Since 2003, Adventure Alternative have been offering medical elective placements in several areas of Kenya to students interested in combining their elective with the experience of differing lifestyles, cultures and medical practice and treatment in developing countries. We integrate our medical students with the community and provide security and support through the very strong network of representatives and staff that we have in Kenya.
In Kenya opportunities are available in district and provincial hospitals and rural or slum clinics, or a combination of both which will provide you with an invaluable insight in to medicine and life throughout a developing country. In this case, there is a minimum placement of 3 weeks in each location.
Accommodation is provided in our guest houses across Kenya which you will share with fellow students, volunteers and teachers in a safe and social environment, living and experiencing the traditional way of life.
Our Elective experiences are not just for individuals, many people come as a small group of friends who want to share this unique experience together and we can accommodate small groups who want to share a similar experience no problem, whether that is in the same departments or in different departments within the same hospital.
After arrival in Kenya you will be met at the airport by a member of staff from Adventure Alternative Kenya and transfer to a secure camp on the outskirts of Nairobi where you will remain if your Elective is in Nairobi or transfer to the location of your Elective, accompanied by a member of staff from Adventure Alternative Kenya, where you stay in our guest houses outside of Nairobi.
Our standard elective programme lasts for 4 weeks and they can be completed at any time of the year. We are able to arrange longer placements and programmes to suit individual interests and requirements upon request. The minimum length of time that you can spend on an elective is 4 weeks and this will limit you to one choice of location, 6 weeks and more gives you the opportunity to gain experience from two separate hospitals in different locations.
We make all the arrangements with the hospital and/or clinics and provide strong staff back-up to introduce you to life in Kenya, and assist you with the working routine. They are there to help you through each step of your experience and make sure that you get a good idea of the social side of life in Kenya, it is very colourful and a lot of fun. We make your stay comfortable and secure without missing out on the essence of being in such diverse and incredible continent.
At all times you will have contact with us in the main office in the UK. Adventure Alternative Kenya is a subsidiary of the Adventure Alternative so you can be sure that we will remain responsible for you and have contact with both you and all of our staff.
Medical Elective Kenya cost: £950.00
- £950 is based on a 4 week Elective, any extra weeks are £150 per week
- Airport transfers
- Transport between elective locations (accompanied by Adventure Alternative staff)
- Accommodation and costs (electricity, gas, etc) in Adventure Alternative Guest Houses
- Weekly allowance for food and local transport
- Financial investment made to hospitals and clinics on your behalf
- Financial investment made to Moving Mountains projects on your behalf
- The cost of your placement at the clinic/hospital plus all supervision
- UK administration and organisation
- Kenyan staff and administration costs
- International airfare to Nairobi
- Kenyan Visa - can be purchased on arrival ($50/Â£30)
- Vaccinations/malarial tablets
- Travel Insurance
- Personal expenses for weekend visits, independent travel, souvenirs, etc
We can put together Elective itineraries all year round, preferably arriving in Nairobi on a Saturday or before so that you have time to settle in to your new surroundings. This also ensures that we have time to transfer you to your Elective location (if it is outside Nairobi) and have you in place and ready to start your Elective on a Monday morning.
You can plan your departure from the Sunday on the last week of your Elective, however most people remain in Kenya for at least one extra week to experience some more of what Kenya has to offer, whether that is a safari, climb on Mt Kenya, trip to the coastal region or even an extra week volunteering on one of our Moving Mountains projects, everything is possible and if you think that any of this would be of interest then let us know and we'll put together a special discounted price for any extra's.
When it comes to health and travel insurance, do get this organised well in advance of your trip. If you intend to undertake certain “higher risk” activities such as skiing, scuba diving or perhaps the odd ski dive then ensure you take out adequate cover. Many travel insurance companies offer annual or multi-trip insurance for just a few pounds more. If you think you might take another trip before or after you return from your elective then you would probably save money this way.
