Kenya

Training

The Peace Corps uses a competency-based training approach throughout the continuum of learning, supporting you from arrival in-country to your departure. Learn more about the Peace Corps' approach to training

  • Pre-service training in-country is conducted by Peace Corps staff, most of whom are locally hired trainers. To foster integration into the community, trainees live with a host family during training. Training covers technical, linguistic, cross-cultural, health, and safety and security topics. 
  • Technical training involves formal sessions and practical assignments working in the community. 
  • Language training incorporates formal lessons (five days a week in small groups) and a community-based approach. In addition to classroom time, you will have assignments in the community and with your host family. The goal is to establish basic social communication skills, with a plan to practice and further develop your language skills. You will be tested on language proficiency during service. 
  • Cross-cultural and community development training will help you understand your cultural values, those held in-country, and your role as a development facilitator. Training will cover concepts of time, power and hierarchy, gender roles, communication styles, relationships and self, and resiliency. You will also participate in cultural events and learn about local history and mentality. 

You will be trained in health prevention, basic first aid, and treatment of medical illnesses found in-country. During the safety and security training sessions, you will learn how to reduce risks at home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn strategies for coping with unwanted attention, how to identify safety risks in-country, and about Peace Corps’ emergency response and support systems. 

Additional training during Volunteer service include in-service training after one to three months at your site, mid-service training, and close-of-service conference.

Pre-Service Training

The most important function of Peace Corps staff is to provide support for Volunteers. Support does not imply daily supervision of Volunteers’ work, nor does it imply assuming parental roles. Volunteer support implies an ongoing interaction between Volunteers and all Peace Corps staff regarding how you handle such matters as your overall adjustment to the Peace Corps, your job assignment, and your community. Your APCD is responsible for making regular visits to your site to assist you in any way possible in your orientation in-country. Additionally, the country director, training staff and the Peace Corps medical officer (PCMO) make periodic visits to Volunteer sites. Training will be busy for everyone. You will often work over eight hours a day, five days a week. Be prepared for a rigorous, full schedule. The principal objectives of training are to provide a learning environment that enables you to develop the language (Kiswahili for all, Kenyan Sign Language for deaf educators), technical, and cultural skills; knowledge; and attitude necessary to work and live in Kenya. The community/school-based approach used as the main training method means you will spend most of your time learning by working in your communities or schools and then reflecting on your experiences during formal sessions. You will spend most days in the field, completing hands-on, practical tasks and participating in group discussions, lectures, and field trips. Every two weeks, you will spend one or two days at the training center, or in one of the schools for deaf educators, discussing what you learned the previous week, preparing for the next work week, and attending essential cross-cultural, health, safety, administrative, and integration sessions. All of the training staff members are Kenyan nationals with solid experience in training Volunteers. They are helped by Volunteers, who share their personal experiences and provide a bi-national perspective as a bridge to support your transition from life in the United States to a job and life in Kenya. Though we value other Volunteers’ experiences in training, each Peace Corps Volunteer’s experiences are as unique and individual as the person who enters Peace Corps service. The fact is that the only real answers to your many questions will be your own. Bring an open mind.

Technical Training

Technical training will prepare you to work in Kenya by building on the skills you already have and helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Kenya experts, and current Volunteers will conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer. Technical training will include sessions on the general economic and political environment in Kenya and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Kenyan agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them. You will be supported and evaluated throughout the training to build the confidence and skills you need to undertake your project activities and be a productive member of your community.

Language Training

As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance, they help you integrate into your community, and they can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Therefore, language training is at the heart of the training program. You must successfully meet minimum language requirements to complete training and become a Volunteer. Kenyan language instructors teach formal language classes five days a week in small groups of four to five people. Your language training will incorporate a community-based approach. In addition to classroom time, you will be given assignments to work on outside of the classroom and with your host family. The goal is to get you to a point of basic social communication skills so you can practice and develop language skills further once you are at your site. Prior to being sworn in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your service.

Cross-Cultural Training

As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Kenyan host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Families go through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of pre-service training and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Kenya. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.

Health Training

During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You will be expected to practice preventive health care and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. Trainees are required to attend all medical sessions. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that you might encounter while in Kenya. Nutrition, mental health, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also covered.

Safety and Security Training

During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces your risks at home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service.