I think the key is reinforcing that the placement is unpaid, and that volunteers will discuss costs on arrival but not to go beyond that…otherwise it becomes too business like and it shouldn’t be about money….in reality, you cannot put a price on how much it costs to keep a volunteer so we did as much for ourselves as possible and gave very discreetly for anything that was provided for us. (Soraya, 2007 volunteer)

Airfare: variable between £400-£800 (to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Airport code: NBO). 

For safety and convenience volunteers should book 1 hr flights with our partners Fly540.com between Nairobi Wilson Airport & Kisumu ($70) rather than a 6-8hr road trip. Alternatively the train costs around US$25.00 but takes approximately 14 hours. We do not recommend matatus though it is your choice.

Visas are available either through your local Kenyan high Commission/Embassy or on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta airport (2012 $45). Comprehensive travel & health insurance varies £40+

Essential medications

Anti-malarials variable between 50p – £1 per day
Insect repellent sprays, oral rehydration packs, painkillers

Arrival in Nairobi

We recommend the Upperhills Backpackers accommodation which offer rooms in the main house or bunkbeds in cabins in the grounds, down to budget camping in tents. They are actually now situated in the Lavington area (not Upperhills) surrounded by various Embassy’s so its very secure. They also have a fantastic bar and kitchen open almost 24 hours a day. Its a fabulous place where you will meet other travellers from around the globe. Ran by Zimbabwean born Jess & co. we highly recommend them but book your rooms early – ONLINE – to avoid disappointment as they’re very popular. If you prefer hotel accommodation then Gracia Guesthouse for 2 sharing costs from $60, taxi to ($15) and from ($15) the airport, meals, drinks are also your own cost.

Meals and fuel costs

Payable to your host, via personal arrangement. Mercy Home and the Tumaini Centre have negotiated, through previous volunteers, a standard rate of $30 a week as meals are cooked for you. Until you’ve watched a meal being prepared over a fire it is difficult to appreciate the amount of work it takes to go to the market on an almost daily basis to get fresh food and to collect wood and make a fire, prepare the food and cook it. The process itself would make it virtually impossible for you to volunteer. This rate was agreed by previous volunteers to include electric or kerosene fuels too but you can negotiate arrangements with your hosts while you’re with them.

We strongly encourage all of our volunteers to do some fundraising to support the cost of their program. Consider that you are raising funds in order to provide much-needed help to others, while learning a lot along the way.

Fundraising is an opportunity not only to energize others about your upcoming experience, but to educate them about needs and issues in the developing world. Please read further information given in the Volunteer Handbook.

Our programs may qualify for international internship and travel funds awarded by colleges and universities. Volunteers are encouraged to check with their schools for eligibility and for help with fundraising.