Projects Abroad Intern taking part in a busy physiotherapy session whilst on her occupational therapy internship in Kenya.

Occupational Therapy Internship in Kenya

Gain practical experience and learn directly from an occupational therapist while treating patients with special needs

At a glance

  • On our occupational Therapy Internship you’ll work alongside an experienced therapist at a hospital or a residential care facility.
  • Observe and learn from professionals while supporting patients. Under supervision, Implement treatment plans for patients with cerebral palsy and autism.
  • Based in the town of Nanyuki in central Kenya, you’ll live with a local host family. Make the most of your free time and explore the country, local food, and traditions.

Start Dates: 

Completely flexible dates

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

One Week


16 or over

Is an Occupational Therapy internship in Kenya right for me?

Do you plan on pursuing a career in occupational therapy? Are you currently enrolled in a related course at university? Would you like to add practical work experience to your CV? Then our Occupational Therapy placement in Kenya is perfect for you!

During your internship, you will work alongside a qualified therapist. This will give you a great opportunity to observe the way they work, and we encourage you to ask questions and make notes. You may also get the chance to help with some practical work under supervision. This will add valuable skills and experience to your CV, and give you interesting points to talk about in applications or interviews.

To join this project, you need to have completed at least one year of studies in occupational therapy or a related field. Your work is supervised, and you can reach out to Projects Abroad staff at any time for support and guidance.   

Our Occupational Therapy placements in Kenya are run year-round and you can join at any time from a minimum of two weeks. We encourage you to stay longer, so you can learn more and have a bigger impact on patients. Please be aware that the residential facility is closed in August, and from the beginning of November to the end of December.

Projects Abroad occupational therapy in Kenya interns are pictured conversing with local doctors outside the hospital during their work experience.

Your work will focus on the following areas:

Work alongside a qualified therapist

For the duration of your Occupational Therapy internship, you will be shadowing an experienced local professional.

This means you will be watching the way they work with patients and learning from them as you go. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and make sure that you understand their treatment methods.

Help assess patients

While you will be learning from a qualified therapist, you will also get to help with patient assessments.

This will include discussing a diagnosis with local staff and fellow interns. Ultimately, you will work out the best course of action to treat the specific challenges faced by the patient. All of this will happen under the supervision of the local occupational therapist.


By showing enthusiasm and demonstrating knowledge and skills, you will soon be able to do some practical work yourself.

This might include helping patients with exercises that will improve their motion. You could also assist them with training for daily life, and help them work toward dressing, bathing, and grooming themselves. Finally, you could also do basic speech therapy with those who have mild impediments. You will continue working under supervision throughout. This is an excellent opportunity to gain occupational therapy work experience while in Kenya.

Where will I be working in Kenya?


You will be based in the town of Nanyuki, about 200km north east of Nairobi. It is a market town, where people from rural areas go so they can stock up on fresh produce, meat, and other essentials. The town is also the gateway to the Laikipia plateau, one of Africa's most important wildlife conservation areas.

You’ll work at a local hospital or with special needs patients in a residential care centre. You will help treat patients of various ages, who have a range of special needs. These might include autism, cerebral palsy, and sensory integration dysfunctions.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Kenya Arrival Procedures page

A typical day as an Occupational Therapy intern in Kenya

Start your day with a hearty breakfast enjoyed around your host family’s table. Then set off to the hospital or residential centre, using public transport or walking. Projects Abroad staff will accompany you on your first day to familiarise you with the route.

Your working day will start at 8:30am. For the first bit of the morning, you will help the local therapist do some basic administration and prepare for the day’s sessions. From about 9:30am, you will accompany him or her on their first rounds of the morning. Use this time to observe their work and make notes for your own sessions later.

Between 12pm and 1:30pm, you will get an hour and a half’s lunch break. If your host family lives close by, you can head home for lunch. Alternatively, you will enjoy a packed lunch at the children’s home or hospital.

After lunch you can discuss assessments with the local therapist and your fellow interns. Together, you can decide on specific therapies for patients.

After this, it’s time for the afternoon therapy shift. You can help patients with mobility exercises, skills development for daily life, or speech therapy. This will happen under the supervision of the local therapist. 

The day ends at 3pm, after which you can head home or catch up with other interns.

Evenings and weekends are your free time to relax, explore, and learn more about Kenyan culture. Be sure to do some travelling with fellow interns, and check out the game reserves in the vicinity or take on a hiking trail or two.

A Projects Abroad intern is pictured interacting with a baby whilst on her occupational therapy internship in Kenya.

What are the aims and impacts of our Occupational Therapy internship in Kenya?

There are two main aims of this project: to help develop your skills and to meet the needs of the local community.

We want to equip you with the knowledge and practical skills to pursue a career in occupational therapy. You’ll work with occupational therapists at a local hospital or a residential care facility for people with special needs. You’ll observe their work, and we encourage you to ask questions and take notes to learn as much as possible.

The hospitals we work with are overcrowded and therapists have to work long hours to get round to all their patients. As an intern with some training, you’ll be an extra pair of helping hands. You can assist with exercises to increase motion, training in activities of daily living and speech training. This way, you’ll help patients become more independent in their day-to-day lives.

We have identified five goals to work toward in our Medical Management Plan for Kenya. Occupational therapy forms a part of this. These are:

  • Encourage an understanding of medical practices and promote an exchange of medical knowledge
  • Improve the quality of healthcare provided to patients
  • Improve access to basic healthcare for disadvantaged groups
  • Improve hygiene standards
  • Reduce the number of cases of malaria

Join our Occupational Therapy placement in Kenya and help us achieve these long-term goals, while gaining invaluable experience.

Medical interns from Projects Abroad can be seen posing with local nurses during their occupational therapy internship in Kenya.

Management plans

We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.

Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll stay with a host family in Nanyuki. They'll welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and learn about yours. We believe this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of Kenya and enjoy a unique experience.

We'll try to ensure you live alongside at least one other volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Your programme fee includes three meals a day. Get ready to try exciting new flavours like ugali (a maize staple), nyama choma (grilled goat meat), githeri (bean stew), and so much more. Your host will provide delicious local cuisine daily, while staff will take you to some of Nanyuki’s best restaurants.

Leisure activities and free time

Interning in Kenya is the perfect opportunity to explore this extraordinary country. With a vast array of activities, you’re sure to find plenty of ways to fill your evenings and weekends.

A trip to East Africa wouldn’t be complete without a safari. As you explore the savannahs, spot wildlife like elephants, lions, and even the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe.

Our projects are based in Nanyuki, which is known as the gateway to Mount Kenya. With this majestic mountain on your doorstep, it’s worth taking a day to hike around the base.

You can spend evenings at buzzing restaurants, listening to live music and trying local dishes. Kenya also has must-see markets, with bright textiles and hand-carved sculptures.

You can spend your free time exploring independently or travelling with a group. With so many volunteers and interns joining us throughout the year, you’re sure to make new friends and travel buddies during your trip.

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

When you apply you only pay €295, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options and fundraising advice available.

Looking to do more than one project? Get discounted prices when you combine projects or destinations!

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