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FAQ - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Here's a list of the most frequently asked questions about Afrikable volunteer holidays. Take a look and see if they answer any doubts you may have. If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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APPLICATION PROCESS
  1. What are volunteer holidays?
  2. Who can take part?
  3. Do you offer volunteer holidays anywhere other than Lamu?
  4. Do you act as an agent for any other companies?
  5. Do you arrange everything, such as travel, local transportation, accommodation and meals?
  6. Do I need to get any vaccinations?
  7. Will I be travelling alone or in a group?
  8. Can I work for more than a month?
  9. I can't take 4 weeks holiday; could I work for a shorter period than a month?
  10. Why are the programmes longer over the summer months?
  11. Do I need to go on a training course?
  12. I'm not from Madrid; do you have representatives in other regions?
  13. What is the selection process for volunteers?
  14. What if I attend the training course, but can't go to Lamu? Will I have to pay anything?
  15. How much will my stay with Afrikable cost? Why are some months cheaper than others?
  16. How much will the journey to Lamu cost?
  17. How do I sign up?
  18. How should I pay for my volunteer holiday?
  19. Why do I have to pay to take part in a volunteer programme?
  20. What does the money I pay to Afrikable go towards?
  21. What if I need to cancel the trip?
PRACTICAL INFORMATION
  1. Which currency is used in Kenya and what's the exchange rate from euros?
  2. Do I need to get my euros changed into dollars?
  3. Where can I exchange money? Would it be better to do it in Spain?
  4. Can I pay for my entry visa in euros?
  5. Which airlines do you recommend?
  6. How much luggage can I take?
  7. How far is it from the international airport to Nairobi city?
  8. What voltage is used in Kenya?
  9. What type of phone do you recommend?
  10. What language is spoken in Lamu?
  11. Do I need a high level of English?
  12. Where do Afrikable's volunteers stay?
  13. Can I go and return alone from the the Afrikable's premises to Lamu town?
  14. What if the the weekend I would like to arrive later?
  15. Are there any animals living in the house?
  16. What kinds of clothes and footwear do I need to bring?
  17. Is there a hospital nearby?
  18. What does Afrikable's insurance cover? Should I take out any other insurance?
  19. Can I take clothes, toys, etc. to give to the children of the project?
  20. Is Lamu safe?
  21. What can I do if my documents are lost or stolen in Kenya?

 


APPLICATION PROCESS

 

1. What are volunteer holidays?

It'll be an unforgettable experience where you'll play an active part in our project. Working with the women and children on our projects will help you learn about the reality of life in developing countries. You'll be part of the team and help us carry out our daily work. The minimum duration is 2 weeks.

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2. Who can take part?

At Afrikable we want to encourage people to be active citizens and learn more about African culture. We don't like to exclude anyone: in principle, our programmes are open to all. You need to be motivated to travel as a volunteer and want to get to know another culture, etc. That's the main requirement for you to take part in our programme, although that alone is not enough. To volunteer with us you need:

  • An interest in cultural exchange and getting to know different cultures, together with respect for the local culture.
  • A degree of flexibility to deal with any changes that may occur, both before your departure and during your stay.
  • To be able to understand the local community's situation, and adapt to challenges such as tough living conditions, a lack of resources, different ways of working, etc.
  • To be willing to work in a team, make joint decisions and live together in groups of about 10 people during your stay.
  • To commit to taking part in mandatory online training prior to your departure.
  • To commit to starting the volunteer programme in Lamu on the designated day.

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3. Do you offer volunteer holidays anywhere other than Lamu?

No. We're a very new organisation and only work in Lamu, Kenya, at present.

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4. Do you act as an agent for any other companies?

No. At Afrikable, we do all our own work in Lamu. Some of the team work in Spain, and the rest of the Afrikable team are out working on projects in Lamu.

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5. Do you arrange everything, such as travel, local transportation, accommodation and meals?

