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Why Volunteer?


The Great Primate Handshake was created by ex-volunteers, for volunteers.

Our aims and objectives were established based on our volunteering experiences at primate sanctuaries and conservation programmes across Africa.

Tailored to open doors and opportunities for those interesting in supporting primate sanctuaries and primate conservation organisations, the Handshake is unique in the fact that it specifically concentrates on the production of digital content, media and research to support primate conservation programmes and activities.

As  a volunteer you can use your enthusiasm, skills and commitment to support primate conservation efforts in a number of ways. Popular skill disciplines include:

  • Video Production – Direct, film & edit awareness-raising videos to benefit primate conservation.
  • Website Design – Produce and manage leading primate sanctuary websites & educational content.
  • Education – Research, create and develop innovative educational materials.
  • Journalism – Interview the very people working to conserve primates live in the field.
  • Music – Compose musical scores for the videos and content produce by your fellow volunteers.

Volunteer Profiles

We have produced a series of ex-volunteer profiles to help others identify why they decided to volunteer with us and what they personally gained from their experience:

View Naomi Peters volunteer profile Ashley Williams Primate Handshake Profile - Kenya 2009 Lesle Bratton Primate Handshake Volunteer Profile - Uganda 2009

Why volunteer and what to expect

The volunteer is a vital component of the Great Primate Handshake.

Our expeditions offer you as a volunteer the rare chance to work onboard an equipped overland vehicle, designed to provide you with the professional equipment, hands-on training and skills necessary to personally support primate sanctuaries and conservation programmes. As a paying volunteer, you are contributing funds solely to cover all necessary costs (equipment, accommodation, food etc…) and are volunteering your time and skills towards conserving primates. For a look at how your funds are distributed and spent click here. You don’t need to possess a particular skill to become a volunteer – we are looking for someone who shows commitment towards wanting to make a positive difference and has a willingness to learn, and to affect change.

The Handshake theory is based around the idea of sharing skills; we want to teach you digital media skills, and for you to pass those skills on to primate sanctuary staff and communities. By exploiting modern technology, we also want you to continue supporting and sharing skills when you’re back home. Each expedition beings with a week-long orientation / training period in which we identify our objectives and familiarise ourselves with the equipment we plan to use – be this a Sony video camera or an XO educational laptop. The orientation period will also give you time to adjust to expedition life, learn more about the country, each other, the Handshake concept, and the ongoing research being undertaken by the onboard team of Anthropologists.

Each volunteer is assigned to a particular team based on his or hers individual skills and abilities or their desire to learn new skills they may not already possess. You will then work together with both staff and other volunteers to complete activities and share skills, working as a team to achieve common goals.

Becoming a volunteer

To join us on an expedition and use your existing skills (and learn new skills) to raise awareness of primate conservation in Africa you can apply here.  We understand that fundraising is an essential element necessary in helping you to raise the required funds to take part in an expedition. Your funds pay for all in-country equipment, vehicles, food and accomodation for the duration of the expedition.

Past volunteers used a variety of methods to raise the necessary funds, including Cheryl Wagstaff who posted youtube videos and contacted her school or Art, Media and Design at Newport to help broadcast a message to those interested in supporting her.  We can provide you with a guide to fundrasing to help assist your own innovative fundraising ideas,  so feel free to take a look.

For more information: