Community Initiatives & Marine Conservation

Assist a small island community in their day-to-day life, whilst being enriched by the culture and traditions that are unique to Borneo.

About the Program

Arrive by boat on to your paradise island home in the South China Sea, Camp Mantanani. Blue skies, towering palm trees, crystal blue waters and ancient drift wood decorate the white sands. Behind the idyllic surface lies a number of environmental and socio-economic challenges facing this isolated island community. You’ll make a difference to the community that our camp is based alongside, working on projects to combat waste management, inadequate school facilities and overfishing. Help teach conversational English to the local children and arrange games and sports sessions to keep them active and engaged in their education.  You’ll have time to relax and soak in island life on Mantanani. Snorkel, kayak, swim and get yourself up early to walk to the tip of the island for the most beautiful sunrise you’ve ever seen.

The second two weeks of your programme will be spent back on the mainland at Camp Bongkud, under the watchful eye of mighty Mount Kinabalu. We’re building a kindergarten here, so you’ll be involved in improving the local education infrastructure. The area is rich in culture and history; we’ll take you to visit tea plantations (see where your cuppa started life), buddhist temples and WW2 memorials. You’ll become part of the community during your month in Borneo, truly immersed in the local culture and inspired by the warmth of the people you meet.


Day 1: Welcome to Borneo!
Arrive in Kota Kinabalu, where you will be met at the airport by a member of our Camp Borneo team and transferred to your accommodation in the city. Here you will meet our Country Manager who will run an arrival briefing for you and your group before your welcome dinner.

Day 2: Welcome to Camp Mantanani
After a much needed sleep and a good breakfast, you will be transferred to Camp Mantanani. You will take a boat over to the paradise that is Mantanani!

The Camp Manager will give you a tour of the island. You will also have an overview of what your time here will involve. Then it’s time to choose your bed in your new beach style longhouse home!

Day 3-8: Project work / Activities at Camp Mantanani
You will spend 10 days volunteering alongside the island communities. This is your chance to get stuck in to some valuable initiatives such as helping to build community toilets, teaching basic English to primary age children, working on our marine conservation & awareness programme and running fun activities and sports sessions with the local children.

Day 9 & 10: R & R Weekend on Mantanani Island
This time is yours and you can spend it relaxing on the long white sandy beach which is just in front of our camp. You can kayak as well as swim and we highly recommend watching the sunrise or sunset at the tip of the island.

Day 11 & 14: Project work / Activities at Camp Mantanani

Day 15: Welcome to Kota Kinabalu city

We’ll transfer you back to Kota Kinabalu for an overnight stay.

Day 16: Welcome to Camp Bongkud
Upon arrival you will meet our Camp Bongkud staff, including your Camp Manager who will show you around. You will also be given an overview of what your time here will involve.

Day 17-18: R&R Weekend in Bongkud
A well deserved weekend off and a perfect time to enjoy the hot spring pools at Poring Hot Springs. You will also be taken on a tour of Ranau and Kundasang.

Day 19-22: Project works/ Activities at Camp Bongkud
You will spend 7 days working on community projects which include the building of a kindergarten. Then it’s time to say your final goodbyes to the locals (be warned that this is never an easy part of your experience!)

Day 23-24: R&R weekend in Bongkhud

Day 25-27 Project Work / Activities at Camp Bongkud

Day 28: Transfer to Kota Kinabalu

You will be transferred back to Kota Kinabalu for last night stay in the city for a farewell dinner with your Camp Borneo team.

Day 29: Trips Ends in Kota Kinabalu and Departure Day

We will say our goodbyes and transfer you to KK airport 2 hours before your scheduled flight time. 

Suitable for


Typical day

Usual working days are Monday - Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM and will include the following activities.

  • Combat waste management 
  • Improving school facilities
  • Combat overfishing
  • Arranging games and sports session for kids
  • Teach conversational English
  • Generally improving local educational structure

    Program Requirements

    Minimum Age
    18 years
    Language Skills
    You need to speak English (basic level)
    Health Declaration
    Criminal Background Check
    Required Documents
    Application Form
    Time Commitment
    Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 16:00

    Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Malaysia? Volunteer World directly connects you with Camps International

    Community Initiatives & Marine Conservation Community Initiatives & Marine Conservation Improving school facilities on the island Mantanani Island Community Initiatives & Marine Conservation Community Initiatives & Marine Conservation Teaching at the island school Community Initiatives & Marine Conservation

    Free-time activities

    Top up your trip with a variety of water sport add-ons, including PADI scuba qualifications or fun dives.

    You can also spend some time in the sabah capital Kota Kinabalu which has some great bars and restaurants and plenty of shopping opportunities.

    Water Sports


    What's included?
    Food - Drinking water - Accommodation - In-country transfers - All project costs and materials - Pre travel support from dedicated UK team - Orientation and language lessons - 24-hour emergency support

    What's NOT included?
    Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

    No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
    Airport Pickup

    All of your in-country transfers are scheduled by us, including your airport pick up. We employ our own drivers and they will be there to greet you at the airport, holding a Camps International board so you can't miss them!


    Our permanent and fully staffed camps are co-located with the communities with whom we work. Accommodation ranges from traditional thatched buildings to tents. All camps have clean toilets and private washing facilities (not all camps have hot water, but it is refreshing!), and all camps are designed to feel like your second home. There's nothing like chilling out at the end of the day around the camp fire, under the stars.

    Food & Beverages

    Our locally employed kitchen teams will provide you with three delicious meals a day. There's unlimited fresh drinking water and a real mix of local cuisine with some western classics to fill you up after a day of project work. Our kitchens always act as the heart of any camp and our staff work extremely hard to consistently create a great standard of food for most dietary requirements.

    Internet Access
    Sorry, no access at the project site
    2 weeks (min. stay)
    3 weeks
    4 weeks (max. stay)

    You can volunteer at the project site in Kota Kinabalu /Malaysia between 2 weeks and 4 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Camps International will tell you your final price during your application process.
    Average Fees
    Deposit (15%)
    The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
    Final Payment (85%)
    Your final payment will be agreed with Camps International during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

    Get ready to volunteer in Malaysia

    Check out first

    Visa Regulations
    Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Malaysia. Please check the visa regulations for Malaysia.
    Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Malaysia.

    What's next?

    The nearest airport is Kota-Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) in Kota-Kinabalu. We assist you to find cheap flights to Malaysia.
    Travel Insurance
    Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Malaysia provides security and is a plus to have.
    Vaccine Checker
    If you are intending to volunteer in Malaysia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Malaysia.
    Packing List
    Packing our bags is important to prepare your trip, but often turns into a last minute horror. Make sure you don't forget the essentials by creating a personalised packing list for your volunteer program in Malaysia upfront.
    Camp Borneo , Kota Kinabalu , Malaysia