I’m Going to Kenya on a Volunteer Trip to Help Animals!

Kenya Expedition
Photo Credit: Animal Experience International

 

I have a big announcement to make.

I’m traveling to Kenya!

Woohoo! It is a dream of mine to combine my love for travel with my love for helping animals. And I’m finally doing it. I’m going to Kenya on a volunteer trip to help animals.

I’m going to be volunteering at a wildlife conservancy in the Great Rift Valley helping animals, the people living there, and the natural environment. Specifically, I’ll be living in Kenya at the Soysambu Wildlife Conservancy for 10 days in March 2016. I’ll be traveling with Animal Experience International, a B corporation on a mission to help animals around the globe, uniting volunteers with animal sanctuaries and projects.

Kenya Wildlife Conservancy
Photo Credit: Animal Experience International

What Will I Be Doing in Africa?

I am so excited to help make a difference in a hands-on, meaningful way. A small team (including me!) will travel to Kenya in order to volunteer at the wildlife conservancy. Here is a little background information:
  • The wildlife of Africa is under immense pressure from habitat destruction and over-harvesting by poachers
  • Animals such as the elephant, lions, eland, impala, gerenuk, hyena, jackal, warthog, and giraffe are in desperate need of protection
  • Soysambu Wildlife Conservancy works in the field to monitor wildlife populations and poaching activity, dismantles snares and traps, and makes regular improvements to the land itself

 

What will I be doing on my volunteer trip? Here are a few projects that I’ll be assisting with:

  • Monitoring giraffes, birds and other wildlife on the conservancy lands
  • Removing invasive plant species, including Prickly Pear
  • Helping to clear the wire fencing originally used for pastoral lands that can be used by poachers to build snares
  • Maintaining watering holes and the conservancy’s vegetable garden
  • Visiting local schools to teach children about the value of wildlife preservation

AEI

What is Animal Experience International?

Animal Experience International is an organization on a mission to help the plight of animals around the world by connecting volunteers with placements at animal sanctuaries, wildlife hospitals, programs and projects. All of AEI’s partners are community-based organizations that are committed to achieving long-term sustainability goals. Some volunteer tourism projects can do more harm than good; AEI guarantees that volunteers will have a positive and valuable impact on animal organizations around the globe.

My Personal Experience So Far

I first learned about Animal Experience International at Go Global Expo in Toronto last year. The idea remained in the back of my mind for quite a while until I started to seriously think about taking a volunteer trip. I emailed Nora, one of the founders and owners of AEI about the possibility of traveling to help animals. She mentioned the upcoming group expedition to Kenya. I thought, “Would I like to go to Kenya and help animals?”. This actually required very little thought. Of course, I would love to go. Before totally committing, I wanted to meet Nora and find out some more details about the group expedition.

AEI requires a volunteer interview before signing up for a placement so they can make sure you are a good fit for the program. I’m really happy that this organization has such an excellent screening process. Nora and I met at a Toronto coffee shop and hit it off instantly. She is so passionate about travel, helping animals, and she’s vegan, too! We have a lot in common (including our love for coffee and soy lattes).

Nora spent a good amount of time at this particular wildlife conservancy to make sure it would be a suitable volunteer project for clients. After chatting for a couple of hours, I was confident that I had to be involved with this expedition. I am thrilled at the chance of lending a hand to make a difference in the lives of the people and the animals in the Great Rift Valley.

How You Can Help (and Some Incentives)

Traveling to Kenya isn’t cheap by any means. I have to pay for my flights and the volunteer trip itself, which is quite expensive. The cost of enrolling in the program includes accommodation at the wildlife conservancy, meals (all vegan meals for this gal!), a donation to the conservancy, airport transfers, training on-site, travel insurance, and carbon credits to offset 3 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. I also have to pay for immunizations and medicine, entry visa costs, and supplies.

I have started a fundraising page where you can donate to help me volunteer in Kenya.

Any amount, no matter how big or small, is appreciated! I am so grateful for anyone who supports and believes in me.

I have decided to offer some incentives to those who donate! They are some small gifts to say thank you. You can donate at my volunteer page here.

  • $20 Donation – I will mail you a postcard from Kenya
  • $50 Donation – I will mail you a postcard and bring you a small gift from a local market
  • $100 Donation – The above incentives, plus I will bake you cookies
  • $200+ Donation – The above incentives, plus I will knit you a hat

For those who are living in various places around the world and not in the Toronto area, I don’t think I can mail you cookies…so I’ll mail you a surprise gift instead!

Donations can be made from my fundraising page, which are made using Paypal. If you’re not able to use Paypal but would like to donate using another payment method, please send me an email.

