Here in the beautiful Maldives, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by an abundance of tropical marine life, including five species of sea turtle. However, due to threats such as habitat loss, poaching, the illegal pet trade and injury from ghost nets, sea turtles are an endangered species. At Atoll Marine Centre we rescue illegally kept and injured turtles, rehabilitate them, and release them back into the ocean where they belong. Working alongside our two Marine Biologists, Volunteers experience hand's on practical turtle husbandry skills and make a real impact in our marine conservation efforts.
- Work closely with other ocean enthusiasts, both international and local, at our Atoll Marine Centre.
- Get involved in a variety of different projects including: sea turtle rehabilitation and headstart program, coral gardening, reef monitoring and community outreach.
- Hone practical conservation skills to enhance future career prospects.
- Live in the ‘real’ Maldives in a tight-knit, friendly community who will welcome you with open arms.
- It’s not all work and no play, weekly excursions include snorkeling, visiting uninhabited islands, camping, BBQs etc. and offer some much needed rest time.
|Location||Naifaru Island, Maldives|
|Start Dates||Thursdays or Saturdays every week|
|Duration||2 - 12 weeks
We recommend at least 3 weeks
|Requirements||• The ability to swim and be comfortable in the water
• Hold an interest in marine life and conservation efforts
• Have an open mind towards other cultures
• Be willing to commit yourself to helping our community
• Bring your own snorkelling equipment (mask, snorkel and fins)
• Have experience in the field of marine biology or oceanography (beneficial)
• You are minimum 18 years old
Volunteer Role: What will I be doing?
Volunteers will work closely with our two resident marine biologists. Daily tasks are varied and may include:
- Hands on turtle husbandry experience including cleaning and feeding the rescued turtles
- Assist with administrating any medical care
- Conducting reef surveys on atoll islands
- Practical coral regeneration experience including monitoring coral frames and collecting data
- Organizing and assisting with community beach cleans and marine awareness sessions.
Volunteers will receive training in fish/coral species identification and gain first-hand practical experience in international marine conservation for a local run NGO. This programme is perfect for budding conservationists who want to gain practical skills and field experience, or for volunteers who simply love sea turtles and want to interact with them in a sustainable way
“My time on Naifaru working as a marine volunteer was absolutely amazing and I will always remember it. It was an incredible experience and although I have travelled a lot the Maldives are a special place!”
Nina Undvardi-Lakos, Marine Conservation Volunteer, 2014
Why are volunteers needed on this project?
The problem is big, but our ambitions are bigger! Our marine programme and projects are extensive, and relies on volunteer support to help us achieve all our conservation aims. Simply put, without volunteers we would not be able to ensure the upkeep and continued operation of Atoll Marine Centre. Monitoring work is time consuming and extensive so we require all the help we can get in maintaining our coral frames and surveying local reefs.
Where will I be living?
Accomodation is provided in our local guesthouse; Aqua Inn. We have single-sex shared bedrooms, usually with 2 people per room, although private accommodation is also available for additional cost. All rooms are en-suite and come equipped with a private bathroom. The house has free WiFi and a communal living area with sofas, TV, books, a fridge and a kettle, and soon feels like home, a great place to relax after a rewarding day in the Marine Centre! Your accommodation is included in the programme fee. You can see more about Aqua Inn here.
Free Time & Excursions
We organize one excursion off the island per week, normally on a Saturday, but the day may vary depending on weather/availability. We go on a variety of exciting excursions around the Lhaviyani Atoll, and always take into account what you as a volunteer would like to do with your time. Examples of some of the excursions include a: resort day trip, snorkeling trips, overnight camping trips, night fishing trips, BBQs or visits to uninhabited islands. Volunteers may also get the chance to go on reef surveys of the neighboring islands with our marine team.
During your free time on the island, we encourage volunteers to get in the sea as much as possible and take photos of the marine life and islands. We snorkel around our island's reefs most afternoons, play cards, play volleyball, go crab catching, have movie nights, and through it all, make life long friends. We have a wonderful little community here and there is some fantastic sights and scenery to take in as you walk around our island.
- 24/7 support from our volunteer coordinator
- Pre-arrival information about your programme, organization and environment
- VISA application on your behalf so it is ready for you on arrival (only needed if you are staying for more than 30 days.)
- We book local accommodation in Male and organize airport pickup (cost of Male accommodation is not included)
- In-country transportation between Male and Naifaru either via ferry or speedboat
- Accommodation on Naifaru
- 3 meals a day
- 1 excursion/week
- 24/7 support from our volunteer coordinator
- In-country transportation from Naifaru to Male either via ferry or speedboat
- Certificate of competency
- Lifetime of memories
- Discount of 20% if you decide to come
Coming to the Maldives as a volunteer, the duration of time staying here will have an impact on the kind of visa you will get, and therefore which requirements needed.
Up to 30 days:
Being a volunteer for no longer than 30 days, you need to provide:
- A color scan of your passport.
- Flight itinerary.
Over 30 days (up to three months):
Staying for more than 30 days you will be needing a Business Visa. This type of visa allows you to stay and work in the Maldives for 3 months.
In order to qualify for a Business you would need to provide:
- A prove of degree in a related field (e.g. marine biology)
- A color scan copy of your passport
- A passport sized photo (less than 3 months old)
- A medical report (we will provide the necessary forms to be completed by your doctor)
- A police report (less than 6 months old)
- A completed and signed vetting form (we will provide the form to be filled out.)
All fees are shown in USD and are exclusive of the administration fee of $200.00, Bank Transfer fee $25 and Insurance fee $40 (business visa only). Your fee covers in country transfers, accommodation in Naifaru, 3 meals a day, activities and a weekly excursion. We find volunteers spend very little additional money whilst with us. Without these funds, we would not be able to keep our Marine Centre open and conduct our conservation outreach projects.
Contact our Volunteer Coordinator for more information or if you have any specific questions. We aim to reply within 24 hours.
Visit our FAQs to see if we can solve your query, if not feel free to email us and we will help in any way we can.
"Working in the turtle centre was definitely the most rewarding activity, as we learnt how much time and effort goes into giving them the best care possible. Being able to contribute to that care was fantastic"
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