Marine Conservation Research Fellowship in Seychelles

Carry out impactful research with a goal to protect marine ecosystems.

Durations: 4 - 24 weeks
Fieldwork hours45 hrs of fieldwork per week
Participant ratio1:6 staff to participant ratio
GVI experiencesIncludes GVI Experiences

Program information

Gain practical real-life work experience as you carry out research that contributes to building a healthy marine ecosystem. With 24 dive sites and an abundance of marine megafauna, participants gain real-life working experience while learning from experts in the conservation field. Part of your fellowship will include working on your university dissertation or long-term research projects.

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Book before 31 May!
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Travel flexibility. Transfer for free up to 45 days before travel. Because life happens. Terms and conditions apply.
Dates & Prices
What's Included
Life On Base
Free time & cultural immersion
Speak to alumni
Parent Info
Arrivals &
Your Impact
Our Ethics
Program ethics
Qualifications & Training Options
Support & Safety

Program overview

On a marine research fellowship in Seychelles you’ll assist with reef ecosystem monitoring and assessing the growth rates of coral. You’ll learn how to identify species and assist with surveys and the collection of data on invertebrates, fish, seagrass, sharks and marine megafauna. Participants also contribute to conservation work like seagrass ecosystem monitoring, marine megafauna sightings, weekly beach cleans, and assisting with entering data into citizen science databases. Through practical on-the-ground conservation work, you’ll get an idea of different roles within the conservation sector and develop a range of skills to set you up for a successful career.

Meeting weekly with other research fellows and a research supervisor, you’ll receive feedback and guidance and receive training on research methods from industry experts. At the end of your fellowship, write up a final research report or contribute to long-term research publications. You’ll also have the chance to lead or co-author a paper on a specific conservation issue.

Advance your skill set by completing your Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Coral Reef Research Diver Speciality PADI diving qualifications. You can also add on a Rescue Diver and Emergency First Response course.

Our base in Seychelles is situated in a marine-protected area and is home to a wide array of megafauna, such as sharks, rays, and dolphins.

Participants on this program will contribute to UN SDG 13: Climate Action and Goal 14: Life Below Water.


Master your research
Master your research
Conduct focused research across 24 amazing dive sites, with access to unique marine species, pristine coral reefs and cutting-edge data.
Find a diver’s paradise
Find a diver’s paradise
Explore dive sites among the tropical islands of Seychelles and experience incredible local marine megafauna like turtles, sharks, rays and dolphins.
Get published
Get published
Conduct research abroad and co-author or publish a scientific paper on a pressing conservation topic.
Complete your studies
Complete your studies
Join GVI on one of our flagship research projects, or complete your own thesis or dissertation.
Receive academic supervision
Receive academic supervision
Attend individual sessions with a qualified PhD-holding scientist with a strong academic background.
Join cutting-edge science
Join cutting-edge science
Contribute to a legacy of 25+ years of scientific conservation research that has been cited over 1,000 times.
Live on a research station
Live on a research station
Travel off the beaten track to live and work in remote habitats. Get exclusive access to protected species and unique ecosystems.
Advance your career
Advance your career
Gain international experience, receive four recognised qualifications and get a LinkedIn reference to boost your CV.

Is this program for me?

This internship is specifically useful for someone who has or is actively studying the below subject areas at school, university or college, or has an interest in these subject areas.

  • Marine science
  • Ecology
  • Population biology
  • Epidemiology
  • Biology
  • Environmental science
  • Zoology
  • Botany
  • Marine biology
  • Ecology and evolution
  • Environment management
  • Marine conservation
  • Wildlife management
  • Animal husbandry
  • Geology
  • Wildlife biology and conservation


Some of the example typical activities you could participate in on this program.

