Volunteering

On the side of the islands

Coastal Conservation Volunteering in Madagascar

Monitor coastal ecosystems and snorkel in beautiful marine habitats.

Durations: 2 - 12 weeks
Fieldwork hours35 hrs of fieldwork per week
Participant ratio1:6 staff to participant ratio
GVI experiencesIncludes GVI Experiences

Program information

This program offers three amazing opportunities. First, the chance to explore island and coastal biodiversity – including snorkelling in beautiful marine habitats. Second, the chance to contribute to conservation projects. And third, the opportunity to embrace the unique life found on remote research stations – exposure to new languages and insights, and access to beautiful natural parks.

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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

As islands like Madagascar begin to bear the burden of man-made climate change, the ecosystems and life they support along their coastlines – both on land and in the water – are growing more fragile and vulnerable.

It’s important that we find science-based conservation solutions – and the best way to do that is to study the coastal region directly. As a participant on this coastal conservation volunteering program, you’ll get the chance to work with several research teams to study terrestrial and marine biodiversity across the island. Based out of Lokobe National Park – home to several endangered species, including the famous lemur – this research is done in collaboration with Madagascar National Parks, our local partner on the ground.

Your journey as a coastal conservation volunteer will be filled with meaningful, hands-on work that creates a lasting impact. As you rotate between projects and research teams, you’ll gain diverse experiences that enhance your skill set, like species identification, data collection and data entry. You’ll work across two kinds of habitats: marine and terrestrial.

In the water, you’ll snorkel through colourful coral reefs, surveying the health of coral and monitoring the populations of vibrant reef fish. You’ll drift through seagrass meadows and warm, tropical waters, fully immersing yourself in all the marine splendour the Indian Ocean has to offer.

On land, you’ll track coastal wildlife populations, including lemurs, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mangroves. You’ll also lead missions focused on beach cleanups and profiling.

It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to embark on a transformative cross-cultural adventure. In addition to making a positive impact, this volunteer program is also a chance to switch off from the digital world, relax, and take a break from traditional education. You’ll be able to recharge and reflect, find solace in nature, prioritise your mental health and expand your perspectives.

Together, we can work to protect our precious natural heritage. Are you ready to join us on this extraordinary adventure?

Highlights

Snorkel the seas
Explore the species-rich ecosystems of the Indian Ocean – snorkelling through seagrass meadows and coral reefs to discover a marine wonderland.
Combat climate change
Spend your days on the beach or snorkelling. You’ll collect data that forms the basis of cutting-edge research aimed at combating climate change.
Be part of the real deal
Contribute to ongoing environmental projects that address critical challenges aligned to the global UN SDGs.
Join ethical initiatives
Join local conservation partners and qualified professionals to ensure your efforts are highly 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, passionate changemakers from all over the globe.
Enjoy a hassle-free, safe trip
With expert local staff and 24/7 support at every step – you can relax and enjoy the experience stress-free.
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.

Learn survey techniques
Identify species, conduct surveys and population assessments, assess threats to coastal ecosystems and understand ecosystem-level processes.
Support conservation work
Assist with seagrass and mangrove surveys, as well as biodiversity surveys on coral and reef fish, coastal birds, lemurs, reptiles and amphibians.
Bird conservation
Undertake bird point counts to assess what bird species are found within the reserve and which species frequent the reserve on a non-permanent basis.
Snorkelling in marine habitats
Conduct underwater surveys on coral health, monitor reef life, and explore seagrass meadows in the beautiful Indian Ocean.
Beach profiling and cleanups
Assist in beach profiling studies and take part in periodic beach cleanup activities to help local communities keep their environment clean.
Reptile & amphibian sightings
Record sightings of reptiles and amphibians. Some of these include the gorgeous eyelash palm pitviper and the popular red-eyed tree frog.
Environmental education
Lead workshops on environmental education and conservation through local community outreach initiatives
English classes
Work with local guides and rangers to help them develop their English language skills with a focus and conservation and ecology.

Skills

  • Coastal conservation
  • Data collection
  • Data entry
  • Population ecology
  • Species identification
  • Survey research

Partners

Some of the partners we work with on base.

Madagascar National Parks

Program details

Dates and prices

Select a start date:

Hot summer savings!

Book in May and get up to 15% off selected programs.

Secure your spot before spaces fill up.
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.

06:00

Take in the morning views and fresh sea air. If you're an early riser you can enjoy a walk or run before breakfast.

06:30

Prepare and enjoy breakfast with the team. After breakfast, everyone meets for the daily update.

07:00

Hike through the nearby forest and hills to collect data on focus species and biodiversity.

