Archived entries for volunteer

Choosing the right volunteer opportunity

How to choose the best volunteering project for you?

There are lots of volunteering opportunities available but it’s important that you find the one that suits you best. It is a good idea to approach your volunteer search like you would a normal job search. However place your focus at looking for an enjoyable way to spend your valuable time – with the added bonus of helping others.

There are important factors to consider while looking for volunteer opportunities, so what you find is important to you and fits into your personal and professional life. Continue reading…

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Good Enough Reasons to Volunteer

1. When you stay home you get too many telemarketing calls.

2. Your family could use a break from you. Hopefully they will miss you while you are away. Ever heard of the phrase, ‘Absence makes the heart grows fonder?’

3. You might need help yourself some day.

4. It’s hard to win a game of solitaire. Continue reading…

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My Volunteering Experience in Nepal

Rizal recently volunteered in the Educate the Children in Nepal volunteering program and here he shares his experience.

“Surrender” – the one and only advice given to me by a fellow volunteer an hour after arriving at the Tribhuvan Airport. While the word itself was simple, the weight of it was tremendously felt the morning of the second day. Fifteen hours of two bus rides and halfway through my six hours hike to Chisapani Village, I kept repeating that word in my head like a mantra. “Surrender”, the only way to enjoy this retreat is to surrender to the experience, totally. I wasn’t there to be cuddled by the comfort of home. Continue reading…

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Volunteer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Are you living in KL or perhaps you are a tourist visiting Malaysia and KL in the next few months.  Would you like to join in some tangible free volunteer efforts and not only help the city but get to know the city!

Check these out

1. Wall Paper Bags
Someone has offered us a warehouse full of wall papers, which we plan to make into paper goodie bags to be made by single mothers and homeless people in the Ampang area. The warehouse will be renovated hence these papers etc must be cleared at the soonest.

Volunteers needed to help wipe and pack the wallpapers into garbage bags and boxes so we can send them to various places to store.

Dates: month of march

P/s – let us know if you have a small corner/storage space.

2. Animal shelter
There’s a animal shelter in brickfields. It has about 50 to 60 dogs at the moment now but a friend has made arrangements to shift them to a better facility. But while that transition happens, we would like to improve the living conditions for the doggies. All the dogs have been vaccinated and have proper vet records.

Volunteers needed to make platforms using pallets so the dogs will have a dry space to sleep/lie on, have bathing and tagging sessions, vet visits to neuter the boys, etc

Dates: March/April

3. Relocate troublesome Macques, if left they will be put to sleep.

Volunteers needed to relocate a group of monkeys. Need to trap and relocate to a jungle (will be advised by wildlife).

Dates – March

If you are interested in any of these volunteering efforts please contact either

Shyam –


Nurul –

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Retirees Chasing Butterflies

Who knew chasing butterflies could be a task many retirees are interested to do.

State and national parks in the US has many of retirees who volunteer to chase butterfly to catalog the butterfly species. These retirees are usually volunteers above age 50′s who had spent a part part of their life in hectic job careers.

One of them is Richard Bray, who retired from a career in the commercial florist industry in 1995, has spent 14 summers as part of a biological survey team in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Many of the volunteers now no longer spend their day in an office but outdoors in the park with plenty of hiking, camping and interacting with public hikers who frequent these parks.

The butterfly survey in Rocky Mountain National Park began formally in 1996 as an attempt to catalog the butterfly species there. After 12,000 hours of volunteering, Mr. Bray has identified 140 species.

Read more here

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Michael’s Volunteering Experience in Macaw Conservation

In the summer of 2012, Michael volunteered in the Conservation and Reintroduction of the Macaws Project in Costa Rica. Here he shares his fond memories of working with the colourful Macaws in Costa Rica!

What the volunteering project is about..

This Macaw conservation project is a conservation program working to restore wild populations of the endangered Great Green Macaw and Scarlet Macaw in Costa Rica. They are doing this by breeding captive macaws that have been rescued from the exotic pet trade, then taking the new fledgling macaws out to various release sites along the coastal lowland forests.