Fieldwork training
Fieldwork training
Learn how to identify species and conduct surveys that contribute to data collection and building an inventory of marine species in Seychelles.
Conservation surveys
Conservation surveys
Monitor reef health, assess coral bleaching, and participate in surveys of invertebrates, fish, seagrass, sharks and megafauna.
Support conservation projects
Support conservation projects
Assist with various tasks like seagrass monitoring, megafauna sightings, beach cleanups and data entry into citizen science databases.
Research training
Research training
Learn how to manage GVI’s databases, assist with data entry, analyse data for insights and present data in visual and written formats.
Research project
Research project
Work on a research project that contributes to GVI’s ongoing research or addresses the topic covered in your personal dissertation or thesis.
Research supervisor
Research supervisor
Meet weekly in a small group of other fellows and interns to receive guidance and feedback on your research or receive training on research methods.
Research report
Research report
Apply what you’ve learnt to write up a final research report. Or lead/co-author articles for long-form research publications.


  • Data entry
  • EFR training
  • Marine conservation
  • PADI
  • Species identification
  • Survey research


Some of the partners we work with on base.

Seychelles Parks & Gardens Authority (SPGA)
Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment (MACCE)
Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA)
Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT)
Coral Watch
The Marine Conservation Society, Seychelles (MCSS)
The Ocean Conservancy
Seagrass Watch
Olive Ridley Project (ORP)

Program details

Dates and prices

Select a start date:

Hot summer savings!

Book in May and get up to 15% off selected programs.

Secure your spot before spaces fill up.
Payment plans. Flexible payment plans allow you to pay in instalments.

What happens next?

Once you apply, a personal Enrollment Manager will be assigned to walk you through the rest of the process.


The following itinerary is an example of the activities and project work that participants might get involved in on this program. More specific details of the program are finalised several months before each start date.


Start your day bright and early! If you're an early riser, walk to the beach and take in the sunrise and the ocean view.


Team breakfast, then prep for the day: getting the boat and equipment ready for your first dive, or preparing for your coastal activities.


Start by getting trained in diving/ conservation. Once you're all set, you'll switch gears to doing surveys that help the project reach its goals.


Lunch is enjoyed in our dining hall, or for those on the boat, you’ll eat a picnic lunch onboard the boat to fuel all the scientific research.


Training or marine activities like research dives, beach cleans and surveys. Your data supports ongoing studies and citizen science databases.


Return to base and get stuck into some base duties, including kit cleaning and storage.


Teams take turns to plan and prepare dinner every evening which makes for a wide variety of meals, enjoyed together as a group.


Time to relax or get involved in social activities on base. Make use of the common areas to spend time with your new friends, play a game, or do some studying.

What’s included?

What's included
Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)
Airport pick up (unless stated)
All project equipment
24-hour in-country support from local staff
24-hour emergency desk
GVI Experiences
Sustainable project work
Data collection and research
Research project
Weekly group sessions
Research supervisor guidance
Pre-program training
Pre-departure webinar
Pre-departure training (online)
University of Richmond endorsed specialisation course
University of Richmond endorsed leadership course
Welcome training
GVI welcome presentation
Health & safety
Local culture & environment
Impact & ethics
Child protection
Research fellowship training
Research methods
Survey techniques
Statistical analysis
Presenting data
Presenting data
Career services
University of Richmond careers course
Career coaching sessions (x2)
Career guarantee
LinkedIn reference – upon request
Job portal
Program certificate
University certificate – specialisation (University of Richmond)
University certificate – leadership (University of Richmond)
What's excluded
Not included
International and domestic airport taxes
Medical and travel insurance
Visa costs
Police or background check
Personal items and toiletries
Additional drinks and gratuities

Life On Base

A short three-minute walk from the beach, our Cap Ternay research station is based in Baie Ternay Marine National Park, a picturesque location with tropical weather. With a thirty-minute walk to the nearest village and shop, our base is in a protected and secluded area. It almost feels like we have a private beach all to ourselves (the road ends at the base). The variety of marine life makes this an amazing location – you can see a plethora of life around the island and in the sea, such as reef sharks, dolphins, eagle rays, tropical fish, endemic birds and interesting coastal creatures and critters. 

