James Woodward is co-founder of Kickstart Kids International, an Australian-based organisation operating in Kenya. Their main focus is their Familia Moja Children’s Centre where James and fellow founder James Harrison travelled recently to reunite Familia Moja boys David, Rasto and Boni with their guardians.

“Upon arrival in his small hometown village, I asked 14 year old David what he would like for Christmas” says James W, “and after taking a minute to consider, he asked if he could buy a mattress for his mother to sleep on”. David was born in the Kayole slums of Nairobi and met James in 2007 when he was just ten years old. He used to sleep directly on a hard concrete floor, a common bed for many. Now at Familia Moja he has his very own mattress, pillow, blanket and sheets but his mother still lives in a small hut with a dirt floor.

“David is indeed a very special young man”, James tells us.

James H is currently studying medicine with long-time AVIF volunteer Zoe, in Sydney and wanted to visit a community hospital so of course we sent him along to meet Bramuel, administrator of the Arrowweb Community Hospital in Kayole. Since the visit Kickstart have embarked on a new initiative to assist with volunteer nursing, sending crucial support to the nursing staff. James says “It was a humbling experience to watch [the staff] serve the patients at the hospital so efficiently under tough conditions”.

Kickstart are also running a two week medical student volunteering trip at the end of June so if you are currently studying medicine and would be interested in applying, please contact james.harrison@kickstartkidsinternational.com

Kickstart are also now successfully operating a borehole well at their 2nd children’s centre, now “pumping at a phenomenal rate”, so they are hoping to sell excess water to the community as an income generating activity. Likewise the well is going in, as we speak, at the Mercy Home in Maseno, where Zoe first visited back in 2007. More recently Zoe returned to Maseno to spend invaulable, inspiring time nursing in the local hospital.

The other fantastic news about Mercy Home is that ex-head girl Leo, now studying Business at MMUST has been accepted into the Business in Development Women in Business Challenge, submitting a business plan for a Recycling Company in the area, recycling plastics to create jobs and opportunity in the community as well as outputs such as fencing and building materials. If you’d like to get involved volunteering and sharing expertise please get in touch. Its good for you! ………


Volunteering England were recently commissioned to research the effects of Volunteering and found it can increase longevity, reduce stress and depression, as well aS help people keep fit and enable them to cope better with illness. 63% of 25-34 year olds and 62% of over-65’s interviewed said that volunteering helps them feels less stressed while 71% of volunteers offering their professional skills and experience, even purely online, said it combat ted depression. Volunteering can provide a route to meeting new people, making great friends, bringing a wealth of new experience and most definitely make any CV look incredible.

Give it a go – contact us.


The Business in Development Challenge seeks to assist “Women, anywhere in the world, who want to start or grow an existing small and medium sized enterprise (SME) in a developing country“. The Challenge brings two prizes. For the five finalists a business trip to The Netherlands for training, b2b and investor meetings. For the absolute winner, tailor made advisory services worth €5,000 from UnitedSucces, the worldwide network for business women owners. The important part is that ALL participants receive feedback to improve their plan and Leo has already been assigned a coach to assist her in the completion of her business plan. Her business plan is also eligible for the BiD Network Investor Matchmaking Services. We’re all wishing Leo the best of luck and all the courage in the world to succeed.