No. At Afrikable, we're in charge of organising your stay in Lamu itself: your accommodation and food. Everyone who comes on a volunteering holiday needs to organise their own airfare, local transportation, travel insurance, etc. We will provide you with all the information you need.

You must also take responsibility for organising your own visa and vaccinations. We will provide you with all the information you need. 

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6. Do I need to get any vaccinations?

If it is your first time travelling to Africa, you need to have several vaccinations. Around 5/6 weeks before travelling, go to your family doctor and tell him/her about your travelling to Kenya to work with an NGO and the duration of your stay. In the document Health also travels, by the Ministry of Sanity, you will find all the information about vaccines and vaccination center close to your place of residence. 

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7. Will I be travelling alone or in a group?

You organise your travel independently, so you won't be travelling in a group. However, we are happy to provide contact details for other volunteers travelling in the same month as you, if you wish.

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8. Can I work with you for more than a month?

Yes, of course, and in the second month and successive months, we can even give you a 25% discount (not to be used with other promotions). If you have experience or formation in a certain area that you think you can benefit the project, tell us and we will be delighted to look into your viability.

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9. I can't take 4 weeks holiday; could I work for a shorter period than a month?

The monthly duration of our programs is designed to allow the collaboration of those who take volunteer vacations with us to be effective and satisfactory, as well as for the women and children with whom they work with. We therefore consider one month to be the recommendable duration. But if, for personal or work reasons, you could not work for as long, you may come for a shorter time. However, a minimum of a 2 weeks’ stay is required.

You need to be here on the first day of the program, since you need to have a general meeting with the people who participate in the fixed one-month period, in order to organize the work distribution of the group.

If for any justified reasons, you have to leave Lamu a few days earlier, you may do so. But you have to spend at least 2 weeks (except in July and August where you would have to spend a complete month).

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10.Why are the programmes longer over the summer months?

In the summer months, more people want to come and work with us and that gives us the opportunity to really focus on reaching our project goals. You can also leave a few days early in the summer months (July and August), but you would have to pay for the full number of days of your planned stay.

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11. Do I need to go on a training course?

Yes. If you want to volunteer with Afrikable, you'll need to take part in training prior to the trip. It is online, although there are face-to-face training sessions each month in Madrid and Barcelona, on a Saturday from 10.00 until 14.00. During the session, we'll explain the nature of our work and how we can work together. It'll give you the opportunity to clarify any doubts you may have, and above all, it's a chance to get to know each other.

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12. I'm not from Madrid; do you have representatives in any other regions?

Afrikable has local representatives in Madrid and Barcelona so far. Courses are scheduled on Saturday mornings, making it easier for volunteers from other regions to attend.

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13. What is the selection process for volunteers?

After the training course, we book places for people in the same order in which we received the applications. 

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14. What if I attend the training course, but can't go to Lamu? Will I have to pay anything?

The main objective of the course is to give you enough information for your work with Afrikable to be efficient and satisfactory for everyone concerned. If, after attending the course, you decide not to travel, you don't have to pay anything.

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15. How much will my stay with Afrikable cost? Why are some months cheaper than others?

  • 24 euros per day for your room and board. (See our volunteering holidays programme for the number of days in each month).
  • 75 euros to cover management costs, including training.

In some months, the number of volunteers decreases, so we have adjusted the price of stay to the maximum (19€/night). This is to accomodate more participants, even though your economic contribution to the project is small.

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16. How much will the journey to Lamu cost?

  • Flights: A round-trip ticket to Nairobi costs about €600 to €900, depending on the time of year you travel and how far in advance you book. Nairobi-Lamu: approx. €120 each way. Airlines operating in the region: Jambojet and Fly 540 are the most common.
  • Visa requirements: According to the latest information on the Kenyan Embassy's website, a visa costs €45. Visa application must be done online, we will assist you with the process.

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17. How do I sign up?

