Here at The Great Projects we get asked a lot of questions, which is to be completely expected when you have as many exciting projects as we do! However, there are a few questions we get asked more than others. This blog is home to the answers you want most often, so sit back and take a look at our top 5 most frequently asked questions to see if they can provide you with the answers you need when considering your next volunteering trip.
Will I get to touch the animals on my project?
This is perhaps the question we get asked most often and the answer is not a simple one! There are some projects where the answer is very cut and dry. All of our orangutan projects for example implement a strict no hands on contact policy. Apart from the fact that orangutans are incredibly susceptible to human diseases, and something as small to us as the common cold can kill them, these Great Apes are seven times stronger than the average human so you would be well advised to avoid coming into contact with one as they remain very wild animals! Most of our other projects also operate a no contact policy, and this is for the benefit of the animals as on all of our animal conservation projects it is of the utmost importance to us that the animal’s needs and safety is a priority.
There are however some projects upon which it is important that the volunteers do take a more hands on role when caring for the animals. Perhaps the prime example of when hands on contact is necessary with some of the animals on a project is at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. Here volunteers play their part in feeding many of the local farm animals, spending time in the meerkat enclosure, and even caring for the baby baboons overnight. The projects upon which you as a volunteer may be able to have an element of hands on contact are; The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, The Wildlife Orphanage in South Africa, The Great Turtle Project, The Bolivia Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Costa Rica Turtle Conservation Experience. You may also have the chance to feed the pandas on the Panda Volunteer Experience in China, but you will not come into contact with them directly.
We ask all volunteers to remember that everything done on our projects is done for the good of the animals, so if you are told you cannot touch the animals there is a good reason for it. These are all conservation experiences, not a chance to cuddle exotic wildlife.
What type of work will I be doing on my project?
The answer to this question is completely dependent on whichever project you choose to volunteer on! Some of our projects require volunteers to have a good level of fitness as you will be getting stuck in with a selection of fairly physical activities. A good example of this is the IAR Orangutan Project where volunteers often help with activities as diverse as pouring concrete on new construction elements through to carrying huge leafs to use to make enrichment with! On other projects you will need to be able to dive, and this is a very specific skill set which some people may not have. On some project however, the requirements from volunteers will be more gentile. A good example here is the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project as volunteers are paired with tasks that match their own physical abilities.
The easiest answer here is to recommend reading the activities section on each project page, or simply giving us a call here in the office and the travel team will be more than happy to help you learn more!
What age do I need to be to volunteer?
As a general rule, we require all of our volunteers to be 18 years of age or older as younger volunteers may struggle with the requirements of the projects. There are some exceptions to the rule though and the following projects will almost always accept a 17 year old volunteer as long as they have a note of consent from a parent or legal guardian. The projects are; The Great Orangutan Project, The Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project, The Botswana Wilderness Adventure, The Shamwari Conservation Experience, The Panda Volunteer Experience In China, The Costa Rica Turtle Conservation Experience, The Great Whale Project, and The Raja Ampat Diving Project.
We also have a selection of family projects which can cater for young volunteers from the age of 8, so take a look at the family volunteering page if you are interested in learning more about our family projects.
We do not have an upper age limit on almost all of our projects, all we ask is that you are of a good level of fitness and will be able to partake in all of the project activities. Even if you think you are too old to make a difference, you are not. Some of our best volunteers have considered themselves as too old to help, but once they got out to the project sites they were found to be the most productive members of the team!
Will I be insured on my project?
Here at The Great Projects we found that people were struggling to get the correct insurance cover for animal volunteering projects and that is why we have our own bespoke insurance! We have two different policies, one for standard volunteering for a cost of £10.99 per week, and one for animal contact volunteering at a cost of £16.49 per week. You can see all that you will be covered for with these policies on our insurance page on the website, so take a look here. Please note though that our insurance policies are through our partners at Endsleigh, and the policies cover volunteers between the ages of 16-65.
Can you help me with flights?
We are able to help you find flights too, and all you have to do is fill in the form on our flights page and our dedicated travel team will do all of the work from there! Once they have got the right quote for you, then all that’s left to do is book it and look forward to your trip. It’s that simple!
Hopefully these questions have provided you with some of the answers you needed, but if not then please feel free to ask the travel team on the [email protected] email address and they will be happy to get back to you!
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Has this blog inspired you to volunteer? If so, why not enquire today? Simply fill out an enquiry form, and allow a member of our travel team to assist with your query! Please note that blog comments are not monitored by the travel team, so any questions related to bookings may be missed.
Come face to face with one of the world’s most misunderstood predators whilst aiding great white shark conservation. As a volunteer, not only will you get the incredible opportunity to dive with sharks, but you will also assist the team in raising awareness of the great white as you work alongside tourists and local school children to provide them with knowledge of the local environment and the importance of living in harmony with South Africa’s marine life.
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