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Volunteer for the research and conservation of the marine ecosystem and unique marine life found in Mozambique! Over the last 11 years, there has been an 80 percent decrease in the Mozamibque whale shark population. With very little public knowledge of endangered species, the locals and polticians of this beautiful country do not prioritize the conservation of this marine species. This program is run by an organization that has been in existence for 14 years and has published 8 sceintific papers with recommendations for conservation actions. This organization has also implemented protocols for in-water tourism interactions that help tourists not have a negative impact on the ecosystem. 

Volunteers are involved in hands-on data collection and research collected through various scientific methodologies with field data collected on unique species, including whale sharks, humpback whales, dolphins, turtles and other marine biodiversity. The research and data aids in the making of recommendations for the improvement of conservation efforts as well as creating a general awareness about the marine environment. Volunteers have so far helped to identify over 400 whale sharks and add them to global database. 

 
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Location of the Project:  Praia do Tofo, Mozambique
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Project length:  Min 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Inhambane International Airport
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Volunteer Work:  Diving, underwater data collection, studying and photographing unique marine life - including whale sharks
Age:  18-50
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Important Note:  In order to fully participate in the program you need to be a strong swimmer. Volunteers who join only for 2 weeks must be already PADI certified.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared chalet on the beach
Food:  Three meals a day
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Airport Transfers:  Airport transfers included on arrival and departure
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Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Orientation:  Upon arrival you will be given an orientation presentation by the team's scientists, followed by a tour of Tofo and the nearby city of Inhambane. This includes time to get a local SIM card and enjoy some freshly prepared local food.
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Support:  Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, visa (if required), personal expenses
Mozambique is a large country in Southeast Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe  to the west, and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest, making it the center of a diverse collection of African countries.

This project is based in the picturesque beach town of Praia do Tofo in the bustling Inhambane Province. It is world renowned for its incredible diving with regular viewing of spectacular marine life including whale sharks, dolphins, humpback whales, manta rays and turtles. The soft white sand and crystal clear waters of the coast stretch on for miles and is often compared to paradise. 
 
As a volunteer on this project you will help carry out the marine research and monitoring activities for the project under the guidance of experienced marine ecologists. You will join other volunteers on the project to collect data via scuba dives, ocean safaris, and beach walks off the coastline of Tofo in Mozambique. You can expect an excellent diving, snorkeling and beach experience, whilst gaining first hand marine research skills all while contributing to the conservation of stunning marine life. During your time in Praia do Tofo you will be involved in a range of different research projects.

Some of your tasks may include:
  • Monitoring and snorkeling with the world’s largest fish - the whale shark
  • Studying marine behavior and ecology and taking underwater identification photographs, as well as uploading and analyzing this field data.
  • Monitoring the condition of coral reefs and indicator species of reef fish.
  • You may be trained to take ID photos of manta rays and other threatened marine species to aid population assessment.
  • At certain times of the year you may also help survey Humpback whale numbers and turtle nesting activity, as well as other indicators of the health of marine biodiversity in the region.
  • You may also assist with beach cleanups and other general environmental activities
  • As part of the project activities, you will complete an Internationally Recognized Dive Qualification during a normal 4-week program, along with 11 or 12 ocean activities (ocean safaris or research dives) depending on the dive course chosen. The number of ocean safaris and research dives conducted are calculated according to the length of your stay. 
Please note: In order to engage in these activities you will need to be able or willing to learn to scuba dive. An open or advanced internationally recognized diving course is provided as part of your orientation. You need to be a capable swimmer (able to swim 100m unassisted) and snorkeler.
Internet
Internet:  Wifi in Mozambique is limited and generally slow. Data is most commonly purchased by the gigabyte through a local mobile network SIM card which you can buy for an additional fee on your first day in Inhambane.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Volunteers will stay in chalets with traditional thatched roofs. The accommodation is dormitory-style and sleeps between 4 to 12 people. The chalets have electricity and running, drinkable water as well as an open living area with ample room to relax outside. The bedrooms are fitted with bunk beds, mattresses, mosquito nets, sheets and pillows. There are shared toilet and shower facilities.
Food:  Three meals a day are provided. Vegetarian meals can be arranged, but it should be noted that a large amount of seafood is served.
Please take note of this project's minimum requirements:
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Good level of fitness 
  • Strong swimmer and/or diver
  • Ability to work in a group
  • Immunizations (consult your doctor)
Orientation and Training (Included):
Following your arrival in Praia do Tofo you will be given a presentation by the co-coordinating project scientists to prepare you for the work you will be doing. You will then be shown around Tofo and have a tour of the nearby city of Inhambane, including time to get a local SIM card and enjoy some freshly prepared local food.

For the next 4 to 7 days ( weather depending) you will do an open water scuba diving course. This is an internationally accredited course and upon completion you will get a certificate permitting you to scuba dive up to 18m anywhere in the world. Those who already hold an open water course will complete an advanced dive course (qualifies you to dive to 30m). Once the course is completed you will have the time and skills required to complete the conservation and research work on the project.

If you are only joining the project for two weeks or already have both open and advanced dive qualifications you will not receive a dive course but will rather be allowed to participate in additional research dives or ocean safaris.
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