Voluntourism Operator Discusses Sustainability Model



By Dr. Matthias Hammer, Managing Director of Biosphere Expeditions


logo-small2We are delighted to be announcing the opening of the Biosphere Expeditions Hanyini Research Station in the Caprivi region of Namibia. The station was built by our local scientists, Julia Gaedke and Francois de Wet of the Wildlife Community & Development Fund (WCDF) and funded by Biosphere Expeditions through a very simple, but effective model. 



How it works: 

Biosphere Expeditions provides an interest-free loan to the scientists and this loan is then paid back over the years with the scientists providing “free” accommodation for Biosphere Expeditions’ research teams until the loan is paid back.


That way we generate capacity, local jobs and facilities and in the end our scientists have a research station that belongs to them for their research & conservation work, generate income from and provide employment for local people. A “win/win situation” for everyone concerned.


Situated right on the border of Mamili National Park, the Biosphere Expeditions Hanyini Research Station boasts 14 twin room huts, an office, a kitchen & communal area, showers, toilets, stores & a workshop and elephants migrating past on an almost daily basis. It is built from local materials using local labour exclusively on community land in the Caprivi region of Namibia and provided employment for 25 local people during its construction phase and now 12 for its day-to-day running. Local resources are not touched as the station is self-sufficient in its power generation, biological sewage treatment and has its own water source and biological filter system.


The station will serve as the base for Biosphere Expeditions’ Caprivi expedition and negotiations with universities and NGOs are under way to also make the station one of their research bases.


Kathy Wilden, a Biosphere Expeditions Director, says, “We at Biosphere are immensely proud to be involved in this project and to have our name on this beautiful research station. It will stimulate research, provide local employment and help secure the future of conservation in and around Mamili National Park. This park, the Caprivi expedition’s main study area, is directly adjacent to famous wildlife hotspots such as the Okavango and Chobe National Park in Botswana, but it is rarely visited by foreigners at all and as such is one of the last true wilderness areas left in southern Africa. We are delighted to be well placed now to make sure that this wilderness is protected and enjoyed in a sustainable way for future generations.”


Learn more about this expedition and Biosphere Expeditions at www.biosphere-expeditions.org


ProWorld – Mixing Study Abroad with Volunteering

Adam Saks of ProWorld Service Corps discusses the need for sustainability and community service in study abroad programs. 

Have a thought? Have a comment? Want to start a debate? That’s what the comments section is for. Just click on the blog title and then you will see space to leave a comment.  


ProWorld strives for sustainable study abroad.  We believe for it to be sustainable, study abroad must address economic development, social development and environmental protection. 




Commercial globalization outpaces our understanding of social, economic and cultural realities outside our own. Students must continue to be exposed to other cultures and other social, economic, and environmental imperatives before us. Study abroad offers an extraordinary opportunity to expose students to these global realities that are tied more and more to their own futures as the world’s changing social, economic and environmental well-being offers us one shared destiny.


Impact on Study Abroad

ProWorld positions its Study Abroad programs to engage in sustainability. We work to combine our year-round sustainable development work with high level academics and authentic cross-cultural exchange to offer deep cultural and socio-economic insights to our participants. The benefits and impact this has on the educational experience are profound. These growth opportunities allow participants to do more than bear witness to the struggles of daily life abroad. The nature of project engagement allows students to strive for and share in the periodic successes that are a part of our ongoing community outreach and development projects.


A Model of Sustainability

The ProWorld Service Corps is a social enterprise committed to social and economic development, empowering communities and cultivating educated compassionate global citizens. PWSC employs a self sustaining business model and not-for-profit organizations to fund 99% of its development efforts. As a social enterprise committed to sustainable development of its communities, it is also fundamentally self-sustaining and self-sufficient in its means of funding its own work within the communities.