Originally a school, the building has been transformed into an environmentally-aware research station with classrooms for presentations, a library containing marine identification books and resources, and a recreation room to relax in after a day of diving. 

There are also giant hammocks (for more relaxation) and a large grassy area for volleyball. We also have party and BBQ themed nights, and enjoy film and documentary nights in the rec room cinema. Outside in the seating area, participants like to sit and play cards, or just enjoy the weather. Life on base is much like a big family and we share cooking, cleaning, and dive operation duties on a rotation basis.

Being an eco-minded base, there is a recycling area on base, and planters for growing local endemic plant species, which utilise the harvested rainwater. It’s great when participants bring their own ideas and get involved with more eco-friendly practices, such as ecobricking and non-recycling storage methods.

Days start early, with boat or coastal equipment preparations or training, and end with dinner, followed by an evening debrief where we share with the group all the exciting things we have seen, and go through the schedule for the next day. After this, it’s time to relax, take in the beautiful sunset, and share stories. There are also a number of base dogs (who love lots of attention) to keep you company. If you’ve joined a diving program and have completed your intensive survey and dive training, you’ll enjoy short boat trips to nearby dive sites. Depending on the weather conditions and schedule for the week, dives take place once or twice daily, five days a week. On other days, you’ll either conduct marine debris surveys or environmental education sessions including awareness raising with the local community members, depending on the needs of the project at the time. Staff will often deliver presentations throughout the week, with study time included in the daily schedule. 

For island conservation and wildlife programs, you’ll head out after breakfast to help with surveys, either by snorkelling, hiking or doing beach patrols. Depending on the conservation projects at the time, you might collect data on nudibranchs, island birds, crustaceans, mollusks or seagrass, to name a few.


See what it’s like to live off the beaten track! There are three dorm rooms, each with around 6–10 single beds. The gender-separated bathrooms are shared, with showers and flush to...


We provide transfers from the airport to our base in Baie Ternay National Park, which is about an hour’s drive. There is a bus service from Port Launay to Victoria (and some other ...


We are based in a protected natural reserve, which means that mobile signal doesn’t cover the entire area. There are spots with good phone coverage and we have a phone on base for ...


Sample the many flavours of Seychellois cuisine, from fresh coconut water sipped out of the fruit to green papaya salad. All food is provided by GVI and prepared by participants. B...


The Seychelles has an equatorial climate, which means sunshine and warm water all year round, with temperatures averaging 26ºC–30ºC (79ºF–86ºF). Tropical rainfall is common, but mo...

GVI experiences included in your program, at no extra cost.

Offered once a month, expand your adventure with GVI Experiences. These are just some of the activities offered on your program!

We want you to make the most of the chance to live in – and contribute towards –  the most diverse and unique wildernesses and communities on earth. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI that have been specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development. 

Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.

Learn to cook traditional Seychellois Creole dishes
Tastes of the island
Visit the Mission Ruins at Venn's Town
We recall to never repeat
Paddleboard across the bay
Daybreak on the water
Hike through lush forests and across rocky plateaus
View from the top
Explore the ocean at night with a dive/snorkel
Swim amongst the stars
Discover rare and endemic species of plants
Natural biodiversity sanctuary
Swim at a secret beach
Paradise found
Go fishing with local fishers
Catch and release

Free time & cultural immersion

By joining a GVI program, you not only contribute to preserving unique ecosystems but also get the chance to explore the surrounding area or venture further to see what else the region has to offer on weekends.

Our field staff are a great source of advice on local travel options. Many participants choose to travel before or after their experience, solidifying friendships made on the program. 

Engaging with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in today’s world. Cultural immersion is encouraged, and there are many activities to enjoy during your free time or before and after your program. Please note, these suggestions aren’t included in the program fee and are at your own expense.


