repellant; Torch/flashlight/headlight; Toiletries (including toilet paper); First-aid kits; Sleeping bag
- Better to have: Sandals; Hat; Camera; Sun cream
- For interaction with people: Pictures of your country; Food from your country; Cultural materials (e.g. flag); Toys for kids; any other items you may deem necessary
Q. Will VACK pick me up from the airport?
- Yes, VACK Jitolee Afrika will pick you up from the airport. Before you start your journey to Kenya, please confirm with us, that we have received your correct flight details. The costs for two airport transports (1x Pick up after arrival & 1x Drop off before departure) are included in the info-sheet.
Q. What shall I do with all my important documents?
- Make copies! Important documents (passport, data page and visa documents, credit cards, travel insurance policy, air/bus/train tickets, driving license etc.) should be photocopied before you leave home. Leave one copy with someone at home and keep another with you, separate from the originals. We strongly advise you to leave a copy of your passport and your visa at the VACK Jitolee Afrika office.
Q. How can I get money in Kenya?
- There are ATM’s in every big town in Kenya. You do not need to carry traveler cheques or lots of cash. You should acquire in advance from your bank about the conditions and possibilities of withdrawing money with your bank card. Having a master/visa card is in every case advisable.
Q. How long will the process take?
- Once you have applied for a placement, the process will take approximately one month. This is to allow time for volunteers to complete pre-departure briefing, along with all the necessary logistics such as arranging visas, work permits and medical checks.
Q. Can I apply for more than one placement?
- Yes, however at the point that you accept an offer of a placement you will be withdrawn from any other applications.
Q. Can I fill in the application form in a language other than English?
- As English will be the working language in the volunteer placement, it is important that we are recruiting people who have a reasonable level of English. Please make sure to fill in the application form in English.
Q. How do VACK placements work?
- We place both skilled and unskilled volunteers with local partner organisations, from grassroots groups to institutions, to build their capacity and ability. This delivers long-term improvements and helps countries and communities to help themselves. VACK’s volunteers use their skills to improve quality and access to essential services, give people a voice and help influence policy makers to implement effective policies. No, you don’t need special skills to volunteer. However, VACK Jitolee Afrika has some requirements to be fulfilled by its volunteers: One needs to be above 18 years from (If you are below 18 years you need a written consent from a guardian); A positive attitude towards independent progress of others; A willingness to adapt to local conditions; A desire to interact and understand other people’s culture and philosophy of life; Be open-minded and willing to freely exchange ideas, information and experiences without imposing your own values on others. These simple ideas will make your time in Kenya a great success for you, your project and the community. By building local skills and knowledge our volunteers deliver sustainable development initiatives, lasting impact and value for money. As a VACK volunteer you’ll work directly with the local partner organization, reporting to a local supervisor and supporting your colleagues’ development. Of course, VACK officers are always there to support you should the need arise.
Q. What about security in Kenya?
- There are risks in every country in the world, but we monitor risks where we work, brief our volunteers appropriately and have systems in place in case of security problems. You will not be asked to work in any area where there is immediate danger from war, civil unrest or natural disaster. In this way we hope that our volunteers will have the best prospect of contributing to sustainable development. VACK will provide you with the Do’s and Don’ts during your orientation. If you use some common sense, you are OK in Nairobi and anywhere else in the country. VACK Jitolee Afrika works closely with government departments and different embassies. Our past volunteers can bear witness with us: You will feel as safe and at home.
Q. Do I need a visa and who will arrange for my visa?
- Yes, you need a visa to enter Kenya. Please apply for a tourist visa in a Kenyan embassy. You can also obtain a visa at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on your arrival. The VISA cost for a three-month tourist visa is 40 Euros or 50 USD. Your visa can be extended once at the Immigration Office in Nairobi after 3 months. You may use the address of VACK Office address when filling in your visa application as your in country address. VACK Jitolee Afrika will be responsible for sending an invitation letter to all volunteers that they present at the embassy when making application for the visa. All our volunteers are responsible for the visa applications and incase assistance is needed from us we are ready to assist you. Volunteers are responsible for obtaining their own genuine passports, along with other documents or certificates that may be required to facilitate the processing of necessary travel permits.
Q. What will my accommodation/house look like?
- Again, this varies across placements and communities. We normally ask the local organisation to provide the volunteer’s accommodation. In most cases all long and medium term volunteers would be accommodated in a host family while short term volunteers ware accommodated in a hall. Not all houses will have electricity, but we always try to ensure that there is a source of water nearby. The host family is supported with a small fund to ensure that the volunteer is well catered for during the stay.
Q. What expenses will I need to pay?
- During your placement, VACK will provide: Host family support fee which is designed to meet reasonable living expenses in community, and will not be enough for you to expect to have luxury living; Basic accommodation; induction support. The volunteer is expected to meet the following expense line: your insurance cover; flight expenses; in country traveling expenses; visa application, renewal
Q. Can I volunteer for longer than my original placement length?
- There is a possibility for you to stay beyond their initial placement duration. However, this will depend on the needs of the local partner organisation and whether they need you to stay longer than planned in order to complete the job or extend its benefits and impact. VAK Jitolee Afrika officers will evaluate the situation, and a decision is reached by consulting all parties involved. Alternatively, you can apply for another placement in a different project.
Q. I’m not sure volunteering is for me. What other ways can I get involved with VACK Jitolee Afrika?
- You can be involved with us in lots of other ways including campaigning, setting up a local group, and fundraising and by making a donation.
Q. Can I volunteer if I have HIV?
- Being HIV positive need not be a barrier to volunteering with VACK Jitolee Afrika. We would want to ensure that you go to volunteer in an area which would not pose high risks to your health, and where good medical facilities are available for any follow-up checks or treatment you may need. Remember, in some countries there may be a stigma against people with HIV. You’ll need to consider the implications of this when deciding to accept a volunteer role.
Q. Can I volunteer if I have a disability?
- We’re committed to offering people with disabilities an opportunity to volunteer by ensuring that we do have a favourable environment for their involvement. We ask you to tell us about your disability on your application form. This is aimed at enabling us place you and the most appropriate project that you will be able to maximize your skills and knowledge. Some of the environments we work in are challenging. It may be difficult for us to match your professional and personal circumstances with a volunteer role. We’ll make every effort to consider all possibilities and think flexibly to prevent this.
Q. What is the day of a volunteer like?
- There’s no such thing as a typical day! That’s part of the excitement of volunteering. Your life will become personally and professionally very different to what you know now. What is certain though is that you will be enjoying an all-new culture, mixing in a different community and challenging yourself professionally, in all new ways.