Volunteering

Climate Change and Coral Bleaching in Seychelles

Collect data on coral reef health and recovery following climate-change-induced coral bleaching events.

GVI Hub: a home-from-home
Durations: 2 - 12 weeks

Program information

Travel to the warm, crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean to contribute to coral reef recovery research and coral rehabilitation. Learn about how climate change is causing coral bleaching, what is being done to limit the damage, and encourage recovery. In the process, earn your PADI Advanced Open Water and PADI Reef Ecosystem Diver (RESD) Specialty.

New epic locations, habitats & species!

Get up to 15% off when you book before 29 February
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Travel flexibility. Transfer for free up to 45 days before travel. Because life happens. Terms and conditions apply.
Overview
Dates & Prices
Itinerary
What's Included
Life On Base
Experiences
New
Free time
Cultural Immersion
Speak to alumni
MEET THE TEAM
Parent Info
Arrivals
Flights
Your Impact
Our Ethics
Program ethics
Qualifications & Training Options
Support & Safety

Program overview

On this program, you will be trained up on diving best practices and earning your PADI Advanced Open Water certificate before starting your monitoring of the reef. Please note that you will need to be PADI Open Water certified before joining this program. Receive the PADI Reef Ecosystem Diver (RESD) Specialty segment of the PADI Divemaster course. This unique offering by GVI & PADI teaches you about best practices when conducting underwater coral reef surveys. This is offered to participants staying for longer than two weeks on the program.

After completing your dive training and learning how to identify coral species and carry out different coral monitoring techniques, you will assist our international team of researchers to monitor specific dive sites for coral reef recovery. Depending on weather conditions, we aim for all participants to have the opportunity to experience one or two dives or snorkels per day during weekdays. All the data collected on these dives is passed on to the Seychelles National Parks Authority, for use in their management decisions.

You will also have the opportunity to participate in our coral reef rehabilitation initiatives, where we work to grow the most resilient coral in shallow water, protected coral nurseries and then transplant the, now larger and more established, corals onto the reef.

Highlights

Support coral reef recovery

Assist with coral reef recovery research, coral reef rehabilitation and other vital marine conservation initiatives.

Find a diver’s paradise

Explore dive sites among the tropical islands of Seychelles and see incredible local marine megafauna like turtles, sharks, rays and dolphins.

Be part of the real deal

Contribute to ongoing environmental projects that address critical challenges aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Join ethical initiatives

Collaborate with local conservation partners and qualified professionals to ensure your efforts are ethical, meaningful and sustainable.

Experience unreal adventures

Venture outside typical travel itineraries to get exclusive access to extraordinary remote habitats, rare species and unique ecosystems.

Make friends for life

Share epic experiences with like-minded changemakers from all over the globe, sharing adventures and working together to protect our planet.

Enjoy a hassle-free, safe trip

With expert local staff and 24/7 support every step of the way, you can relax and have a stress-free travel experience.

Take a break

Disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with nature, yourself and your purpose.

Activities

Some of the example typical activities you could participate in on this program.

Fieldwork training

Identify species and conduct surveys that contribute to data collection efforts and help build an inventory of marine species in Seychelles.

Conservation surveys

Assist with tasks as needed, like seagrass monitoring, marine megafauna sightings, beach cleans, and data entry into citizen science databases.

Conservation projects

Assist with tasks as needed, like seagrass monitoring, marine megafauna sightings, beach cleans, and data entry into citizen science databases.

PADI Advanced Open Water

Expand your diving skills with various adventure dives, including deep water, underwater navigation, buoyancy, underwater naturalist and boat diver.

PADI Emergency First Response

Learn primary and secondary care theory, practise skills in role-play scenarios to enhance your first aid knowledge and prepare for emergencies.

PADI RESD Speciality

Earn the exclusive GVI PADI Reef Ecosystem Diver (RESD) Specialty, advancing conservation diving skills and mastering coral reef surveys.

