Gain valuable first-hand marine conservation experience while helping to conserve African reefs AND get career training from Conservation Careers!
Travel to the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean and work on critical marine conservation projects amongst the beautiful islands of the Seychelles. You will live and work in this tropical paradise with the GVI research team. Participants will undergo an extensive training programme, designed to test and improve their diving skills and take your knowledge of the marine ecosystem to another level. The theory will be met with practical application, as you and your team work to compile crucial research on these reef systems. You will contribute towards various conservation-related surveys aimed at providing data to the local government on coral reef research and have the opportunity to participate in environmental education classes and community outreach activities.
The main focus of the internship programme is to equip you with professional survey techniques for underwater data collection on the health of the reef. Receive the Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality segment of the PADI Divemaster course. This unique offering by GVI & PADI teaches you about best practices when conducting underwater coral reef surveys. This is offered to participants staying for 2 weeks or longer.
The goal for this programme is to increase local and global awareness of marine issues and to be able to provide data that will play a key role in policy-making decisions regarding the future of this marine ecosystem. You will specialise in either fish, coral, or invertebrate research techniques during your initial training to prepare for your dives. Training will include learning to identify the various species and learning how to take measurements underwater as well as an introduction into marine conservation. After training has been completed and dependent on weather conditions, you will be able to go on dives to conduct marine research. Besides diving, you should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, marine debris surveys and removal, as well as environmental education sessions.
- Learning how to identify fish in the Indian Ocean.
- Earning your PADI Advanced Open Water certificate.
- Exploring different dive sites among the tropical islands of Seychelles, searching for the incredible ‘mega-fauna’ in the area, such as sharks, rays, and dolphins. Take other extra dive courses with local dive shops.
- Developing the techniques needed to survey coral reefs.
- Complete our partner & PADI’s unique qualification, the PADI Coral Reef Research Speciality.
Our Award-winning Partner
Conservation Careers has teamed up a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who are passionate experts in their chosen field and will make your experience a truly unforgettable one (in a good way).
Their award-winning projects receive over 2000 participants every year, and we’re proud to say that the vast majority of them describe their experience with them as ‘life changing’. Their approval rate from over 20 000 participants since 1997 is over 95%.
A key component of the success of their community development and conservation projects is the participants who join their programs. Opportunities include high impact volunteering from one week and up, internships for those looking for career development opportunities, Challenges that allow a one week adventure all for a good cause and a range of programs for school groups and younger volunteers.
If you register your interest below, you’ll put you in touch with our partner to take the booking and to plan your trip!
Location and life on base
Accommodation is in shared dorm rooms. There is cold running water available for showers and bottled water available for drinking. Bathroom facilities are shared, and participants also share base duties, including cleaning and other chores, which is all part of the experience.
Volunteers take it in turns to prepare meals for the group. Food is basic but nutritious, and primarily vegetarian with optional fish or meat available once or twice a week. Breakfast could be porridge with fresh fruit, or occasionally pancakes or cereal, and lunch and evening meals may include pasta, beans, rice, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, etc.
You will have access to long-distance communications whilst on the program, but make sure friends and family know how often they can expect to hear from you. Local SIM cards and pay-as-you-go credit can be bought in Seychelles and the signal is good in most areas.
Most of the year the climate in Seychelles is relatively agreeable for the tropics, although it can be very hot in the sun out on fieldwork. There are essentially two main seasons. The Southeast Monsoon season from around May to August is cooler with a steady breeze and little rain. The Northwest Monsoon between the end of November and March is typically windy with sometimes heavy rain, especially in December and January. Between the monsoon seasons around April and October, the weather is usually very calm, hot and dry, perfect for those boat trips and swimming in the calm water. It is rarely cold, although during the monsoon seasons it’s probably worth bringing a light jacket or cardigan for occasional use.
Increasing Employability: Pre Departure Program Training:
Our programs are not only life-changing experiences but are also designed to help participants increase their employability. We have developed a curriculum to be completed prior to arrival in the country in order to ensure that more time is dedicated to program work once you commence your volunteer program.
