CIVS Kenya
CIVS Kenya
CIVS Kenya

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Standard Best Practices To Observe Hygiene

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We are a voluntary service committed to community development. As such we understand that for any community to develop there needs to be the people. As such they need to observe hygeine to stay safe.

We are very much aware of the current state of affairs globally and we care  so we thought we'd share some simple information. It's a bit different from our normal blog posts, but it is important.

The world is battling the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and we thought it best to share five standard best practices to maintain hygeine around you. They are very simple but will certainly go a long way in keeping you protected.

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Wash your hands thoroughly

Washing hands might seem like the easiest thing to do to observe hygiene. We’ve been told to keep our hands clean ever since we can remember. That message is even more important now. Hands are the most common way in which viruses spread. You need to clean hands thoroughly and at regular intervals. Wet your hands with some running water then apply enough soap. Scrub the back of your hands, your palms, in between your fingers and under your nails for at least twenty seconds. You should then rinse them thoroughly with sufficient running water. After that, dry your hands with a single use towel.

Use tissue paper when sneezing or coughing

The urge to sneeze is the most normal thing. Everyone sneezes at some point. It is also very normal to cough. While these two are common bodily functions, we are often advised to do so but mind the next person when you are at it. Now more than ever, that cannot be overlooked. You are advised to sneeze or cough into a clean toilet paper. After that, wrap it into another clean piece of tissue then dispose off in a dustbin. It is important that you dispose it correctly so that you also don’t expose cleaners to any risk while they do their job.

Use noncontact means of greeting

We are obviously very accustomed to shaking hands or hugging while saying hello. However, during this period, we are advised to minimize contact as much as possible. We are advised to instead use other forms of greeting for the same.

Disinfect surfaces, handrails and toilets

You often touch handrails and as such you need to keep them disinfected. You should also clean your toilets thoroughly. This will keep you safe from viruses. You should also clean utensils regularly.Whenever possible, get your work desk cleaned a few times within tghe day and any rooms you spend most of yuour time in.

Eat on trays

You should ensure you eat from trays whenever possible in order to avoid any spillage on floors. When you spill food from plates, cleaners have to pick it. This will subsequently lead to the spread of diseases.

Handle food carefully

As much as possible, avoid sharing food. Serve everyone on a different plate or tray and avoid tasting what someone else is having. You should also make sure you are clean in case you are handling food. Also make sure you wash your uncooked ingredients thoroughly. If you are unwell, do not handle food altogether as this also exposes other people to illnesses.

We at CIVS Kenya encourage you to stay clean and stay safe. 

Appreciating Role Of Women: International Women's Month

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It’s International Women’s Day today so Happy Women’s Day to all the strong women out there.

We hope you learnt from our last post on benefits of work camps. However today, we at CIVS Kenya recognize your importance and contribution to the world we live in.

Since it is International Women’s Month this March, we would like to appreciate the different roles you play. Roles that help make CIVS Kenya what it is.

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Here are some of the roles of women that we appreciate:

Your role as leaders

Every long-term, short-term and work camp project needs a leader and we most definitely appreciate those women who have taken up this space. Thanks to you all these projects have had the much needed direction to make them successful.

Your role as caregivers

At every project there is need for someone to watch over everyone. Someone to welcome the hosts and give them that embrace that makes them feel at home away from home. That person who takes care of everyone who gets sick or one who has a problem. We have never lacked that thanks to the women who so willingly act as everyone’s mother figure.

Your role as teachers

We most certainly cannot forget that among those who have facilitated both formal learning and informal during and in our projects are women. Thanks to them, many have learnt life long lessons that will most certainly make them better people.

Your role as volunteers

It’s not easy for someone to take time away from their work and comfort zone and give their time and services to people for free. However, we often receive a large number of women volunteers every year. They are always willing to commit to serving the less fortunate in our society.

Your role in the workforce

A lot of women work in the facilitation of volunteer projects. Whether it’s in the school kitchens as cooks, in the health centres as nurses, in the overseas and local offices as volunteer managers, among many other places, their contribution is unmatched. Thanks to their work, rural and developing communities remain hopeful for a better future.