Remember to take a close look at what your policy will and won't cover - not only your health but your personal belongings too. Most electives are for at least a month and the more time you spend travelling the more likely it is that something will get lost or stolen along the way. The safest tip is to only bring essential items. For the things you can’t do without, if they are of value, be sure that they are covered on your travel insurance policy (remembering to take the 'excess' into account).
Adventure Alternative runs its own company in Kenya called Adventure Alternative Kenya. This company is a registered tour operator and headed up by Kelly Kioko (see our staff page). The company looks after all of your daily needs and manages you whilst in Kenya. The company has a large set up in Nairobi and bases all over the country. It has qualified and experienced staff, vehicles and a large store of equipment and the expertise to ensure your trip runs smoothly, professionally and safely. All the staff have been with us for over a decade and have been trained to a very high standard. They are well used to working with Westerners and will enjoy showing you their country and making sure you have a great time.
- Rucksack or duffle, 65-90 litres (check airline for weight allowance)
- Small day pack, approx 20-25 litres (hand luggage for flight)
- Clothing should be conservative and comfortable
- Lightweight waterproof jacket
- Warm fleece
- Comfortable footwear & trainers
- Flip flops/sandals
- Wide brim sunhat
- Sun glasses with good UV protection
- Sun cream - with a high UVA protection
- Wash kit and travel towel
- Camera - plus charger unit
- Mobile phone - an old model which is unlocked
- Head torch - LED are best
- Money belt - to conceal cash, passports, etc
- Personal first aid kit
- 1 litre aluminium water bottle (helps to keep water cool)
- Insect repellent
- Small padlocks with security code
- Country guide book
- Local language phrasebook
- Notebook, stationery, pens
- Well established developmental perspective with a keen eye on integrity and emphasis on social entrepreneurship and global health education
- Flexible electives with no fixed dates
- Close relationships with placement hospitals and clinics
- Our funding model fulfils the criteria of Fair Trade Volunteering.
- All our full time staff are trained and experienced in working with Western people
- We actively support the local economy and promote social entrepreneurship through an equitable model of collaboration and â€˜trade not aidâ€™.
- We do not sub-contract our responsibilities
- Our UK office staff regularly visit Kenya & Nepal so you can chat to people who understand what itâ€™s like to go to there for the first time
- We run free Medical Camps in Nepal and Kenya and depending on your Elective dates it may be possible to get involved with these
- Comprehensive pre-departure advice and support, 24/7 medical support during your trip and qualified supervision who have worked with us for many years.
- Safe accommodation and a cash kitty for your use to buy your own food and cook yourselves, or staff on hand to help teach you local culinary cuisine!
- We work in just a few destinations where we have worked hard to promote long term relationships that have a clear benefit for all stakeholders.
- Very interesting variety of cases, treatments and patient care in different .environments offering a chance to expand your medical knowledge and enhance understanding of disease progression.
- Our electives meet the requirements of British medical schools.
Adventure Alternative have a wide variety of placements available including medical, nursing, physiotherapy and dentistry. Strong links with all the hospitals and clinics have been developed through both Adventure Alternative and our charity Moving Mountains. Click the more info tabs to the right to read the full services and facilities offered by each of the clinics/hospitals.
In Nairobi we offer placements at St Marys Mission Hospital and Ushirika Community Clinic. St Marys is a small hospital serving some of the poorest communities in Nairobi with affordable and quality healthcare. Ushirika is based in sub Saharan Africa’s largest slum - Kibera and runs outreach programmes for HIV/Aids patients within the slum.
In Western Kenya we offer placements in Siaya District Hospital and Dophil Community Clinic. Siaya is a rural area close to Lake Victoria and the Ugandan border. Siaya District is a large teaching hospital serving an extremely large population of rural living people and Dophil is a private clinic about 20 minutes drive from our Guest House on the grounds of Ulamba Orphanage.
