Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the worlds most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world. Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.
Responsible tourism: Amazon and Galapagos volunteer program Ecuador
We are constantly developing new and innovative solutions to tackle the challenges posed by climate change through exploration of sustainable green options. Our environmental projects protect the environment and help people use the resources they need without compromising them for future generations.
By reducing pollution Our UK operation (including transport) is carbon neutral Our clients have the opportunity to off-set their carbon emissions created on their expedition Since 2007 we have planted over half a million trees Wastewater, including grey water is treated effectively (e.g. through sand filters) and reused wherever possible We have in place a solid waste management strategy and are continuing to explore greener alternatives for waste management e.g. building prototype composting toilets in our camps We are actively looking at ways of reducing our use of disposable and consumable goods Wherever possible we minimise the use of harmful substances such as pesticides, cleaning products and paints, and substitute with innocuous and environmentally friendly products. The use and disposal of chemicals is properly managed Our camps are designed to minimise pollution from noise, light, run-off, erosion, ozone-damaging compounds and air and soil contaminants
By conserving natural resources We build and install fuel-efficient stoves in almost all our areas of operation for the benefit of the local community. These stoves remove the need for charcoal use and reduce firewood consumption by up to 70% We produce biomass fuel briquettes as a favourable and commercially viable alternative to charcoal production We have built two biogas collectors that provide natural gas for lighting and cooking. This eliminates any element of sewage management in our camps and reduces firewood consumption Where possible, we have implemented extensive recycling programmes in our camps (e.g. waste paper) and as part of our volunteer programmes (e.g. marine refuse recycling) and strive to improve on this year on year We choose only environmentally friendly products for building materials, capital goods, food and consumables We encourage the principles of permaculture in many of our projects We have developed community tree nurseries in almost all of our areas of operation to provide fast growing,sustainable wood We are implementing measures to further reduce our energy and water consumption and all clients are encouraged to conserve water and energy during their stay Our architecture expeditions enable young architects to design and build innovative eco-friendly and carbon neutral community facilities, showcasing their skills and experience in a challenging environment
We have established camps alongside rural villages and wildlife conservation areas where poverty levels are high and there is virtually no form of income beyond small-scale farming, to create critical cash economies in areas that would otherwise never benefit from tourism. Our projects have benefited over 30,000 people, providing communities with employment and better access to education and healthcare. Additionally, by establishing a charity to work alongside the business, we have provided increased support to numerous projects that are independent of our volunteer programmes.
Through Direct Employment Our workforce originates from the host country, including management positions. Training is offered as necessary We are one of the largest employers of staff from the local regions in which we operate, employing over 150 permanent members of staff, with an additional 100-150 staff employed during the summer. Almost all our camp workforce originates from within that same community (within 30 km of camp) We employ staff transparently, creating a diverse workforce in terms of gender, ethnicity, age and disability We pay all our employees fairly and treat ethically, respecting International and/or national legal protection of employees By working in areas where tourism is less established, we contribute to the even distribution of income and economic growth Most of our fresh produce and project materials are source from sustainable, local supplies
By Creating Business Enterprise and Eco--Tourism Ventures Most camps are established on community land where we pay rent and entrance fees We have set up and are supporting many initiatives designed to generate an income within local communities such as elephant dung paper making, marine refuse recycling, biomass fuel production, home stay initiatives and several eco-tourism attractions We encourage all our volunteers to buy locally made sustainable goods and we facilitate craft sales areas near our camps that showcase local products We encourage volunteers to adopt a fair price policy when purchasing local goods and souvenirs
By Improving Educational Facilities and Teaching Assistance Many of our projects address poverty through the development and improvement of educational facilities for young people and adults. Since 2005 we have improved 30 schools across South America, Africa and Asia and provide long-term assistance to the communities that we work with We are providing schools with solar power, electricity as well as fully equipped libraries and ICT centres We are sponsoring children to allow them to attend secondary school and also sponsoring the training and employment of teachers We are building kindergartens to give children a head start in education We continue to develop our Sport for Development programme in Africa as we recognise this as an important tool for social change
By Improving Sanitation and Healthcare We reduce the incidences of water-borne diseases by developing several clean water initiatives to provide communities with safe drinking water. This includes the construction and installation of boreholes, wells, gravity-fed water collection, and water storage We reduce the risk disease by installing proper sanitation facilities in schools and communities, such as flushing toilets and washbasins Our healthcare programmes are designed to provide education and practical support for communities, tackling a range of issues including nutrition, childcare, parasitic prevention and treatment, sexual health and womens health
By Increasing Food Security Our ongoing veterinarian initiatives improve livestock welfare standards and ensure a good meat yield and better profits for local farmers We support various aqua-culture projects thereby improving sustainable fish production We are introducing permaculture farming into communities as a sustainable long-term solution to food production and self-sufficiency We support feeding programmes for young children in the poorest areas of South America, East Africa and Asia