With so many nature parks, national parks, and conservation areas located all around Zanzibar, there are countless opportunities for volunteers to immerse themselves in the beautiful natural paradises located all over and, at the same time, help leave Zanzibar a better place than it was when they arrived.
Marine Turtle and Environmental Conservation
Right at the northern tip of Zanzibar, on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches lies the island paradise of Nungwi. It is here, in this scenic paradise, that one of the most interesting, and important conservation projects in all of Zanzibar is located.
The conservation of endangered marine turtles, as well as a more well-rounded conservation of all species, habitats and environments in the area is one the the largest, and worthwhile volunteer activities in the area. As part of a group of highly-motivated volunteers who gather from all-around the world, you will set out on an adventure to partake in large variety of activities that are built around protecting, and preserving the marine turtles, and the environment in this island paradise.
The population of every species of sea turtle is on a constant decline, making all of them endangered species. As if this is not a devastating statement on its own, nearly 85 per cent of all sea turtle deaths can be linked to causes created by human inventions (such as poaching turtle meat, eggs, shelves or fins.)
With such heavy construction happening along the Zanzibar waterfront in order to accommodate the booming tourism industry, the turtle population often gets overlooked, and in turn, harmed or killed by things such as plastic waste, or pollution. This is made even more drastic when you consider that five of the worlds seven sea turtle species can be found in Zanzibar.
Because of all of this, the Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Aquarium has launched an initiative to act as a sanctuary for sea turtles while operation under the principals and guidelines of the National Turtle Conservation Committee since 2003.
Part of what has made the conservation work so successful is the fact that a lot of the villagers in Nungwi take ownership of the project. Thanks to the long-term presence of the project, the poaching of turtles has become a lot less common among the locals in Zanzibar, as well as other islands along the Tanzanian coastline.
The main objective of the volunteers at the marine turtle sanctuary includes everything from helping nurse and treat turtles that have been rescued from injuries, to collecting food as well as feeding turtles, helping make sure that the lagoons and pools are properly cleaned, and helping guide and educate visitors to the centre.
There is absolutely no previous knowledge required for this volunteer opportunity, as anything that is vital for you to know will be taught to you on the job.
The Mnarani Marine Turtle Aquarium gets its financing from revenues that are generated by tourists visiting the lagoon and education centre, as well as through donations and contributions made by volunteers and exclusive project partners.
The minimum duration of this volunteer mission is one week, with 12 months being the maximum duration. English is a required language, but German, Italian, as well as any other language is a bonus for volunteers. The accommodations for this mission include boarding at Bungalow at the Conservation Station, or housing in the village if further housing is required.
Recycling and Horticulture in Zanzibar
In order to spread awareness and education about recycling and horticulture in Zanzibar, WorldUnite is working with locals and volunteers from around the world to build an environmental education centre.
This education centre is being built using a lot of recycled materials in innovative, and create ways, such as building materials, and even furniture. The centre will also have a large, environmentally-friendly area dedicated to horticulture gardening.
It is in the garden that the education centre plans on teaching the locals different techniques in order to help improve their day-to-day lives, as well as to generate a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable form of income for their villages.
When it comes to volunteers for this project, those with experience in ecology, waste management, construction, gardening/agriculture, botanic, and even create design. However, this project will gladly take any interns or volunteers even if they do not have experiences in these fields.
While Zanzibar is a true tropical paradise, it has suffered environmental issues thanks to short-sighted modern developments, as well as decisions made with tourism in mind, rather than the long lasting impact that they could have on the environment. All of this is putting the paradise into jeopardy. A lot of these issues can be attributed to a lack of a functioning waste management system and inefficient farming techniques.
Since late 2016, there have been projects developed all around Zanzibar that focus on helping raise awareness surrounding waste issues, as well as raising skills that revolve around better, more sustainable farming techniques. This includes helping locals generate environmentally-friendly income from sources like recycling and horticulture. These improvements will also help raise the standard of living for a lot of the villages in Zanzibar.