In Eastern Kenya we can offer placements at the Embu Provincial Hospital and the Dallas Dispensary Clinic. Embu is a peaceful town on the southern slopes of Mt Kenya though the Provincial hospital is a relatively large teaching hospital and the main hospital serving the Eastern Province. It is also going through quite a large expansion and will soon be Kenya's third largest referral hospital. Dallas Dispensary is located in a slum of the same name which is the most densely-populated area in Embu.
Kelly Kioki is the Director of our company, Adventure Alternative Kenya. He is also a trustee of our NGO, Moving Mountains Kenya, as are many of the staff who are employed through Adventure Alternative Kenya. Many have been involved with Moving Mountains as beneficiaries since childhood and are now employed by Adventure Alternative full-time and it is this unique relationship and development that ensures a team of hard working and dedicated staff who are committed to both the development of Moving Mountains in Kenya and to ensuring that you gain the best possible experience in a setting that is both relevant, enjoyable and rewarding.
All of the regions where we operate have a long history with Adventure Alternative. Through the relationships we have built you will find a huge support network of amazing and caring people. However, this does not mean that you have no freedom! What you have is someone to always turn to for advice or guidance, someone to help you settle into your surroundings and help you as you develop into your role. Our team is made up of councillors, project managers, local chiefs, head teachers, health care workers, house staff, drivers – the list goes on and on! All of these people are there to ensure you have a great time and are comfortable and aware of what you are doing. They are also fun, energetic people who have your happiness as their priority.
ACTIVITIES AND HIGHLIGHTS
Aside from the Elective experience there will be plenty to do in free time, at the weekends and/or before and after your Elective. Kenya has so much to offer visitors and there is never a shortage for something to do, whether that is volunteering on a local Moving Mountains project or visiting a local tourist attraction on a day trip, climbing Mount Kenya, travelling down to the beautiful coastline and warm waters of the Indian Ocean, or taking in a safari to one of Kenya's many National Parks and Game Reserves; our staff in country and in the UK can help with the planning, organisation and advice to make any of this happen.
Adventure Alternative and our charity Moving Mountains have always supported all the hospitals and clinics that we work with and at least 10% of what you pay Adventure Alternative for your Elective is donated directly to the hospitals and clinics via Moving Mountains. This donation accumulates with the donations made on behalf of all the Medical Students, the hopsitals/clinics then provide a list of current requirements and we purchase the equipment... It works really well and over the years we have provided £1000's worth of essential drugs, equipment and buildings/renovation work to all the hospitals and clinics which we work with.
Building work is more likely to happen at the smaller clinics which play a vital role in taking some of the workload off the hospitals. So for example, at Dophil in Western Kenya, which is a satellite clinic to Siaya District, we built an operating theatre which can deal with all the minor operations that Siaya District previously performed.
Aside from this, Adventure Alternative will also give a donation to specific Moving Mountains projects in the area's that you work. So for example, if you stay in Embu for 4 weeks another 10,000 Shillings (estimated £75) will be given to Moving Mountains from Adventure Alternative on your behalf, that money is different to the hospital donation and helps to offset our long term Moving Mountains project costs... So, the feeding program for the street children in Embu costs Moving Mountains about 85,000 Shillings a month, so by you simply coming to work at Embu Provincial you are directly benefiting our MM projects too, it's a great example of commerce supporting charity and we can see the effects it has, particularly on the bank balance of our charity. Having 4 people in Embu for the same month will basically cover the costs of nearly half of a program that provides food twice a day for well over 100 street boys and girls who you will more than likely get to know and love during your time in Embu.
VALUE OF YOUR VISIT
Adventure Alternative spear heads fair trade tourism; We believe that this should always play a big part of any Adventure Alternative trip and hopefully you will realise that by coming on an Elective with Adventure Alternative it is not just about what you get from the experience but what you give back, both financially through payments made on your behalf to Moving Mountains but also from your skills, time and effort in the hospitals and clinics.
Financially you are given a weekly food allowance so that you can buy and prepare your own food. All of this money is generally spent in the local shops and markets. Your time in Kenya also allows us to employ many people and has allowed us to set up and develop a great team of Kenyan staff – many of whom are former beneficiaries of our charity.
