Volunteer abroad with Kaya Responsible Travel and choose between over 150 community development and conservation projects in countries in Africa, Asia, Central America and South America. We work with community projects and locally driven initiatives that utilise volunteer work and assistance to achieve their goals, provide valuable funding and promote responsible travel in developing countries and areas of environmental concern.
We have volunteer placements that suit all ages, from teenagers to the over 50s. Whether you are an individual, part of a group or a family we offer general interest placements as well as those that match your studies. You can volunteer abroad with Kaya as an individual or with one or more friends and, whichever you prefer, you are sure to make new friends, both local to your project destination and volunteers from around the world. What a great way to meet new people and learn more about other cultures.
Volunteering abroad with Kaya means that you are secure in the knowledge that we have matched your skills and interests with the needs of the project when recommending the best placement for you. We don’t believe in a one size fits all approach, as we think this is not in the best interests of your or the projects. You will also know that you will be working on a sustainable projects that are available all year round and that meet ethical standards.
Kaya works in a number of different project development areas. Choose to volunteer in environmental, marine or wildlife conservation research, education, arts, community development initiative such as building, sports or childcare, NGO development, and we have many excellent medical and health placements for those with experience or studying medicine or a related health science.
So join us at Kaya as a global citizen and volunteer abroad during your next holiday!
Our Project types
What is Volunteering Abroad?
We are all familiar with the idea of volunteering our time to work, without payment, to get something done for an issue we care about. In a domestic environment this often means doing something part time or more intensely for a short period with a home base. In thinking about volunteering abroad, there are many projects that are grateful for extra assistance, but also many more things to consider as a result of you travelling to a different country.
Volunteering abroad is a great opportunity to experience a new culture and immerse in local environments, working with local people, while learning more about the cause you are supporting, the challenges encountered on the issue and the approaches being taken to make progress. It can provide the opportunity for you to share your existing skills and learn new ones, improve your CV, learn a language and meet interesting people. At the same time, in order to ensure that the receiving community genuinely benefits from your participation, it is important to also consider issues such as safety, cultural appropriateness, matching volunteers to the right project, ensuring volunteers do not take staff time away from their project focus and the long-term impact of your involvement.
As a result of this, volunteering abroad required a lot more support to be put in place. Projects that need volunteers, generally do so because they lack funding, and so it is important to ensure that volunteers support projects not just with their time, but also by ensuring that they provide no financial or resource burden. At Kaya, we work alongside projects that are locally established and led, and then we have volunteer coordinators who work specifically with our participants to provide assistance and support with all the logistics that ensure you arrive at your project ready to work. This includes airport pickup and transfers, arranging accommodation, providing a cultural and physical orientation to the local environment, conducting regular check ups on volunteers and projects, providing a 24/7 emergency contact and helping participants arrange activities in their spare time, as well as carrying out ongoing risk assessments, dealing with issues and conflicts and ensuring that the project information we have is always up to date.
Through this process, Kaya are able to offer volunteer abroad placements that are ethical, sustainable, provide a good level of support for volunteers and ensure that participants and projects alike maximise what they gain from the experience, for the greatest impact.
Every year thousands of people travel the globe looking to explore new environment and experience different cultures, with a spirit of adventure and a desire to learn more about the world.
As global travel becomes more accessible, and we look to visit further and more exotic locations, we often discover that the real world is not always easy to uncover, and often visitors don’t get a chance to see beyond the window that tourism can offer.
As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to become a real part of the environments, lives and communities of the world’s developing nations. And whether you chose to work on projects that benefit the wildlife, the environment or the people, you come away knowing that your being there has positively impacted those you have visited.
Our volunteers tell us that working on genuine, meaningful and sustainable projects and their time spent living with and getting to know an area and its locals is the most exciting, fulfilling and fun traveling they have experienced. For many, the experience gained improved their skills, their resumes and their world view. For some, it even leads to new directions, careers and passions that stay with them the rest of their lives. So we think the real question should be – why not volunteer?
Why Volunteer with Kaya
There are many reasons why we believe that you should volunteer with Kaya – but of course, we would say that! Our awards as “Best Volunteer Organisation” gold and silver medal winners for the past 3 years do give an independent support to our claims!
At Kaya, we pride ourselves on delivering only what is best for our volunteers and best for the projects and communities which we are working. You will find many volunteer organisations to choose between today, and many of these are also offering great placements around the world. But we believe that no-one works closer with their volunteers and with the receiving communities on the ground to make sure everyone can achieve the greatest benefits that volunteering has to offer.
There are many critics of “voluntourism” and the irresponsible practises that do occur in some locations. Done badly, volunteering can be a waste of time, or even worse, cause more damage. Done well, it can provide valuable assistance that makes a real difference. We work extensively to investigate issues and address best practises to ensure the placements we offer genuinely contribute to important development work around the world. We don’t set up projects to accommodate for volunteers, but instead identify existing initiatives that are locally led and working to address real problems, that can benefit from the additional assistance of our volunteers. You can read more about our ethical approach, and we encourage you to discuss these with your placement advisor to learn more about why volunteering with Kaya is the responsible travel approach.
Kaya volunteers come from all walks of life, all over the world, at all ages. Whether you are a student, are taking a gap year, a career break, if you are retired or just taking a holiday; traveling alone, in a group, with friends, partners or family, there is a Kaya project to suit you.
Many of our projects don’t require you to have qualifications or specific skills, just a positive attitude and the commitment to learn from the local communities and staff to drive the project to success. For those who have skills that can benefit the projects, and those studying in and area and looking to develop their skills , this help is invaluable and Kaya staff will work with you to ensure your role matches your skill level.
We receive individuals, couples, families and groups, with placements that can be matched to each situation, in locations that are urban or rural, tropical or temperate, in accommodation that ranges from basic to very comfortable indeed. As long as you are fit enough to participate in the project you choose and meet the application requirements then age is no barrier to volunteering with Kaya.
We have placements for children with their families, teenagers and adults of all ages. In 2016 this was our participant demographic by age:
- Young children
- Under 18
One things that all volunteers have in common is the desire to help, to learn, to see more of the world and to get involved in something that is making a genuine difference.
As long as you can communicate in English, are able to secure a visa and can afford the programme fees, you are welcome to apply to join a Kaya project, whatever your nationality. We accept volunteers from Europe, Australasia, Asia, Africa, North and Latin America. This was the nationality split of our participants in 2016:
- Rest of Europe
- Australia and New Zealand
- Latin America