Volunteer Abroad FAQ Volunteering Maldives

Protection of Whale Sharks in the Indian Ocean

Prior to departure to the Maldives

Do I need specific requirements or abilities to apply for this project?

You should be over 18, have sufficient English skills and be a safe swimmer to apply for this project. We need a doctor’s certificate confirming your state of health and physical fitness. Furthermore, you might need a Visa for your volunteering work. Depending on the duration of your stay and your destination the requirements might vary. You might check out the foreign department’s website for the Visa standards or ask the NATUCATE team directly.

What services are included?

Prior to your departure we will support your organization and help you arrange a flight to your destination. The flights/the transfer from Malé International Airport to your base station, the island of Dhigurah, is included. Besides our support the price includes your accommodation, three meals daily and transfers during the project as well as working equipment.

Do I need certain medical precautions or requirements?

A certain kind of attentiveness is always advisable. You will need a travel insurance to start your volunteering work with NATUCATE. We can provide you with all the necessary information. In general you need to talk to your doctor and make sure you are vaccinated against Morbilli, Mumps and Rubella. We advise you to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B, Polio and Tetanus. For current information and warnings regarding your destination you should check out the homepage of the foreign department and inform yourself beforehand about possible risks.

What kind of equipment should I take with me?

For the project you will need some snorkel equipment including a mask (please no full-face mask, though) , snorkel and fins. You also need proper swim clothes. Women should also take a long scarf or cloth to cover their skin when on land. Furthermore you need light and comfortable clothes and open shoes like flip flops. Besides you need sun glasses, towels, water bottles, water proof bag and sunscreen. We also advise you to pack a swim shirt with UV protection, a sun hat and insect repellent. Flyme Airline will allow you to have a 25 kg luggage and additional 5 kg carry-on baggage.

Arrival in the Maldives

How do I arrive at my destination, do I have to organize it myself?

We will support you during your organization and planning process, but you will have to book the flight to Malé International Airport on your own (the flight/transfer from Malé International Aiport to your final destination is included, however). You need to get a ticket to Malé International Airport first. When in Malé you need to get a domestic flight to Maamigili. At the counter you need to tell them your flight has been booked by TME Retreats Hotel. When in Maamigili the organization will send someone to pick you up. After a 30 minutes boat tour you will arrive in Dhigurah.

What happens after my arrival?

After your arrival you will be introduced to the whole team and the facilities. You will receive a short introduction into the project and your upcoming work. The project will start on Monday.

During the project in the Maldives

What is the project’s procedure?

After your arrival you will receive a short introductory course. The next day you will start working on the project. Usually the projects last two or four weeks. Your weekly schedule may vary depending on the current demand.

What is my main function? Can I choose my tasks and will I be working independently?

Four out of seven days will be spent on water: together with the other volunteers you will maintain the stock control, take photos of whale sharks and measure their body index. In the evening you will sort and organize collected data. You will also spend some time working with locals. They can support the project with their knowledge and experiences. Sometimes you take school classes with you on the water to present them your research and teach them about whale sharks.

How big is the group?

The group usually consists of up to eight volunteers.

Life on site in the Maldives

What is the accommodation like?

Volunteers (along with MWSRP staff) live on Dhigurah, a local island. The volunteer accommodation, a guest house, was built in 2013, meets western standard and is located in an area slightly set back from the main village. A maximum of 3 people share a room, if possible separated by sex. Each of them has their own bed. Every room has a separate bathroom with a toilette and shower. Furthermore, rooms have a closet/storage space, a desk, a fridge, a safe and air conditioning. Behind the building there is some free space to dry your clothes. Rooms are serviced every day and towels are changed regularly.

Power outages, although they do occasionally occur, are not as common as they used to be and the island is equipped with a desalination plant to address any water shortages.

How is the food provided?

You will be provided with meals at the restaurant. Sometimes the food can be spicy, but there will be milder options as well.

Is it possible to receive vegetarian meals?

Yes, it is possible to follow a vegetarian diet during the project. Just let us know about your diet and possible allergies beforehand.

How are work time and free time divided?

Once a week you will have one day off. In general your schedule will be determined by the occurring tasks.

How can I spend my free time?

On Dhigurah Island you can do all kinds of activities. You can enjoy the time and relax at the beach or try out almost any kind of water activity. There is a water-sports centre on the island offering various activities from wake-boarding to SUPs. TME Retreats also offers snorkel and fishing lessons as well. Moreover, it provides football tables and a pool. There is also a diving center located on the island. You can take diving lessons for about USD 100. You can also play football and volleyball with other volunteer or locals or get to know the culture.

Do I have a contact person on site?

On site you will be working with a team of volunteers and project leaders. The supervisors will be responsible for you and may help you with your problems.

What expenses do I have to expect during the project? Can I withdraw cash on site and do I have to pay in local currency?

In general you don’t need a lot of money during the project. You might spend money for additional snacks, beverages or free time activities, as well as external transfers besides the project. Usually you can expect to spend around USD 10 or 20 per day if you don’t undertake very expensive free time activities. There is no ATM at Dhigurah.

How can I contact family and friends at home?

It is possible to get a Maldivian prepaid card to make international phone calls. At the TME Retreats Hotel you will also have good Wi-Fi access.

What’s the weather like?

The Maldives have a constant warm and tropical climate with high humidity. Even at night the temperatures don’t drop below 25 °C. There are no seasons at the Maldives, except the monsoon season. Between November and April the weather is shaped by the northeast monsoon and between May and October the southwest monsoon affects the weather.

Do I have to follow any certain code of behaviour?

Yes. Since the Maldives are a Muslim state you have to follow certain rules. It is prohibited to buy or consume alcohol – except at hotel sites. You may not bring or consume pork. Furthermore it is important that you cover yourself up. You may not show too much skin. You should not wear bikinis or tight bathing trunks. Tattoos or pieces of jewelry should not show any other religious symbols but Muslim. If you want to visit a Mosque you have to do so after prayer times and always cover your skin. During Ramadan you should not drink, eat or smoke in public places. Smoking is generally not allowed inside your room.

You should inform yourself about the code of behaviour before travelling to the Maldives. It is a country with very strict anti-drug law. If any volunteer is caught with drugs he will be expelled and send to public authorities.

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