INTERNATIONAL PEACE INITIATIVES is an International Non-Governmental Organisation, based in Meru County, Kenya. It works to support and advocate for the needs and rights of orphans and vulnerable children, as well as women living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
This is your opportunity to meet new people, learn a new language, experience daily life in one part of Africa, and learn how to build intercultural relationships. By volunteering with IPI, you will have the chance to lend a hand to people who are working to improve life in their communities. Through work and interactions with members of a local community and their children, you can expect to gain a better understanding of the culture, as well as the issues that affect them. Expect to learn a lot about yourself, as you take on the challenge of living and working in a completely new environment.
We recommend our volunteers stay for a minimum of 3 months. This gives you time to settle into daily life, get to know the children and the adults, and make a real contribution. Volunteers live at Kithoka Amani Community Home (KACH), which is home to around 30 children and is the centre of IPI’s activities. The Tiriji Eco-Centre next door is being developed as an eco-conference and organic agriculture demonstration centre. Accommodation is available in dormitories or small eco-huts. You will eat your meals at KACH with the children and staff, and help to prepare them using wholesome, locally grown produce. Although KACH is not vegetarian they can cater for vegetarians.
Daily work programmes take into account the special interests of volunteers. Expect to be encouraged to take the initiative and make a contribution based on your own personal skills and talents. You can read more about the types of work you may be asked to help with here.
KACH is surrounded by substantial vegetable gardens and a small organic farm with goats, chickens, pigs – all part of IPI’s commitment to sustainability. They produce almost all the food they need to feed the children living there as well as the staff, and they are also developing a permaculture approach to sustainable living as a demonstration to the local community. Solar panels provide electricity, and a biogas installation provides cooking fuel. At the nearby Tiriji Eco-Centre they are building guest accommodation with eco-features such as composting toilets, rainwater harvesting systems, solar-powered electricity and a farm that combines traditional agricultural practices with permaculture principles.
International Peace Initiatives (IPI) recognises the importance of cultural exchanges. It provides international visitors with an opportunity to experience Kenya first hand and interact with local people.
Being situated near to Kenya’s sixth largest city, Meru, is a big advantage because IPI has a large community both inside and outside KACH. You will have ample opportunities to interact with people of all ages, educational levels and professions, and to sample local markets, restaurants, entertainment, and daily life.
Volunteering with IPI will help you to better understand the world and the forces that keep people impoverished, as well as what people are doing to reclaim their lives, while enhancing your appreciation for the richness of Kenyan culture. In these ways, you will become a better citizen of the world and better able to forge strong partnerships to create the change we all want to see in the world.