We are an association for the protection of animals and the environment based in Sao Vicente, Cape Verde. Our work with the animals, that includes running a shelter with 100 dogs, a cattery with 18 cats, a 7/12 clinic and ambulant castration campaigns, is partly financed with a hostel for responsible tourists. We have spayed/neutered almost 10.000 animals so far and we are planning spaying/neutering campaigns on the neighboring islands as well.
The help we need can vary depending on your skills. But we need someone who is a self starter and can work independently. There is not a fixed schedule and you don't need a driving license: public transport in Cape Verde is efficient and taxi is very cheap.
The volunteer is not required to be physically strong but must have some physical resistance to fatigue and to hot climate and also lots of patience. We are unable to put-up volunteers with any kind of allergy or disturbance. While being used to feel comfortable with animals around, our volunteers must have a good sense of cleanness and tidiness.
We need help most of all in the area of animal care (cats and dogs). Most basic tasks (cleaning, feeding, walking) are performed by local paid staff (we have 14 local employees), but we always need help for delicate tasks like playing with the dogs, brushing the cats, changing the beds, take care of ill animals, and most of all we need help with supervising the work of local employees so as to assure the highest possible welfare (including cleanness and safety) to the animals in our shelters.
Our work with the animals, that includes running a shelter with 100 dogs, a cattery with 18 cats, a 7/12 clinic and ambulant castration campaigns, is partly financed with a hostel for responsible tourists, the Simabo's Backpackers' Hostel. The hostel is managed by our charity and 100% of the profit goes to the animals. So it is important to keep running and staffing costs as low as possible. That's why we need help with tourist at any level, from helping with check in/out at night to managing reservations, to check rooms and toilets for cleanness, etc. We also need help with marketing and promotion of the association and hostel.
We have an educational program that involves school meetings and other activities with children, and we are raising funds to open up a pet therapy center for elderly and handicapped people starting from next spring. So we might need help with this kind of work as well that involves helping people and requires probably a better knowledge of the Portuguese language than the work with animals.
The running costs that are not covered with the hostel revenues or with membership fees (we have about 5000 members on the island, but not all of them can afford the membership fee of 12 Euros/year/2 animals) are covered with donations from abroad, so we have a lot of fundraising and communication work as well.
All these activities are managed with a high level of computer work, so we need help also in this specifica area (IT/Internet/social networks, etc.). Maybe you have some IT projects that need attention, so volunteers with programming or computer abilities would be an advantage.
A volunteer with us is completely immersed in local life. All our employees are local, so you would be working with Capeverdean colleagues the whole day long. In our clinic about 50 animals per day are treated, most of which have a guardian/owner. Our hostel and clinic are very near to the beach and to the main square of Mindelo, so it is very easy to visit local bars/restaurants in the free time.
A volunteer with us could learn how to deal with a different culture. He /she may practice their veterinarian or nursing skills. In case he/she has a passion for foreign languages, they might learn Capeverdean Criol (a mix of Portuguese and many African dialects). He/she might also learn to work in team and to stand stressful situations due to overwork caused by emergencies and unforeseen events or to the unplanned absence of the local staff.
Volunteers must be prepared to accept that life standards differ from country to country (what is considered a very low life standard in Europe might be an acceptable life standard in Cape Verde, both for animals and for people). Vets must be ready to face hard working conditions (protocols and guidelines available).
To come here in Mindelo, Cape Verde, and help us no vaccine is necessary. In 10 years of operation none of our volunteers have ever had health problems here. The average temperature is 25 degrees all year long.
To get to Mindelo, where we are based, the cheapest flights are from Amsterdam, Lisbon, London and Paris.
We are an animal welfare organization and we like to use our fund for helping them. We request volunteers to contribute 70 Euros per week to cover the expenses of their stay, so that our funds can go to help animals. Hope you understand!
Accommodation for volunteers is available in shared rooms with shared bathroom in our volunteers' house, just a couple of meters away from our clinic, our hostel, the beach and the main square. Volunteers can cook their meals in the communal kitchen of the hostel.
English is not a spread language in Cape Verde. It will be easier to communicate in French, Spanish, Italian and of course Portuguese. Anyway Capeverdean people are very friendly and will help you to overcome language barriers, in case you speak only your language or only English as a second language.
A volunteer staying with us can perform any kind of free-time beach activity or just relax and tan in the sun. Mindelo nightlife is very famous, as it is its music. Dancers can find endless opportunities to share their passion with local partners. Photographers won't get tired at taking pictures of beautiful landscapes, animals and people of any age. From Sao Vicente there are regular ferries to Santo Antao, a green island very famous for trekking. Volunteers can visit this island during day trips or schedule a longer stay during or after/before their placement. Visits to other islands are possible only by plane.