12:30

Lunch is enjoyed as a group. Our delicious Malagasy meals are prepared by a local cook.

13:00

Attend training on conservation or communities or work on your internship or research project.

15:30

Continue project work, deliver environmental awareness workshops or teach English to local community members.

18:00

Enjoy a meal together and discuss the work you did today and its impact on the environment and local community.

19:30

Time to relax, socialise with your new friends, or head out to take part in nocturnal surveys.

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

Our base is located on Nosy Be island – also known as the “Perfumed Island” because of its ylang-ylang plantations, which give off a beautiful floral scent during their flowering season. This island is also renowned for its extinct volcanoes, ancient rainforests and an abundance of rare and incredible species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, such as the Nosy Be panther chameleon, the Hawks’ sportive lemur and the Madagascan fish eagle. Nosy Be means “big island” in the local Malagasy language, and is located off the northwestern coast of Madagascar.

Fieldwork on the conservation project includes trekking through the Lokobe National Park, (a strict reserve), looking for signs of critically endangered lemurs and the great variety of bird, reptile, amphibian and butterfly species that call this rainforest habitat home. Forest surveys are conducted in the morning or at night. You can catch spectacular sunsets and sunrises over the Indian Ocean. There are bound to be many priceless photo opportunities during the course of your program.

If you choose to complete a community development program, you will assist with teaching the English language – supporting the younger students with the language, as well as assisting with their grasp of environmental education. That will take place in the mornings. English is a vital skill for people to learn as it’s highly sought after in the local job market and tourism industry.

Accommodation

Your accommodation – which is a stone’s throw from the beach – consists of dormitory style rooms with shared bathroom facilities. We use solar power. Conditions are basic but comfo...

Accommodation upgrades

Upgrades are available at Les Bungalows d’Ambonara guesthouse, a 10-minute drive from our base (local taxi required, no walking). These upgraded single occupancy rooms offer ...

Transportation

Travelling to and from Fascene Airport takes around 25 minutes, and can be arranged with GVI in advance, to align with your program’s start date.

Communication

You will have limited access to long-distance communications while on the program, so make sure that your friends and family know how often they can expect to hear from you. Partic...

Meals

The Malagasy diet is mostly rice- and bean-based. A typical main meal consists of rice alongside servings of seasonal vegetables in a sauce, with meat occasionally included. Locall...

Climate

Nosy Be has a hot, tropical climate all year round. The rainy, hotter season is between November and April, and the dry season from May to October. You can expect temperatures of a...

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.

Take Malagasy lessons
The national language of Madagascar
Explore the cascades of Nosy Be
Peaceful waterfalls for swimming and picnics
Visit a sacred Baobab tree
Ancient trees with deep cultural significance
Snorkel in a marine wonderland
A canopy of coral
Sunset from Mont Passot
Views from Nosy Be's highest point
Sleepover in Lokobe National Park
Camp on a stunning beach

Free time & cultural immersion

By joining a GVI program, you not only contribute to preserving unique ecosystems but also get the chance to explore the surrounding area or venture further to see what else the region has to offer on weekends.

Our field staff are a great source of advice on local travel options. Many participants choose to travel before or after their experience, solidifying friendships made on the program. 

Engaging with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in today’s world. Cultural immersion is encouraged, and there are many activities to enjoy during your free time or before and after your program. Please note, these suggestions aren’t included in the program fee and are at your own expense.

Marodoka cultural circuit

Marodoka village, which means “the ancient village” in Swahili, is located a few kilometres from Nosy Be’s centre. With exceptional architectural remains, the first village of the ...

Crafts and produce

Many of Madagascar’s cultures have long-standing artisanal craft traditions. Some of these include intricate embroidery and brightly coloured baskets. Madagascar is also the primar...

Festivals and celebrations

The most notable festivals on the island of Nosy Be are dedicated to music. The Nosy Be Jazz Festival is held in April and the Donia Music Festival is held towards the end of May a...

Languages

Most people in Madagascar speak Malagasy, a language with many dialects. The dialect that is most commonly spoken in the area in which we are based is Sakalava. Due to the influenc...

Weekend trips

Cafes and markets

You can spend time in the village and visit a local market, cafe or restaurant, and soak in the laid-back lifestyle and interesting culture. Although the island is still largely un...

Mont Passot

Mont Passot is the highest point on Nosy Be Island, at 329 metres above sea level. It’s surrounded by eight crater lakes that are considered sacred, where you will often spot croco...

Whale watching

June to September is humpback whale-watching season. During this season you can book a tour with a responsible, ethical tour provider. If you’re lucky, you might spot some whales. ...