Eight weeks prior to your start date, you will complete the following online courses in preparation for your in-country program:
PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION (1 hour)
PROGRAM SPECIFIC TRAINING (1 – 5 hours)
MARINE CONSERVATION COURSE (10 – 15 hours)
LEADERSHIP COURSE (10 – 15 hours)
CAREERS COURSE (10 – 15 hours)
In order to obtain a certificate for the Marine Conservation, Leadership and Careers courses which are endorsed by the University of Richmond and UNC Charlotte, you will need to complete quizzes & assignments and will be given 4 weeks post program to submit your work.
If you are looking to travel in less than 8 weeks from now, you will still complete the course however this will be done in country and all content will need to be downloaded before arrival.
Health & Hygiene:
The work we contribute to across the globe remains important and new measures allow our participants to continue to join our programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. Changes to our existing protocols have been made by our health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities. Please inquire for more information on the protocols
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Healthy corals are key to the health of our planet. They help fish populations regenerate themselves providing shelter for young fish, they assist in removing excess carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, and protect living spaces near the shore from damage by waves and storms.
In 1998 a massive coral bleaching event decimated many coral reefs around the globe, including the reefs surrounding the inner granitic islands of Seychelles. Coral bleaching occurs when rising water temperatures cause the algae that live on corals to detach themselves from their hosts. Algae is the main food source for corals and helps to maintain the structure of the corals. Warm waters are the result of climate change caused by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Efforts to monitor the recovery of reefs in Seychelles were initiated after the 1998 event. This began with a 3 year project, named the Shoals of Capricorn, which extensively monitored the entire inner islands. The Seychelles Centre for Marine Research & Technology, SCMRT, was set up at this time to continue the work, and to aid the Seychelles National Parks Authority, SNPA, with the management of the marine parks. After the Shoals of Capricorn project the monitoring was then taken over by Reef Care International.
In addition to the high seasonal sea temperatures, the coral reefs around Seychelles, face numerous other threats such as population pressure, poaching, and unsustainable tourism, all of which are challenging to quantify without a solid, scientific basis. In order to effectively manage and conserve the reef, a continuous monitoring program is necessary to build up a comprehensive picture of the ecological health of the reef.
Coral and Fish Surveys
We established our project in Seychelles in 2004 with the aim of aiding SNPA. At over 20 sites across the North-West coast of Mahe, our staff and participants use the protocols of Reef Care International in order to survey the reefs noting the health of existing coral, evidence of new young coral growing on the reef, as well as fish species present and their numbers. Data on coral recovery, as well as fish abundance and diversity is passed on to the SNPA to assist with their management decisions, which might include updates to policies, expanding currently protected areas, or protecting additional areas. In addition, participants use a different coral monitoring technique, to provide data to CoralWatch, a worldwide coral monitoring methodology, based in Queensland University, Australia, which aims to monitor coral bleaching and recovery events around the globe.
Commercial Marine Species Surveys
Unsustainable fishing is also a threat to the health of the Seychellois marine life. In addition this also affects the wellbeing of the local community, because many rely on fish for daily sustenance, and the growth of the local economy, because seafood from Seychelles is sold to international visitors to the islands and consumers abroad. Its underwater treasures are also the reason why many visit every year, bringing capital into the country. We assist Seychelles Fishing Authority, SFA with monitoring commonly harvested species like octopus, lobster, and sea cucumber populations.
Marine Megafauna Sightings
Incidental sightings of marine megafauna like tiger sharks and manta rays, occur frequently during dives, and this information is noted and passed on to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System or OBIS Seamap, an online database designed to keep track of various larger marine species around the world.
Marine Plastic Pollution Cleanups
Ocean floor clean up dives are also regularly conducted as part of the Dive Against Debris or DAD initiative. The data about marine plastics collected is sent on to Project AWARE an organisation established to monitor the abundance and diversity of marine debris around the world.
Environmental education is also an important part of the Mahe program. The main aim of this program is to get locals involved in discussions around issues affecting their marine environment.
The main United Nations Sustainable Development Goal we work on at Mahe is #14, Life Below Water.
Mahe, Seychelles Long-term Objectives:
1. Provide a long-term and consistent collection of data, assessing the overall health and development of the reef system in Northern Mahe on behalf of the Seychelles National Parks Authority, SNPA, to be used for regional coastal marine management and international understanding of changing reef systems.
