Health and Safety

Drive to Turkana

Health and Safety during the Koobi Fora Field School



Kenya has a long history of political stability and is a safe country in which to travel, work or study. The DEPARTMENT OF STATE WEBSITE provides detailed information about travel to Kenya (safety, health, travel in the country etc.).

Kenya is currently on the US State Department Travel Alert List. However, the recent unrest in Kenya has occurred on the opposite side of the country, far from the Koobi Fora region. Further, during their time in Nairobi, students are lodged in a guarded hotel and transported by the field school to the National Museum, which is also patrolled by guards. Just as a precaution, all students will be required to enroll in STEP (SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM) prior to their travel, in case of emergency situations.


All students will carry the GWU group insurance or their own personal insurance. Additionally, the AMREF FLYING DOCTORS provides air ambulance evacuation and emergency medical service in Kenya. The charity organization has many years of experience in medical emergency evacuation in very remote areas of Africa. In case of emergency a patient will be evacuated to the nearest referral hospitals in Nairobi as recommended by the flying doctors crew. There is an airstrip in Ileret that is accessible by car (˜1 hour drive from Koobi Fora Base Camp).

Each field school participant will have a membership in AMREF (The Flying Doctors), which is included in the cost of the field school registration. The membership includes 2 air ambulance evacuations. Information on memberships and subscriptions are ON THIS WEBSITE.

We have established a layered system of communication that can be used to effectively act on emergency issues. For life-threatening emergencies we will contact the flying doctors on our satellite phone.

For less severe injuries or illnesses or injuries a patient will be rushed to a clinic in Ileret (a small town located approximately 25 minutes from Ileret camp and 2 hours away from our other field camps). Initial diagnosis is usually conducted through a phone call to a US physician that is on standby at all times as a part of the insurance that covers all students. Additionally, the doctors at the Ileret health clinic can assess the risk of illness and whether it needs further medical attention.

The US CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION provide recommendations for travel to Kenya. Consult your doctor to determine your immunization updates, discuss malaria prophylactics and other necessary prescriptions. A list of malarial prophylactics is available on the WEB SITE OF THE CDC, with country-specific information on malaria in Kenya AT THIS WEBSITE. The use of malaria prophylactics is required. It is also encouraged to wear long pants and long sleeves during the night to protect you from mosquitoes.

Health hazards may include injuries resulting from falling due to rough terrain, malaria (if bitten by mosquitos), or stomach discomforts due to different food or water. Also some plants, insects and other creatures may be hazardous. There will be a first-aid kit at camp with basic medicines for insect bites, snakebite, fever, stomach upsets, rubbing alcohol, bandages (blisters, wounds).


The Koobi Fora Field School (KFFS) maintains a zero tolerance stance on sexual harassment. KFFS is a workplace community and all participants on the program  are expected to behave toward all other participants with kindness, collegiality, and dignity.

In accordance with the George Washington University policies, the following will not be tolerated:

-Unwelcome sexual advances.

-Sexual jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one's sex life;

-Comment on an individual's body, comment about an individual's sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;

-Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons;

-Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments;

-Inquiries into one's sexual experiences.

As a member of our research community we encourage any participant in our program to report any activities that they feel does not comply with the goal of safe and secure working environment. Complaints of sexual harassment will be taken very seriously.

Any behaviors considered in violation fo the GWU sexual harassment policy can result in immediate termination of your participation on the Koobi Fora Field School.

The KFFS is committed to maintaining a safe and inclusive environment conducive to learning. Unwanted sexual advances, physical or verbal, and jokes about gender, sexual orientation, race, or ability is considered counter-productive to that inclusivity and is unwelcome.