Volunteering Abroad: Programmes we can’t stop talking about

Volunteering Abroad: Programmes we can’t stop talking about

Hundreds of thousands of people jet abroad every year to volunteer for the causes close to their hearts. It’s one of the best ways to see the world, learn new skills, meet like-minded people, and help those in need.

Although, with so many volunteering programmes available, how do you choose the right one for you? Don’t worry, we’re here to lend a hand.

Wherever we operate in the world, we’re joined by awesome volunteers. Everyone from vets-in-training to trained veterinary nurses to people with just a passion for animal welfare volunteer with us on the frontline. They gift their time, energy, and skills to help animals in need, and for that, we couldn’t be more grateful.

So, let’s get down to it. Are you ready to hear about the volunteer programmes we just can’t stop talking about? Located everywhere from Africa to South America to the Caribbean, we guarantee these programmes will get you excited for volunteering abroad again. 

Destination #1: Malawi 

In southwestern Malawi, the Majete Wildlife Reserve is a protected area for key species to thrive – but it hasn't always been that way. Prior to 2003, the area was a wasteland. All the wildlife had been hunted out – elephants, rhinos, lions, buffalo, and even warthog – only a few antelope remained. Poaching was a constant and deadly threat. 

That is until 2003 when African Parks took over management of the park. 

Year-on-year since, animals have been reintroduced to the reserve, ranger units expanded and expertly trained, and community projects set up surrounding the park. It’s led to the Majete Wildlife Reserve becoming one of Africa’s most inspiring conservation successes, and a project that we are extremely proud to be part of. 

Close by in the city of Blantyre, our veterinary team at the SPCA has joined forces with the rangers to ensure the health and safety of the reserve’s residents. As well as providing expert treatment and care to the area’s dogs, cats, and other pets, they’re on hand to help wildlife in need. They’ve assisted with everything from health checks on orphaned serval kittens to critical first aid on a pangolin rescued from poachers. On top of that, they’re helping care for the ranger’s four-legged recruits, the highly trained anti-poaching dogs. This involves assisting with selecting and training suitable handlers and providing the dogs with all their routine care. 

The best part is that you can volunteer alongside our life-saving team.

Volunteer: The ultimate wildlife experience   

Checking camera traps, tracking wildlife with GPS collars, and attending to injured wildlife. It’s all in a day’s work at the Majete Wildlife Reserve. If you’ve ever wanted to learn the practical skills and theoretical knowledge that form the basis of conservation in Africa, take a look at this volunteering opportunity.

Volunteer: Improve the welfare of animals in Malawi  

With expert veterinary care often lacking or unaffordable in this part of the world, our well-equipped SPCA clinic in Blantyre provides a lifeline. It offers free vaccinations, sterilisations, and other treatments to stray animals or those from low-income households in the city and in surrounding rural communities. If you’re after rewarding clinical work and the chance to help animals in rural communities and African wildlife reserves, then this programme is for you.

Need more information? Check out our FAQs.  

Destination #2: The Galápagos Islands   

A long way from Malawi is the Galápagos Islands, a province of Ecuador that is world-renowned for its unique plant and animal species. Sadly, here, uncontrolled populations of domesticated animals, and now the economic struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic, are harming the island’s biodiversity.

Lack of sustainable veterinary care and overpopulation is causing predation, competition, and infectious disease introduction. Local dogs and cats, as well as surrounding wildlife and ecosystems, are feeling the pressure.   

That’s why we’ve established Pan Animalia Galápagos, to treat and sterilise local cats and dogs and help restore the balance of nature on the Galápagos Islands, together with the local government.

And you guessed it; you can join us.   

Volunteer: Protect biodiversity in the Galápagos   

The Galápagos Animal Doctors project is now set up and based out of the clinic in Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz. With a surgical theatre, kennels, consultation, and waiting rooms, and a small laboratory, it’ll act as a hub for expert veterinary services and help reduce conflict and suffering across the islands and communities. If you’re eager to experience the natural wonders of the Galápagos Islands and make a lasting difference for its wildlife, pets, and people, apply here.

Destination #3: The Caribbean  

Whilst the island life in the Caribbean is dreamy for some, it can be tough on others. In Grenada, domestic animal overpopulation is a huge problem for our four-legged friends and causes unnecessary suffering. With the support of qualified and experienced vets and veterinary nurses, our charity partners are working to change this.

Volunteer: Support animals in the Caribbean  

Have you been dreaming of island life? Are you seeking a challenging but rewarding experience? Volunteering at the Grenada SPCA or the Carriacou Animal Hospital could be the perfect programme for you.

You’ll work inside a busy veterinary hospital, offering expert low-cost treatment and preventive health care to the island’s animals, including vaccinations, worming, treatment for wounds, and spay-neuter surgeries. Surrounded by hard-working, like-minded people, you’ll help give abused, neglected, abandoned, and stray animals the lives they deserve.

Need more information? Check out our FAQs

Browse our Volunteer Programmes

Volunteers play a critical role in helping animals in need across our projects sites. Everywhere from Thailand to South Africa to Fiji, you can lend your time and share your skills, and help us improve the standard of care animals receive globally. What are you waiting for? Start browsing now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about volunteering abroad? How do I apply? It is for me? Is it even possible during COVID-19? We have got the answers to your most frequently asked questions.

For any other questions regarding volunteering, please email us at volunteers@mail.volunteer.wvs.org.uk.

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