PADI Rescue Diver

Increase your diver safety knowledge , handle complex situations, practise direct intervention in role-play rescue scenarios (programs > 8 weeks).

Skills

  • Data entry
  • EFR training
  • Marine conservation
  • PADI
  • Species identification
  • Survey research

Partners

Some of the partners we work with on base.

Seychelles Parks & Gardens Authority (SPGA)
Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment (MACCE)
Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA)
Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT)
Coral Watch
PADI
The Marine Conservation Society, Seychelles (MCSS)
The Ocean Conservancy
Seagrass Watch
Olive Ridley Project (ORP)

Program details

Dates and prices

Select a start date:

Nature, my happy place.

See new locations, habitats & species with up to 15% off on selected programs.

Special offer valid only until 29 February.
Payment plans. Flexible payment plans allow you to pay in instalments.

What happens next?

Once you apply, a personal Enrollment Manager will be assigned to walk you through the rest of the process.

Itinerary

The following itinerary is an example of the activities and project work that participants might get involved in on this program. More specific details of the program are finalised several months before each start date.

06:30

Start your day bright and early! If you're an early riser, walk to the beach and take in the sunrise and the ocean view.

07:00

Team breakfast, then prep for the day: getting the boat and equipment ready for your first dive, or preparing for your coastal activities.

07:30

Start by getting trained in diving/ conservation. Once you're all set, you'll switch gears to doing surveys that help the project reach its goals.

12:00

Lunch is enjoyed in our dining hall, or for those on the boat, you’ll eat a picnic lunch onboard the boat to fuel all the scientific research.

12:30

Training or marine activities like research dives, beach cleans and surveys. Your data supports ongoing studies and citizen science databases.

17:30

Return to base and get stuck into some base duties, including kit cleaning and storage.

18:30

Teams take turns to plan and prepare dinner every evening which makes for a wide variety of meals, enjoyed together as a group.

19:30

Time to relax or get involved in social activities on base. Make use of the common areas to spend time with your new friends, play a game, or do some studying.

What’s included?

What's included
General
Food
Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)
Airport pick up (unless stated)
All project equipment
24-hour in-country support from local staff
24-hour emergency desk
GVI Experiences
Activities
Sustainable project work
Data collection and research
Pre-program training
Pre-departure webinar
Pre-departure training (online)
University of Richmond endorsed specialisation course
Welcome training
GVI welcome presentation
Health & safety
Local culture & environment
UN SDGs
Impact & ethics
Child protection
Certificates
Program certificate
University certificate – specialisation (University of Richmond)
What's excluded
Not included
Flights
International and domestic airport taxes
Medical and travel insurance
Visa costs
Police or background check
Personal items and toiletries
Additional drinks and gratuities

Life On Base

A short three-minute walk from the beach, our Cap Ternay research station is based in Baie Ternay Marine National Park, a picturesque location with tropical weather. With a thirty-minute walk to the nearest village and shop, our base is in a protected and secluded area. It almost feels like we have a private beach all to ourselves (the road ends at the base). The variety of marine life makes this an amazing location – you can see a plethora of life around the island and in the sea, such as reef sharks, dolphins, eagle rays, tropical fish, endemic birds and interesting coastal creatures and critters. 

Originally a school, the building has been transformed into an environmentally-aware research station with classrooms for presentations, a library containing marine identification books and resources, and a recreation room to relax in after a day of diving. 

There are also giant hammocks (for more relaxation) and a large grassy area for volleyball. We also have party and BBQ themed nights, and enjoy film and documentary nights in the rec room cinema. Outside in the seating area, participants like to sit and play cards, or just enjoy the weather. Life on base is much like a big family and we share cooking, cleaning, and dive operation duties on a rotation basis.

Being an eco-minded base, there is a recycling area on base, and planters for growing local endemic plant species, which utilise the harvested rainwater. It’s great when participants bring their own ideas and get involved with more eco-friendly practices, such as ecobricking and non-recycling storage methods.

