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Volunteer travel - what's it all about
Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world. Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.
Responsible tourism: Jungle conservation & research, Peru
Through this project volunteers will be contributing to the preservation of the Manu Biosphere Reserve (MBR) and development of initiatives to help protect the environment. It is an integral part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Vilcabamba Amboro Conservation Corridor and is home to an ambundance of wildlife. Our highly motivating and engaging volunteer project makes volunteers a partner in positive change: directly benefiting local communities, the environment and the long-term conservation of the Amazon. Our program combines training, challenging work and a great adventure making it a brilliantly unique and rewarding way to visit and actively understand more about the rainforest, its people and its conservation needs. In addition to this direct benefit, we try to ensure:
Social responsibility - before volunteers depart we provide them with a detailed information pack on the area they will be visiting. We try to educate and encourage our volunteers to understand and respect the local cultures and customs and get involved with local communities.
Economic responsibility – for over 10 years we have been providing volunteers to help at charitable projects around the world. A UK charity has now been launched to build on this success by providing financial assistance to overseas causes as well. The organisations we work with are often struggling to fund the work they are doing so every penny raised makes a real difference.
The majority of the fee that volunteers pay goes direct to the research centre. The centre provides employment for local Peruvian staff. While volunteers are in-country, we encourage them to buy locally and support local businesses.
Environmental responsibility – one of the main negative impacts of our volunteers travelling, is the carbon dioxide created from flights. The centre helps to ensure that an amount of carbon is sequestered through tree planting. While our volunteers and customers are overseas, we identify and encourage simple steps to minimise their impact on the local environment.
The project has a long history of supporting conservation research in the Manu region, with long-established projects monitoring the blue headed macaw, mammal behaviour patterns, human impact studies, environmental management and forest dynamics to name but a few. Their focus is on creating sustainable agriculture, timber and carbon alternatives for local communities on deforested and impacted land. By effectively reducing the human and carbon footprint, these initiatives aim to increase both the communities’ wellbeing and enhance the region's sustainable offerings.
The centres mission is to:
* Educate local rainforest communities and visitors * Promote sustainable natural resource development * Integrate pure and applied research of the rainforest environment and its natural systems * Conserve and preserve tropical ecosystems
Reviews of Jungle conservation & research, Peru
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 12 Nov 2010 by Melanie Veal
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Getting to spend time walking through the jungle and seeing so many great animals and birds. The best moments were the tree frogs, manu poison frog and the rainbow boa! I really enjoyed the construction of the bird hides and biogarden even though sometimes it was really hard work! Pancakes for breakfast were great!
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
There was a lot of walking and physical activity so it’s really important to expect to do lots when you get there and probably need reasonable fitness!
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
We were able to visit local communities helping to plant trees for reforestation in the banana plantations and build biogardens for the local people to produce their own food. The centre was really careful about the impact on the environment even though there is always going to be transport to the centre. The centre is also in the initial stages of some research projects looking into the biodiversity of secondary forest (the centre is on land that was farmed until recently) so those will be really interesting over the next few years.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Really enjoyed the trip- definitely a good way to see local communities and the rainforest though would have been good to see some primary forest while we were there!