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Volunteer in the Maldives

Volunteer in the Maldives and enjoy living in a place that feels like paradise...

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Marine Conservation in the Maldives

Volunteer opportunities in the Maldives

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities in the Maldives, which mainly focus on the ocean, particularly marine and coral reef conservation. However, if you would like to volunteer for an NGO to help a local community, this is also possible. Before you commit to becoming a volunteer in the Maldives, we would like to introduce you to the different fields of interest that you can choose from.

We recommend that you pick a volunteer project that is a great fit in regards to both your skills and interests. By doing so, your time abroad will prove to be most beneficial to you as a person and your chosen volunteer program. Keep in mind that some volunteer projects will require you to bring certain skills to the table already. If that is the case, you will need to prove that you possess the skills in question before you will be accepted. Depending on what volunteer opportunities in the Maldives you are interested in, you might be asked to show your scuba diving certification, for example.

Diving and marine conservation

If marine biology is one of your great passions in life, you might want to consider becoming a marine conservation volunteer in the Maldives. Given that this country is made up of 90% water and about 200 different islands, there are plenty of opportunities for volunteering right by and in the ocean.

From whale shark research to marine conservation efforts that are focused on the local turtle population, your helping hands will certainly be appreciated. No matter what kind of project you choose to sign up for as a marine conservation volunteer, you certainly will not get bored anytime soon. After all, some of your tasks might include:

  • educating the local public about what they can do to protect the ocean
  • rehabilitating and releasing turtles that have been held in captivity as pets
  • organizing community beach clean ups

Of course, you will be working alongside a group of trained professionals who will tell you exactly what you need to do. If special training is required for you to be able to do your job at a marine conservation volunteer in the Maldives, the volunteer project that you have chosen will be sure to provide you with this training.

Biodiversity and its conservation

If you are not that interested in the Maldives' marine life population, you might want to become an environmental conservation volunteer instead. Protecting the local coral reefs, which are home to many marine creatures from fish to turtles, will be your main job if you choose this line of volunteering.

You will learn all about the different kinds of coral reefs that exist in the Maldives and what you can do to protect them. Under the guidance of scientific professionals, you will work on:

  • restoring the local reefs
  • collecting reef samples for further research
  • coral nursery activities,

No two days will be the same. Of course, you will be provided with a basic course on coral reef ecology before you get started.

Combine volunteering and travel

Why not combine volunteer opportunities in the Maldives and vacationing in one of the most beautiful places in the entire world? That is what voluntourism is all about. There are plenty of different NGOs that could really use your help

From climate change prevention to local healthcare and community development or environmental and marine conservation, there is much that you can do. Writing and various research programs are also available for you to choose from. Which volunteer project is going to accept you is, of course, going to depend on your skill set.

However, if you are interested in voluntourism, one thing is for sure - Compared to other volunteer projects that you can choose from, engaging in voluntourism will give you even more free time, which you can use to:

  • snorkel
  • go scuba diving
  • surfing
  • wakeboarding
  • or simply enjoy the stunning beaches

Given that you will be part of a larger group of volunteers, exploring the Maldives together can result into your lifelong friends, and it will be a great experience. Even if you cannot find a travel buddy to join you for your volunteer opportunities in the Maldives, these types of projects will make it easy for you to make new friends abroad.

Cost of living

The suggested daily budget for living as a volunteer in the Maldives is between 2.26 US$ and 10 US$. This is an estimate made considering the average price of some of the services you might need and things you might want to buy. It gives you a general overview of how much things cost in this country, so you can be prepared and save the money you will need.

Additional costs you should consider will be:

An exemplary overview of living costs in the Maldives (in US$, for one person) can be found here.

Things to know before you volunteer in the Maldives

As a prospective volunteer in the Maldives, you should know that this island nation is an extremely safe place for you to volunteer. As such, you will not have to consider that many safety precautions, although we would still like to give you some tips in order to make your stay abroad as enjoyable, healthy, and safe as possible.

Safety & Precautions

As a prospective volunteer in the Maldives, you should take the following precautions to stay safe:

  • Do not leave your valuables unattended at the beach
  • If you are staying at a hotel, make sure to place all of your valuables in a secure location, such as the safe deposit box provided by your hotel
  • Keep in mind that you might need to get advanced approval to visit certain islands
  • Familiarize yourself with the basic tenants of Islam in order to not offend the locals/ break the law
  • Do not wear a bikini outside your resort
  • Drinking alcohol is only allowed on resort properties

Health advice

As you are preparing to become a volunteer in the Maldives, you should make sure that you have all of the required vaccinations. In particular, getting the following routine vaccinations is a must:

  • MMR
  • Diphtheria/ Tetanus/ Pertussis
  • Chickenpox
  • Polio
  • Flu (optional)

Please talk to your doctor several weeks before you leave to become a volunteer abroad and find out what medications you should be taking on your trip as well. For most travelers, getting the following vaccinations is also recommended:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Chickenpox
  • Yellow Fever
  • Typhoid

Culture & religion

As was mentioned already, the Maldives are a Muslim nation, which means that many of the laws of Islam apply here. In fact, Islam is not the only religion that is practiced by every local community, but it is also the official religion of the state. As a non-Muslim volunteer in the Maldives, you should thus refrain from publicaly practicing your religion or worshipping in public places. In addition, you better not encourage any Maldivian citizen to look into or ascribe to another religion either as this might have serious consequences.

Who can volunteer in the Maldives?

As you will have noticed by now, there are many different projects that expect different skills and abilities from their volunteers. While you can find out the specific requirements for each project on their program page, here are some general requirements that apply to most volunteering projects in the Maldives:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old for most of the volunteer projects. When in doubt, we advise you to get in contact with the local project manager, as some projects will even require you to be 21 years of age.
  • You need to have basic English skills to join a volunteer project in the Maldives. Please note that some teaching projects might ask for more advanced skills though.
  • Depending on the project you're interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering.
  • Given that you will likely be working outside most of the time, any prospective volunteer in the Maldives needs to be physically fit.

Visa regulations to volunteer in the Maldives

You have made it to the last section of this guide, which is another really important aspect while planning your trip: getting your volunteer visa for the Maldives.

Please consider that the following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organisations. That’s why you should please make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your contact person on Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the Maldivian embassy or consulat in your country.

General entry information

There are some general requirements you should comply upon your arrival in the Maldives:

  • Please check the current validity of your passport. The passport should be valid at least 6 months after your expected return home date.
  • Make sure your passport has at least two blank Visa pages. COUNTRY requires that you have adequate unused pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.
  • Make sure to be in possession of a valid return ticket for your travel home.
  • Make sure that you have enough funds to cover the expenses for the duration of your stay in Maldives.

Best practice for short-term volunteers

If you want to travel the Maldives for up to 30 days, you can enter the country with a tourist visa This visa will be issued upon arrival. Please note not to mention that you’re doing volunteer work during this time frame.

Best practice for long-term volunteers

If you want to stay longer than 30 days you can renew your tourist visa for up to 90 days (30 initial days + 60 days) in total. An extension can only be applied through the Visa Extension Application Form, at the Head Office during official working hours and will be charged with a fee. Make sure to apply for this extension before the end of your initial 30 days.