Your time in Kenya on a Medical Elective continues over two decades of work in the many hospitals and clinics and locations around the country. It’s this vision and longevity which makes these trips unique, safe and fulfilling for all that are involved.
Full details of our medical contributions and charitable projects can be found at our Moving Mountains website. Adventure Alternative was the winner of the Responsible Tourism Award in 2009 in the Best Personal Contribution category, and we are member of the Tourism Concern Ethical Tour Operators Group.
TYPE OF PEOPLE
The elective program is not only open to Medical students; we also have elective opportunities available for Midwifery, Physiotherapy, Dentistry and Nursing students too. We can also cater for professional placements and work experience.
A Medical Elective to Kenya should attract people who have a real desire to explore a country and understand both it's development needs and also appreciate it's uniqueness. This will take an open mind, initiative and a sense of curiosity about the world. We really want people to come back from our trips and use their experiences to gain skills and help them in their career and lives. It may even contribute to people making some significant life choices.
To successfully undertake a medical placement with us you will also need to be enthusiastic, mature and sensible as well as adaptable and versatile. You do not need to have previously travelled abroad but you do need to appreciate that living and working in Africa is very different to life at home. You also need to be respectful and appreciate that by undertaking such a placement that you will be looked up to by the entire community so you need to be a good role model. Most importantly though, you need to have initiative and a good sense of humour and enjoy having a good time.
All our Electives are tailor made to suit your specific requirements, however the minimum length of time that you can spend on an Elective in Kenya is 4 weeks, and with this option you can only gain experience in one location. If you would like to experience two different locations, possibly mixing a rural and a city location then you must spend a minimum of 6 weeks on your Elective.
Obviously some hospitals and clinics will provide more services, departments and facilities than others but we will help place you in suitable locations and provide every opportunity to build your elective around preferred departments and experience.
You will be expected to work a minimum of five shifts per week with each shift being an average of 8 hours long. Weekly rota’s will be arranged on the ground with your supervising doctor or consultant and will be designed according to your preferences.
There is also plenty to get involved with on your days off. Each area will have local attractions and areas of natural beauty to visit and you will be more than welcome to help out with Moving Mountains projects.
During your time in Kenya you should expect the following:
• A range of conditions which you are unlikely to have seen in practice in developed countries but with an ever increasing travelling public is more likely back home in the future.
• To gain invaluable experience in managing situations with limited resources and prioritising where there are little or no assumptions beforehand.
• To be involved with communities in planning and developing health promotion program’s allowing multi-disciplinary team work and leadership skills.
• To develop personal, financial and organisational skills within a broad ecological criteria, sensitive to environmental, social and cultural requirements.
• To be part of a program that increases the profile of health care in the community and possibly more important psychological implications of HIV, hepatitis and orphans.
We appreciate that at the weekends or before/after your stay with Adventure Alternative you may decide to independently travel to areas where Adventure Alternative does not have staff or a local presence. In this case our staff can advise you on the safest modes of transport and locations however we cannot be held responsible for you or your safety. We can, when possible, assist however this response is governed by distance, logistics and location.
Your time in Kenya allows us to properly support a number of businesses and charitable projects through investment in staff, upkeep, development, training or simply hiring or utilising existing skills or supplies. By coming out with Adventure Alternative we also make a charitable donation to every institution where you work. Adventure Alternative also uses profits to run the charity Moving Mountains so that it does not have administrative overheads.
The local benefits felt due to you spending time with us in Kenya are huge. Starting at the grassroots level you will directly help all of the patients that you work with. Wider than this then you impact upon the family and friends of your patients, of whom there are many; families in Kenya can be very big! Then there are the doctors and nurses whose work load is lightened by you being there. As the net broadens you also benefit the community by spending your allowance in the local shops, on entertainment, weekend visits or day trips. You also allow us to employ many great people, many of whom where once sponsored by our charity but now employed by the company. Then if you stand back and look at the big picture, one which is and has been a long term plan of Moving Mountains - the continual development of the charity and the locations where the charity works. Your role continues this work and the time you spend there forms part of this ongoing process and all along this journey you are not only giving to the local community but also developing yourself.
