Frequently Asked Questions
However, if you are going to volunteer program abroad, especially in a developing country, Pamoja is the organization. Even for locals, navigating a developing country is a constant challenge. PIVS takes on the role of organizing, preparing and co-ordinating everything required for you to have a successful, productive, safe and secure volunteer experience.
Our participants have found us invaluable for several reasons:
- Safety and security is paramount for everyone going abroad. It is highly important that your safety and security is taken care of. We know all the neighborhoods where our participants stay and we have friends in the neighborhoods.
- We provide structured experience which leads to a more meaningful learning experience. Institution/organizations are engaged in their day to day activities. While they welcome the presence of and help from international volunteers, they don’t have the time or adequate staff for international volunteers. PIVS bridges that gap. We have worked with several institutions/communities/organizations to develop programs hence you get to have an idea of what you will do when and where.
- We know the institutions we collaborate with very well and have cultivated strong and productive relationships with the administrators. In terms of specialties, we know the strengths and weaknesses of all the institutions where the volunteer/students participate. Depending on your interests, we can quickly match you with the right institution for you to get the experience and exposure you need.
- Our program has also cultivated strong relationships with staff other consultants/professionals and they have a genuine interest in mentoring international volunteers. When you take part, you are not just another foreigner, you are a Pamoja volunteer/intern and they go the extra mile to make sure your experience is a learning and worthwhile experience.
- You meet volunteers from other parts of the world in the same program and you also get to meet local staff and community, an interaction which only enriches your experience.
We support the initiatives of our communities/institutions through the recruitment of volunteers from around the world to work on diverse programs.
All programs are run by specialists in their field who are specifically trained to impart their skills and experience.
As a volunteer, you’ll be carefully placed by our experienced team who will ensure maximum enjoyment of your Experience. PIVS team will give you the best possible service and support. Our dedicated team members, work together to ensure your experience will be thoroughly memorable as well as being hassle-free. Our programs have been set up with the needs and requirements of each volunteer and community in mind. This ensures that you get the best experience, whilst actually making a real difference on the program of your choice.
Our programs allows for flexibility on start dates. Our team ensure to find a co-ordinate and plan program that will fit in around your schedule.
All our programs require no previous knowledge or qualifications. All you need is a passion, dedication, motivation for the program you have chosen.
It is recommended that you drink bottled water during your stay in Kenya both in Nairobi and whilst upcountry or on a safari. You can buy bottled water from any supermarket and most shops in Kenya. The most common water-borne diseases in Kenya are typhoid, cholera and dysentery. Other less common ones include gastroenteritis and amoebiasis.
We do our best to accommodate requests ,however please know that we take into consideration a number of factors, including:
- The total number of volunteers/interns
- How many family members there are
- The total capacity at the Home-Base; and
- Gender breakdown of the overall volunteer/intern group.
No foreign language proficiency required. English is the official language .Learn some Swahili words if you can. However, nearly majority Kenyans understand and speak English well so communication should not be a problem.
- Age above 18 years (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.
On arrival, you will be met at the airport by one of our representatives and depending on time and airport of arrival, you will either proceed directly to one of our accommodation houses or you will need to stay overnight in a hotel and proceed to your new temporary home the following day.
We use the first day for basic orientation on your surroundings, where to do basic shopping, cultural orientation and meeting other program participants. Part of orientation is to explain to you the type of work and expectations. We assign you a host mentor to help you with navigating your new environment.
Your visa can be extended once at the Immigration Office in Nairobi after 3 months. You may use the address of PIVS Office when filling in your visa application.
- Volunteer Placement with one of staff including all the coordination in case of international work camp program, in-person visits in case of medium term volunteer program, internship program and communication necessary with each local organization.
- PIVS provides you with a comfortable accommodation, safe place to live, the basic amenities, all of your meals.
- Experienced staff, to provide orientation, supervision and guidance throughout your stay.
- Costs associated with obtaining a visa or immunizations (when needed).
- International and domestic airfare and corresponding airport departure taxes.
- Personal Internet time and long-distance (domestic and international) phone calls.
- Laundry service.
- Insurance, both general and medical.
- Recreation (going to safaris, alcohol, outings)
- Pocket money.
- Transport (to and from site)
- Personal stuff (toilet paper, soaps, washing detergents)
Countries with different voltages and frequencies will need a power converter. It is important to check this as incorrect use may damage your equipment. Check your electrical equipment to see if you will need a power converter and/or a plug adapter. Volunteers may purchase power converters in their home countries or here in Kenya. For plug adapters, these are widely available in shops and supermarkets all over the country. We advise volunteers to purchase them after arrival in the country and after confirming what type of sockets they have in their accommodation.
Volunteers need to bring their own towels, toiletries and other personal effects. Please note that volunteers are responsible for their own laundry. It is safe to bring your hair dryers, shavers and other electrical products.
When out in the community, it is good to follow local etiquette. Dressing in Nairobi is quite liberal. However, approach it with cultural sensitivity in mind and you will be fine. Avoid excessively flashy or revealing items. Please ask when you are not sure what is and is not appropriate.
Footwear can be any comfortable walking shoes such as sports shoes. It is also advised to carry a pair of open-toed sandals, especially for those who will be volunteering in the hot season (December to February; August to September).
Carry a few smart outfits for special occasions that you might be part of e.g. dinners or parties.
During the orientation:
- Nairobi – either in a host family or a hotel in Nairobi.
While volunteering in your program:
- Directly in the program.
- Host family.
(Depending on the place and type of your program)
The last day (evaluation day:
- Nairobi – either in a host family or in a hotel.
Pamoja will inform you about the exact accommodation during your orientation. Any accommodation costs before or after your project term will be borne by yourself.