Days start early, with boat or coastal equipment preparations or training, and end with dinner, followed by an evening debrief where we share with the group all the exciting things we have seen, and go through the schedule for the next day. After this, it’s time to relax, take in the beautiful sunset, and share stories. There are also a number of base dogs (who love lots of attention) to keep you company. If you’ve joined a diving program and have completed your intensive survey and dive training, you’ll enjoy short boat trips to nearby dive sites. Depending on the weather conditions and schedule for the week, dives take place once or twice daily, five days a week. On other days, you’ll either conduct marine debris surveys or environmental education sessions including awareness raising with the local community members, depending on the needs of the project at the time. Staff will often deliver presentations throughout the week, with study time included in the daily schedule. 

For island conservation and wildlife programs, you’ll head out after breakfast to help with surveys, either by snorkelling, hiking or doing beach patrols. Depending on the conservation projects at the time, you might collect data on nudibranchs, island birds, crustaceans, mollusks or seagrass, to name a few.

Accommodation

See what it’s like to live off the beaten track! There are three dorm rooms, each with around 6–10 single ...

Transportation

We provide transfers from the airport to our base in Baie Ternay National Park, which is about an hour’s drive. There is a bus service from Port ...

Communication

We are based in a protected natural reserve, which means that mobile signal doesn’t cover the entire area. There are spots with good phone coverage and we have a phone on base f...

Meals

Sample the many flavours of Seychellois cuisine, from fresh coconut water sipped out of the fruit to green papaya salad. All food is provided by ...

Climate

The Seychelles has an equatorial climate, which means sunshine and warm water all year round, with temperatures averaging

GVI experiences included in your program, at no extra cost.

Offered once a month, expand your adventure with GVI Experiences. These are just some of the activities offered on your program!

We want you to make the most of the chance to live in – and contribute towards –  the most diverse and unique wildernesses and communities on earth. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI that have been specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development. 

Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.

Learn to cook traditional Seychellois Creole dishes
Tastes of the island
Visit the Mission Ruins at Venn's Town
We recall to never repeat
Paddleboard across the bay
Daybreak on the water
Hike through lush forests and across rocky plateaus
View from the top
Explore the ocean at night with a dive/snorkel
Swim amongst the stars
Discover rare and endemic species of plants
Natural biodiversity sanctuary
Swim at a secret beach
Paradise found
Go fishing with local fishers
Catch and release

Free time

Joining a GVI program not only allows you to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems – but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer over weekends.

Field staff are a great source of advice and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. You can choose to travel before or after your experience with GVI (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships you’ve established on the program. Please note that the below options are not included in the program fee, and would be up to you to arrange at your own expense.

Weekend Trips

Takamaka rum distillery

The rum distillery at Pointe Au Sel is a popular destination for volunteers to visit. There’s also a tea plantation and local handicraft village ...

Victoria City

The capital of the Seychelles, Victoria (one of the smallest capital cities in the world) is only an hour away from our base in Baie Ternay Marin...

Beau Vallon Bay

The most popular tourist spot on the main island of the Seychelles, Beau Vallon offers a massive stretch of beach, lined with shops and restauran...

Local Adventures

Water sports

Other than diving, there are many other water sports in the Seychelles, like surfing, kayaking, sailing and snorkeling. And of course, there̵...

Cap Matoopa hike

The highest point next to our base, Cap Matoopa offers spectacular views of Cap Ternay Bay. Climb the jung...

Recreational diving

The dives we conduct on the project have a strict research focus. There are, however, plenty of opportunities to go for a recreational dive in yo...

Hiking and climbing

The inner islands of the Seychelles, where you will be staying while on this project, are made of granite, which means there are many opportuniti...

Further Travels

Inner island hopping

From the capital of Victoria, you can catch a ferry to many of the other inner islands, like Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Felicity and Sister. ...

