| ||organisation: Ecovolunteer|
country: worldwide (based in The Netherlands)
type of biz: tourism/nature conservation
what: you could say that Ecovolunteer is a travel agency. But the trips they organise are not your everyday holidays. They take you to places that are not normally accessible to tourists where you get the opportunity to protect nature and its inhabitants. Ecovolunteer is inspired by the principles of fair trade in other sectors of the economy. With this in mind, it follows its own principles for Fair Travel. The essence of Fair Travel is that participants pay a fair price for services provided and that as much of this payment as possible will end up in the hands of local organisations. That is why Ecovolunteer prefers to work directly through local conservation organisations.
why: Ecovolunteer is all about linking opportunities. They give conservation projects a chance to get the manpower they need… and nature enthusiasts the possibility to become more actively involved. In addition to the support you bring to the wildlife project, the wildlife project brings an extraordinary vacation experience to you. You receive first hand guidance by experts in learning new skills. The experience is direct and hands-on. You make new friends both in your own species and in other species. For some of you, participation may even help to get college or university credits. Age is not important as long as you are over 18 - everybody focuses on the same interests.
how you can help: as a volunteer you support a project in two ways, by working and by paying. Depending on the project, you have to be available for one to four weeks. The length of your stay, your previous education and your experience will determine the kind of work that you do.
where: the Ecovolunteer Program is international, but it aims at a personalised and local experience. Therefore the Ecovolunteer Network, a network of national agencies, is being built. The agency can advise you about the applicability of local regulations regarding consumer protection, flight cancellation and travel insurance, cheap local forms of payment (instead of expensive international payment), communication in your native language, travel opportunities (e.g. plane tickets) departing from your home country, and possibly other after-sales services.The Ecovolunteer Program is directly available in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy, Mongolia, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Check their websites to find out their national addresses.
money transfer: the indicated prices in the international Ecovolunteer website are per person and do not include the trip to your destination. They are based on shared occupancy and shared facilities. A minimum of 77% of the recommended retail price is transferred to the conservation organisations that operate the ecovolunteer projects. This money covers your participation and contributes to the project's organisation, as well as the continuation of research and conservation efforts.