International Work Camps
PIVS organizes International Work camps in various parts of Kenya where Volunteers, mostly from different countries, come together and work on a common project towards a common objective for the benefit of local population. In this setting, volunteers are able to face, experience and deal with each other differences which will eventually end up in understanding friendship and peaceful co-existence between people of different nationality, races and colour.
Apart for the normal routine work, volunteers interact community eat local meals and stay in a local accommodation. Volunteers appreciate and respect each other despite their differences in culture, education, religion race and so on, rather than negative criticism and stereo type notion/ideology. We encourage person/individuals to give their time energy, resources and commitment by taking part in the International Voluntary Service. Volunteers are encouraged to be initiative, creative, and patient while volunteering. Motivation and commitment is what we desire in the volunteers, in addition if you have specific expertise we utilize it accordingly.
Some of the projects undertaken during work camps are:
- Construction of social amenities for the Community.
- Agriculture enhancement programs.
- Rehabilitation of rundown community facilities.
- Community services in Children orphanage or homes for the Aged.
- Use of volunteer skills i.e. Teaching, Medicine, Engineering, Agriculture etc. to serve in the community.
- Renovations of community facilities.
Participants gain a deeper understanding of the community with which they are involved in by working hand in hand with the local community. Most of the projects require unskilled labour though PIVS encourages the volunteers to provide their services in the area of their expertise training.
A work camp takes a period of 2 to 3 weeks depending on the nature of the project. Our Camps accommodate 5 -10 volunteers with the number of international volunteers being half of the total volunteers. International Work Camps are held during the months of February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December.
This program is prepared and planned together with the host community or institution, local administration, government, CBO’s and NGO’s and CSOs in marginalized areas. Activities range from water-tank construction, construction of schools, hospitals, farming, environment issues, harvesting among others. We also hold workshops, cultural festival, outings/visits entertainment and experiencing the rural setup or way of life.
This project helps both the local and the international participants to get exposed to development issues, acquire a wide perception of world issues and also develop leadership acumen and Inter-cultural exchange between people of different political, social and economic background.
The International work camp duration is 14 – 21 days. Applications should be received five weeks in advance and we encourage volunteers to come two days earlier to familiarize themselves with Nairobi city and also meet other volunteers.
Most organizations have few financial resources, and are not in a position to cover the costs of hosting you. Costs such as meals, housing and transportation of volunteers can add up quickly. If projects had sufficient funds they could better spend this on employment for local workers, who speak the language and tend to stay for a longer period. So where does your money go? You mainly pay for the cost of your housing, food, administration and logistics expenses for the host organization (PIVS) as well as your preparation, and support. It also goes toward activities and facilities which contribute to achieving the project goals.
Not to say that paying to volunteer is for everyone. There are still projects where it is very cheap or even free to volunteer. But you have to consider that you will probably not have the luxury of a full program with training, preparation and supervision. Also, in the case where you bring in a lot of expertise which the local organization lacks, you still require the same expenses to the community as unskilled volunteers.
Volunteering in Africa and volunteering at home are very different. The costs involved in volunteering in Africa can be quite high, but if you find the right project it will definitely be worth every cent and you will have a very rewarding experience, that you will remember the rest of your life.
Orientation is done at the office or hired hall. We use the first day to explain/familiarize the volunteer/students to their new surrounding, work, location of the program, expectation, where to do basic shopping, cultural orientation, do’s and don’ts and meeting other program participants. We assign you a host mentor to help you with navigating your new environment.
The element of cultural exchange is one of the most essential parts of the program. In that perspective the different activities undertaken during the program should merely be viewed as the facilitator of the cultural exchange process and not as a goal for the program.
Work camp is based on the idea of voluntarism. Work camps are UNIQUE form of voluntary service – offering a positive and practical way of breaking down the barriers and fostering tolerance and understanding while assisting in the project.
Volunteer is charged a certain amount of money (participation fee) which will cover for his/her expense(s) for accommodation and food during the work camp. However PIVS minimizes the costs of the budget.
International Work Camp Activities
Each work camp is divided into 3 sessions as follows:
- Work: This will involve physical/manual/mental work. Normally this will take place 5 hours in the morning before lunch (Monday to Friday). Detailed information about the work will be sent to all organizations/individuals before the program starts.
- Cultural Night: Each country presented in the camp normally has one night to present their culture.
- Excursions: These trips are organized depending on the possibilities for recreation existing in each area as well as the interest and need for each program. This is normally done on weekends but in special case weekdays.
NOTE: Work camps are organized in different locations in partnership with local authorities, government, other N.G.O.S and Civil Societies Organizations e.t.c. The location, project activities are subject to change so please be flexible.
Information Accommodations “Only for Camps”
Our host community provides for accommodation, which could be in local school’s classroom, tents, huts (traditional African Thatch and Mud constructed houses) or whatever facility is available in the community setting. We advise volunteers to bring their own pillow, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, mosquito net and tropical quilt.
