Affiliations and Volunteer Guidelines
KWS accepts volunteer attachments in an effort to promote conservation education, awareness and imparting skills to local and international volunteers. To do this KWS evaluates and processes applications for volunteer placements from both local and international students.
In the past, foreign applications have been received not only from students, but often include adults who seek a break away from their jobs in pursuit of a change. Some of these volunteers apply individually to KWS either through Training Manager or Director. Others apply through registers foreign and/or local volunteer/safari organizations. These guidelines are reviewed from time-to-time depending on work programme and key performance areas as outlined in the strategic plans. Volunteers placement has normally lasted between one or two months and on very rare occasions has it extended to three months.
The placement entails attaching volunteers to KWS staff, Parks or Reserves managed by KWS. During the placement, volunteers enjoy the use of KWS equipment (vehicles, machines, etc ). The use of such service property presents a cost to KWS in terms time and money, and sometimes causes inconvenience to their field supervisors. In the recent past, the number of international volunteers applications to kws has continued to surge to a level that requires regulations.
More often, volunteers want to do something physical to benefit KWS, while learning and gaining experience from the same process. In addition, some of the organizations who seek placement for their volunteers often want to donate in the kind to KWS, yet procedures on how to go about it are not spelt out. I view of the aforementioned, there is need to develop guidelines to regulate volunteer placement.
The volunteer guidelines have been drafted with the aim of guiding placement of all cadres of volunteers in KWS in order to ensure efficient placement and exchange/transfer of knowledge and skills among parties involved. The main objectives if the volunteer guidelines include:
- Define the various categories of volunteers;
- Spell out terms and conditions for placement of various cadres of volunteers in KWS;
- Regulate placement of volunteers in KWS;
- Manage volunteers.
Definition of terms
Volunteer: Person who willingly enlists to offer a service because he/she chooses to do so. The services so offered do not attract monitory or material compensation to the volunteer. For the purpose of these guidelines, the volunteers are categorized as follows.
- Local Volunteers: These are Kenyans who have completed schooling and have had some previous working experiences. The main objective of their placement is to facilitate them to acquire more field experience and skills acquired in earlier employments. They are not expected to pay any money but none the less must be indemnified. They must also be subjected to code of conduct, which explains the dos and don’ts while attached to KWS;
- Local students on attachments: Kenyan citizens stud6ying in public or private institutions I Kenya or abroad. Their placement is objectively academic, which is part of their study requirements. They are not expected to pay any money but none the less must be indemnified . They must also be subjected to the code of conduct, which explains the do’s and don’ts while attached to KWS;
- Local Interns: Kenyan citizens who have just completed their studies and who do not have any work experience. The main objective of their placement is to equip them with the necessary job experience to make them more competitive in the job market. They are not expected to pay any money but none the less must be indemnified. They must also be subjected to a code of conduct, which explains the dos and don’ts while attached to KWS;
- Individual International Volunteers: Foreign volunteers who apply to KWS as individuals. This group constitutes both individuals who have had prior job experience as well as foreign interns who have recently completed their studies. They are mainly people seeking placement/attachment to acquire foreign work experience or desire to experience a change in their normal working environment;
- Foreign Students on Attachment: Non- Kenyan students who are studying in foreign or in Kenyan learning institutions. Their placement is purely academic as a requirement in their studies;
- Organized Foreign Volunteers: Foreign volunteers whose applications are done through registered local or international volunteer organizations. They are usually come in groups of two or more.
Placement of volunteers
The following guidelines will be observed while attaching volunteers to the various KWS division, sections, departments, sections, stations, parks and reserves:
- All volunteers will submit an application for placement at least two months prior to the commencement of the attachment period. KWS will maintain a volunteer database where information pertaining to volunteer placements will be stored for ease of reference and regulations;
- The office of Head of Human Capital in collaborations with Deputy Directors will evaluate all applications and placement will be done subject to availability of a vacancy in the relevant department/section/unit, park or reserve. KWS reserves the right to attach a volunteer to any of its protected areas where a suitable vacancy exists, and not necessarily the preferred choice of the volunteer;
- Once enlisted as a volunteer, the individual shall not be expected to pay normal daily parks entry fees. However, a one-time placement fee will be charged as per the categories below:
- Individual international Volunteers: They will be charged a placement fee of USD.180.00 for a maximum of THREE months attachment period. Any additional placement period would attract USD 90.00 a month;
- Foreign Students on Attachment: They should pay a placement fee of USD 90.00 for a maximum of two months. Any additional placement period would attract USD. 65.00 a month;
- Organized Foreign Volunteers: They will be charged a placement fee of USD 416 per volunteer for each month’s attachment period. Any additional placement period would attract USD 138 a month. In addition, a donation in kind of shall be negotiated between the volunteer company and the KWS volunteer- user Department depending on its needs.
- KWS is not liable for any loss, injury or death suffered by any volunteer within its Protected Areas or premises during the attachment period. As such, all categories of volunteers must complete and sign indemnity forms at KWS Training Office prior to embarking on the attachment activities;
- All volunteer placements must be limited to a maximum of THREE months. Any extension thereafter will attract additional placement levy as stated in 3 above;
- Proof of financial support must be submitted with the application forms before consideration for placement;
- No volunteer is entitled to any form of material compensation during the attachment period;
- The placement fee does not entitle any volunteer to KWS staff/employee benefits or privileges. This includes housing and transport except within the parks;
- All tasks, productions and projects done on behalf of KWS shall remain the sole property of KWS unless written approval is sought before reproducing or claiming benefits or recognition on the basis of work/projects undertaken on behalf of KWS while under the volunteer program;
- KWS will issue on request, letters confirming the volunteers’ attachment and outlining skills acquired during his/her placement;
- Volunteers will adhere to existing park rules and regulations at all times. Besides, they must carry themselves with dignity and respect;
- The warden and other relevant officers in KWS in consultation with the head of Human Capital and Deputy Directors can terminate any volunteer placement where the volunteer has violated any of the rules and regulations stipulated herein.