Kenya, along with other areas in the horn of Africa, has been hit by crippling drought. Over 42% of the population in sub‐Saharan Africa has no access to safe water and children often pay the highest price, missing school because of water born diseases or simply because they have to walk for hours to collect water that may not even be safe to drink. A lack of water means failing crops and with hundreds of thousands of people facing continued malnutrition help is desperately needed to improve water conservation and supply.
Our partners in this project are Excellent, a specialist charity that works with determined community self‐help groups to tackle the short and long term problems of deforestation and water shortages. The WaterRelief Project is in the dry, central, rural Makueni district. You will be working with the Akamba people in the construction of life changing sand dams, providing a sustainable and clean source of water. This project offers you the chance to make a very real and practical difference to the lives of the poor and developing communities of this area of Kenya.
- Build and renovate sand dams
- Act as a catalyst for the locals to work towards the completion of the dams
- and inspire new community groups to do the same
Give hundreds of people access to a life‐long supply of clean water – a dam
can supply up to 10 million litres of clean drinking water
Optional Kilimanjaro climb
Take on the ultimate challenge and climb the highest mountain in Africa. The climb will take 6 days and will be led by highly experienced guides through varied terrain to summit at 5895m on Kilimanjaro’s snowy peak. The climb will push you to your limits but you will be rewarded with an awe inspiring view from ‘the roof of Africa’! The perfect way to finish a truly incredible time in Africa that you will never forget.
Rural construction work: cement mixing, carrying rocks, sand, water, cement bags, safari, home stay, visit Nairobi.
What to Expect
Work is very physical. You will be working closely with the community; expect a carnivalesque atmosphere, lots of singing and laughter to spur you on through all the hard work. Quest Overseas works in Kenya with Excellent, a UK charity and their strategic partner on the ground, Africa Sand Dam Foundation.
Sand dams are built across dry river beds ready for the rains to come. Over time, the river deposits sand behind the dams, this in turn stores the water and prevents it from evaporating whilst allowing the river to continue its natural course. Local people draw this water from shallow wells and plant crops, which flourish due to the plentiful supply of groundwater. Soil is terraced beside the dams and trees are planted to retain more moisture.
Communities spend weeks prior to the start of a dam collecting sand, stones and water required for construction. Building sand dams requires a huge amount of man-power: the majority is provided by local men, women & children prepared to donate time and effort because they can see the long-term benefits. However, the women also care for their families and the kids should be in school. This is where Quest volunteers are needed to lend a hand.
The construction work is very hard: cement mixing by hand, carrying rocks and sand, digging, carrying water. But the atmosphere is joyful - and a big lunch keeps energy levels high. Working with children is a short but important aspect of this project. We run informal education days in local schools, usually finishing with a game of football (at which we usually are beaten!)
What Excellent has achieved over the years has been exceptional but more dams are still needed. By combining forces, we can support this worthwhile project with an extra injection of enthusiasm, manpower, and much-needed funds.
How much does it cost, and where does my money go?
Project: £1450 (£2695 inc. Kilimanjaro)
60% payment for your trip, this is what gets spent overseas during your trip. Includes travel insurance.
25% staff, both UK and overseas.
15% office costs, project and expedition research, boring admin.
100% of this goes straight to Excellent and is spent in Kenya on this project. None is spent in the UK or on admin.
06:30 Wake up and breakfast, leave by 7.30 for work.
08:00 Start Work.
11:00 Morning tea break, chai (tea) & a snack
13:00 Lunch break, taken on site.
14:00 Back to work.
16:30 Finish work, wash tools & return to accommodation.
18:30 Evening meal prepared by volunteers, then time to relax.
You will get to relax with the community you are living in, and experience daily Kenyan rural life with a home-stay (subject to community approval). At the end of the project you will go on a fantastic safari through nearby Tsavo West National Park.
Includes all accommodation, food, activities, in‐country travel & support, Quest leaders, personal travel insurance, 24h UK support, medical back up, project donation covering short term costs and long term ongoing support. Excludes international flights & entry visa.
The climb itself will take 6 days, summiting on the morning of the 5th day and then 2 days to complete the climb back down. Quest choose an intrepid route which is stunningly beautiful - the climb is steep but the ascent taken very slowly. You will be camping while on the climb and the team will be assisted with a number of guides and porters. Although the climb is not technical and no rope work is needed, the combination of freezing temperatures (-20°C and below) and rapidly increasing altitude makes this a hard trek.
Food & drink
You will be eating food cooked by local cooks such as rice or potato dishes with vegetable stew or chicken with salad. On-site a big lunch will be cooked for you by local ladies.
Throughout the project it is likely to be hot and dry (around 27°C).
You will have two leaders with you throughout the Project. Leaders are there to make sure everything runs smoothly, safely and to ensure maximum reward for all involved. We are very picky about selecting our leaders and you can guarantee that they will be some of the most capable, passionate and enthusiastic people you will ever meet. All Leaders receive our in-depth Quest training every year and are trained in first aid and crisis management.
Vaccinations & Anti-Malarials
Quest Overseas keeps up to date with the latest recommendations on all medical considerations relating to your time with us. We will provide you with a full list of the immunisations required and information on malarial prophylaxis before you depart.
Quest Overseas provides all volunteers with a fully comprehensive pre-departure pack, which contains information on countries to be visited, the project background, kit needed, cultural awareness etc.
Quest also provides Pre-Departure Training in the UK for all team members. It covers Responsible Travel, Cultural Awareness, Health & Hygiene, Risk Assessment, Teamwork and Onward Travel. It also gives you the opportunity to meet the rest of your team and leaders before going overseas.
You will be working long days and using muscles you never knew existed. It is important to have a good level of fitness to begin with so that you can acclimatise to the work and temperatures faster.
For the Kilimanjaro trek it is vital that you prepare with some long hill walks in the UK.
Responsible Travel is an ethos that should be at the heart of all travel. For all of us at Quest Overseas it is about making a tangible 'positive impact' on both man and the environment with everything that we and our volunteers do. Quest was highly commended in the 2008 Responsible Tourism Awards sponsored by Virgin. Quest also actively supports Fair Trade Volunteering.
Private accommodation for the team is in Mtito Andei, a town midway between Nairobi and Mombasa. Accommodation is comfortable, with beds (in shared rooms) & basic toilet facilities.