Situated on the equator on Africa’s east coast, Kenya offers beautiful landscapes, amazing wildlife, with an ethnic diversity that has produced a vibrant and lively culture. Nairobi, Kenya’s capital is the country’s principal economic, administrative, and cultural centre and is one of the largest and fastest growing cities in Africa. As a volunteer on this project you will be living 30 km north of bustling Nairobi, amidst the beautiful tea plantations of the Kenyan highlands. Limuru is a community operating at a much slower pace of life than the nearby capital.
Teaching volunteers spend their time providing much needed assistance with the often understaffed, under-resourced and overcrowded educational establishments of the Limuru area. We aim to provide a supporting role and with the help of volunteers, we aim to enrich the learning process for all involved by working closely with the teachers to establish and enhance lessons plans which promote active participation and understanding and not merely rote-style learning (learning through repetition) as is generally adopted.
KENYA’S EDUCATION SYSTEM
Though stricken with poverty and hardships, the people of Kenya are generally literate. It's estimated that approximately 90% of adult males and 80% of adult females are able to read and write. While the basics are covered, more advanced education is not as widespread. On average, children go to school for only 9 or 10 years. In January 2003, the Government of Kenya announced the introduction of free primary education. As a result, primary school enrolment increased by about 70%. However, secondary and tertiary education enrolment has not increased proportionally due to the fact that payment is still required for attendance.
As a teaching volunteer, you will spend Monday – Thursday at one of our partner schools and Friday participating in a community project. While at your school placement, mornings will typically be spent assisting with class work followed by more practical and resource development activities in the afternoon.
A break throughout the day offer volunteers the opportunity for light-hearted engagement with the students through singing, games and creative activities.
In order to ensure continuity and consistency for the children, school and volunteer, each volunteer will be placed at one school for your entire duration in Kenya. We have found that this increases the long-term impact of volunteers on the projects as well as enhancing both your relationship with the project as well as ours.
You will be assigned to one class and will provide assistance to the teacher you are linked up with. While the teacher is in front of the classroom, teaching a class, it is extremely valuable to have a teaching assistant who can go round and help individual children with their assignments. Since classes are usually very large, the pupils do not often get the individual attention they require, so any extra support and attention goes a long way in improving overall performance. Fun ideas in learning help a lot of children who would generally lag behind, to catch up. You will also teach basic English to the younger children through games and creative activities.
As mentioned before, the education system in Kenya has a strong focus on literacy and numeracy. The general teaching style encourages rote learning which focuses on the ability to memorize and repeat back, while offering little understanding and comprehension. By working closely and alongside the teacher, we aim to assist in developing resources to inspire active learning in which concepts are fully grasped, as well as to teach basic English to the younger children.
We also emphasize building a relationship with the teachers as the majority are not only in teacher training on the job, but they are also responsible for ensuring the students pass the end of year exams to allow them entry to free primary school education. Teachers are the experts in knowing what is culturally appropriate and relevant for the students. As a volunteer we encourage you to assist the teacher in implementing new teaching materials by combining your new ideas – such as songs, games, and activities – with the teacher’s classroom knowledge to create an effective learning experience for the students.
Once volunteers have spent enough time observing the classroom, working with the children, and at the discretion of the teacher, it might be possible to become more actively involved by taking on the instruction of a lesson or a section of work under the guidance of the teacher in addition to your basic English language instruction.
A big concern and problem we have had in the past is that often when volunteers step into the classroom the teacher often takes a back seat. This can be both overwhelming to the volunteer and detrimental to the children’s education.
We therefore emphasize with both teacher and volunteer the role is to enhance the educational environment and learning experience through assistance and support and not merely relieving the work load. The question we always ask when the volunteers leave is “will you be leaving behind a different work style, attitude, motivation or will you be taking it all back with you again?” The only way we can achieve this is through “working with” and not “working for” staff.
A volunteer may find in a class that there are groups of children who struggle to keep up with the rest of the class. Volunteers will take groups of children out of the class to go through the class work at a slower rate with greater repetition to enhance learning.
