Overview

As a Love The Oceans Research Research Assistant you will form a valuable part of our team. Our volunteers rotate around all our organisation’s activities so continuous data collection is possible which helps achieve our goals and our volunteers get experience in every part of our work so it’s a win-win situation!

Our accommodation is by the beach in Guinjata Bay, backpacker style with a max of 4 people per room (genders will be separated). You will be fully catered for, so you just need money for drinks, data and treats. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. Running water/power is available, with the exception of a few cuts!

Training Week:

In your first week with us, after you have settled in, your program will start with training. In this week you’ll learn about your next month in Mozambique. It is during the training week that we will get to know each other better, refresh diving skills and learn new skills. We expect you to learn and work together, setting a positive tone for the coming weeks.

Conservation Science Training

Conservation science is very complex so at Love The Oceans we aim to provide you with the basic knowledge and skills to allow you to go on to develop your own projects and continue with Conservation Science.

You will participate in a series of educational lectures led by our marine biologists during your first week with us, based around our specific areas of research and community outreach.

Scientific Diving Training

Here at Love The Oceans we use an adapted version of Reef Life Survey methodology to look at coral coverage, biodiversity and abundance as an indicator of reef health. Reef Life Survey is an internationally renowned methodology that is citizen science based. This means we can compare our data to other places around the world that uses the same methodology and it is useful for you to be familiar with it too as many NGOs around the world use it. We will train you up in this methodology during your training week.

Introduction to Data Handling

An integral part of what we do at Love The Oceans is our marine research. As a Research Volunteer you will have a workshop on data handling. This will mainly focus around database management and processing. We will show you how to do basic analytics on data and how to handle large data sets. This is a particularly useful skill that comes in handy in stats modules at university and when you write your thesis.

Participate in a Cultural Tour

Mozambique is a developing nation with limited food resources, electricity and running water. The region we operate in is remote and many people live below the poverty line.

You will have the opportunity to visit a local family’s home and learn how they live in rural Mozambique, and how they prepare meals. Volunteers have found this experience to be rather humbling, but also a lot of fun with the many children Mozambican families tend to have!

Coral Reef Surveying

We believe we’re in a biodiversity hotspot and we need coral reef data to prove our area is worth protecting. You will be trained in LTO’s coral reef methodology and once qualified, you will conduct LTO surveys on your dives.

LTO collects this data to develop a robust dataset which will provide the evidence base required to effectively lobby for changes to certain fishing legislation and a Marine Protected Area (MPA) to be established. We believe that securing an MPA will create opportunities for eco-tourism, bringing much needed income into the region, and provide a viable alternative to unsustainable fishing. After your scientific dive training, you will help collect data and add to our coral reef database.

Fisheries Research 

Collecting fisheries data will allow us to assess how sustainable the fisheries are. From these assessments, eventually we would like to determine minimum landing size for individual species, as well as changing certain fishing legislation.

We cover two fisheries sites; Guinjata Bay and Paindane Bay. Every day on fisheries you will be responsible for recording the data into the logs along with the corresponding images (checking shark and ray IDs with a field specialist if you are unsure), cleaning the collected shark/ray vertebrae, and ensuring equipment is clean and stored.

Megafauna Research

Humpback whales typically migrate through Mozambique between June and September. LTO is collecting data on these magnificent creatures, looking at surface behaviour and pod formation, never before studied in our area.

As part of LTO’s team, you will be armed with a camera, binoculars and survey sheets in order to record sightings of humpback whales and any other megafauna that passes through (orcas, whale sharks, manta rays). You’ll be going out on the dive boat with the divers but will remain on the boat while the other volunteers dive, in order for you to conduct the whale surveys.

Ocean Trash Research and Management 

Unfortunately plastic pollution is a human-induced problem the world over.  Mozambique is no different. We’re on the edge of the Indian Ocean Garbage Patch which spans approximately 5 million kilometres squared and is made up of a huge range of trash, from sludge, to plastics, to glass. One of the most efficient and easiest way to remove trash from the ocean is through beach cleans.

We’ve committed to doing at least 2 beach cleans a week and weighing and logging what we collect to work out if it is international or local trash and what we can do to reduce this pollution. Last year our staff and volunteers collected over 350kg of trash. We’re hoping to smash that target this year!

After we have collected the trash off the beaches, we process it – wash, cut & dry it – and then we pack it into what we call eco-bricks. Our eco-bricks are 2L drinks bottles thrown out by resorts here, which we pack tightly with beach clean trash. these eco-bricks are then used in construction at the local schools as part of our projects.

Help Teach Marine Conservation

Educating the next generation of fishermen in schools about sustainable fishing and why the ocean is important helps the local community protect their biodiversity assets – assets because of ecotourism and fisheries.

As part of your volunteering, you will help at Guinjata and Paindane School Monday-Friday. You will be teaching 10-13 year olds about the marine environment, as well as basic biology, geography, marine resource management and sea safety.

Help Improve Local School Facilities 

The Government does not have enough money to provide the standard of learning facilities the children need. Every year we fundraise for money specifically to improve the school facilities in consultation with the local community.

We strongly believe in supporting the organic growth and development of the local community, and as such we employ local builders to complete construction/improvement work to put money back into the local economy. Our volunteers then enhance this by painting educational murals on the school walls.

Support Swimming Lessons for Local Kids

Surprisingly few local children are confident in the water. Part of our commitment to the local community is teaching local children swimming on Saturday afternoons.

We do this to improve water safety skills in the community, with the aim of igniting passion for the marine environment in the younger generations. Learning to swim opens up the door to a range of other activities for this generation. We hope for a future where the local community both want, and are able to, experience the underwater world for themselves.

2021 Dates

30th May – 4th July (Ending 11th July inc. safari)
4th July – 8th August (Ending 15th August inc. safari)
8th August – 12th September (Ending 19th September inc. safari)
12th September – 17th October (Ending 24th October inc. safari)

Price: £1995, £2995 inc. safari

Included:

– Airport transfers
– Accommodation in Guinjata Bay (35 nights)
– 3 meals a day (B/L/D)
– All snorkelling and diving required for the program
– Scientific dive training
– Diving kit hire
– Training, guidance and mentoring by the marine biologists and scientists at LTO
– Local cultural tour
– Love the Oceans T-shirt
– 24 hour on-site & UK office support
– Pre-departure and Visa support

About Love The Oceans

Love the Oceans is a non-profit marine conservation organisation working in Guinjata Bay, Mozambique since 2014. Guinjata Bay, whilst home to a huge host of marine life, has never been studied in depth for any prolonged amount of time. Love The Oceans is working to protect and study the diverse marine life found here, including many species of sharks, rays and the famous humpback whales. We use research, education and diving to drive action towards a more sustainable future. Our ultimate goal is to establish a Marine Protected Area for the Inhambane Province in Mozambique, achieving higher biodiversity whilst protecting endangered species.

We have developed a cutting edge, ethical volunteer program that gives individuals the chance to get hands on conservation experience, working alongside our marine biologists doing research, community work and diving in Mozambique.

In 2019 Love The Oceans was recognised as 1 of 15 global grassroots #forcesforchange by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and received international recognition for our work.