To confirm a place on an elective you should follow the instructions on the 'Book Now' link. We also require a letter from your university stating that you are a genuine Medical student at that institution and which year you are expected to graduate, this can be posted or scanned and emailed to us at a later date. We can provide a confirmation letter which will have all the information required for your University application (name of supervisor, hospital details, address of Adventure Alternative Kenya, etc).
No specific training is required before an Elective however we would highly recommend that you read up on Kenya before you travel, in particular the areas that you are planning to travel to. Prior knowledge on the history, cultures, tribes and local customs will only enhance your trip. We also strongly recommend that you examine the ethics of your trip by reading the article on the right hand side of this page entitled Ethics of a Medical Elective, and also Resources and Reading. We really cannot stress enough the need to read widely about the nature of electives, the pros and cons and the wider picture regarding development and how we attempt to uphold the principles of the MDGs and the NGO Code of Conduct.
The majority of Kenyans speak very good English and you will have very little trouble communicating but you may find it useful learning a few key Swahili words and phrases. Kenyans will love that you have made an effort to learn their language.
Without doubt you will witness the strong links between Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and the clinics and hospitals that you are placed in. As such you will be an ambassador to both Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and there will be many people looking to you as a role model. However you are not expected to see patients as a qualified Doctor, and it is important that you make it clear to the medical supervisor that your role is limited in this respect, and that the patients have the right to know if they are being seen by a student. Clearly a foreign visitor can create expectations so your ability to communicate is important, as well as our responsibility to create intelligent relationships.
Moving Mountains, with the help and support of Adventure Alternative, has successfully assisted many people and projects around the country. To be able to do this in countries where corruption is a common human trait is no easy task. It takes careful assessment, implementation and management over many years. It also takes years to understand the principles of aid and charity within such communities. Any charitable donations should be made through the appropriate channels and advice should always be sought from our staff.
THE PROMISE TO MOVING MOUNTAINS
Adventure Alternative works with the Moving Mountains Trust which operates NGOs in Kenya and Nepal and carries out many long term projects and programmes. ‘MM’ was started by Director Gavin Bate during many years working in aid work and development, and ‘AA’ is the company that provides revenue and investment for many of them to become financially self-sufficient.
This relationship between company and charity began in 1991 and our elective programme has sprung from the relationships we have with the medical authorities and the communities which you will visit.
More than just an elective provider, we run long term ongoing medical programmes alongside our NGO and also at the request of local communities and hospitals. We have worked with medical authorities in many locations to ensure ongoing continuity as well as medical co-operation with other aspects of our work, for example the children’s homes we build and run, and the satellite private clinics which serve smaller remote communities.
We provide the convenience of an organised elective, and we work to ensure that the time overseas is a highlight of your undergraduate years as well as a necessary addition to your competencies and clinical experience. You can also explore non-clinical skills like teaching, or getting involved with the Moving Mountains programmes, such as helping out in the children’s homes.
Clearly there is an appeal in visiting a different country and culture, but this is also a chance to see relief work first hand and understand how an NGO runs.
Perhaps most importantly it will allow you to see how an organisation with a developmental perspective is upholding the principles of the Millennium Development Goals. Director Gavin Bate has been involved in the overseas development industry for many years and has developed a structure in Adventure Alternative which reflects the unprecedented opportunity of the post-2015 agenda once the MDGs expire. He regularly attends events at the Overseas Development Institute and Business Fights Poverty to ensure that the integrity of the AA trips is upheld.
