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Biosphere Expeditions achievements in voluntourism: capacity-building & jobs

Building capacity and generating employment opportunities for local people is an important part of what we do. Here are just a few examples of how this works in the field:

Placement programme for local people

On all our expeditions, we offer placements for local people, whether they are students, members of government environment departments or local conservation NGOs, or committed individuals. Have a look at our placements page for more details. Educational activities Maldives

"The Altai expedition was the best thing that happened to me for my career development. I had waited for a long time to get to this part of the Altai and the expedition gave me the opportunity. Once I saw Chuyskaya Steppe and the great Chikhachova Ridge, I loved them with all my heart, and I became familiar with that place. Next week I will return there, making some bird observation. And from next summer onwards, I start guiding bird-watching tours in that area with Rubythroat Birding Tours. I have found the job of my dreams! And I have to thank you, Biosphere Expeditions, for it!"

Elena Shnayder, Russia

> more feedback from placements is on our placements page

Elena Shnayder

Capacity-building, jobs & training

We have co-financed a field research station in Namibia, which is used by research bodies year-round. It functions as an important centre for conservation, providing training and a hub for researchers, as well as employment for the local community. Base

“I work at the Hanyini Research Station in the East Caprivi. My job is to run the station so that research assistants from Biosphere Expeditions can concentrate on research work that helps to protect the livestock in our communities and to manage predators. This is my first job and I am very grateful as there is little work in our area. I am also very grateful for the work that the research assistants are doing. Since their arrival I haven’t lost any cattle to lions and hyaenas. My cattle are very important to me and for my family. Thank you for your support.”

Simon Naha, Caprivi delta, Namibia.

Simon Naha
We have also helped to finance a field research station in Peru. This too is used by research bodies year-round as a centre for conservation & research, providing training for researchers, as well as employment for the local community. Piedras station

"My name is Aldo Ramirez Mejia. I am 21 years old and from the local community at Lake Sandoval. While I finish my studies in Puerto Maldonado, I work with the Tambopata Macaw Project studying macaws and claylicks, which is supported by Biosphere Expeditions. Traditionally, my family has fished, farmed and hunted, but thanks to Biosphere Expeditions and its ecotourism and conservation opportunities, I have been able to dedicate my time to my interest with the local wildlife with which I grew up, rather than hunting it. Thank you very much."

Aldo Ramirez Mejia, Lake Sandoval community, Peru.

Aldo Mejia
On the Azores whales and dolphins project, we provide employment for local people as whale spotters. Whale breaching

"My uncle used to work as a look-out for the whaling industry, spotting whales for the whalers and he taught me how to spot them. With whaling now banned around the Azores, I can do this job of spotting whales for Biosphere Expeditions and its research teams. It's a great way to use my skills, keeping them alive for future generations and helping the whales."

Miguel Vargas, Cedros, Faial Island, Azores.

Miguel Simões
On our Honduras coral reef expedition we also provide employment and training. Honduras

"I was born and raised in Cayo Cochino Menor. The island I once played on as a boy, I now work to protect as a boat captain for the Honduran Coral Reef Foundation. I know these waters like the back of my hand and enjoy sharing our marine treasures with the team members from Biosphere Expeditions. I am a certified rescue diver, in large part inspired by watching the teams work here. I am proud of my country and these islands and feel very lucky that researchers from Biosphere Expeditions are helping to conduct research that helps in the conservation of the area. Thank you!"

Alex Solis, Cayos Cochinos Islands, Honduras.

Alex Solis
In Oman we have purchased camera traps to help local researchers in their Arabian leopard conservation work. We have also funded an Omani ranger to join our Caprivi expedition as part of his training. Hadi Hikmani
"My work on Arabian leopard conservation began with the Oman Office for Conservation of the Environment in 2002 and since 2006 I have been assisting Biosphere Expeditions in survey work on the Arabian leopard and prey species in Oman. Trhough my work with Biosphere Expeditions, I have had the chance to meet people from different cultures from all over the world and I also gained invaluable information & experience on how to conduct conservation research by working with experienced scientists from Biosphere Expeditions. Through the Office for Conservation I am now studying for a conservation degree in the UK, something I always dreamed of. When I finish my studies I look forward to continuing my work with the conservation of the Arabian leopard.”

Hadi al Hikmani, Dhofar, Oman.
Hadi al Hikmani
On many of our expeditions & projects, we have produced and distributed information and educational materials to local children and adults, about the importance of wildlife, natural resources and how to protect them and their livelihoods. The picture shows an Omani boy looking at an Arabian leopard information booklet with a pull-out poster of an Arabian leopard in the middle. Oman

"My name is Emil Respaevich Sanzarakov and I live in the village of Kurai in the Republic of Altai. I am a student at school and help my father look after sheep, goats and cows. Instead of hanging around in the village with my friends during the summer holidays, I now work for Biosphere Expeditions, helping with the running of base camp and guiding in the mountains. The work helps me to see and learn about my country as I do not normally have the opportunity to travel and see places. I enjoy meeting people from other countries and improving my English. The money I earn is important for me to help support my family and also to feel independent. When I leave school, I hope to go to university; I also hope to continue working with Biosphere during the holidays."

Emil Respaevich Sanzarakov, Kurai village, Republic of Altai.

Emil Sanzarakov

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