Please send your application form with your personal details and outline your experience of national or international volunteering (if you have any). Please also include your preferred projects and note the dates you wish to travel (as accurately as possible). You can download an application form from our website, in the  HOW TO APPLY section. You can send a CV if you wish, but it's not essential.

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18. How should I pay for my volunteer holiday?

  • You need to make a payment of €200 to the account number listed on the Formal Reservation Sheet, which you can download from our website. When you make your payment, please note your “Name, Afrikable reservation reference, and the month corresponding to your stay, and send us a receipt or confirmation of the transfer via email.
  • You have until one month before you travel to pay the remaining amount due for your stay in Lamu. When making payment, please state your “Name, the length of your stay with Afrikable, and the month corresponding to your stay, and send us a receipt or confirmation of the transfer via email. You will need to show us your receipt when you arrive at our house in Lamu. 

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19. Why do I have to pay to take part in a volunteer programme?

Afrikable is a not for profit association and its programmes are funded almost entirely by selling items made by the women we work with, donations and associate's fees. These revenues enable us to have an infrastructure in Lamu: they cover overheads including house rents, salaries for the women we work with, the purchase of raw materials, etc.

We can't take on the expenses relating to volunteers' board and lodgings, nor do we have, at least for now, systems in place to be able to manage plane ticket bookings and local transportation.

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20. Where does the money that I have paid to stay with Afrikable go?

50% of what you pay Afrikable goes towards your accommodation and meals. The remaining 50% finances dining areas and schools, both of which are free of charge for children in extreme poverty and risk of social exclusion.

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21. What if I need to cancel the trip?

  • If you cancel the trip at least 2 months prior to the departure date, you will be refunded 100% of the price you have paid to date (less management and administration fees).
  • If the tour is cancelled less than 2 months prior to the departure date, Afrikable will not provide a refund.
  • In the event the trip is cancelled, following recommendation from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (political conflicts, natural disasters, etc.), Afrikable shall not be held liable for any costs incurred from the said cancellation. 

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION

1. Which currency is used in Kenya and what's the exchange rate from euros?

The Kenyan Shilling (kes). The euro exchange rate is highly variable and can range from 90 to 110 kes/euro  

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2. Do I need to get my euros changed into dollars?

This is not necessary. Although you cannot use euros in purchases or transactions, you can easily change them into shillings (kes).

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3. Where can I exchange money? Would it be better to do it in Spain?

You can exchange money at the airport in Nairobi and then exchange any additional amount you may need when you are in the city or in Lamu, where there is a bank and an ATM. 

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4. Can I pay my entry visa in euros?

Yes, no problem. The cashing of the credit card, which you apply for making online payments, will be effected in euros. 

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5. Which airlines do you recommend?

The airlines that are most used by participants who have travelled previously are: Air France, British Airways, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Egiptair and Qatar Airways.

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6. How much luggage can I take?

Typically, you will be allowed two bags of 20-23 kg per person, plus another 7-10 kg of hand luggage, which can be a laptop, a handbag, etc., providing it is not large. In any case, we advise you to check with your airline. 

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7. How far is it from the international airport to Nairobi city?

About 20-60 min. depending on traffic. A taxi into town costs 1800 kes per ride (about €18). 

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8. What voltage is used in Kenya?

The current network is 240V with three-pin plugs, like in the UK. We recommend you bring an adapter or purchase one in Nairobi. 

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9. What type of phone do you recommend?

If you have an unlocked mobile, we recommend buying a prepaid card (e.g. Safaricom) as this will make international calls cheaper. Recharging can cost about 3 euros. A call to Spain, lasting about 5 minutes, can cost a couple of euros. There are very low rates for using the Internet with your smartphone. The roaming with your Spanish company often charges expensive rates. We recommend you not to use it. 

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10. What language is spoken in Lamu?