What made Michael chose to volunteer with this project?

“I chose to volunteer at the project originally because it was a project that was actually generating scientific data and I really wanted to be a part of some active research. After the birds had been released into the wild, long term monitoring was establishing how the wild population is behaving and expanding along the coast.”

His experience volunteering for the project..

I worked for a while at the breeding centre which was at times really hard work, but with great people working there too time flew by! After a week I went out to Tiskita release site and spent a few weeks monitoring the wild birds. It was such a beautiful area with jungle all around and the birds were really beginning to flourish. When monitoring the birds I spent a lot of time just being able to sit, relax and unwind, soaking up the jungle atmosphere. Being quite and still in the jungle for several hours at a time was fantastic when toucans, macaws, monkeys, coatis and armadillos just wandered close by.

Michael’s  general daily routine..

At the breeding centre it was mainly about animal husbandry, we would chop fruit and feed the birds in the morning, then gather fruit for the next day, usually done before lunch. We’d have the early afternoon to ourselves, and then back to the centre to clean the aviaries later in the afternoon, finishing up just before dinner. At the release site we had morning and afternoon monitoring sessions, each about 3-4 hours, where would go to different sites either by the release area, in the jungle, by nest trees or in around the local villages looking for birds and recording any behavioural observations we made. It was great talking to locals to find out where they had seen birds and especially taking part in the afternoon feeding as part of the soft release program, you got some really close contact with the macaws.

How the volunteering programme inspire Michael to contribute to the community/ environment..

Although the breeding centre was hard work it was a really valuable experience to see a snapshot of the whole organisation from the captive breeding to the final release. The process from start to finish was absorbing and the more you learn about the birds and troubles they faced the more passionate you felt about wanting help turn the situation around. At the Tiskita release site where the program has been running for a few years it was fantastic to see how the macaw population was recovering and how the locals’ attitudes had changed. The project was certainly having an impact and it was a privilege to be a part of it.

For more information on this project, visit The Conservation and Reintroduction of Macaws Project in Costa Rica

If you have volunteered for other Ecoteer projects, send in your story with some photos of your experience to

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Volunteering With Your Pets!

Who says volunteering is only for humans?

You can always bring your pets (dogs, cats, rabbit etc) along to help people. Animals are very powerful in their own way, you know?

Here are a few ways to include your pets!

1. Donating blood – Animals need blood when they are in crisis too just like humans. If your pets are healthy, why not take them to the nearest pet blood bank and donate some blood to save other animals when they are in need.

2. Animal assisted therapy – Regular visits from animals at hospitals provide much-needed social interaction to the patients and staff, plus they’ve also been shown to reduce stress. If your pet is friendly, well behaved and patient (and if you are too), you may have all the makings of an excellent therapy team.

3. Provide a foster home – Many would-be pets at animal shelters need a little socializing or just some time to recover from an illness before they can be adopted out to a loving home. You can always help out by providing a temporary home for them to get used to being with a family and other pets while they are going through that transition stage before getting adopted in the future.

4. When disaster strikes or someone goes missing, human-canine teams are often called in to help. Many are volunteers that aid local, state and federal authorities. You and your dog can learn to locate tornado survivors, missing skiers and drowning victims too. All it takes is two years of search-and-rescue training and a lot of dedication and stamina. The best hero-breeds include German shepherds, golden retrievers and border collies. If your dog is agile, obedient, outgoing and young (training is best started in puppyhood), then contact the American Rescue Dog Association or the National Association for Search & Rescue.

5. Walk/Race for Charity – Many charities raise money by sponsoring human/dog racing events — everything from dog walks and runs (canicross) to bikjoring (dogs pulling bicyclists) and skijoring (dogs pulling skiers).

What other ways do you do to involve your pets in volunteering? Come and share some ideas with us!

Source: Volunteering with pets

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Ecoteer Poster Competition

Ecoteer is having a creative poster competition starting this August and stand the chance to win GBP30!