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.

On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.

Mahe

GVI’s programs in the Seychelles are based on the main island of Ma...

Seychelles

The Seychelles is a tropical archipelago off the east coast of Africa, consisting of over 100 islands. The islands located near the center of the...

Speak to alumni

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Get a first-hand perspective

Meet us

Meet the team

Get acquainted with the GVI Africa, Seychelles, Cap Ternay family

Jasmine Taberer

Program Manager

This is Jasmine, also known as Jazzy, our wonderful Program Manager at the GVI base on Mahe Island, Seychelles. Jazzy grew up with a keen interest in conservation which lead her ...

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

GVI is a proud member of the Gap Year Association.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.

As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals.

We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile.

This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.

Your Impact

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.

 

We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.

Our 10 ethical commitments

01

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.

02

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.

03

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.

04

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.

05

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.

06

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.

07

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.

08

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.

09

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.

10

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.

Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.

However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.

Program ethics

No orphanage programs

We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.

Learn more
Child and vulnerable adult protection policy

Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.

Learn more
No medical volunteering

We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.

Learn more
No disability support programs

We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.

Learn more
Aligned to local objectives

Each one of our initiatives is aligned to objectives set by a local organisation or professional. Our staff and participants work to support these local actors in achieving their specific goals.

Local employees remain employed

Our participants don’t replace the staff employed by local organisations. Rather, they support currently employed staff with achieving their objectives. Our goal is always to increase local capacity to address local problems.

Local employees remain focused

Participants require training and support to ensure that they carry out tasks correctly. Our staff provide this training and support so that local staff can focus on what is truly important to their organisation at the time.

No entertainment-based activities

We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos

No orphaned animal sanctuaries

We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases

Guidelines for touching or movement restriction

When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Animal welfare guidelines

We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.

Local community empowerment

We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.

Learn more
No veterinary programs

We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.

Learn more

Training

A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.

For all GVI participants

Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically

Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.

Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals

Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.

Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact

Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.

For all participants at Cap Ternay

Community: human empowerment

Learn about our empowerment principles.

Conservation: survey techniques and logistics

An introduction to different survey techniques and best practice guidelines for surveys; introduction to different types of data and how to record information via a datasheet.

Conservation: biodiversity & target species identification

Learn about biodiversity and how biodiversity is measured, and classifying different species and how to identify species that indicate the health of the habitat.

Marine conservation: pollution and plastics

Learn about issues with plastic and measures that can be taken to help reduce plastic consumption.

Marine conservation: coral reefs

Learn about what a coral reef is, its importance, how it is formed, how this ecosystem works.

Plastic pollution and other trash

Learn about the effect of waste on the ocean and what we can do about it. It is not required training but an additional presentation offered to volunteers and interns who stay for longer and have more time available.

Coral watch

This is a global coral monitoring methodology all volunteers can get involved with. It is separate from our main study focus with Seychelles National Parks Authority, SNPA. It is not required training but an additional presentation offered to volunteers and interns who stay for longer and have more time available.

Emergency oxygen administration orientation

All volunteers are taught how to provide oxygen to divers in varying states of consciousness.

Survey-specific buoyancy training

Learning how to control your buoyancy to ensure that you do not accidentally damage the reef while conducting research.

PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality

This is a distinctive specialty unique only to GVI, created in collaboration with PADI. It provides instruction on the different types of reef monitoring available, along with certain skills which are needed to ensure that you are comfortable using monitoring equipment such as tape measures and quadrats and that there is no damage done to the reef while you navigate around the site.

PADI Advanced Open Water (AOW) certification

Five specialised dives are required to gain this qualification. Those we offer include the Boat Dive, Underwater Navigation, Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver and Peak Performance Buoyancy. A knowledge review is also required.

Species-specific marine survey techniques

Once participants are comfortable with identifying the species on site, they will be trained on the different techniques used to monitor these species underwater.

Coral, fish, or invertebrates workshops