Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Sustainable gardening in greenhouse

Community, Environment & Wildlife, World Trends

Top 5 volunteer projects for a more sustainable world

May 3rd 2022

Achieving a sustainable future will require a monumental effort on the parts of individuals, communities, businesses, NGOs and governments. As global volunteers, we have the potential to unlock exceptional learning opportunities for off-grid living through participation in sustainability-focused projects.

We’ve highlighted our TOP 5 sustainability volunteer projects, providing our community with an edge in their journey to a more sustainable and equitable world.

1. Cloud Forest Conservation & Sustainability Volunteer Project, Ecuador

Volunteer collecting bananas in cloud forest EcuadorCloud forests are critical ecosystems for maintaining high levels of biodiversity and global freshwater security. Living and working within these important ecosystems requires careful consideration for sustainability. This project conserves and restores Ecuadorian cloud forests. It also employs eco-construction techniques for its infrastructures and produces bio-food and sustainable timber, reducing pressure on the surrounding ecosystem. We believe that learning to live sustainably within a rugged environment, like a cloud forest, provides vital skills and perspectives for the future world, particularly for those of us with a calling to live in the wild.

2. Amazon Restoration Volunteer & Internship Programme, Peru

reforestation work peru

Is it possible to sustainably harvest the plants of an ecosystem as critically important as the Amazon rainforest? Yes, it is. This project runs an active reforestation centre and productive farm in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. At the centre, agroforestry specialists are experimenting with the sustainable harvest of oils, fruits, branches and other non-timber forest products, producing over 100 unique tree species within the rainforest ecosystem and providing alternative livelihood models for local people. As businesses develop models incorporating the sustainable use of ecosystems, we expect a reduction of pressure on some of the world’s most threatened flora and fauna. Become an environmental entrepreneur.

3. Deep Ecology and Sea Turtle Conservation Programme, Costa Rica

Volunteers working at FincaLiving off-grid is easier said than done and more achievable with a base understanding and knowledge gained through hands-on experiences. This project is creating a sustainable living space fit for the 21st Century in a remote location in Costa Rica. At the heart of an eco-community, volunteers work alongside regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and ecological construction specialists. The goal is for the community to live off-grid and self-sufficient with auto-consumption. This project is an excellent choice for those keen to learn the skills required to become truly self-sufficient.

4. Maldives Island Volunteer Project

Volunteers walking on beach cleanup MaldivesThe beautiful islands of the Maldives have serious waste management issues which stem from a lack of capacity, awareness and knowledge about waste management and environmental protection. Until a circular economy becomes the status quo, we will need to continue to deal with mounting waste. This project focuses on the planning, development, and implementation of comprehensive waste management plans to help Naifaru Island in their quest to control waste and pollution. Volunteers engage in every step of the process and learn skills that they then also help share with the community. This project is great for gaining problem-solving skills.

5. Galapagos Conservation Volunteers

Sustainable gardening volunteers in GalapagosRemoteness can be a significant barrier to food security for island nations such as the Galapagos. They often require food to be shipped in, which is costly and inefficient. This project makes the most of the Galapagos’ rich volcanic soils and local techniques to grow food in greenhouses. These controls and local wisdom help optimise year-round food production for local communities, lowering food costs and carbon footprint while improving local livelihood opportunities. As the human population grows and food shortages become more common, the Galapagos offers a microcosm of the world’s food insecurity crises. It also provides a perfect learning opportunity for those keen to solve this major global challenge.


Do you have any questions about a particular project, how to join or anything in between? If so please don’t hesitate to write to us at info@workingabroad.com

About the Author

David Johnston

David joined WorkingAbroad in 2021 as Marketing & Comms Manager. Since 2010, David has co-led several long-term environmental and social initiatives in the Amazon rainforest, to which he remains closely connected. His focus is on conservation and community-led business, including ecotourism and voluntourism. During his time in the Amazon, David realised the potential of purpose-driven travel to protect forests and provide sustainable livelihoods for local people. Through his role at Workingabroad, Dave supports the organisation with communications, strategic planning and the development of volunteer programmes. Dave serves on the boards of Junglekeepers Peru and the Tambopata Reserve Society (TReeS).