In the afternoons, volunteers may take some time with small groups to run a reading club to develop literacy skills. As a volunteer armed with your box of books, you will arrive at school and help give the children the extra support they need by helping with difficult words, encouraging them as they read, and offering the opportunity to practice their literacy skills outside the limits of the lesson available.
Since the pace of the class is often fast, and the individual attention is low, it is easy for some children to fall behind. By repeating the lessons in a new and fun way – even during break times – these children might have a better chance of keeping up in the future during their regular classes.
Holiday club is extremely important as it offers students valuable time to catch up on learning. It also gives young people a safe environment to spend their holidays, having fun and providing additional education. This is usually unstructured and provides more flexibility in choosing to work with individual children or small groups for short sessions, by focusing on areas they had difficulties with during the term.
It will not take long to notice how little infrastructure and total lack of municipal services are available in the communities in which our schools are situated. With no refuse services, no sanitation facilities and little opportunity for adequate hygiene; children are often not taught necessary self-care or the responsibility to keep their environment clean.
The goal of the Green Club is to change this by creating community mobilization to raise awareness on taking responsibility for your environment, even if no one else will. We also encourage volunteers to work with teachers to incorporate personal and environmental hygiene awareness in the learning process and syllabus as well as planning age-appropriate life skills workshops.
Arts and sport activities
You will find that there are very limited resources geared towards extracurricular activities which do add value in stimulating child development. It would be of great help to both the teachers and children to come up with interesting activities particularly using locally available materials. You would be surprised how a little creativity can go a long way in creating fun activities for physical education, music, drama, poetry, drawing, painting, and lots more!
We feel it is very important for volunteers to set appropriate boundaries from the very beginning with the children. We want our volunteers to have fun, but there also needs to be order within the classroom as set by the teachers, so it helps to show the children that there’s a time to be serious and a time to have fun! It is also important to confirm with the teachers on preferred communication. Eg. High fives may be encouraged for constant affirmation, rather than hugs which are much less common in African communication.
If your trip dates coincide with the holidays you will still have the opportunity to help out in individual or group revision sessions. However, focus is on practical development in schools as we usually reserve renovation or development activities for the months of April, August and December. In some of the orphanages you will have more interaction with the children where the focus will be on having fun, playing games and facilitating outings. This is a great opportunity for you to offer your skills and create drama groups, craft and sport activities, or maybe even an obstacle course or two.
School Term Dates for 2017
1st Term: 9 January 2017 – 7 April 2017
2nd Term: 8 May 2017 - 11 August 2017
3rd Term: 4 Sep 2017 – 10 Nov 2017
**During the School Holidays you will focus on holiday clubs and community programmes. **
- Project fee – this goes directly back into the project that you are involved with. It facilitates funding for resource items such as building materials, equipment, vehicles, foodstuffs, and project supplies needed for the development of the project
- All transfers to and from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi
- Full board and lodging and 3 meals a day
- Comprehensive Orientation
- Any daily transport that might be required as part of the project during your stay
- 24-hour support from our trained staff for the entire time of your placement
- Personal travel insurance for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
- Email/ Internet and telephone calls made during your placement
- Any activities/items outside the planned itinerary
- Soft drinks, wines, spirits, between meal snacks, and weekend food
Making a booking
If you want to reserve your place on a trip we ask you to place a deposit of £0 to secure your place. Should you wish to discuss your trip with us, please either email email@example.com or call 0203 394 0050.
|Monday 27th Mar 2017 - Monday 10th Apr 2017||£874.00|
|Monday 10th Apr 2017 - Monday 24th Apr 2017||£874.00|
|Sunday 6th Aug 2017 - Saturday 19th Aug 2017||£874.00|
|Sunday 10th Sep 2017 - Saturday 23rd Sep 2017||£874.00|
|Sunday 15th Oct 2017 - Saturday 28th Oct 2017||£874.00|
|Sunday 5th Nov 2017 - Saturday 18th Nov 2017||£874.00|
|Sunday 3rd Dec 2017 - Saturday 16th Dec 2017||£874.00|
|Sunday 14th Jan 2018 - Saturday 27th Jan 2018||£874.00|
|Monday 2nd Jul 2018 - Tuesday 17th Jul 2018||£972.00|
|Monday 5th Nov 2018 - Monday 19th Nov 2018||£972.00|