My big announcement - I'm volunteering in Kenya to help animals! Learn more about my trip and how you can help!

PIN this board to Pinterest to help spread the word! Click the top left corner of the image.

 

Thank you so much for your support! Have you ever taken a volunteer trip in the past? Have you been to Kenya? I want to hear all about it! Please write about it in the comments section below.

Lauren
Follow Lauren:

Lauren is one half of "Justin Plus Lauren". She loves to travel, take photos, and write all about it! Lauren eats a plant-based diet and seeks out yummy vegan food on her travels. She loves nature, animals, outdoor adventures, coffee, and her cats, Chickpea and Peanut.

14 Responses

  1. Marissa
    | Reply

    Congrats Lauren!! I’ve never been to Kenya but I volunteered in Zambia a few years ago. I didn’t get to work with animals, but I was teaching kids during what is basically their equivalent of summer camp because without volunteers no one would be in the classrooms with them. It was an incredible experience and I’m sure you’ll find the same about your project! Looking forward to hearing about it!
    Marissa recently posted…Learning to Cook Croatian StyleMy Profile

  2. katja - globeotting
    | Reply

    This is very cool! What a fantastic experience and AEI sound like a really good organisation. I’ve never been to Kenya so I look forward to learning about it via your posts! #WeekendWanderlust
    katja – globeotting recently posted…My Family Adventure: Sailing in San Blas, PanamaMy Profile

  3. Shobha
    | Reply

    What a great opportunity! You will have such a fabulous experience which will be so much more in depth than the usual safari. I’m really looking forward to hearing about the behind-the-scenes posts that you will have.
    Shobha recently posted…The Glittering Harpa Concert Hall in ReyjkavikMy Profile

  4. Pinay Flying High
    | Reply

    That’s a great cause! I’d definitely help you out on this. 🙂
    All the best!
    Pinay Flying High recently posted…The Most Fun Friday Brunch In Doha – The Grill, Grand Hyatt DohaMy Profile

  5. What a fantastic opportunity, Lauren! I was so glad to read that all the projects are community based and strive for long-term sustainability. Many people don’t do their research and end up thinking they’re doing good, when they’re not. I volunteered at Elephant Nature Park, just north of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Being with the elephants was an absolutely unforgettable experience! Enjoy!
    Jackie | The Globetrotting Teacher recently posted…Getting a Thai Massage by Ex-PrisonersMy Profile

  6. Stephanie Mayo
    | Reply

    Oh my goodness girl!!! I am so jealous and sooo happy for you! What an incredible experience! I’ve not yet done a volunteer trip nor been to Kenya but both are on my list and both heavily involve wildlife too! Can’t wait to follow your adventure and I’m sure it will only inspire me to follow in your footsteps!
    Stephanie Mayo recently posted…Hiking Hendrie Park ValleyMy Profile

  7. Rhonda Albom
    | Reply

    Congratulations on your opportunity. I have a teen that I imagine will be following in your footsteps in a few years.
    Rhonda Albom recently posted…Photos: A Steampunk Convention in Auckland New ZealandMy Profile

  8. Jolanta | Casual Travelers
    | Reply

    Good luck and have a wonderful time! I’m looking forward to reading about your experience.

  9. Heather
    | Reply

    That’s amazing! I can’t wait to hear more about your experience. We were just in Kenya in June, and I always talk about going over for a longer period of time. What a great way to do so.
    Heather recently posted…Exploring the Empty Masai Mara…Wait What?My Profile

  10. Angie Rose
    | Reply

    Wow, that is absolutely wonderful! I have always had a dream to travel to Kenya and help animals. I think what you are doing is amazing and can’t wait to follow along here 🙂 You have such a kind heart to be helping out animals, and of course I love your sense of adventure! Truly inspiring. Wishing you a wonderful journey.
    Angie Rose recently posted…United States Botanic GardenMy Profile

  11. Dan
    | Reply

    Good on ya Lauren, this is a fantastic opportunity and a way for you to truly give back to some incredible creatures!

  12. Bryna | Bryna's Window
    | Reply

    Wow! Sounds like it’s going to be an amazing experience. Getting to volunteer and travel to a new place sounds perfect!

  13. […] month, I announced that I’m going to be traveling to Kenya on a volunteer trip to help animals in the Great Rift Valley. I’ve done the main things […]

  14. Sophia
    | Reply

    This is exactly what I want to do when I get old enough. Help protect and conserve wildlife. This blog is always so inspirational to read and I can always relate or am inspired by so much of the articles you guys post. I hope to be as active in my lifetime.

    http://www.creaturesoftweed.blogspot.ca

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge