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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.
What Will I Be Doing in Africa?
- 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
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!
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