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Preguntas frecuentes

FAQs about volunteering

The Basics

How do I apply as a volunteer?


Applying to volunteer with Project Biodiversity is really easy! Given our variety of programmes, the first step is to select the opportunity that best fits your interest and availability (we currently offer opportunities with (seabirds or sea turtles). The next step is registering and filling out your application through Omprakash, the platform we use to manage our volunteers. Registering and submitting the application can be done directly from our website. Once you have set up a profile (Part 1) simply select your programme of choice and respond to the questions (Part 2). After submitting your application, you will hear back from us shortly! And don’t worry; you don’t have to pay any additional fees when registering with Omprakash.




Do I need to have any previous experience with volunteering to join the seabird and/or the sea turtle programme?


No previous experience necessary! You simply need to have a desire and willingness to work and contribute to a good cause. Of course, an interest and passion for wildlife conservation is a big plus! All volunteers will receive complete information and training from our team upon their arrival.


This does not apply for the position of Field Assistants, who are seasonal staff that require previous relevant skills.




Do I need to buy any specific equipment?


The equipment you will need to bring with you depends on the programme you are participating in. Below you will find a list that outlines the necessary equipment for both the seabirds and sea turtle programmes.

Sea turtle nesting/hatching season:
Enough face-masks - we encourage you to bring 2-3 reusable masks but disposable are also sufficient
Evidence of travel insurance policy with COVID-19 coverage and repatriation (sent in advance);
Sufficient money to cover any unforeseen expenses;
Lightweight waterproof/windproof jacket;
An unlocked mobile phone (you can purchase a local SIM card for €2);
1 small notebook and pens/pencil;
1 metric tailor’s tape measure (in cm) with black writing;
Sleeping bag;
Bed sheets & towels;
Rechargeable batteries (AAA, AA);
A head torch/headlamp with a red light and rechargeable batteries (we will provide chargers). You can find an example here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Energizer-Flashlight-Emergency-Camping-Headlight-Grey/dp/B013P5S1KC/ref=sr_1_5?crid=3PYNS14LYSRYG
Reusable drinking bottle – we try to be responsible by reducing the amount of plastic generated;
Dark clothes and warm clothes for night patrols (hoodie, shorts/trousers, t-shirt);
Biodegradable soap, shampoo, and laundry soap;
Insect repellent;
Hand sanitizer.
Seabirds
Enough face-masks; we encourage you to bring 2-3 reusable masks but disposable are also sufficient
Evidence of travel insurance policy with COVID-19 coverage and repatriation (sent in advance);
Sufficient money to cover any unforeseen expenses;
Lightweight waterproof/windproof jacket;
An unlocked mobile phone (you can purchase a local SIM card for €2);
1 small notebook and pens/pencil;
Trekking clothes and shoes;
Enough sun-cream for the duration of your stage;
Bed sheets & towels;
Reusable drinking bottle – we try to be responsible by reducing the amount of plastic generated;
Hand sanitizer.




When do I have to pay the participation fee?


Because there is a worldwide uncertainty when it comes to travel bans and flights, at the moment we are not requiring early payment as we typically do. You will be requested to pay 100€ of the total of your fees after April 1st as a deposit to secure your participation; and the remaining amount upon your arrival in Sal Island.




Why do I have to pay a deposit at my arrival?


Everybody joining the project is required to pay a refundable deposit of 100€. This is to prevent equipment damage and to ensure that everybody will respect the living rules in the apartments and make good use of the equipment of the project. The deposit will be used only in case of inappropriate use. If this deposit is not used, it will be returned to you before your departure.





Daily Life / Accommodations

What is life like in Sal? What is the weather like?


Sal is a small island in the archipelago that has recently become an important touristic destination. Although there has been significant development of the island in the last few years, the level of the services is still quite simple. Electricity and water cuts are normal, and finding some specific items at the shops can be very difficult. We recommend you to bring anything you feel essential for your daily living in your luggage. The island is known for a great offer on water sports. Santa Maria offers a fairly wide choice of restaurants and bars. There is a great mix of nationalities living on the island, coming mostly from Europe and continental Africa, in addition to the Cape Verdean community. the weather in Sal is warm and very windy most of the year. The hottest months are August and September (28-32°C average). It is very dry all year, but seasonal storms can occur in September and October. It gets chilly at night, especially when it is windy, which is why we always recommend our volunteers bring at least one jumper and long pair of pants!




Is Sal a safe place?


Sal Island and the town of Santa Maria (where our work is primarily based) is generally very safe and you are able to walk and move around safely without running into danger or trouble. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that you are in a foreign country with a different language and culture. Using common sense will keep you safe from getting in trouble. With our Sea Turtle Programme primarily operating at night, Safety at the beach during night patrols is always our priority. Although it is not very frequent to find poachers on the beach, shifts are always taken by a minimum of two people, and there will always be a project phone on the patrols with credit for communicating back to camp should an emergency occur. There will be always somebody at the camp available to assist you on the beach.




What is the cost of living like on Sal? Can I pay in Euro?


Prices for food in supermarkets and touristic restaurants and other items are quite high due to the influence of tourism and import taxes. Local restaurants serve nice food at fair prices. A liter of milk costs 1€ at the supermarket, a small beer 2€ in a bar, and a meal around 4 or 5€. It is quite common to pay in Euros, this currency is accepted basically everywhere in Santa Maria. The official exchange rate for Euros to Escudos is 1€ = 110 Escudos, however, when you pay in Euros in the shops and restaurants in town they convert to 1€ = 100 Escudos, so you lose a little bit of money each time. Therefore, it is up to you if you want to exchange money at the bank or not. You can also withdraw money with your card in Santa Maria, as sometimes the fee is not too high (this fee will depend on your card). You just have to make sure your credit card is allowed to be used abroad, so we recommend that you contact your bank before traveling.




What will my accommodation be like?


If you are joining us for the sea turtle nesting season, you are going to stay at our campsite with the rest of our sea turtle team. Our campsite is located inside a Protected Area and in one of the main nesting beaches of the island. It consists of a number of big shared tents for resting and sleeping. You are going to be sharing a tent with other people living at the camp. There is a common shaded area next to the kitchen, a shared bathroom, and a rudimentary shower. There is no electricity at camp, but there is freshwater for drinking and cleaning. There is a shared locked box in the camp where you can store valuable personal items such as camera, e-reader, etc. Only two people on the coordination team have access to this box, therefore you must always talk to one of them to access this box. Because this is a shared box, the space is limited, so bring only what you really need. If you are joining us for the sea turtle hatchling season or the seabird programme, you are going to stay in a shared apartment in Santa Maria. The apartment has a complete kitchen, shared bedrooms, bathrooms, and common areas. An apartment with similar conditions is going to be available for sea turtle nesting season participants for their day-off.




How is the rest of the team?


You will work with a mix of people of different nationalities, ages and backgrounds. A big proportion of the team is made of up local Cabo Verdeans that work in the project. We all share a bit of commitment for our work and a great wish to contribute to the conservation of the wildlife and the other natural resources of Cabo Verde. We always encourage coming into your volunteer experience with an open mind, ready to learn about other cultures as well as share parts of your own.





Traveling to Sal

Do I need to get a visa to travel to Cabo Verde?


Most countries in Europe, the US, the UK, Brazil, and a few other countries have an agreement with the Cabo Verde government and a 30-day visa can be obtained upon arrival at the airport. We recommend that you research online and contact the Cabo Verdean embassy in your country to get advice on what procedure you need to follow in order to get a visa for your stay. Bear in mind that your visa has to cover the whole length of your stay, so if you are joining us for longer than 30 days, you must get a visa covering the entire length of your stay. In this case, contact the Cape Verdean embassy in your country requesting a longer visa before your departure.




What is the easiest / most cost efficient way to get to Sal?


During this pandemic, you should check with our Volunteer Coordinator about your trip to Cabo Verde as we will have up-to-date information on flight options and conditions. Please, check your country’s recommendations and restrictions about international traveling to make sure there are no flight restrictions for you to fly to Cabo Verde. You should also check if quarantine is mandatory for you once you arrive from abroad and take this into consideration when booking your volunteering, so you can best accommodate any events/work you might have once you arrive back home. If your flight has a stopover in a different country before/after traveling to/from Cabo Verde, you must also see if there are any restrictions to travel to/from these countries and your country. At the moment, there is no quarantine required for travelers arriving in Cabo Verde. It is strongly recommended to book flights with a cancellation option when it is available. Once you are informed by our team of the route/flight connections that should be taken to get to Sal, you must book the flights with the cancellation insurance in case the programme is canceled and/or there are restrictions to fly to Sal.




What happens if my flights are cancelled before my participation?


We understand the flight restrictions are changing rapidly lately, so if your flight is canceled and we have space in our calendar, you are welcome to join us later in the season! If you cannot join us later on, and the reasons for canceling your participation is based on official recommendations and/or impossibility of traveling, there is no cost to cancel your participation and we will return the 100€ of your participation fees.




Will the organization refund my travel expenses?


Currently, the organization does not have sufficient funds to cover the volunteer’s travel expenses. Therefore, you will need to cover your own travel expenses until Sal. The benefits for your job are specified for each job offer you can apply for.





Medical Assistance

Is it necessary to get any vaccines to enter the country?


No specific vaccines are required. The only required vaccine requirement is that against yellow fever for visitors older than 1 year, if they are traveling from countries that have recorded any cases of yellow fever during the last 6 years. We recommend contacting the Cape Verdean embassy in your country to get further information. We also recommend having your tetanus shot up-to-date. As of January 2021, you must have a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before boarding to Cabo Verde. The same test is needed to leave the country.




What is the COVID-19 situation in Cabo Verde and how does that impact Sal island and the volunteer experience?


The situation around the world is complicated, with the ongoing uncertainty of the virus, and many countries going through restrictions and lockdowns. In Sal we are fortunate to have not felt the impact of COVID-19 as severely as other places. We have been able to do our fieldwork for the past months with relative ease, given that most of our fieldwork is outdoors and it is easy to maintain appropriate distance from others. That said, we are conscious of the threat that COVID presents, and we have made necessary changes to our programmes in accordance to both the Cabo Verdean government and WHO recommendations: we continue to practice social distancing when necessary as well as reduce the number of participants when we organize activities. All of our locations and vehicles have available hand sanitizer and we always encourage the use of masks. In addition to these measures, travelers arriving in Cabo Verde must present a negative COVID-19 test up to 72 hours before boarding. Another test must be taken before leaving the country. Our team can help you organize taking the test ahead of your departure, as it is fairly straightforward and you receive the results quite fast.




How are the medical facilities?


There is a public hospital in Espargos and a newly built public clinic in Santa Maria. Apart from that, there are three other private medical centres. Most medicines are available in the pharmacy, but we recommend that you bring with you any medication that you use frequently. The organization cannot cover medical expenses, so you will need to buy a medical insurance for your stay.





More Questions?

I have more questions!


For further questions reach out using our Contact Form.