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VetAid has been working for over 30 years to support livestock farmers in Kenya by improving animal health and production.

 

What We Do

Two thirds of the land in Kenya is arid or semi-arid and droughts are increasing in frequency and severity, putting millions at risk. Areas of the country have also been affected by serious floods and livestock disease outbreaks in recent years. As the vast majority of the population earn their living from agriculture, these pressures are threatening already fragile livelihoods and most Kenyans live below the poverty level.

VetAid provides:

  • animal health training
  • vaccinations
  • replacement of livestock animals
  • programmes to reduce poverty and increase food security
  • training for networks of local community animal health workers
  • projects to make farming more efficient and profitable
  • assistance to develop small business initiatives
  • support to establish collective marketing associations to increase negotiating power for producers
  • improved drought-preparedness and response activities in the area where we work
  • appropriate emergency aid to vulnerable livestock-keeping communities when droughts occur
  • basic animal health care to Maasai communities who depend on their animals for their livelihoods

EMS Placements

VetAid Kenya is able to arrange volunteer placements for veterinary students as part of their Extra Mural Studies.

This unique experience will give you:

  • A chance to work alongside VetAid vets in the Maasai Mara vaccinating goats, sheep and cattle
  • Research opportunities and the chance to benefit from the knowledge and experience of vets working in the field
  • Insight into the culture and traditions of the Maasai community
  • Amazing wildlife in a setting that few others ever have the privilege to see
  • The experience of staying in VetAid Kenya’s tented camp in the extraordinarily beautiful Maasai Mara

We can also arrange for you to spend some time working in some of the challenging townships around Nairobi to provide an experience of another side of veterinary work in Kenya.

We try to organise group visits of 5 to 7 students as a time to keep costs at a reasonable level. Please contact gturasha@gmail.com if you would like to find out more.

The video below, created by volunteers from the Royal Veterinary College in 2016, gives a good insight into what you can expect.

See also:

Volunteer Testimonials

Chasing around after unruly sheep and goats in the baking hot Kenyan sun, whilst struggling to communicate was a world apart from my previous farming experience in the UK. There were no crushes or races to help constrain the animals and so we were entirely dependent on the numerous Maasai men and children with their fantastic (if sometimes unconventional) animal handling skills.

This trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me – to learn so much about the East African vets, farmers and communities, and the challenges that they face whilst meeting so many incredible people along the way.

I met some truly inspirational people during my trip – from the Maasai womens’ groups, and community animal health workers, who provide advice and treatment to animals in rural areas, to students who literally study 20 hours a day, to get through their degrees – and we think we work hard!

Past volunteers have provided these testimonials:

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the trip satisfy the EMS requirements of my vet school?

Students are responsible for checking with their university that a VetAid placement will qualify as EMS in the year they wish to volunteer but, in the past, the programme has had students from Edinburgh, RVC, Nottingham, Cambridge, Liverpool, Dublin, Glasgow and Melbourne.

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What will I get a chance to do and see?

See our typical Programme of Activities.

Wildlife you can expect to see include:

  • Wildebeest, topi, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve, from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita Plains in the pastoral ranches to the north-east, from July to October or later.  Herds of all three species are also resident in the reserve
  • All members of the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, African elephant, cape buffalo, and black rhinoceros)
  • Hippopotami and crocodiles are found in large groups in the Mara and Talek rivers
  • Leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals, and bat-eared foxes
  • Wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants and their numbers are estimated in the millions.  Around July of each year, these animals migrate north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October
  • The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide involving some 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelles, 97,000 Topi, 18,000 elands, and 200,000 zebras.  These migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by predators, most notably lions and hyena
  • Antelopes including Grant’s gazelles, impalas, duikers and Coke’s hartebeests
  • Masai giraffes
  • Large roan antelopes
  • 470 species of birds with almost 60 species being raptors.  Birds that call this area home for at least part of the year include: vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested eagles, African pygmy-falcons and the lilac-breasted roller, which is the national bird of Kenya
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How much are the volunteer contributions?

2 weeks: £2,000

3 weeks: £2,500

4 weeks: £3,000

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What does that cover?

All accommodation, transport and meals.

Accommodation is in a comfortable and safe shared tent with hot water and toilets in a Maasai camp.

Transport will be in a 4 wheel-drive vehicle and volunteers will be transported together as a group.

The programme provides cereal for breakfast in the morning and supper in the evening.  A packed lunch and water will be provided during the day. The food is simple but delicious camp food and it’s possible to try some Masai dishes if you would like to.

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What is not included?

Flights to Nairobi, medical insurance, luxury items (snacks, chocolate, cigarettes, alcohol etc), trips on days off or after the volunteer placement is finished.

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What will the profits be used for?

Any profits will be used to improve the welfare of the Maasai people and their livestock.

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Are there bursaries available to help with the cost?

Some students in 2016 successfully applied for grants to help with their volunteer contribution.  See Jessica Hugh’s 2016 testimonial.

Group discounts can be made available to parties of six people or more who book together to come at the same time.

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How many other volunteers will be there?

There are usually about 6 UK volunteers at any one time.  Some Kenyan students may also be volunteering at the same time.

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How long can I volunteer for?

Volunteers are welcome for up to 4 weeks.  Some of this time may be spent at a project in Nairobi if desired.

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Who are the vets that supervise the programme?

In Kenya: 

Dr Gabriel Turasha

Dr Ezra Saitoti

Dr Kisipan Mosiany

In the UK:

Dr Nick Short at RVC

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Where are the camps that we will stay at?

In the Maasai Mara Reserve in Narok County and at Kimana in Kajaido County. Narok is a 3 hour drive from Nairobi.

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What vaccinations and health checks will I need before I travel?  

Current advice on on immunisation, malaria prevention and other health advice can be viewed on the NHS’s Fit For Travel site.

You will need to visit your GP at least 6-8 weeks before travelling.

 

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How do I arrange a visa?

You will need a visa to enter Kenya and it’s best to get it before you travel so you don’t have to queue at the airport.

You can apply for single entry and transit visas on the evisas website. For other types of visa, apply at the nearest Kenyan High Commission or Embassy. For more information on different types of visas see the website of the Kenya High Commission.

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Is it safe to travel in Kenya?

The British Government’s advice for travellers to Kenya can be viewed here:

The area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel has not included the Maasai Mara or any other of Kenya’s national parks in the past.  VetAid’s area of operation is nowhere near the sites of past terror attacks.

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