Is there an age requirement?
Yes, you must be over 18 years of age.
Who joins the MWSRP as a Volunteer Researcher?
Anyone with a passion for conservation and a willingness to roll up their sleeves. Many of our volunteers are professionals who are looking to do more than just sit on a beach. We have had a range of volunteers: university and graduate students, lawyers, IT consultants, students on gap year, doctors, hoteliers, and more have all come out with us, each bringing their own skills and ideas to our Programme. Any one group of volunteers is often an eclectic mix of ages and nationalities – we once had 5 volunteers from 5 different countries ranging from 19 to 69!
Can I do fundraising to help me become a volunteer?
As MWSRP is a registered charity it is certainly possible for you to carry out some fundraising activities to help contribute toward the cost of your trip. While volunteers have used a wide variety of resourceful events to help them reach their goals in the past, we simply request that if you are planning your own fundraising to help you join the MWSRP that you adhere to our core values and partake in volunteering services which benefit your community or the environment rather than any self-serving adventures!
What is the main language used to communicate between volunteers and MWSRP staff?
English. All of our documents and scientific data sheets are in English.
What is the official language of Maldives?
It is Divehi, which is mainly still used on the local islands. Many Maldivians can speak English, however, and have a great working knowledge of the language.
How many volunteers are out during a given research period?
We have a maximum of 8 volunteer positions available at any given time.
How busy are the volunteers?
The nature of research needs create a dynamic, activity-driven day. 5 days per week we are conducting research on the water, with 1 day for data analysis and one day of rest. If you are selected to join us, then you will become a part of the research team. Team dynamic is very important and the more willing you are to give, the more you will get out of the experience.
How do I become a volunteer?
We have an application form that all volunteers are required to fill out in its entirety. We try to get an understanding of your competencies, qualifications, personal goals for the trip and what you feel you can contribute. It is a completely non-discriminatory enquiry. Due to a limited number of spaces, we are looking to select the best person for the skills and competencies needed.
Do I need to be able to swim?
YES. If you do not know how to swim then we encourage you to learn before submitting an application. We recommend you to seek out qualified swimming instructors to help you gain this invaluable skill, then come back to us.
Do I need to be able to snorkel?
No, but we encourage you to have some experience with it. Our staff will help to familiarise yourself with the necessary snorkel equipment and duck diving techniques.
I have a disability that affects my mobility. Can I still volunteer?
Due to the nature of the research and the animal we study, we spend a lot of time at and in the sea. The work requires lots of rapid water entries, swimming with equipment, and climbing ladders onto boats. There are, however, many aspects to our work and not all of them are physical. Drop us an email and we’d love to find a way that you can help us in our research that fits in to your level of mobility.
Where do volunteers live, eat and sleep?
Volunteers (along with MWSRP staff) live on Dhigurah, a local island. Our accommodation is a guest house, in an area slightly set back from the main village. A maximum of 3 people share a room, separated wherever possible by male and female rooms. As you are living on a local island, you’re encouraged to get acquainted with it, as it is a side of Maldives very few visitors actually get to experience.
Where does MWSRP operate from?
MWSRP operates from Dhigurah Island, South Ari atoll. Our research vessel operates from the harbour, so we have a simple commute to work each day!.
What do I do on a day off?
We first recommend a nice rest because of the physical demands of conducting research on the water throughout the week! Other activities can be arranged, which include snorkeling, scuba diving and maybe something uniquely local with some of the villagers. Please note that you will have to pay separately for any activities you do which are outside of your time with the MWSRP. A good book, a snorkel and mask, and sun cream are some of the essentials we always include in our pack on days off.
Will I get some kind of qualification from volunteering?
There is no official accreditation from volunteering with us. Like any volunteer programme, what it lacks in official qualifications it makes up for on a C.V. or resume by demonstrating that you are someone who is willing to learn new skills, do something meaningful, and jump into new experiences.
Do I need to bring a snorkel, mask, and fins?
Yes. We are now unable to provide mask, snorkel or fins so it is essential that you bring your own equipment. We recommend you try everything out before you come.
What happens in the event that I need to see a doctor?
You will have the ability to see a professional doctor and will have access to basic medication. In an emergency, evacuation to hospital in Male would be arranged. MWSRP staff are qualified to respond in the face of an emergency and we always have first aid kits available. If you have any pressing ailment, it is best to inform us ahead of time so that we can ensure the safety and well-being of everyone on the team. Please note that we handle any medical issue with the utmost level of confidentiality.
I’ve heard on the news there was some trouble in the Maldives in 2012. Is it safe to come out?
The short answer is yes. There was a dispute between the government, the opposition party and some public disorder on the capital island of Male, which lasted 3 days before the President resigned and calm was restored. No resorts or other local inhabited islands outside of Male atoll were affected.