Toilet will be the “Asian type” or what we refer to pit latrines or Turkish toilets, Water for bathing will be boiled. Usually there will be no showers, volunteers will use buckets, which will be provided for. Volunteers are expected to understand provision of electricity and hot-water will not be available in most cases. Cooking appliances such as Gas cookers and Electrical cookers will not be available, only “Jikos” (Charcoal Burners) and the traditional 3 stones cooker and use of firewood. Volunteers must be flexible and understand most of our programs are in rural set up. In some cases if programs are held in urban cities provisions of tap water and electricity is available.
The Students will be housed with the host family several kilometers and or within the next to the program site. The accommodation is secure and each student/volunteer will have own room and bed.
Transport from the office to the site will be borne by the volunteers (international work camps and medium term volunteering. Transport is usually long, slow, (dusty and bumpy roads). Volunteers often find it exciting experience travelling by public transport. In some cases Taxi will be used in areas where public transport is not available.
Volunteer’s participation fee covers food, accommodation and Administration and logistics costs.
Potential volunteers should be aware that 30% of their participation fee will be used to take care of the volunteers. The rest of the money covers office expenses and overheads. Without the financial aid provided by the volunteers the program would not happen.
Expenses outside the program budget will be met by the volunteers themselves e.g. of this will be medical, entertainment, traveling costs etc.
Volunteers should pay their registration-participation fees before attending/participating in their respective programs.
Prospective Volunteer will be required to pay a Commitment fee before they can be accepted to participate in any program. This fee is non-refundable and usually to secure program participation.
Any Volunteer who applies to PIVS directly, other than being sent by any of our Partner Organization will also be required to pay the Commitment fee before he-she can be accepted to participate in any program. This applies to all programs.
PIVS does not pay money to any Host Organization or and Community for Volunteer’s placement. We only cater for volunteer meals and accommodation.
Volunteers will be involved in the implementation of the project. However, most volunteers will not be required to have specific skills. Volunteers will work hand in hand with the local communities/ institution(s) with local skilled technicians/consultants hired by the community. Usually by the time volunteers arrive for the project, work will already have commenced, so that volunteers can help complete the project.
PIVS programs are not a leisure holiday or adventure therefore we require Volunteers who are committed, motivated and willing to assist the host community/ Institution.
PIVS strongly emphasizes on the aspect Voluntary and Culture, we are welcoming open minded Volunteers who want to learn about African-Kenyan culture appreciate and respect different diverse cultures. The volunteers will have an opportunity to meet and find out about the local people and experience their simple living conditions and culture. Volunteers will be taken to festivals, markets and local activities where possible.
In addition community elders and invited guests will give occasional informal evening talks on cultural matters so that volunteers learn more about the local culture.
During their free time on Saturday and Sunday, volunteers will go for excursions to local places of interest (this will usually depend with the area) such as National parks, cultural centers, monuments e.t.c. Transport cost for excursions, free time activities and other private traveling, accommodation cost out of arranged program site, should be volunteers responsibility.
The volunteers will always have a local representative from the office who will be their camp facilitator and translator in some cases.
The camp leader should always be contacted incase of any problem, decision, plans are made. Each and every participant should respect the camp leader’s decision, plan and work toward a harmonious living with other participants.
Most meals will be of a local nature, although once in a while will have western and Asian cultural nights and volunteers will have an opportunity to prepare their local food-dish. Vegetarian’s meals will also be available. Volunteers will be cooking in turns and all volunteers are expected to participate in preparing food and take care of the kitchen (international work camp only).
Their will be food menu, and volunteers will be required to stick to it. The food allocated for the respective program will only cater for Volunteers and PIVS officials and not any other party.
We encourage Volunteers to be modest while preparing food and usage of cooking ingredients and to avoid wasting food. Junk food is not part of the menu in addition they should not ask for food that is not within the international work camp allocation and MTV i.e. things like peanut butter, jam, cereals (Corn Flakes), sausages, bacons, e.t,c. (they should be aware that they are here to learn the culture and the way of living in terms of food and living for international work camps and medium term volunteering). We make sure Volunteers food is balanced diet. We try as much as possible for volunteers to come to the level of the community in terms of simplicity and modesty.
Volunteers should be aware that NO bottled drinking water shall be provided by PIVS. Purchase of bottled water is the volunteer’s responsibility at all times. They are expected to boil water for consumption and for hygiene reasons (we advice volunteers to come with iodine tablets for treating water).
There will be challenges at times especially the first 3-4 days because of new surroundings, the people, food, climate and work. Volunteers should be aware that conditions will be basic. Volunteers will do most of the work like washing your clothes, food preparation, general cleaning etc.
Volunteers should not ask for cozy, luxurious living this is in terms of housing (volunteers should appreciate the structure where they are placed). As most of our programs are done in remote areas basic services like electricity and Water are either scarce or not available.
Travel health insurance is a must in order for you to attend PIVS work camps. The insurance should cover emergency repatriation and include an international emergency help line. We also advice volunteers to carry a first Aid kit for dealing with minor cuts and ailments.
English should be the medium of communication unless a volunteer is completely unable to communicate in English but in such instance translators will be required to participate in the work camp.Apply Now