Your role as advisors and problem solvers

Whenever an issue arises at a project, you can always trust a woman to come up with a solution for it. Due to the fact that they are always so willing to listen, are usually very understanding and have that instinct that distinguishes what’s right and what’s wrong, they are able to maintain thepeace among every participant.

We could definitely go on and on but we’ll leave it there for now.

Here at CIVS Kenya, we welcome the contribution of women as volunteers or as hosts. In case you would like to participate in any of our projects, contact us and we will gladly take you through the entire process. We are committed to changing the lives of the communities around us every chance we get and could definitely use your help.

Always remember that you are very much needed and highly appreciated. Once again, Happy International Women’s Day!

The Challenges Of Volunteering In Africa

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We hope from our previous post on challenges volunteer managers face you got to learn something more about them. About the people who facilitate the process of volunteering abroad. Today, we would like to discuss some of the challenges of volunteering in Africa.

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The following are challenges of volunteering in the continent.

Poor Infrastructure

The first challenge of volunteering in Africa has got to be the poor infrastructure. While a good part of the continent is developed, there is still a significant part of Africa that remains underdeveloped. All these put into consideration, even the developed parts of the continent are yet to be at per with the Western countries from which volunteers come. Volunteers might therefore find it frustrating to move around and to get the job done. This is especially so if the job involves moving of raw materials or finished products to or from the projects. The poor infrastructure also makes it difficult to respond to emergencies such as health related ones.

Tropical Illnesses

Another challenge of volunteering in Africa is the number of tropical illnesses it makes one susceptible to. For many years the prevalence of malaria and other tropical diseases has been a big problem in the continent. Others that are common include HIV/AIDS, black plague and scarlet fever. A lot of diseases that still exist in Africa have actually been eradicated in countries found in the West. As such, a volunteer may have a hard time. It is for that reason that they are advised to seek medical attention before embarking on the volunteering journey in Africa.

Difference in work ethic

Most volunteers who come to Africa arrive with a mindset of readiness to work. However, sometimes they encounter people at the volunteering projects in Africa or members of the community who do not seem to be in much of a rush to make the difference. A good reason for this could be the “African Timer” mentality that has seen a lot of the African people delay projects or work. This could be frustrating to the volunteers as they feel derailed.

Gender bias

Another challenge facing volunteering in Africa is the gender bias. This would probably affect female volunteers most. The reason is a lot of African cultures still undermine the role of women in the society. As such women in the community are not allowed to carry out certain tasks. They might want this to apply even to the foreigners who volunteer among them. The female volunteers could therefore be subject to sexual harassment, rude remarks, and could also be prohibited to take part in certain tasks they are capable of participating in just because they are seen more or only fit for the men.

Hostility of communities or standing out

First of all, as a foreigner in an African country, you will definitely stand out. This is not necessarily a negative thing, however, the stares, shouts and questions regarding why you look the way you look could get to you as a volunteer. Your foreign appearance could also make you a target for pick pockets, theft or even beggars. Another challenge of volunteering in Africa could be hostility from the communities. Sometimes they are not so willing to accept foreigners to be part of them. It might take some time for the locals to get used to the idea of having new volunteers.

Those are just five major challenges of volunteering in Africa. However, we will discuss more in the near future.

While these may seem like big problems, they can be under control and as such, volunteers should not feel discouraged about volunteering in Africa. In case of any questions regarding volunteering in Kenya or Africa in general, contact us at CIVS Kenya and we will gladly take you throughout the entire process.

Here Are Some Benefits Of Work Camps

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We would like to discuss the benefits of work camps after talking about the challenges of volunteering in Africa in our previous post. We at CIVS hope you benefited from that read but in case you have more questions, feel free to contact us for some guidance.

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What are some benefits of work camps?

You get to immerse yourself in local cultures

Work camp programs often require volunteers staying in the project areas with the local communities. A benefit of work camps is therefore the fact that they allow one to be part of the local communities. As such, one is able to immerse themselves in the local cultures. You as a volunteer will be able to learn different aspects of life from the perspective of the host communities. You get to learn about their dressing, eating, their language, origin and way of life in general.