The theme of the poster competition is ‘Volunteer with Ecoteer’ and you can design it how you want it to be but it has to have an Ecoteer logo, the website URL and Ecoteer’s tagline ‘Travel With a Cause’.

Download the logo here

Be creative and use any sort of graphic designing software or even your own bare hands to create an eye capturing 2D poster!

Ecoteer will be deciding which is the best poster and it will be used as our marketing material and to be placed on our blog, website, brochures and project sites.

All you need to do it design your poster and send it in jpeg format to before 31st August 2012. The winner will then be announced on the 3rd of September 2012 on our Ecoteer Facebook page.

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Interview: Greening up South Africa

The Ecoteer interview with Marleen Lammers, representing one of the organisations in South Africa focusing on greening up the environment and the cities by planting trees and spreading the awareness of  sustainable environment.

Give us a brief summary of what your organization/ project is about and how did it start?

Our organization is a social enterprise that plants trees and sets up creative ways of sustaining trees through community involvement and spreads environmental education in sub-Saharan Africa. The objectives are to uplift communities, plant trees in deforested areas, green under-greened urban areas, spread environmental awareness, combat climate change and inspire a green movement by making greening enjoyable. We started in September 2010 and has since planted over 12,000 trees in over 170 beneficiary schools, crèches, orphanages, old-age homes, community centres as well as deforested areas. Creative tree-care programmes have been implemented and children, community members and volunteers are getting their hands dirty, learning a lot and loving it.

Our organization recently won the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Western Cape Provincial Government competition for Social Enterprises in South Africa, as well as a LeadSA competition run by Cape Talk in association with the Dischem Foundation. We were also shortlisted for an Enviropeadia award in two categories in South Africa.

Our organization is a fast-growing social enterprise that offers a very dynamic, inspiring, and fun working environment. Everyone involved in incredibly passionate about what they’re doing, and the enthusiasm rubs off on anyone who joins. Moreover, it is exciting and rewarding to be able to make a real difference in underprivileged communities, and to contribute to a greener Africa.

How does your project benefit the local community?

Our urban greening projects provide underprivileged and under-greened schools with fruit trees, giving them both healthy food and something to be proud of and take ownership of.

What are the most interesting aspects of your projects from volunteers feedback?

Some of our volunteers’ feedback:

“Everyone working for here gets swept along into a positive and productive working atmosphere. I’m sure I’ll come home a different person, having learnt and experienced tons and carrying with me the knowledge of how to change the world one tree at a time.” (Charlotte Brinkmann, Germany)

“Thank you so much for the amazing way in which you organized the tree planting project. It was such a pleasure to plant when the hard work is done!”

(Andy, South Africa)

“I loved meeting and working with the children at the schools. They were so responsive to the tree planting program that we carried out. Thank you so much!”

(Megan, USA)

What do volunteers learn while volunteering for your organization?

Volunteers are able to immerse themselves in local South African cultures, and learn from cultural interaction. They will also learn about environmental issues, and what it takes to spread environmental awareness.

Are there any fascinating/ inspiring events have you seen from your project? If yes, what was it?

Many! I would say our videos show this best. This is an example of an inspiring planting day we recently hosted:

What type of volunteers are suitable for your project?

Anyone with an interest in the environment, a desire to help inspire a green movement in Africa, and a willingness to get their hands dirty!

Any last words you would like to share with the volunteers to volunteer for your organization?

Join our Treevolution!

If you are interested to join this volunteering programme in South Africa, go to Environmental Education & Urban Greening Volunteering Project for more information.

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Interview with Bayu

Bayu is a key staff in one of the Indonesian NGO which focuses on conservation of natural ecosystems, wildlife and its habitat in several parts of Indonesia and Borneo.