GVI’s programs in the Seychelles are based on the main island of Mahe – the largest granitic island in the Seychelles, surrounded by coral reefs, granite drop-offs and white sandy ...


The Seychelles is a tropical archipelago off the east coast of Africa, consisting of over 100 islands. The islands located near the center of the group are made of granite, and res...

Weekend trips

Takamaka rum distillery

The rum distillery at Pointe Au Sel is a popular destination for volunteers to visit. There’s also a tea plantation and local handicraft village nearby, which you can tack onto you...

Victoria City

The capital of the Seychelles, Victoria (one of the smallest capital cities in the world) is only an hour away from our base in Baie Ternay Marine National Park. Here, you can lear...

Beau Vallon Bay

The most popular tourist spot on the main island of the Seychelles, Beau Vallon offers a massive stretch of beach, lined with shops and restaurants.

Local adventures

Water sports

Other than diving, there are many other water sports in the Seychelles, like surfing, kayaking, sailing and snorkeling. And of course, there’s always the option of simply swi...

Cap Matoopa hike

The highest point next to our base, Cap Matoopa offers spectacular views of Cap Ternay Bay. Climb the jungle-encrusted granite rocks to the top, where you’ll be rewarded with a mag...

Recreational diving

The dives we conduct on the project have a strict research focus. There are, however, plenty of opportunities to go for a recreational dive in your free time.

Hiking and climbing

The inner islands of the Seychelles, where you will be staying while on this project, are made of granite, which means there are many opportunities for hiking. Visit Morne Seychell...

Further travels

Inner island hopping

From the capital of Victoria, you can catch a ferry to many of the other inner islands, like Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Felicity and Sister. Praslin is home to the Vallee de Ma...

Speak to alumni

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Get a first-hand perspective

Meet us

Meet the team

Get acquainted with the GVI Africa, Seychelles, Cap Ternay family

Jasmine Taberer

Program Manager

This is Jasmine, also known as Jazzy, our wonderful Program Manager at the GVI base on Mahe Island, Seychelles. Jazzy grew up with a keen interest in conservation which lead her ...

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

GVI is a proud member of the Gap Year Association.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.


We meet you at the airport.

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.

As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals.

We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile.

This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.


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Flights are not included in your program fee
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Your Impact

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (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.

Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

The Seychelles archipelago is globally recognised as one of Earth’s biodiversity hotspots – both in terms of its terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Recent studies estimate that the islands are home to more than 87,200 species of animal, plant and fungi.

In 1998, a devastating coral bleaching event took place which affected much of the reefs in the nearby waters. The event is believed to have bleached and killed around 70% of the coral reef coverage around the inner islands within the Seychelles, which in turn affected the number of species and endangered many.

Healthy corals are key to the health of our planet – they help fish populations regenerate themselves, provide shelter for juvenile fish, assist in removing excess carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, and protect living spaces near the shore from damage by waves and storms.

In addition to the high seasonal sea temperatures, the coral reefs around the 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.

Efforts to monitor the recovery of reefs in the Seychelles were initiated after the 1998 event. This began with a three-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 and Gardens Authority (SGPA), with the management of the marine parks. After the Shoals of Capricorn project, the monitoring was taken over by Reef Care International.

This program has a significant impact on local and national marine conservation laws and regulations, including the utilisation of GVI collected data to help establish and set catchment limits each year for key fisheries species.

The country is also a popular tourist destination and relies on tourism to boost the local economy and sustain livelihoods. But with an influx of visitors also comes a negative environmental impact that needs to be managed carefully through initiatives like implementing more marine protected areas and continuing to implement strict fishing laws.

To address these challenges, GVI’s marine, island and conservation programs aim to protect the biodiversity of Seychelles through maintaining and restoring habitats, monitoring of reefs and endangered species, working towards common objectives with partners, and providing education to the local community and visitors to the region.

