Family Volunteering with Elephants:
Conservation & Community Service
Up to 14 people
Up to 14 people
What's the project about?
The project’s goal is to preserve the desert elephant population in Namibia through anti-conflict measures. In their constant search for water, elephants can cause major damage to water systems, leaving communities without vital access to water. The project assist with building and repair projects in rural areas and monitors the movements of elephants to identify potential conflict situations. Family volunteering in Namibia is the perfect socially distanced vacation and is a safe and fun way to experience Namibia’s vast desert landscapes while contributing to an amazing conservation cause.
How will I be contributing?
This is a hands-on family volunteer programme. Families spend the first week working on building and school projects within remote rural communities. These are projects set by community leaders and you will see the positive impact of your labours straightaway. Additionally you will have the opportunity to engage with children and villagers, and find out about their daily lives. In your second week you head off into the desert to track and monitor herds of rare desert-adapted elephant. Volunteers will explore Namibia’s most spectacular landscapes and camp under clear starry skies.
What makes this project ethical?
Each volunteer on this project can see the positive difference their contribution makes. This is real grass roots work, taking a holistic approach to conservation, working with communities to ensure that humans and elephants can live peacefully and successfully together. The project enables young children to get involved with long term conservation activities, meet children from other cultures, and understand measures being taken to preserve African wildlife. Your guides are experienced teachers who love to engage with families and share their knowledge.
This family elephant conservation project is very hands-on, focused on conserving the desert-adapted elephant through long term anti-conflict measures and education programmes.
The desert-adapted elephant is found in only two countries in the world, Namibia and Mali, making this project an incredible opportunity to play a key role in preserving populations for the future.
Each family project s split into two parts: Community and Patrol.
You will transfer to your first base camp from where you will be undertaking your first community project. This could involve working in rural schools, alongside teachers and students on building and maintenance projects such as painting classrooms or dormitories, or repairing elephant damage in the village.
Rural schools and villages have to live in close proximity to free-moving wild elephants, and the work that volunteers do is instrumental in attitude changes towards the elephants – showing the value that is placed on the animals. Volunteers highlight the importance of protecting and cherishing the rare desert elephants, and helping children and families see the benefits they can bring. You will also help with lessons on elephant safety and behaviour.
During your time in the community you will get the opportunity to meet local people, and understand how rural Namibians live – what they eat, how their houses are built, and the daily challenges they face.
You will have a group briefing on patrol, where you will learn where you will be going, which elephants you are tasked to find, and instructions on how to behave around wild elephants.
Patrols have two main focuses:
- To have a human presence in areas where elephants are under threat, or move close to human habitations, and check that herds are together and there are no injuries or sick animals;
- To help compile identification files of new herds to the far north, where elephants cause problems for subsistence farmers. You will meet farmers and see for yourself what problems the elephants cause to livelihoods.
During patrol week you can expect to see other wildlife, including the rare desert-adapted black rhino, springbok, oryx, kudu, giraffe, zebra and lots of ostrich! The whole area is home to amazing birdlife, including hornbills, love birds, Egyptian geese, eagles and other raptors.
During your volunteer programme there is lots of time set aside for your expert guide to teach you desert survival skills, about edible plants in the desert, and the fascinating desert eco-system. During patrol week you will do some foot-based tracking, to get everyone out of the vehicle and the blood flowing! Your new tracking skills will be put to the test! If you are camping near the wetlands, you will also have a (highly competitive) fishing competition.
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