1. Briefly give us a summary about what your organization is all about?

We are an Indonesian NGO working in Bali, Nusa Penida and Borneo for the preservation of Indonesia’s wildlife and its habitats. We take a holistic approach which recognises the intrinsic inter-relation between humans, our fellow creatures and the environment. As a small Non Government Organisation we focus on grassroots issues and frontline conservation. Founded in September 1997, initially to support the orangutan rehabilitation program in Tanjung Puting National Park, Borneo, we have since expanded our focus to include reforestation, community development, conservation education, rehabilitation and release of other wildlife such as the critically endangered Bali Starling, sea turtles and others.

Our organization is heavily involved in habitat restoration alongside the local communities in Borneo and Nusa Penida; supporting the conservation of rainforest. We work with communities to provide alternative livelihoods in an ecologically responsible manner.

We run a Mutual Learning field school and a demonstration plot to help farmers build skills in agroforestry and animal husbandry. We also introduced a Cow Bank, and are helping train nominated villagers as “livestock paramedics”. Villagers contribute actively, giving ideas, labour, materials and managing many aspects of the programs themselves. We support the villagers to participate in ecotourism, organising skills training, promoting traditional crafts and services, and gaining certification for local forest guides and village homestays. Many of the ecotourism participants are also members of our Community Patrol program, helping Forest Police fight fires, clear waterways and taking part in anti-illegal logging patrols. Together with the local authorities, schools and womens groups, our team runs health checks and seminars for women, children and the elderly; cultivate school and family gardens; and provide teachers assistance and scholarships.

In 2011, our organization acquired a Wildlife Rescue Centre in Tabanan, central Bali.

2.What aspect of the job do you enjoy most while working for your organization?

To be able to bring about positive change in communities, the preservation of endangered wildlife and the environment through learning together and  coming up with solutions that are ecologically viable.  It has been, and hopefully will continue to be, a journey of amazing discovery and wonderment.

3. What is the level of support from the community towards your project?

The entire island of Nusa Penida has been declared, and is operating as, a bird sanctuary by unanimous vote of the villagers.  This is further reinforced by the inclusion of bird protection in the awig-awig or traditional village law.  The protection of birds on the island is also embraced by the local temples, where all of the villagers worship

In Borneo, as in Nusa Penida, villagers contribute to our community development projects by giving ideas, providing labour and materials, as well as managing some of the projects themselves

4. What are the interesting aspects of your projects?

Here is some feedback from our volunteers:

Phone wouldn’t work! Great programme. Lots of different things to do. Felt useful. Will return!”  – Anonymous

“Enjoyed planting in the garden and social time at night around the table (music and food)” – Lisa Chominiec

“Built garden greenhouse. Tilled soil for planting. Enjoyed socialising at night, cremation ceremony, visiting Tembeling Cave. Everyone very welcoming and entertaining” -  Tilman Schaeffer

“Greenhouse work. Teaching and attended bird release” – Anonymous

5. What do volunteers learn when they volunteer in your projects?

Volunteering with our organization, either on Nusa Penida, in Borneo or with our Wildlife Rescue Centre in central Bali, is a fun way to learn about the environment, conservation and community development, and a great way to meet traditional communities and work alongside them

6.What is the most touching/ inspiring thing have you seen before from your projects?

The growing number of Bali Starlings in the wild through the combined efforts of conservation methods and community endeavours.

The willingness of communities to embrace new ideas and actively taking part in the implementation.

7.What kind of volunteers are suitable for your project?

Volunteers are not required to have field experience or any specific qualification, just a willingness to help and a passion for the kind of work that we do … growing & planting trees, community development, and protection of endangered wildlife and the environment.

Volunteering with our organization is suitable for anyone age 18 and above.  Volunteers below the age of 18 must be accompanied by parents or supervising adult.  Because volunteers work closely with local staff and villagers, we ask that they are mindful of cultural habits and practices.

Last but not least, bring your enthusiasm, keep an open mind and immerse yourselves in the tasks at hand.  Above all, enjoy the opportunity to mingle with and learn from the various fascinating cultures


This organization has several projects which are Wildlife Protection, Hibitat Restoration & Community Development in Bali and Teach English in Bali.

Visit Conservation for more of Ecoteer’s volunteering conservations projects.

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