Corals and fish surveys

We established our project in the Seychelles in 2004 with the aim of aiding our primary partner SPGA. At over 20 sites across the north-west coast of Mahe, GVI staff and participants use the protocols of Reef Care International in order to survey the reefs. These surveys include noting the health of existing coral, evidence of new young coral growing on the reef, the presence, abundance and diversity of fish and invertebrate species, and select species sizes. Data on coral recovery as well as fish abundance and diversity is passed on to the SPGA to assist with their management and legislative decisions, which might include updates to policies, expanding currently protected areas, or protecting additional areas from overfishing. For example, sea cucumbers are profitable, so we monitor them to assist our partners in making informed science-based decisions. In addition, we use a different citizen science coral monitoring technique to provide data to CoralWatch, a worldwide coral monitoring methodology based at Queensland University, Australia, which aims to monitor coral bleaching and recovery events around the globe.

Sharing our long-term monitoring data to SPGA allows them to better track and monitor changing reef dynamics and the potential recovery of coral species and coral reef associated species. This partnership provides invaluable data which is then used to petition for science backed policy changes to better protect the reefs and marine life in the Seychelles. 

Commercial marine species surveys

Unsustainable fishing is also a threat to the health of the Seychellois marine life. This affects the well-being of the local community (many of whom rely on fish for daily subsistence), and the growth of the local economy (seafood from the Seychelles is exported and sold to international visitors to the islands). Its underwater treasures are another reason why many people visit every year, bringing capital into the country. We assist the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), through our partnership with SPGA, with monitoring commonly harvested species like octopus, lobster, and sea cucumber populations.

Marine megafauna sightings

Incidental sightings of marine megafauna like reef sharks and sea turtles 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 large marine species around the world. 

Island fauna and flora surveys

  • Invertebrates: monitoring species composition, diversity and abundance of species along the coast and in the shallow water system.
  • Seagrass and sharks: conducting shallow water surveys to monitor seagrass ecosystems and track shark pups.
  • Mangrove ecosystem: collecting data on the composition, diversity, abundance and zonation patterns of mangroves.
  • Local birdlife: conducting surveys on the composition, diversity, abundance as well social, mating, hunting, habitat selectivity and nesting behaviour of local bird species.
  • Amphibian and reptile: monitoring species composition, abundance and diversity of reptile and amphibian species.
  • Invasive species: tracking invasive species spread and its impact on negative flora and fauna.

Marine plastic pollution cleanups

Beach cleans and ocean floor cleanup dives are also regularly conducted as part of the Dive Against Debris (DAD) initiative. For DAD, we dive to pick up marine fishing gear and ghost nets (these account for more than 50% of all marine trash worldwide) as well as discarded plastics and general waste. The data about types and amounts of marine plastics collected is sent to Project AWARE, an organisation established to monitor the abundance and diversity of marine debris around the world. 

Environmental education

Environmental education is also an important part of our GVI Mahe program. The main aim of this program is to get members of the local community involved in discussions around issues affecting their marine environment. A new program called the LEAP Project (Locally Empowered Area Protection) has been established with our partner Nature Seychelles and aims to enhance coastal and marine socio-ecological resilience and biodiversity conservation in the Western Indian Ocean. With a much higher level of community engagement and involvement with local groups, such as schools and other environmentally focused local NGOs.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. We want to be able to measure our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, so all our staff and volunteers know which UN SDGs they’re making a substantial contribution to. This also helps our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Prior to your arrival on base, you’ll be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. Then, once on base you’ll learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also insight into 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.

The main United Nations Sustainable Development Goals we strive to support at GVI Cap Ternay are Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, Goal 13: Climate Action, Goal 14: Life Below Water and Goal 15: Life on Land.

Project objectives


GVI Cap Ternay, Seychelles long-term objectives:

1. Provide a long-term and consistent collection of data, which assesses the overall health and development of the ecosystems in northern Mahe on behalf of the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority. This data can also be used for regional coastal marine and coastal management and international understanding of changing reef systems.

