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Volunteer and conservation

Volunteer and conservation travel guide

Put something back into the places you visit via a stint of volunteering or conservation work

A growing number of travellers are looking to contribute to the communities and areas they visit by doing some volunteering.

Volunteering comes in many guises: it could be developmental volunteering, where you work with local communities – maybe teaching, building schools, running clinics or generally using your time and skills to benefit the people of a particular region.

For instance, you could use your nursing qualifications to work at a hospital in Malawi, transport your admin experience to an aid office in Indonesia, or lend your muscle to rebuild homes after a catastrophic earthquake.

Conservation volunteering is another option, involving you helping to protect a species or environment. This could range from studying meerkats in the Kalahari to recording the coral growth on a Thai reef or counting tiger pugmarks in the forests of India. You may need biology or research skills, or you could just offer your enthusiasm to help with data collection or trail maintenance.

The main thing to remember when considering a volunteer placement is: do your research. Whether you chose to go on a pre-arranged trip with a volunteer agency or whether you find a placement independently, ask lots of questions so that you are satisfied the project you will be working on is legitimate and actually helpful to the local place and people.

Placements vary massively in time scale – you might tag three days of litter collection onto a trek in Morocco or devote two years to running a school in Peru.

They also vary in cost – some will be expensive ventures, others may pay you a small fee. But such variety in duration, theme, location and remuneration means that there’s a perfect volunteering experience out there for everyone.

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