WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Currently, there is a strong need for the development and implementation of conservation programmes throughout the Maldives and an even stronger need for volunteers around the world to become educated and involved in promoting more sustainable practices within the communities.
In our marine centre we work on a range of projects such as sea turtle husbandry, collecting fish and coral data, planning and implementing awareness programmes for the community and schools, occasionally extending our coral garden which has been laid around the island of Naifaru and arranging trips to nearby islands where we collect broken corals to bring into our conservation project. This presents a unique opportunity for tackling the direct anthropogenic causes of reef degradation by incorporating local involvement in the transplantation and monitoring process and by running educational sessions for local adults and school children
There also is a large focus on sea turtle conservation in Naifaru, as many surrounding and uninhabited islands serve as hatching sites for various species of sea turtles every year. Sea turtles are currently endangered and sadly face threats both in the ocean and on land by human activities, such as poaching and entanglement in fishing nets. It is our goal to provide each and every sea turtle with the best possible chance of survival in the wild.
Whether you are helping conduct beach patrols, collecting vital data or helping tend to rescued turtles this programme will really enable you to be hands on and also give you a wide array of activities to be involved with.
It is projects like this one, and many others which relate to the beautiful marine habitats surrounding these islands, which we hope to keep running with the help of locals and our wonderful volunteers. Some may say that a small amount of people can’t change the world, but they can change one tiny island at a time.
A big part of the success of our community turtle programme is due to the extra activities that run through our community conservation centre including conservation clubs, Eco cinema, environmental awareness campaigns and beach clean ups which all our volunteers will play an active roll in.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Each morning we feed the sea turtles in the centre and also those in our sea station a mixture of fish, tuna fillets and sea grass.
Data collection, research and education are key aspects of our programme so expect to play an active role in all centre activities, including children's marine conservation classes (this may also take place on other islands in the atoll so expect a little island hopping). Qualified volunteers may also involve themselves in helping out with English improvement classes at the center for the islands small children.
Activities like these are vital to our programme as it increases community numbers participating in our centre activities and really helps to educate the islands inhabitants in matters concerning marine conservation and environmental matters. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the improved English skills and confidence really helps the islands youth to gain employment in later years.
You will also be requested to assist with community surveys and reef surveying etc.
In addition to the conservation work there are a number of community initiatives running out of the volunteer centre which aim to empower and improve the ability of local islanders to be self sufficient. You will work closely with the community, lending your skills and enthusiasm to where ever it may be needed. Volunteers will have the opportunity to use their experience and knowledge in a variety of ways including:
working as a day care assistant in local island pre-schools
promoting health and fitness schemes to help keep residents active,
engaging young people through English language lessons and sports coaching
running drug awareness workshops.
Itineraries will be varied and should be discussed with your Volunteer Coordinator before arrival, so that we can plan the activities you may wish to be a part of. Your activities will depend upon the focus of the programme at the time of your visit as well as your own skills and experience.