What to Expect
ACK is based in a home in Nairobi. We have running water, electricity and limited communication via mobile phone. Computer e-mail access is also available on a limited basis. Volunteers/interns working with ACK programs will be provided with transportation as related to the project.
At this stage in the project, extensive field research is required. When we are on the road, we travel long distances and often camp. Therefore, it is recommended that you bring basic camping gear including: a sleeping bag, tent, flashlight (spare batteries), and day pack. Other useful items include a water bottle or canteen, insect repellant, and a thermarest pad for sleeping. Power Bars or other nutritional bars are also good to have as we do skip meals on long cross-country trips. Check with us before departure to confirm what equipment you will need to bring. Temperature range from 14 degrees Celsius to 34 degrees Celsius. The sun is always strong, and during June to October there may be heavy rains.
Internship Skills ACK Needs
Student interns conduct similar type of work as other volunteers. Because we are still at a grassroots stage, volunteers that come to Kenya are required to be tremendously flexible, adaptable and patient. You may work long hours, seven days a week, spend long hours on the road or be required to camp in the bush. You will need to be able to work on your own and expect to multi-task. You may be asked to do administrative work such as filing, database entry, photocopying, organizing events, writing articles, running errands, do the weekly food shopping, cook dinner, cleaning living areas, vehicles and equipment. You may be asked to assist in field work, education programs and tourist outreach programs. Longer-term volunteers may be assigned a specific project to complete during their stay. These will be matched according to your skills/background.
ACK requires volunteers with all kinds of backgrounds. In particular, we need people with business, finance, law, marketing, PR, event organizing, graphic design, report writing, proposal writing, fundraising and administrative skills. These functions are vital, "behind-the-scenes", operations. Of course, we also need obvious applicants such as keepers, animal behavior specialists, ecologists, biologists, as well as educators, trainers and conservationists. We welcome student interns from all these areas.
All volunteers will be required to sign our Liability Waiver .
- Interns are expected to volunteer for longer-term periods. We typically request interns to spend 2-3 months at ACK, although some students have interned for shorter periods, such as one month. The longer your stay, the better for ACK and the more you will learn.
- Research Permit: Each student attached to CCF requires a research permit. The cost is $100 per year per student. This applies to any student receiving credit(s) or degrees for participation.
- Student attachments with their own project agenda (Masters/PhD students) will be responsible for additional ground transport costs. Hiring or purchase of vehicles and/or fuel costs for use of CCF vehicles will need to be discussed during the development of project proposals.
- Authorship for all publications will follow generally accepted scientific protocols and include recognition of ACK designate.
- Students attached to the ACK permit requiring fieldwork away from the ACK base will also be responsible for their own lodging and food costs. Adjustments to student fees can be discussed in this case.
- A study permit is required for projects supporting ACK, and for other farmland studies. Studies that fit directly into ACK can be authorized under the umbrella of our current permit. Please discuss the permits with your university advisor and/or ACK.
- Kenyan study permits require the final project submission within one year from departure from Kenya. If students do not comply they may be refused for future research permission in Kenya and with ACK.
- Additional visa paperwork is required for volunteers/students staying longer than three months. Kenya restricts straight passport entrances to 90 days per year. Depending on your project duration, paperwork can be mailed to you or, in many cases extensions can be applied for once in Kenya.
Intellectual Property Rights / Data
All students are required to leave raw data acquired in Kenya with CCFK, and the data is the property of the Kenyan Ministry of Education.
Mandatory Donation (Internships)
Our volunteer program is fee-based: because we are a not-for-profit organization relying entirely on donations, all volunteers and student interns are required to make a mandatory donation to ACK to cover the cost of room, board, training and supervision of volunteers, and does not include transportation to or from Kenya. The fee also contributes to the day-to-day costs of running ACK. It is because of generous donations that we are able to continue to operate.
Master and Ph.D. applicants should mail their application to ACK's Volunteer Coordinator , who will forward it to Mary Wykstra to discuss project proposals.
Undergraduate internships & Zookeepers are eligible for a reduced rate. Please email ACK's Volunteer Coordinator for information.
All fees paid to CCF are non-refundable except for emergency situations..
How to Apply
We receive many volunteer inquiries every day, so we ask you to cooperate with our process as follows:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- Download our Kenya Volunteer/Internship Questionnaire , complete and email it to our Kenya Volunteer Coordinator .
- Masters or PhD students must attach a brief description of their thesis proposal.
- We will review your qualifications and notify you of success or failure of your application—we aim, at all times, to match our needs with your skills and talents.
- If successful, you will be required to pay a volunteer deposit fee to confirm and hold your volunteer place at ACK.
- A waiver of liability will be sent you to sign and return to us once you have paid the final deposit of your volunteer fee --two months prior to arrival.
- Before booking your flights, please communicate with the Kenya Volunteer Coordinator about available dates during which you can volunteer.
- The remainder of the total volunteer fee must be paid two months prior your arrival to ACK.