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Last year we reached over 12,000 people in Kenya with our work to support the rights of children and adults with disabilities, build social accountability, and create new livelihood opportunities for young people.

VSO has been in Kenya since 1959. Since 2000, we've also provided skilled Kenyans to volunteer on projects around the world. Today, we deliver high-impact development projects in education, livelihoods and social accountability in 21 counties.

Including children with disabilities in education

Children sitting at a bench at a school in Kenya ©VSO/Martijn Roos

Kenyans with disabilities have faced misunderstanding and stigma. Whilst understanding of their rights has greatly improved, with legislation introduced to protect these, people with disabilities are still not fully included, especially in education. Some 16% of Kenyan children and young people with disabilities are out of school.

VSO Kenya wants to improve the learning outcomes for all children with disabilities, including literacy and numeracy. We also address issues of access and appropriate teaching. Our recent results have included:

  • Publishing a landmark survey into special educational needs of Kenyan children with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. It reveals gaps in access and the urgent shortage of teachers with specialised training to respond to special educational needs.
  • Training 79 teachers in teaching methodology to support deaf children, including Kenya Sign Language and developing teaching aids
  • National and international volunteers setting up three pilot community learning centres in Bungoma, Nandi and Kwale counties to support deaf children and their families in sign language communication, and psychological support. Over 120 deaf children and their families have benefited from services at the centre. Outreach activities identified a further 200+ children with impaired hearing in the community, who were assessed andreferred to specialist services
  • Deaf and hearing Kenyan volunteers supporting schools for the deaf. Children's clubs were also set up for socialisation of deaf children, including one specialised English club to improve English literacy among deaf children
  • Developing social inclusion training for youth volunteers on VSO's ICS programme, as well as partners and host families

Empowering youth

Around 17% of Kenyan youths are unemployed. VSO Kenya wants to support youth to become more economically self-sufficient and resilient against natural shocks, like crop failure, and environmental changes. Recent work has included:

  • Supporting 70 youth polytechnics in Muranga County to successfully lobby government to pass a law improving welfare for vocational instructors and providing additional financial support for vocational education
  • Encouraging a culture of youth volunteerism and enterprise through the ICS youth volunteering programme
  • Seeing the National Volunteerism policy, which VSO took a lead role in developing and advocating for, coming into law

Social accountability

March for deaf rights in Kenya | VSO ICS VSO/Jeffrey DeKock

Deaf awareness march in Kapsabet, Kenya, organised by Deafway ICS volunteers. Photo: VSO/Jeffrey DeKock 

‘Social accountability’ means ordinary citizens taking part in holding decision-makers to account. Development cannot truly be considered pro-poor unless it is the most disadvantaged people themselves pushing for their needs to be met.

VSO Kenya wants to ensure that the most marginalised citizens have a voice in the decisions that affect them. Recent work has included:

  • Using community scorecards in Kwale and Taita Taveta counties as a tool to promote accountability to citizens
  • Supporting technological approaches to enhancing social accountability, including web portals for open dialogue, digital surveying and mapping, and online training courses
  • Supporting the formation of the Taita Taveta Civil Society Organisations Forum to promote more collaborative working and amplify the collective voice of the people


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Contact us

Interested in finding out more about our work in Kenya? We’d love to hear from you.

Location: VSO Kenya, Timau Plaza 5th Floor, Argwings Kodhek Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (+254) 20 387 1700 / 1823 / 6031 / 6011, (+254) 20 501 6000
Fax: (+254) 20 387 6013

Interested in volunteering?

Find out more about volunteering in Kenya