Sitting scenically on the southeastern coastline of Kenya, Mombasa is the country’s second largest city and a majorly popular destination where to volunteer abroad. Stemming from its rich history as a major port on the east African peninsula, Mombasa today is a cosmopolitan city with a wide range of languages, ethnicities, and religions manifesting throughout its diverse population. Embarking on a journey to volunteer abroad in Mombasa will be an educative experience you will never forget, in which you can help locals rise to face the challenges of development.
Projects & Placements
While Kenya has the second largest GDP on the African continent, Mombasa still suffers from its fair share of social problems stemming from poverty and inequality among its 1.2 million citizens. For this reason choosing to volunteer abroad in Mombasa within fields such as education, healthcare, human rights, and other areas of community development are all very popular options that can have a positive impact on the lives of locals.
For those who are especially interested in the environment, it is also a popular route to volunteer abroad in Mombasa within areas such as environmental conservation, animal welfare, and agriculture. The flipside to development efforts is that they can also have a negative effect on the land and its resources, making these types of volunteer placements in Mombasa a worthwhile venture.
You can usually volunteer abroad in Mombasa for as short as just one week or sometimes as long as a full year. Volunteers are needed year-round, so often it is left to the volunteer to decide when they will travel to Mombasa and for how long they will stay. Be warned; once you discover how enriching and rewarding life is as a volunteer abroad in Mombasa, you may not want to come back for a long time!
Life in Mombasa
Mombasa has been a key port city on the Arabian Sea for hundreds of years, and while it has seen many changes over the course of those centuries, it continues to thrive as such today. It is widely known for its diverse and multicultural population, with local lineages stemming from all over North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian sub-continent.
The majority of Mombasa’s population today is made up by the Swahili and Mijikenda people. Islam is the predominant religion in the city, although Christianity and Hinduism are widely practiced as well. While many different languages are spoken throughout Mombasa, Swahili is the most popular first tongue among locals (most of the educated population can speak English as well).
Its unique array of cultural influences, pristine setting on the coastline, and large international airport additionally make Mombasa one of the most popular travel destinations in east Africa. The volunteer abroad in Mombasa will undoubtedly fall in love with upbeat pulse, unique local music, and fun nightlife which all make this one of Africa’s most popularly visited cities.
Of course you may likely also experience a degree of culture shock while you volunteer abroad in Mombasa, especially if you have never travelled to Africa before. The best way to handle this is by being as outgoing as possible and embracing all new experiences in the city. You will be amazed at how much you learn!
Costs & Affordability
While Mombasa is an affordable city by international standards, you will nevertheless want to plan a careful budget because you will not be making any income as a volunteer abroad. The good news is that many on-the-ground costs such as housing, transportation, and meals are provided for in the upfront program fees. For more ideas on how to cover the costs of your volunteer program in Mombasa, be sure to check out our fundraising page.
Accommodation & Visas
Homestays are usually the most popular form of accommodation for volunteers in Mombasa, providing a uniquely immersive experience into Kenyan culture and family life. Volunteers who prefer a more independent housing situation can often request living in a separate apartment of group housing as well. Remember that Kenya is a developing country, and so many western luxuries such as internet, hot water, and AC many not always be accounted for.
Kenya has an e-visa system in place which enables you to apply online for permission to enter the country. The specific type of visa you will need as a volunteer abroad in Mombasa may vary depending on what country you are coming from and the length of your program. You can check out our Kenyan Embassy Directory for more information regarding your situation.
Benefits & Challenges
Push Your Boundaries. Volunteering abroad in Mombasa will be a tremendous growth experience that will push the envelope on what you previously thought you knew about the world. Buckle Your Seatbelt.
Melting Pot. Mombasa is a multicultural city where you will gain exposure to a wide variety of regional influences that you may have hitherto been unfamiliar with. Ever heard of Taarab or Mwanzele music?
Make an Impact. Most volunteer projects in Mombasa are organized to aid locals tackle the challenges embedded in poverty and development. This is a great way to give back while helping an underserved population.