I firstly just want to say how awesome my experience was in Kenya... the culture, the people, the children... just everything has inspired me to want to do more to try and make some difference to people who need it in the world. The AA staff were brilliant and it was all very well organised.. I also felt that i could always rely on any of the staff there if I needed help or guidance. So this is a huge thank you to you and everyone for making this experience possible for me :) - Mona Zaky, October 2007
The experience I had with Adventure Alternative was one that I will never forget, everyone was extremely helpful and so so kind. Any problems I had were dealt with quickly and without fuss. Every member of staff is genuinely caring about you as a person and it is clear that they want you to have the best experience possible. I had a life changing experience, at the orphanage, the school, the hospital, and every step of the way I had support and friendship from the adventure alternative team. I hope to get back out there, and I have strongly encouraged others to consider travelling with AA also. - April McKeown, February 2009
We have just returned from the most amazing trip to Kenya. What a wonderful country and it very quickly gets under your skin and the wonderful people more difficult to leave by the minute - as you said they would! I just want to thank you all very much indeed for your faultless organisation and extremely good care of us while we were there. You have put together a solid, conscientious and professional team and we are fond of them all. Our trip would not have been so successful without them. Ken is just a star and the best driver - what a dear man and so much success ahead of him I'm sure; Osman has the potential to be a serious chef one day and he looked after us so well in some very basic situations; dear Rosie is constant, competent and flies the MM flag with pride and professionalism; we sadly only met Kelly briefly on Sunday but I just know we would have had some fun with him too. The orphanage simply blew us away, especially Mama Rose and her team. The children are a joy and I think what you are achieving for them is fantastic and we will all remember our time there with great fondness and joy. We were truly spoilt and they could not have done enough for us - very humbling when we were supposed to be putting into their "pot". It was also a privilege to meet Kioni and the work force - he was described by Maurice as "1 and three quarters of a man" which says it all I think. What we have taken away from our short time in Kenya will stay with us forever and you need to know how extremely grateful we are for all you have done for us and how much we value the team we have been so privileged to spend time with during the last few weeks. I'm sure our involvement with MM will continue so I look forward to all that follows. Thank you again and please tell our dear support team how much we enjoyed their company and how much we appreciated all they did for us - we could not have had support any better. - Sara Buck, Electives Network Coordinator, March 2009
ADDITIONAL KIT INFO
If you want to keep in touch with people at home by phone the cheapest and easiest way is to buy a Kenyan Sim card for around 200 Shillings (£1.50). This can be bought anywhere in Kenya and you need to make sure your phone is unlocked to all networks. To send a text from Kenya this way costs around 10 Shillings which is much cheaper than using international roaming. The staff in Kenya will advise which network has good coverage in the area you are placed. Don't worry too much if your phone does not work when you put in a local sim, most phones can be unlocked in Kenya though be aware that the more features that are on the phone the more expensive this will be.
Don't take your most expensive stuff and leave expensive watches and things at home if you can. Be careful with expensive things like ipods, laptops and cameras. Keep your money somewhere safe in a moneybelt. Do not bring large wads of notes with you, if you take sterling cash then make sure they are Bank of England notes, not regional notes eg Northern Irish or Scottish notes.
No need to bring cutlery etc, we have all that for you in each of the guest houses.
When you are working in the hospital and clinics you should dress conservatively and you should carry a white coat and your own stethoscope with you to Kenya.
Dress codes really only apply to women, skirts should at least reach the knee and shoulders should be covered at all times, particularly in rural locations. Expect it to be hot during the day so loose fitting cotton clothing is advisable though it can get cooler in the evening so a fleece is recommended. Depending on the time of year you should also expect some heavy showers so a lightweight waterproof could also be useful.
All our Guest Houses will provide bedding and mosquito nets.
LINKS TO RETAILERS
Graham Tiso – Outdoor stores in Northern Ireland and Scotland - www.tiso.com
Blacks - stores across the UK - www.blacks.co.uk
Cotswold - stores across the UK - www.cotswoldoutdoor.com
53 Degrees North - Stores in Ireland - www.53degreesnorth.ie
Online Outdoor store - www.facewest.co.uk