You learn new skills

Another undoubted benefit of work camps is that it allows volunteers to learn new skills. While the idea is to contribute your own knowledge to the community, you will also get to learn. A work camp allows you to gain from the host communities’ way of doing things as well. You could pick up different survival skills such as cooking, creating shelter, creative skills such as traditional dancing and singing or playing musical instruments, among others. These skills could be very helpful in the future.

A work camp helps one make new friends

As expected, when you sign up as a participant for a work camp you get to meet new people. People who have similar interests. You will have to work with one another and in the process build relationships. A benefit of work camps is that it allows you to develop your social skills. You will also be able to make friends with the local community members.

It enhances one’s self confidence

Whenever you are at a work camp, you will inevitably be required to take leadership at some point. With the many activities you will be participating in during your stay at the work camp, you will be required to be in charge of at least one if not a number of activities. As such you will be required to speak to more people and will need to be accountable. This allows you to sharpen your expressions.

It helps you learn teamwork

Another benefit of work camps related to making new friends is that it helps create a spirit of teamwork. A volunteer is able to learn the importance of being part of a team an working together towards the fulfillment of the goals of the community and project.

It looks great on your CV

Work camps will always look great on your cv. They are proof of a sense of responsibility and awareness. Employers love this. Thus proof of participation in work camps enables one to make a great impression while looking for a job. It therefore fosters career growth.

We hope this post has given you some insight as to what you would be gaining as a volunteer in a work camp. If after reading these benefits of work camps you still have questions, feel free to contact us at CIVS Kenya for more information.

Here Are Challenges Volunteer Managers Face

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We hope from our last post you are encouraged to volunteer in Kenya. The role of a volunteer manager can definitely not be overlooked. They are responsible for the running of the different volunteer projects. However, there are many challenges that come with the job. Here are some challenges volunteer managers face.

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Recruitment of volunteers

The work of a volunteer manager is a lot and one of their roles is to recruit volunteers. While there are more and more people willing to volunteer every now and then in different project, the number is usually never enough. Sometimes during the recruitment process, a challenge volunteer managers face is finding dedicated volunteers who will work passionately. During some seasons, volunteer managers in the volunteer tourism sector find it challenging to get volunteers from different countries as their travel is often seasonal just like normal tourism.

Inspiring volunteers on a daily basis

Another challenge volunteer managers face is being an inspiration to the volunteers on a daily basis. Sometimes when you have volunteers under you who are from different countries, they may end up facing certain challenges. These challenges e.g. homesickness or illnesses could demoralize the volunteers in their work and helping them get back on their feet is not easy. Sometimes the volunteer manager may get the volunteers up and active but they still remain reluctant to take up leadership or initiative in their different volunteer groups.

Creating a connection between the old volunteers’ work and the new ones

It is inevitable that upon the end of a volunteer’s term serving in a given project, they will have to leave. When they leave, a challenge the volunteer manager could face is in the transition bit. They often have to find a way to connect the new volunteers to the communities or projects that were being handled and were left by the departed volunteers. It sometimes takes a while for the new volunteers to learn or for the communities to fully get used to the new volunteers.

Getting sponsorship for the volunteer projects

In some cases it is upto the volunteer managers to seek funding for the various projects they work with. They are required to get into board rooms, approach companies, churches, government and other authorities to acquire this. However they may not always be successful in getting the support or sponsorship which could pose a big challenge to volunteer projects. It is generally very difficult to get people to step up to the plate when they will get no monetary value in return.

Volunteer retention

While it is very important to get new volunteers, it is even more important to retain the ones you already have. It is more important to have the volunteers you have already worked with before come back to do more in the community. Another challenge volunteer managers face therefore is in volunteer retention. Being able to retain volunteers is important because it shows faith in your organization and the volunteers are able to give great reviews on your volunteer organizations or projects.

We hope this post has given you some insight on the challenges volunteer managers face daily.

In case you would like to participate in volunteer activities, contact us at CIVS Kenya and we will take you through the entire process from the start to the end.