Diving

Book a recreational dive to experience the exceptional variety of Indian Ocean marine life up close. Among the vibrant corals, you can spot a vast array of colourful tropical fish ...

Beaches

Visit one of Nosy Be’s many palm-lined stretches of golden beach, such as Andilana, Ambondrona, Madirokely and Ambatoloaka, and enjoy a relaxing day swimming in the warm waters or ...

The Sacred Tree

Visit the Sacred Tree, located close to Mahatsinjo village, on the western side of Nosy Be island. This huge banyan tree was planted by the queen of the Sakalava people in 1836, an...

Lokobe National Park

We’re based right on the edge of Lokobe National Park which holds the last remaining preserved primitive forest on the island of Nosy Be. The forest is bordered by a beach and is h...

Further travels

South Africa

South Africa is a mere three-and-a-half-hour flight from Madagascar. Fly to Johannesburg and book a safari tour through the famous Kruger National Park or experience the beauty of ...

Seychelles

This breathtaking archipelago of islands is home to pristine beaches, coral reefs, nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as the giant Aldabra tortoise. From the main island...

Mainland Madagascar

Visit the mainland to see a greater variety of species and experience other distinct cultures of Madagascar. See ring-tailed lemurs in Isalo National Park, hike the stone forests o...

Neighbouring island

Madagascar is surrounded by many islands and islets. From our location on Nosy Be Island, you can visit the neighbouring island of Nosy Sakatia, where you might be able to spot gre...

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, Madagascar, Nosy Be family

Padraig O’Grady

Program Manager

Meet Padraig, also known as Pod, our Program Manager in Nosy Be, Madagascar. Pod is a passionate wildlife photographer and used to work professionally in the film and TV industr ...

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.

Madagascar is home to 5% of the world’s precious plant and animal species, with more than 70% being endemic to Madagascar. Lokobe National Park is the only remaining primary forest on the island. It’s also a rainforest, recognised as a nationally protected area by the government of Madagascar and defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a strict nature reserve.

You will have the opportunity to get involved in vital project work such as behavioural surveys and habitat surveys. One of the focuses being the monitoring and protection of the endemic species that are heavily poached for pet trade. For example, the monitoring of populations and numbers of the panther chameleon, one of the most poached and heavily trafficked chameleon species in the world.

Critically endangered species

The area is home to one species of endangered lemur, the black lemur, as well as two species of critically endangered lemurs, the Nosy Be sportive lemur, known as the Hawks’ sportive lemur, and the Nosy Be mouse lemur, better known as the “Claire’s mouse lemur”. We track these animals and carry out behavioural surveys.

Biodiversity data

We carry out tracking and surveys of other animals in the park, including insects, amphibians and reptiles – during the day and at night. This helps us determine the bioindicators of the park. The park has not been rigorously surveyed since the 1990s, and knowing the health of the park can assist local conservationists, governments and international organisations improve decision-making.

Preventing poaching and the illegal wildlife trade

Despite being categorised as “least concern” by the IUCN when evaluated against the Red List, the panther chameleon is a highly poached and trafficked species, and part of the illegal pet trade. We monitor panther chameleon numbers in the forests to keep track of the naturally occurring numbers in the forest to ensure that the population remains sustainable.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) the GVI Nosy Be research station contributes towards are Goal 13: Climate Action, Goal 14: Life Below Water, Goal 15: Life On Land and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

Project objectives

 

GVI Nosy Be’s Long-term Objectives:

1. Monitoring and protection of critically endangered species.

2. Establishing the baseline biodiversity of Lokobe National Park, which hasn’t been rigorously surveyed since the early 1990s.

3. Monitoring and protection of endemic species heavily poached for the pet trade, such as the panther chameleon – one of the most poached and heavily trafficked chameleon species in the world.

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 Nosy Be

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.

Certificates & qualifications

GVI Online Wildlife Conservation course (optional)

If you have a passion for wildlife conservation then this course will provide you with the foundational skills and understanding needed to achieve your conservation-related goals. You’ll learn about the various methods of wildlife monitoring, as well as exploring the delicate balance involved in terrestrial ecosystem management. After successfully completing the course, which you have the option of doing prior to your in-country program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Richmond.

This online course, valued at £295, is included in all volunteering programs. Full course details can be found here.

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.

Safety

View support and safety protocols

Support

View risk mitigation

Health and safety case studies

How GVI upholds health and safety

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just ...

GVI's commitment to safety and security

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health ...

How GVI remains prepared for natural disasters

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a n...

How GVI manages participants expectations

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations arou...