Marine conservation expedition in East Timor

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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

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Our trips are focused on the collection of meaningful data which is used to develop sustainable local environmental management plans for the unique species and their habitats. These plans focus on improving the quality of life of the local communities who depend on these areas for their resources while maintaining their biological diversity and productivity. Every effort is made to minimise the environmental impact of our expeditions and trips. Diving activity is organised to reduce boat time and fuel use, for example, wherever possible diving and training occurs at near shore sites and multi-tank dives are used to reduce the need for return trips to base to collect new dive tanks. Volunteers are requested to bring only bio-degradable products, and to minimise the amount of packaged goods that are brought with them. We operate a buy local food policy that reduces packaging, carbon miles and ensures that volunteers get local food that contributes more to local economies.

The Impacts of this Trip

We launched expeditions on Ataśro in 2016. At the time, a handful of accommodations existed, catering to weekenders from Timor-Leste’s capital Dili and a small number of off-the-beaten-path tourists drawn by the island’s expansive coral reefs and trek-worthy hills. More housing options were needed for volunteers and a homestay association was established which enables the community to create an alternative livelihood.

Homestays are an important part of our strategy to diversify and strengthen alternative livelihoods for coastal communities, ensuring the economic benefits of tourism go directly to community families, rather than resorts or international investors. For volunteers and tourists, it provides a richer cultural experience, and the chance to really understand the lived experience of their host community.

Our work is focused on mapping and monitoring habitats, establishing protected areas, and developing alternative livelihoods to relieve pressure on marine resources and restore fish populations. By joining us on a short trip or volunteer expedition, you are helping contribute to our conservation efforts in Ataśro.


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