The Volunteer Connection
(A version of this article originally appeared in The Horn, Autumn 2012. Author: Dr Nicola Pegg, Senior Scientific Researcher, Dambari Wildlife Trust)
Every conservation programme has overheads that cannot be entirely covered by donor funds, because most donors restrict the bulk of their funding to direct, field costs. However, little can be achieved if projects cannot employ good staff or support the necessary project administration and infrastructure. Thus, volunteering for conservation has become an essential component of the fundraising armoury of non-profit organisations.
Through volunteering, visitors get a peek at conservation work behind the scenes, and contribute to the recipient organisation by providing an extra pair of hands, sharing their skills and providing financial support to core activities. Volunteering attracts a range of people, from conservation professionals seeking field time, to untrained but enthusiastic conservationists who want to make a difference. This is of great value, not only because the host organisation can tap into a range of skills, but also because volunteers have the potential to spread the word about conservation to a massive audience via the plethora of social networking platforms currently available. Every conservation champion, regardless of their background, is invaluable.
Dambari Wildlife Trust’s volunteer programme is aimed at matching volunteers’ particular skill sets and interests with projects that are underway, to ensure that both parties benefit optimally. We have several fortnight-long slots available over the year, timed to take advantage of the field season. Past volunteers have been great, and we’ve learned a lot from them. We hope that they also developed a deeper understanding of field conservation through their experience with us!
If you’d like to experience real-life conservation work in the developing world, lend a hand and share your skills. There’s hard-working wildlife organisation out there that would appreciate your input and enthusiasm, and that would love to show you the ropes! To learn more about Dambari’s volunteer programme, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.dambari.com.
credits: Dambari Wildlife Trust