The majority of the population speaks English, as well as Swahili. It can be very helpful to know a bit of Swahili, as this will enrich your travel experience, even if it's only basic words like hello, thank you, etc. We have included on our website a small dictionary entitled “Swahili survival" [Download PDF]. You will be able to download this PDF before your trip. There is a small, and very practical, Lonely Planet guide available on the market for about €9.

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11. Do I need a high level of English?

It's not a requirement. An intermediate command of English, coupled with the desire to communicate, will be sufficient. At Afrikable you will meet children who are starting to study English, and many of the women who work with us do not speak English. 

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12. Where do Afrikable's volunteers stay?

They stay at the house intended for such use which is situated in the facilities of Afrikable, 15 minutes from the central of Lamu and also where the rest of the Project is located. The accommodation is of shared rooms, and with certain commodities, taking into account this is Africa: bathroom in every room, running water, electricity, towels, bed sheets, mosquito nets, etc. In the city, as well as in the rest of the country, it is very common to have water and power outages. Do not despair and take it with philosophy. It is part of the experience! 

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13. Can I go and return alone from the the Afrikable's premises to Lamu town?

Yes, you can move alone during the day and until 18:00h. However, from that time it's required to be accompanied by the security staff of Afrikable. 

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14. What if the the weekend I would like to arrive later?

During the weekend several shifts to return to Afrikable's premises will be established in order to facilitate exits and entries. 

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15. Are there any animals living in the house?

Yes, there is a cat in our house, but you'll find them everywhere. The whole island is full of cats!...cats and donkeys! 

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16. What kinds of clothes and footwear do I need to take?

You have to wear cool clothes (e.g. summer trousers and cotton shirts), closed shoes, and sport-type sandals for the beach and the shower. A hat, sunglasses and a raincoat might be helpful. In Nairobi it is cooler, so it would be wise to bring a sweatshirt or long-sleeved shirt. Clothing that is too low-cut or short is discouraged, as is going topless on the beach. Remember we are on a Muslim island and you have to be respectful of their customs. 

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17. Is there a hospital nearby, in case of emergency?

Yes; on the island, there is a hospital where they treat the most common cases. For more complicated cases, the nearest hospital is in Malindi, about 300 kilometres from Lamu on the coast. It takes about 20 min. by air to get there from Lamu. 

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18. What does Afrikable's insurance cover? Should I take out any other insurance?

The insurance that Afrikable has in place only covers you in the event of accidents and also third party. It is not health insurance (you can download more information relating to the cover from our website). During your stay, if you contract an illness, this insurance does not cover you. Afrikable, therefore, highly recommends that you take out international health insurance.

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19. Can I take clothes, toys, etc. to give to the children involved in the project?

Yes. You can bring clothes (for boys/girls aged 0 to 14 years), materials for schools, books in English, basic medicines such as analgesics, antipyretics, disinfectants, bandages, gauze, etc. These always come in handy, but it is important that you discuss possible options with Afrikable staff to ensure that no form of discrimination occurs.

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20. Is Lamu safe?

Lamu is a peaceful place. Its inhabitants are friendly and tolerant. But, like everywhere, common sense should be used when it comes to travelling around town. Recent events have made us extremely careful, not just in Kenya but anywhere in the world. We do not recommend going out alone at night, visiting deserted islands or trusting strangers. If you want to go on an excursion, discuss it with us so that we can tell you who you can trust. You can also read travel recommendations from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on their website.

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21. What can I do if my documents are lost or stolen in Kenya?

Spanish Embassy in Nairobi

Address: CBA Office Building. Upper Hill. Nairobi.

Tel: +254 20 272 02 22

Fax: +254 20 272 02 26

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kenyan Embassy in Spain

Address: c/Jorge Juan, 9 3º Dcha. 28001 Madrid

Tel: +34 915 710 925/ +34 915 712 669

www.kenyaembassyspain.es

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ABOUT AFRIKABLE

Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.

 

In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.

WHERE ARE WE

  • Lamu, Kenia.
    Madrid, Spain
  • +34 605 722 162