2. Increase the scientific output and awareness of the project through the publication of findings.
3. Continue to support the International School of Seychelles by providing their students with environmental education with a strong focus on marine ecosystems and their inhabitants.
4. Increase in-country capacity by providing training in environmental education and training to local communities.
5. Continue to minimise our environmental impact at Cap Ternay and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst participants and visitors.
Joining a program not only allows participants to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer.
Long term field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Many decide to travel before or after their experience (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program. Please note that the below suggestions are not included in the program fee, and are for the individual to organise at their own expense.
La Digue Island Visit
La Digue is the picture perfect tropical island, small and intimate with quaint guest houses and arguably the most beautiful beach in the world – Anse Source d’Argent.
Praslin Island Visit
Praslin is home to the Vallee de Mai (a world heritage site) thought by early explorers to be the original “Garden of Eden”, that is home of the famous Coco de Mer palm tree. Praslin has a limited, cheap bus service and taxis are easily available. For further exploration, you may choose to hire a car on Praslin or make use of the inter-island ferry services between the other islands.
Lounge on the local beaches, snorkel in the coral reefs, hike the jungles and explore, or just relax on base.
Other African Nations
Kenya and Tanzania are also only about three hour flight away, and both feature amazing wildlife, exciting adventure activities, and unique cultural diversity to explore. If you are willing to commit to further travel you could also explore destinations like South Africa, Ghana, Malawi, or Morocco.
The only location in the world to spot lemurs in the wild is only a three hour flight away from the Seychelles.
Outer Island Visits
The outer coral islands like Desroche, Bird, Dennis, Farquhar, and the Amirantes group, are further away, but well worth the trip. These locations are much more remote and have been barely marked by civilisation. As such they are in a pristine condition rarely found anywhere in the world today. The opportunity to see unique marine and bird life is unprecedented.
Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.
This island conservation program in the Seychelles is based on the island of Curieuse, which itself and its surrounding waters are a national park, managed by our principal in-country partner, Seychelles National Parks Authority. On Curieuse you can experience true island culture, as Curieuse has very few inhabitants compared to most of the other larger islands, making its natural habitat very well-preserved. This beautiful coastal area consists of unique habitats including mangroves wetlands, seagrass beds, and coral reefs.
The Seychelles is a tropical archipelago off the East Coast of Africa, consisting of 100 islands. The main, or so-called inner islands, are made of granite. Researchers believe that they use to form part of the Indian subcontinent. The granite attracted corals and most of the outer islands of the Seychelles are based on coral. The islands are famous for their unique biodiversity and are home to literally thousands of unique land and underwater species. The waters of the Indian Ocean are a haven for coral conservation efforts making the Seychelles a sought-after diving destination.
There are festivals throughout the year, the most notable being the Seychelles International Carnival of Victoria in February, which celebrates the cultures that helped shape the Seychelles. There is also the La Digue Festival in mid-August and the Creole Festival in October, and for those interested in the natural world, there is the SUBIOS Underwater Festival on Mahe’s main beach in October, celebrating underwater conservation.
Seychellois Creole is spoken by the majority of the native Seychellois, roughly 95% of the populations, but as the island country was a British colony, English is the language officially used in government and business dealings. French is also spoken on the islands, by a minority.
BONUS! Kick-starter online training for Early Career Conservationists (worth £295)
Feeling lost in your conservation job hunt? Want to work in conservation, but don’t know where to start? Get your career on track with the Kick-starter online training for Early Career Conservationists designed to help you understand the job market, to navigate your career options, and to get hired more quickly.
Whether you’re at university and planning your next steps, a graduate in the job hunt or working in an unrelated job but interested to switch into conservation, this course is designed to help you.
This unique online course has been designed to increase your chances of success, and is being specially organised and run by Conservation Careers.
All you need to do is register your interest in the project below, and if you choose to make a booking we’ll save a place for you on our course when you get back from your placement.
Included in the course is a year’s full-access membership of the Conservation Careers Academy, which includes access to over 8,000 jobs, 1,500 training courses, live training events and many more career-boosting options.
Duration, dates and cost
- 4 weeks – £4,245
- 6 weeks – £5,145
- 8 weeks – £6,145
- 10 weeks – £7,095
- 12 weeks – £7,995
Start dates are as follows: