Community engagement, live, work & play while living on Kenya coast

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Gap year and summer programs - with a difference!

Africa & Asia Venture (AV) is one of the oldest gap year providers. Since 1993 AV has been offering unique immersive gap year and summer programs in Africa and Asia for those aged 17-25. You live in the local community in a group with fellow participants from around the world. Our 24/7 local management teams provide continuous support throughout your time with us.

We are taking applications now for our programs starting in 2019.

About

If you like the idea of living beside the Indian Ocean but doing more than that (getting involved with the local community, helping the children, playing sports etc), then this is the program for you!

Find yourself challenged in ways you won't expect. Be inspired by the people you meet.
Learn more than you can imagine.

#seetheworlddifferently

All our programs are divided into three parts – orientation, cultural immersion placement and independent travel.

  • Orientation - a chance to settle in, get to know your group and make sure you're fully prepared for all aspects of your placement.
  • Immersion - you live and work with others in your group in our partner community at the coastal location of Msambweni, sharing your skills. Key to the experience is the high level of independence we offer. We're always available, but we stand back and let you make the most of the experience.
  • Independent Travel - the final month of the program is free for you to explore the fascinating sights of Kenya and even further afield. We're still here to support you whenever you need!
Highlights
  • The Kenyan coast
  • Live and work in the community
  • Visit elephant orphanage and giraffe sanctuary

Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 19 reviews
  • Impact 8.3
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 8.4
  • Value 8.9
  • Safety 8.8
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
Showing 16 - 19 of 19
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RBP
8/10

AV in Kericho, Kenya

AV placed me and two other girls in a village on the Finlays Tea Plantation in Kericho, Kenya where we taught for a full semester at the village primary school (Kapsongoi Primary School). I taught 7 math classes a week to a group of 30 fifth graders, 3 P.E. classes a week to fourth graders, and creative arts to 6th graders. I also led a weekly music club and spent most afternoons having tea or dinner at another teachers house or jumping rope with a group of 10-14 year old girls I was close with in my village. After 3 months at Kapsongoi, I traveled with the rest of my group, a total of 12, who had been placed near Kapsongoi and were doing similar volunteer teaching jobs for AV. We climbed Kilimanjaro (or in my case, attempted), spent a week on the beaches of Zanzibar, went on Safari in the Masai Mara, and bungee jumped into the Nile River in Uganda.

Yes, I recommend
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Will
7/10

Great experience

I was on the 5 week programme which I did in the summer between doing my A levels and going to University. I wasn't doing a gap year and so the length of time this project went on for was ideal.

I felt the programme had the perfect mix of volunteering and other activities, we had travelled to Kenya and so it was great to do a wide range of activities the country had to offer. These included climbing Mount Kenya and going on Safari.

We spent the first 3 weeks working in the school building. This involved working on the efforts of many previous groups to finish of a classroom, seeing the end result was highly rewarding. My only criticism of this was that the building was hard work which a few of our group found understandably difficult and didn't enjoy. Those of us who wanted to did teaching in the afternoons, because we were there for only a short amount of time it was difficult to guage how useful the children found this and was also difficult because some of the primary school children were actually older than me (19). We went away for 2 weekends which was great fun, notably a trip to Wasini island.

The last 2 weeks were spent climing Mt Kenya and Safari. Both were great fun and I am so glad we did them.

The group was a good bunch, however there were the obvious problems of putting 10 strangers together in quite an intense environment. Some people didn't get on but it was never an issue that had significant repercussions.

Overall it was exactly what I wanted it to be and I made a great friend who I am at the same university as.

Response from Africa & Asia Venture (AV)

The building tasks involved in our Mini Ventures can be challenging as it does involve manual labour - we clearly state this on our website and within all pre-departure information. Sometimes these tasks can become extremely hard work in the Kenyan heat. Finishing a building project can be really rewarding though - as Will experienced.
The teaching part of the project is short but does give you a taster of teaching in the developing world. It gives you the chance to play games with the children and introduce new activities for them rather than formal teaching. Conversational English is hugely beneficial for the children so just chatting with them during their break times and after school can be just as rewarding!

Yes, I recommend
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Anna
10/10

Volunteer, travel, new friends and incredible support - AV

Volunteering in Kenya was something I always wanted to do, but with no friends keen to share the experience and at only 19 years old I felt I needed some help and support to ensure that I had a well structured and safe trip. Through friends recommendations I came across Africa & Asia Venture (AV) and soon I was on a flight heading for Nairobi together with my group of fellow volunteers.

The project was a 4 month programme starting with an orientation course to cover safety, customs, culture settle in and get to know the rest of the group. We then split into smaller groups and were assinged to the different schools in which we would be working. The volunteer phase was for a whole term in a school and this would be followed by 4 weeks of independent travel time.

We lived in local houses in the schools grounds or nearby, just like any of the other teachers. We didn't get special treatment, we washed our clother by hand, went to the market to buy our food, cooked on a single gas stove, had intermittment eletricity and little running water - it was the most amazing experience as you quickly adapt and realise exctly what it is like to live and how a simple life can be! You become friends with the people in the market and local community, learn the language and gain much more respect for making the effort to integrate, getting a lot more out of hte experience in the process. We were not bused around like a group of tourists or a school trip, but by being in smaller groups really managed to get involved. The other volunteers lived nearby and we were able to meet up at evenings and weekends which was great fun. We were also able to arrange sports fixtures against their schools which became very competative!

I was an assistant teacher in a Secondary school but also helped in the next door primary school. I was helping with English lessons and geography lessons to the junior classes - depending on the class sizes we would teach in pairs or as we grew in confidence by ourselves, particuarly helping with the students who were falling behind at the back of the class by taking them in seperate classes. There was a syllabus to follow and it wasn't daunting, I loved it! It was fun to think up different ways of teaching subjects and bring in games, challenging with the class sizes but hugely rewarding.

I was also in charge of the PE lessons, these were in the timetable but not taught by the teachers as they saw it as a lesson off! As soon as we said the PE lessons would start again the children got so excited, each day we would have from 50 - over 100 kids (depending on how many classes had PE at once) and it went from a choatic hour with just 1 football to playing tag, volleyball, touch rugby, football and lots of other games that needed little or no equipment. This was a big challange for our initiative but soooooo much fun! I also had some hockey sticks so started a hockey team after school. We made the lines for the pitch with sawdust and eventually ended up playing in a local sports tournament - they didn't win but they did score one goal, it was an amazing moment I was so proud!

We helped around the school taking art and drama clubs, some volunteers did music clubs however I stuck to sport! We also painted murals on the bathroom walls to brighten them up - there were so many ways of helping and the time flew by all too quickly! It was great being in one place for so long as you got to know people and really see a difference. It took a while to adjust to the different way of life and I think if I'd only been there a few weeks I would have been leaving just as I was getting into it. There was a lot of variety within the work so I never felt like I was stuck in one place.

Throughout this time the AV in country staff were on hand to help whenever we needed it but were not on top of us the whole time telling us what to do every day. I really liked this as it meant I had to make decisions for myself, we were treated like adults and had to take on responsibility for our work and make things happen. If ever we needed them they were very helpful and had fantastic knowledge and experience - they visited us to check how we were getting on but otherwise you could use them as much or as little as you needed.

After the teaching phase of the project came the travel time. This was a chance to explore the surrounding countries and area further but knowing that the other volunteers would be staying too so you had people to travel with. I white water rafted down the Nile, climbed Mt Kenya, went to Zanzibar and went on Safari - it was amazing and I felt so much more confident travelling, using the transport and ensuring we weren't over charged with tourist rates having been there for 3 months. AV also gave you advice on how to get around, places to stay and were there in support throughout this time if you needed it which was really good.

Going with a group of volunteers was great and particuarly as we would all be there together throughout, people didn't drop in and out for different lengths of time - I made some fantastic friends and it was great fun travelling together afterwards. Most people were in the same vote as me, not knowing any of the rest of the group and I as glad that I hadn't gone with a friend.

Overall it was an amazing experience, a great balance of the different elements and hugely rewarding. At no point did I feel like I was not needed, unwelcomed or unsupported, It wasn't always easy, it was basic and it was challenging but that is what made it so real and a truly unforgettable experience. Thank you AV.

Yes, I recommend
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Me123
6/10

Mixed Bag

I thoroughly enjoyed teaching in Kenya. The school was fantastic, the staff were friendly, and the children were wonderful - a challenge, certainly, but a delight to teach. Our accommodation was significantly better than other AV houses in the area, with an indoor shower and flushing loo, and brightly decorated by previous AVs.

So far, so good. But my experience in Kericho was ruined by the lack of support from the members of AV staff in Kenya, and the behavior of some of the other people on the scheme. Picture 'Worst of Public School 2010' and you have our group - extremely exclusive and judgmental, and very difficult to get along with. When I voiced my concerns about this to the AV staff, I was told that I was the problem and not them. I was extremely tempted to return home early, and in fact missed out on the group travel part of the scheme for this reason. I understand that my experience was not unique, and have heard similar stories from other AVs, not just in Africa.

The foundations were set for a fantastic four months, and I'm so pleased that I went out and taught, because that aspect of the experience was brilliant. However, I think AV need to seriously consider the support they provide for their volunteers in Kenya. Spending several months in a third-world country will be a culture shock to any English teenager, and adding to this the social concerns of being with a group of entirely new (and relatively hostile) people, I just feel that AV ought to take a more active approach in making their volunteers feel comfortable.

Response from Africa & Asia Venture (AV)

First and foremost, our role is to provide a rewarding volunteer teaching experience and it sounds like this volunteer enjoyed her time teaching in Kericho. AV is a small gap year organisation with every member of our team dedicated to understanding what each volunteer is hoping to achieve from volunteering in the developing world. Between our Devizes team and our local in-country representatives we are always available to support volunteers prior to departure, whilst on project and when they return home. As part of the application process we conduct telephone briefings and face to face meetings for those in the UK, taking great care to get to know each and every one of our volunteers, aiming to place them in communities where they are able to use their skills and talents to the best of their ability. We do our best to place volunteers in pairs or fours where they will share some similar interests but this isn't always possible. We have volunteers joining us from all walks of life but we cannot guarantee you will get along with everyone in the group, but all volunteers are encouraged to make an effort to establish new friendships in the challenging environment of the developing world. It is a good life skill to learn to be amicable with people who can be 'difficult'! Our in-country local AV representatives are 'on call' for volunteers 24 hours a day, seven days a week taking great care to support ALL volunteers when needed.

No, I don't recommend

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About Africa & Asia Venture (AV)

Africa & Asia Venture (AV) offers unique immersive summer and gap year volunteering and work experience programs in Africa and Asia for those aged 17 to 25.

We build groups of individuals and, normally in pairs or fours but never on your own, you...