In Kenya Inspiration from Volunteers Connecting with Local People

Hello Kerubo! Could you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is Kerubo Nyaribo and I am the Programme Director for ICYE Kenya. I hold a Bachelor in Science in Botany and Zoology and a post graduate diploma in education and I have taken several short courses in different disciplines. I am a Christian, a wife to one man and a mother to three beautiful girls. I have been involved in ICYE in different capacities since 1986. Right now I am the director and I supervise the other staff in the office running the programmes and I am in charge of the European Voluntary Service. I work half time in the ICYE office and half time in my fashion design shop.

What attracted you to work for an international voluntary work organization?

I started ICYE Kenya with a few others and at the time we just wanted to make sure we could get young people from other countries to come to Kenya and send our youth to other countries. Thinking of what has kept me working for ICYE: Meeting these youth and training them has been very interesting for me, having been a teacher for many years. Also engaging with staff from other national committees of the ICYE network has been very enriching – especially the discussions we have and the different ways we view things because of our different cultural backgrounds.

Which have been the most inspiring aspects in your work lately?

This probably has not changed during the years, but seeing the volunteers connect with their host families and projects and seeing the changes that the volunteers’ presence can make in a community makes me want to continue to see it happening with different people in different ways!

ICYE Kenya participated in “the volunteer activist” project in which young citizen in 17 ICYE countries seeked to raise awareness through campaigns of the social concerns of our time. What motivated ICYE Kenya to take part in the project?

Volunteerism is not very highly rated in current Kenya, and we wanted to sensitize more people about what we do and have people appreciate our local and international volunteers. To have people stop and listen, see and get involved.

Could you tell a bit about the campaign actions you had in Kenya?

Our campaigning happened around a football tournament involving volunteers and youth in Sindo, one of our rural towns in Homabay County. As a campaing action there was also painting Msekwa Border Primary school classrooms. We will still have another activity on the 7th of December to commemorate the International Volunteer Day which is on the 5th of December.

Which of the “the volunteer activist” actions in other countries did you find the most interesting ones?

Activities in Nepal on waste management and in Vietnam on reducing plastic paper bags seemed the most interesting ones to me.

Which are the main sectors in which foreign long-term volunteers work in Kenya this season?

Most of them are working in primary schools and children’s homes

Your greetings for those Finnish young people thinking of volunteering in Kenya?

KARIBU KENYA! Welcome to Kenya! There are lots of places to volunteer, we are quite friendly as a people, and ICYE Kenya’s aim is to make sure you have the experience of your life! We care and appreciate our volunteers and look forward to hosting you.

The interview has been published in Volunteers’ Voices 4/2014 magazine.