Education Centre and Workshops
Located in Nungwi, the environmental education centre is the main location of this project. The innovative building is being built using recycled and re-used materials where possible, and offers space for demonstrations and teachings for the locals. There is also an experimental space dedicated to practising environmentally-friendly living in day-to-day life.
The workshops held in the centre will help equip the local population with the skills and know-how required to help live a more sustainable life, as well as generate income from these environmentally-friendly skill sets. Some of these workshops include recycling activities, as well as eco-friendly farming.
The centre and these workshops are run in partnership with local schools, organizations, and companies. Volunteers and interns can take part in the building of the eco-friendly education centre, as well as join local craftspeople, and teachers in workshops teaching eco-friendly techniques. Through their efforts, volunteers will learn a lot about eco-friendly building, as well as farming and living.
Whether it is construction, or training local children, youth, and adults from villages in Zanzibar, there are many opportunities to learn and teach about gardening, creative design, as well as recycling and even entrepreneurship.
The minimum duration for this volunteer position is one week, with 12 months being the maximum. The only required language for volunteers is English, however, knowing Swahili is a bonus.
The accommodations for volunteers will be the bungalow of the turtle sanctuary, as well as housing in the village if needed.
Zanzibar Land Animal Park
The Zanzibar Land Animal Park is an environmental education project that was first launched by a Mungooni biology teacher names Mr. Mohammed. Since the Animal Park’s launch interns and volunteers have donated their time and efforts in the fields of biology, zoology, as well as sustainable tourism development, marketing and media design.
Built on Mr. Mohammed’s own property, the Zanzibar Land Animal Park is home to a wide collection of endangered animals from the area, with a specific spotlight on reptiles. The location of the park is meant to help keep the animals close to their native population, as well as to raise awareness of the need to protect these animals. The Animal Park is open to be visited by tourists (for a price) and is even visited by private schools for educational purposes.
One of the main reasons why Zanzibar is in need of an education centre like the Zanzibar Land Animal Park is the fact that a lot of these animals that are endangered are hunted and killed by locals for food, and simply just for sport. Some of this comes from local superstitions that involve the death of these animals in order to cure, or avoid ill will and bad luck.
Part of what the Animal Park tries to do is show these animals to the locals, up close, in order to give scientific explanations of the reptiles and mammals in order to dispel the misunderstandings that can come from superstitions and wives tales.
The park is home to tree hyrax, monitor lizards, plated lizards, Suni antelopes, as well as crabs, turtles, chameleons, and many species of snakes. However, the Zanzibar Land Animal Park also has a nature trail that weaves through the mangrove forest, as well as boat tours that take visitors along the coast where they can learn about the importance of the coral, and the forest.
While the park has an entry cost for visitors, 20 per cent of these revenues go towards payments of the locals in order to have them not kill the protected animals. However, the park suffers from a lack of visitors throughout the year, keeping revenues small. This means the park sometimes struggles when it comes to finding funds for conservation, as well as facility improvements.
One of the major areas in which the Zanzibar Land Animal Park can make use of volunteers and interns is in the area of marketing and tourism development. Working towards promoting the park in order to get a much larger number of visitors is crucial for its continued success. While marketing is one of the key areas in which volunteers are needed, the park also offers room to expand into fields of graphic design, as well as creative text and info graphic creation.
Mr. Mohammed has many guides written about biodiversity in Zanzibar, but these text need volunteers to translate them into English, as well as graphic designers to blend the guides with visuals from the park, as well as Jozani National Park.
Volunteers with experience in design, photography, as well as biology are desired, but not necessary.
Located in Mungooni, Zanzibar, volunteers with the Zanibar Land Animal Park can come and work for durartions of one week up to 12 months. While English is the only required language to know, Swahili is also an asset. Volunteers will be put up in houses with host families.