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Where Does My Money Go? How are my fees spent?

Kaya works to balance our business with our social objectives. We know that our participants are keen to understand more about how their fees are used.

Each program in each location is very different and our inclusions and costs of living vary accordingly. For example, an internship can vary dramatically from what is included in a volunteer program, and a program in Belize will cost more than a program in Peru.

Each program lists the specific inclusions and may include some additional extras such as language classes and cultural activities. See the “what’s included” section on your program page for specific details, however, what is typically included in a Kaya volunteer program or internship abroad is:

In-country expenses

In-country expenses are the greatest cost connected to your program fees.  We aim to use local services that provide income for local people and support locally-owned businesses wherever possible.  Specific costs include: 

  • Accommodation in a host family, group housing, or other lodgings.  These are carefully vetted and located to account for safety and proximity to your activities.
  • A majority of placements also include 1-2 meals per day, and even 3 meals a day in some locations.  Meals vary but always seek to use local ingredients and provide a taste of the local cuisine.  These may be different from what you are used to eating at home.  We can accommodate for almost all dietary restrictions if you inform us in advance, and will advise you if you need to bring any additional items not available locally.
  • Airport transfers – pick up from the nearest airport to the program site are included in almost all programs and drop off at the airport at the end of your program is also included for most.  We will provide you details about when and where you need to book your flights and instructions for your arrival and departure.
  • Orientation, including local area familiarization, cultural, health, safety awareness and child protection training.
  • Some activity transfers are usually included in your program.  These are often for you initial days of participation and you may have to take public transportation or walk for some of your program.  Some locations are based on-site and some may include transportation throughout the program.

Program Donations & Fees 

Program donations/fees are included in our placements.  These costs are decided by the host organization with which you work and can include the costs of running the program, buying resources, staff costs, feeding beneficiaries (wildlife or human), etc. and they vary from program to program, location to location.  Each program placement is unique.  Conservation placements generally have higher fees than community placements, for example, but hands-on work and skills sharing form just as an equally important role as the extra funds.  We support the theory that our participants should not have a financial impact on the organization that they could otherwise use for advancing their mission.

Marketing & Support Materials

The set-up and maintenance of our website, brochures, database systems, communications tools and preparation materials ensure you always have access to our team and the most current information you need to choose and prepare for a program.  Kaya attends trade and university fairs, lists programs on various student and responsible travel sites, and also offers an online chat function.  Alongside trade show and international education fair materials we allocate a small budget for highly efficient advertising, these administrative costs are all essential to securing vital support for the programs worldwide on an ongoing basis, and the sustainability of our work!

Project Management

Project management refers to setting up the placement and determining the suitability of a placement for a range of volunteers and interns.  All of Kaya’s programs are identified and evaluated by in-country staff before being offered as a placement, then monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure that our participants are still needed, useful and safe in their work. This guarantees that a participant will be working on genuine programs that are in need of participant support with a specific mission that is being worked towards. 

Once identified, ground staff work with the program leaders to ensure each incoming participant is suitably placed, pre-prepared, and ready to be received.  Feedback and ongoing monitoring of these programs then ensure we offer continued support to only the best-run programs that can benefit from your help.

Participant Management

Volunteer, intern and student management is essential in supporting participants with their program selection, pre-departure support and in-country program, right the way through to their return and feedback after their placement.  Our professional teams ensure that all our participants are supported throughout the process so they can maximize their experience and be the best possible participant on their program.

In-country staff are responsible for taking care of participants during their placement and are on hand for any emergencies that arise whilst they are in-country.  This takes the responsibility away from the host organization so they can focus on their important work happening on the ground, rather than supporting the needs of participants before they travel.  Often this also allows us to hire more local people so we can support more local jobs.

Our international team manages participant queries before their placement, as well as during and after their placement.  We are also on hand to help answer any questions from participant’s families and loved ones, especially for our younger participants.


Admin covers operational costs such as bank fees, insurance, tax, staff training, and corporate management services that enable Kaya to run.

Balancing costs with support

We recognize that travel and participation in volunteer and internship abroad programs usually involves some significant daily costs.  We work to try and keep those costs as low as possible, while providing our participants and our host communities the maximum support we can to ensure that the experience is beneficial to all those involved.