Short and longterm volunteering roles, Kenya (Arabuko Farm)

About Arabuko Farm

Watamu and Malindi are located in the North Coast of Malindi – about 100-120km from Mombasa. Watamu is a prime beach resort at 20km from Malindi and is also home to the Gede Ruins. Malindi is a small town in the coastal region of Kenya. The tourism sector has become less important in the past years and agriculture and horticulture are becoming more important.

Traditionally a lot of cashew and mango is grown in the area, and there is vegetables and maize growing in the hinterland and along the Galana river. The human development indicators are showing that the area is very poor in terms of social indicators and income. Climate change is leading to increasing rainfall along the first kilometers of the coastal strip, which makes rain-fed fruit farming more and more viable. With fruit being a perennial crop, farmers can benefit from a long period of approximately (> 20 years). Agribusiness Concepts (ABC) has set up a demonstration fruit farm (Arabuko Farm) bordering Arabuko Sokoke Forest (15 km from Malindi). ABC initially started as a consultancy company but found that more impact can be made by demonstrating and facilitating local farmers. Besides horticulture, ABC is also active in forestry and fruit processing.

Current status

At Arabuko Farm, 2.5 hectares have been fully developed with a wide range of fruit trees (various citrus, mango, banana, papaya, guava, passion fruit, etc), berries, and vegetables. A mix of indigenous and exotic trees has also been planted. The fruit trees have been mixed with other crops such as passion fruit and have been planted according to the latest insights on fruit farming. The fruit trees are partly irrigated by drip irrigation and partly by manual watering, so both systems can be demonstrated. The farm produces its own compost and has a tree nursery. There is a training center and a research and development facility, with the aim to make the farm a knowledge hub for horticulture in the coastal region. An additional 1.5 hectares are being developed now, including greenhouses for the propagation of vegetables and the production of vegetable seeds. Arabuko Farm is developing other innovative hydroponics solutions for vegetable growing and is experimenting with crops that are new to the coastal region. To create a sustainable demonstration farm, we are currently developing new hospitality provisions to provide customers with a cross-cultural experience, assist with conservation programs, and discover the challenges of the regenerative movement.

What the short term positions involve

Arabuko Farms want to demonstrate various methods of horticulture and landscape restoration and- protection. At Arabuko Farm, we have currently planted 2.400 fruit trees and are continuously creating new experiments. At Arabuko Farm we want to further develop our experiments and extend its current position as a knowledge hub. Arabuko Farm tries to demonstrate a lion’s share of innovation needed to support the local smallholder towards regenerative agriculture. Secondly, raising awareness through education and training should lead to the adoption of sustainable business models by local communities. Daily activities for volunteers include working in the plant nursery, on the fruit farm, and on various pilot projects such as fish farming, syntropic farming etc.

What the longterm position involves

In order to monetarize and further develop our projects at the farm we are looking for enthusiastic assistant camp managers who are looking to create an impact on the regenerative development in the coastal region of East Africa, by helping us to develop or improve the following projects during a 3 – 6 month stay:

• Supporting the propagation and growth of different plants specimen at our own nursery at Arabuko Farm.

• Further development of new methods for sustainable agriculture demonstration in the coastal region of Kenya.

• Creating digital exposure for Arabuko Farm to stimulate eco-tourism.

• Expanding the position of Arabuko Farm as a knowledge hub for horticulture in the coastal region.

• Support ongoing innovation projects such as intercropping, hydroponics, aquaponics, rainwater harvesting, and irrigation.

• Selection and propagation of new trees

• Expanding the outreach towards (fruit)tree planting within the local community.

Note: It is possible to adjust the work package according to your working experience and personal interests. These tasks are an indication of the potential benefits that a volunteer can bring to the camp.

Skills required

Ecosystem Restoration Communities and Arabuko Farm are looking for a dedicated volunteer who is eager to learn more about rehabilitating the earth. Someone who loves the outdoor lifestyle and has a positive work attitude. Although there is some guidance, we are still looking for someone who enjoys a good adventure and can function autonomously. The volunteer(s) will go in the field and assist us to improve the horticultural development of Arabuko Farm.

At Arabuko Farm we are looking for someone who can monitor and evaluate the progress of the plants and fruit trees. With this information, we can find the right co-existence between humans and nature which we can demonstrate to the different farmers in the region. Arabuko Farm can perform an even bigger role within the local community. To accomplish our community goals, we are looking for someone who enjoys cross-cultural interactions. We are currently looking for someone who has experience in one or more of these topics: intercropping, hydroponics, aquaponics, rainwater harvesting, irrigation, propagation, horticulture, and marketing. On the other hand, projects such as community outreach and many of the mentioned topics can be learned on the job. Through the process of experiential learning, the volunteer can learn by reflecting with the management on the experiences on the farm. This will eventually create conceptual insights and practical expertise about the topics. We recommend volunteers who have no experience in the activities of the projects on the farm to stay for a period longer than two months. This allows the volunteer to individually work on the project with the knowledge acquired by the experiential learning process.

Lastly, we would like to emphasize that a positive hands-on mentality is the most important quality.

Where are you going to live, work and eat?

Simple lodging for short term volunteers is available in a shared twin room, with outside toilet and shower. The longterm volunteer accommodation (assistant camp manager) is housed in a private room with en suite toilet and shower. We provide volunteers ingredients to prepare 3 meals a day, mostly simple African food, which be prepared together in the Swahilian kitchen and enjoyed along with Koromi employees. If you enjoy more western food, then you can opt to do your groceries in the neighbouring villages or nearest cities (Malindi and Watamu). Former volunteers enjoyed a lunch at the neighbouring village called Kakuyuni, which consisted of beans and chapati. A lunch in the villages will cost approximately 100 Kenyan shillings (0.80-euro cents). This has been a great way for the past volunteers to encounter the local community and thus we highly advice our volunteers to seek and gastronomical journey in the neighboring villages. Drinking water is always provided at the accommodation.

If the volunteer(s) prefers to stay in one of the neighboring easily accessible towns, we will try to find you suitable accommodation within the town center. The farm is easily accessible by car or motorbike. One of the most used means of transportation (boodha boodha) is approximately 20 minutes from the Arabuko Farm to the center of Malindi.

Volunteers are required to partially contribute to their accommodation and food expenses as listed below, and they are required to cover their insurance and travel expenses too.

(Price in Euros)1 week2 weeks3 weeks4 weeks8 weeks12 weeks4 – 6 months
Stay on the farm350600850110020002800800 per month
Stay in Malindi40080011501500280036001000 per month

Depending on your professionalism, performance and experience, it might be possible to extend your stay whereby conditions of stay will be discussed with Arabuko’s manager.

What you can do you your free time

Arabuko Farm works with different eco-restoration and agroforestry projects in the area. Therefore, you will be able to visit the different sites and get an overarching understanding of the main developments in eco-restoration and agroforestry. It is possible to also stay at one of the projects. Please inform us if you desire extra information or look at our other project called Koromi Farm.

Furthermore, we can help you to organize sightseeing, hiking trips, and safaris. With our many years of experience with volunteers and positions within the local community, we developed an extensive network to connect you with the right people and make your adventures come true.

How to apply

A truly and fulfilling experience awaits! If you are excited about a short or longterm volunteering position, please email your motivation letter and CV to us as soon as possible, along with any questions you have pertaining to this position. It is also possible to explain your motivation by a virtual meeting.

Learn more about Koromi River and Arabuka Farm