Community Conservation Programmes

Community Conservation Programmes

Wildlife conservation will only succeed if communities are engaged and positive about the importance of the wildlife which they co-exist with. However, rural communities living alongside wildlife are often the poorest, so a major role of conservation organisations is to work with communities on appropriate poverty alleviation projects. These are called Community Conservation Programmes.

All our wildlife conservation projects enable volunteers to get involved in community conservation programmes and we also offer a small number of very carefully selected standalone community development volunteer projects. These are still closely linked to wildlife and the environment, supporting communities trying to make a living in areas inhabited by animals.

Community conservation programmes enable volunteers to engage with local communities at a deeper level, and gain an appreciation and understanding of different cultures and daily challenges. Community volunteers support local staff and community leaders in projects dedicated to education and skills training, conservation education, poverty alleviation and healthcare. Projects are guided by community leaders according to what is most needed at the time.

Our Community Conservation Volunteering Projects

Community Outreach Programme

Volunteer in Victoria Falls and support grass-roots community action. Help build strong communities through livelihood development and education projects. Volunteers work alongside community members on sustainable poverty alleviation projects which support vulnerable households. Projects focus on income generation and skills training, water aid and feeding programmes and child and adult literacy.

From $850

1 - 12 weeks

Participate in delivering solutions to the human-elephant conflict in Namibia, where herds of desert-adapted elephant cause major damage within rural communities. Volunteers will work on building and repair projects in desert villages, and collect data on the behaviour, locations and movements of local populations of the rare desert elephant.

From £895

2 - 12 weeks

Wildlife Conservation and Community Outreach Programme

Combine work experience with rhinos and elephants on a private conservancy, with community outreach work in rural communities outside Victoria Falls. Through this combination project you will experience two very different regions of Zimbabwe and learn about the relationship between wildlife conservation and community engagement.

From $1,750

2 - 12 weeks

Environmental Conservation Program header thumb

This program is dedicated to the environmental conservation of a whole ecosystem – from wetlands to forests, woodlands and plains. You will help protect a wetland of international importance, home to hundreds of bird species. Volunteers also assist with the ongoing management of a wildlife conservancy, get involved in conservation initiatives and work on income-generating projects in local communities.

From $870

1 - 12 weeks

Responsible community volunteering in Africa

The key to restoring and protecting Africa’s wildlife and wilderness areas lies firmly in the lap of people. For a future where humans and wildlife can co-exist peacefully, people from across the globe must come together and share their skills and experience. Our partners have long term relationships with local community leaders, teachers and elders, to ensure the projects they support and implement are beneficial to both the community and wildlife.

We only partner with organisations who have developed long term strategies for uplifting vulnerable communities, and who work with guidance and input from community leaders. Our partners have a history of successful and sustainable implementation, with communities taking final and full ownership of projects. 

Our community conservation volunteer programmes support long term projects, not short term fixes.

We are the ethical travel Africa specialists

Why community volunteering?

Africa is a diverse and culturally rich continent, home to 3,000 ethnic groups and more than 2,000 languages. It is also the world’s poorest and most under-developed continent, with almost 50% of people in sub-Saharan Africa living below the poverty line. Poverty and lack of opportunity are directly linked to the future of wildlife. Community conservation volunteers support long-term projects that empower local people to conserve their natural resources, securing the future of vulnerable animals.

Community group in vegetable garden

A unique volunteering experience

Our community conservation programmes enable volunteers to learn from different cultures and communities, where they develop an appreciation for their challenges. The long term goal is for communities to take full and final ownership of projects and empower them to be self-sustaining. Depending on your skills, passion and experience, volunteers can join early literacy programmes, support conservation education, support healthcare projects and work on agriculture programmes.

Our vision for communities

Our vision is for an Africa where humans and wildlife can thrive peacefully side by side. The inputs to achieving this vision are threefold: the long term protection and wellbeing of vulnerable and threatened species, the conservation of ecosystems, and the education and upliftment of communities. Ensuring local communities benefit from wildlife is key, and can also help in fighting the illegal wildlife trade. Volunteer tourism, when used in a responsible way, has a critical role to play in achieving these goals.

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