Career break volunteer with business and commercial skills needed in Kenya

  • A volunteer placement suited to a career break volunteer – use your business skills in these grass roots project
  • Marketing, social media, accounting, IT and production/distribution skills needed
  • Working in environmental, arts & crafts, tailoring and production projects
  • A flexible project, situated at an incredible location on the Indian ocean

Project summary

A career break volunteer opportunity exists for volunteers with commercial skills to lend their experience and knowledge to a broad range of community based projects that would welcome your support.

Watamu is a creative and ambitious east African coastal town, blessed with beautiful natural landscapes, a protected marine park and a small tourist trade. A number of local entrepreneurs, community groups and conservationists work on projects that seek to capitalise on these opportunities, developing projects that provide alternative and sustainable income sources for the local people, and/or protect the environment.

Initiatives include small scale production of virgin coconut oil, natural soap products, arts & crafts, honey production, recycling initiatives (including building houses from bottles), to dolphin and whale research and conservation, and conservation of the mangroves.

All of the projects coordinate through an umbrella association in Watamu that lends support where it can. But what this small community lacks is professional skills and technical knowledge, whether of book-keeping, marketing, social media or production. Together these small enterprises present an engaging volunteer placement opportunity for a career breaker who wants to adopt a different lifestyle and apply their skills to grass roots projects that would feel the benefit from a skills transfer.

Marketing, social media, accounting, creative, production or distribution skills could be a bonus to numerous projects. For example, a number of community projects would love to develop a social media strategy. Could you help develop one for them? Could you train a local to take this over after you leave? Could you even get this role funded by partnering with hotels and enterprises who would share in their skills? Could you create the most valuable type of legacy behind?

Do you have accounting skills that you could transfer to small community organisations – helping them understand the basics and getting them set up with a firm footing for the future?

Do you have specialist knowledge of how to build distribution channels for small producers, which would enable them to reach international markets?

This is a highly dynamic career break volunteer opportunity that requires a self-starter volunteer to approach this community with an open mind and create a role that will make the biggest difference. We will support you with all the introductions to make things happen, but the nature of your role will depend on your skills and ability to act entrepreneurially in a very different culture.


Volunteer roles and responsibilities

The role of a career break volunteer will vary greatly based on their commercial skills, experience, interests and flexibility.

You will initially need to meet and participate in as many projects as possible. You need to understand what they do, the limitations they face, their challenges and the opportunities. Only then can you create a plan on how to optimize the use of your time.

It is likely that you will be involved with multiple projects, as they are all small grass roots projects that need injections of support.

You are looking to transfer knowledge wherever possible, so training people will be a key part of what you do, whether on basic marketing principles, IT or accounting. The focus


How you can make a difference


This is a rare opportunity to make a lasting difference to multiple projects. Helping increase knowledge of how businesses work, transferring valuable commercial skills and perhaps even creating jobs and increasing incomes, could be the best legacy any volunteer could leave.

What is distinctive about this project:

This is a unique opportunity to join a community and share your business skills in a variety of grass roots organisations. A varied and enthusiastic group of entrepreneurs are wanting your knowledge & support.

Blue Tiger Features:

By its very nature this is a very unstructured role. A volunteer will need to adapt quickly to the very different way of doing business and recognise the limitations everyone must work within.

You will need to be a good listener and seek to understand before sharing your advice. You will need to be patient and focus on what can be done, rather than what can’t.

But for a creative and enthusiastic volunteer, this wonderful community gives you a refreshing opportunity to make a difference in some of the most important ways, generating skills and sustainable income for the local people.


There is no season to the volunteer work.


English is widely spoken throughout Watamu and Kenya generally.

Experience required:

This is a project well suited to volunteers with a minimum of 5 years commercial experience in a functional area. You will need to have good listening and people skills, and an interest in working from the bottom up. You should be equally happy working on making virgin coconut oil by hand before you start to get to grips with advice on distribution, for example.

Good to know:

Watamu is part of a United Nations Biosphere Reserve and is an area of great natural beauty. There are miles of beautiful beaches with safe swimming. The coral reef is rich in marine fauna and flora and offers excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities. The volunteer’s accommodation is in a private compound that maintains a high level of security that is normally expected in the more affluent areas.

Price table

4 weeks8 weeks12 weeks16 weeks20 weeks

Includes: Comprehensive travel insurance (supplements may apply to older travellers). Accommodation, food*, airport transfer, travel to projects, in-country support
Excludes: Flights, visas, vaccinations
NOTE: Lessons in Swahili can be arranged at an extra cost.
*Volunteers in Watamu are provided with a food budget for volunteers to purchase food but cook on a self-catering basis

Things to see and do

  • Go safari
  • Mount Kenya
  • Elephant Orphanage
  • Giraffe Sanctuary

Country co-ordinator

Wanjiru Macharia (Shiru)

Shiru graduated from the University of Amherst, USA with a Major in Marketing and a Minor in Psychology. She joined our team in 2012 and lives with her family near where our projects are based in the coastal town of Watamu. She knows Kenya intimately and has been involved in a number of conservation initiatives in the national parks. In addition to supporting our volunteers she works as an administrator in a busy office that share the grounds of our volunteer house.

About Kenya