2. Provide data to conservation partners in order to support regional coastal marine management and international understanding of changing reef systems.

3. Increase the scientific output and awareness of GVI’s projects through publication of findings.

4. Increase in-country capacity by assisting with environmental education and training to members of the local communities and our partners.

5. Continue to minimise our environmental impact at Cap Ternay and raise awareness of environmental issues among our participants and visitors.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.

Our 10 ethical commitments


Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.

Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.

However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.

Program ethics

No orphanage programs

We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.

Learn more
Child and vulnerable adult protection policy

Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.

Learn more
No medical volunteering

We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.

Learn more
No disability support programs

We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.

Learn more
Aligned to local objectives

Each one of our initiatives is aligned to objectives set by a local organisation or professional. Our staff and participants work to support these local actors in achieving their specific goals.

Local employees remain employed

Our participants don’t replace the staff employed by local organisations. Rather, they support currently employed staff with achieving their objectives. Our goal is always to increase local capacity to address local problems.

Local employees remain focused

Participants require training and support to ensure that they carry out tasks correctly. Our staff provide this training and support so that local staff can focus on what is truly important to their organisation at the time.

No entertainment-based activities

We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos

No orphaned animal sanctuaries

We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases

Guidelines for touching or movement restriction

When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Animal welfare guidelines

We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.

Local community empowerment

We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.

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No veterinary programs

We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.

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A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.

For all GVI participants

Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically

Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.

Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals

Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.

Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact

Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.

For all participants at Cap Ternay

Community: human empowerment

Learn about our empowerment principles.

Conservation: survey techniques and logistics

An introduction to different survey techniques and best practice guidelines for surveys; introduction to different types of data and how to record information via a datasheet.

Conservation: biodiversity & target species identification

Learn about biodiversity and how biodiversity is measured, and classifying different species and how to identify species that indicate the health of the habitat.

Marine conservation: pollution and plastics

Learn about issues with plastic and measures that can be taken to help reduce plastic consumption.

Marine conservation: coral reefs

Learn about what a coral reef is, its importance, how it is formed, how this ecosystem works.

Plastic pollution and other trash

Learn about the effect of waste on the ocean and what we can do about it. It is not required training but an additional presentation offered to volunteers and interns who stay for longer and have more time available.

Coral watch

This is a global coral monitoring methodology all volunteers can get involved with. It is separate from our main study focus with Seychelles National Parks Authority, SNPA. It is not required training but an additional presentation offered to volunteers and interns who stay for longer and have more time available.

Emergency oxygen administration orientation

All volunteers are taught how to provide oxygen to divers in varying states of consciousness.

Survey-specific buoyancy training

Learning how to control your buoyancy to ensure that you do not accidentally damage the reef while conducting research.

PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality

This is a distinctive specialty unique only to GVI, created in collaboration with PADI. It provides instruction on the different types of reef monitoring available, along with certain skills which are needed to ensure that you are comfortable using monitoring equipment such as tape measures and quadrats and that there is no damage done to the reef while you navigate around the site.

PADI Advanced Open Water (AOW) certification

Five specialised dives are required to gain this qualification. Those we offer include the Boat Dive, Underwater Navigation, Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver and Peak Performance Buoyancy. A knowledge review is also required.

Species-specific marine survey techniques

Once participants are comfortable with identifying the species on site, they will be trained on the different techniques used to monitor these species underwater.

Coral, fish, or invertebrates workshops

A few weeks before arrival on the base, you will be assigned to monitoring either coral, fish or invertebrates. This includes several presentations to introduce you to the specific species.


Learn to identify different types of megafauna and larger sea creatures you might see on a dive near Mahe. You will be asked to also monitor their numbers on your dives.

Threats to the reef

Learn what are the natural and man-made issues threatening the survival of the reefs.

Introduction to coral reefs

Includes an explanation of what a coral reef is, its importance, how it is formed, and how this ecosystem works.

Hazards of the reef