This year we are returning to Wenappuwa in Sri Lanka to continue in our efforts to eliminate rabies from the communities within this area- and we need you to join us! This life-saving project is an amazing opportunity to become part of a team who will be working tirelessly to protect both the local dog population and the communities who live alongside them from the threat of this deadly disease!
You will be working together with a great team of local vets and volunteers who all share our passion for rabies elimination! In teams we will be working our way through Wennappuwa holding static point vaccination clinics in different locations, aiming to vaccinate as many dogs as possible. To cut the rabies cycle we need to ensure we reach 70% of the dog population in an area to achieve herd immunity, you will be trained in using our state-of the art epidemiological app to ensure we reach this vital target.
This experience allows you to get fully involved in the challenge of mass vaccination and put your skills to use in a part of the world where they are most needed. There are a variety of roles within the teams and you therefore do not necessarily need to have previous veterinary experience to take part- a willingness to work hard and a passion for the cause is most important!
|Suitability:||Vets, Vet Nurses, Vet Students, Vet Nurse Students, Non-Vets|
Wennappuwa, Sri Lanka
£610 participation fee for 2 weeks campaign participation + £350 project contribution
The campaign participation fee covers the cost of accommodation, soft drinks and meals, project related travel and your airport transfers. On application you will be asked for a deposit of £300 to secure your place, this is deducted from the overall campaign participation fee and is non-refundable. We also kindly ask you to raise a minimum of £350 to support Mission Rabies' projects.
Please read our fundraising guidelines and Terms & Conditions to get more information about fundraising for Mission Rabies. You will be responsible for booking your own flights to and from Colombo, Sri Lanka, but we will gladly assist you with this process. A portion of your contribution is used to support the running of the day-to-day operations of this programme, including the in-country Volunteer Coordinator. You will also be responsible for covering the costs of your visa, insurance and travel vaccinations. Please read through our Volunteer Information in the Resources section of the homepage to get more information about the structure of our volunteer programmes.
Select the project block you wish to apply for
Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, you will be picked up from Colombo Airport by a Mission Rabies representative and brought to your accommodation in the coastal town of Negombo. Here you will be welcomed by our core staff and meet the rest of the volunteers- spend the evening recuperating and getting to know your fellow members of team Sri Lanka 2019! The following day you will get a full briefing on what to expect from the next 2 weeks, alongside training on how to use our data collection App.
Using the App, you will help to collect data on every dog vaccinated to ensure we reach our target coverage and to obtain further data about the dog population that will help Mission Rabies have a sustainable impact in the area.
Throughout our time in Sri Lanka we will be carrying out static point vaccination clincics across the town of Wennappuwa, aiming to vaccinate as many dogs as possible in order to reach the 70% coverage needed to achieve herd immunity. Reaching 70% of a dog population is no mean feat, the working days are therefore long and the climate can make them tiring. However, though the work can be physically demanding it is very rewarding, you will end each day knowing you contributed to eliminating this deadly disease!
In the afternoons and at dinner you will have time to catch up with the rest of the group and exchange stories about the people and dogs you have met that day all whilst enjoying delicious local, vegetarian dishes.
By coordinating ahead of time and building in contingency plans we strive to make the potentially challenging job of vaccinating hundreds of dogs a day, go as smoothly as possible. However, the nature of field work means that each day can be difficult to predict, and being able to ‘go with the flow’ is therefore essential!
Located just 30km off the coast of southeast India, Sri Lanka is a small tear drop shaped island in the Indian Ocean. What it may lack in size however, Sri Lanka more than makes up for with its incredible natural beauty, unique charm and extraordinary diversity. Known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean- Sri Lanka is home to an incredible array of wildlife, stunning landscapes and beaches, delicious food and ancient cultural sights to behold.
Sri Lanka’s tropical climate gives way to high temperatures all year round with two monsoon seasons which bring rain to the west and south-west coasts from May to September; and the east coast and northern region between October and February. With its 22 national parks, Sri Lanka is known as one of the best countries in Asia to view wildlife and is as such a nature lovers paradise!
The two main religions in Sri Lanka are Buddhism and Hinduism and the influence of these can be seen across the island, both ingrained in community way of life and the beautiful ancient temples and historical architecture. Sinhalese and Tamil are the two official languages in Sri Lanka- learning a few choice phrases before you come out is a great idea, though your local team members will be sure to teach you a few useful words as you go along too!
With a civil war that ended in 2009, and the devastating tsunami of 2004, Sri Lanka has certainly had a tumultuous past, however over the past 10 years the island has been slowly recovering and this beautiful country now has a huge amount to offer.
As is always the case when travelling and working in an unfamiliar place, challenges are bound to arise and your flexibility and ability to ‘go with the flow’ will make all the difference. If you are open-minded and try to soak up as much as possible of the culture, you will profit from this experience as much as the local communities you are helping.
General Safety Considerations –
Mission Rabies carries out a risk assessment ahead of the project and develops contingency, incident and emergency response plans. You shall be informed of the important aspects prior to departure and will have an in-country briefing about general health and safety, as well as more information about the nature of the work.
Sri Lanka is generally a safe place to travel and the majority of tourist visits are trouble-free. Petty theft, mugging and burglary does occur, especially around bus stations in larger cities. Taking basic steps, such as never travelling alone, keeping your room locked and not carrying or displaying valuables will help to reduce the risk. You will never be expected to work after dark or alone.
When working with the vaccination teams, you will be visiting areas where people may not be used to seeing foreigners and this can often attract interest. Please make sure you are aware of local laws and customs- although we will brief you on the key points, it is always wise to do a little bit of homework before applying for and participating on a trip. Homosexuality is illegal in Sri Lanka and can result in arrest. Drug use and possession are illegal and carry heavy penalties. Outside of the main tourist areas, women should cover their shoulders and knees, and we would advise you comply with this at all times during your trip. The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is a serious offence and tourists have been convicted for this. This includes having visible tattoos of Buddha or wearing clothes or jewellery with images of Buddha.
Make sure that you keep an eye out for the rest of your team and stay together – the bright yellow Mission Rabies t-shirts are helpful for spotting your team mates! The safety of our volunteers is our primary priority at Missions Rabies and your team leaders have been chosen to look after you while working; if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to speak to them. While we have pointed out that there are crimes and other problems that make the headlines, overall these are rare. Our team in Sri Lanka is very proud to have you visiting and working with them, and they will look after you.
Our team is always happy to answer any questions you have about safety, culture, or laws, before or during the project. Please visit your Foreign Office Travel Advice website for more advice and information about safety and security in Sri Lanka.
General Health Considerations -
In order to participate with Mission Rabies, we require proof of a full course of rabies vaccination/ booster after a full course of vaccinations within the past two years or proof of adequate titre within the last three months. Proof of current tetanus vaccination is required as well.
Regarding other vaccines, we strongly recommend that you consult with your physician or a travel clinic prior to coming to Sri Lanka and decide whether additional vaccinations or preventatives are indicated. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have contacted a medical professional and/or travel clinic at least 6 – 8 weeks before the date of the project. You must ensure you have all the necessary vaccinations, that they are up-to-date and that you get any boosters in sufficient time. The NHS has a helpful website for travelling http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk, that can provide you with advice but this should only be used in conjunction with, and not instead of seeking medical advice from your medical practitioner/local travel clinic.
Japanese Encephalitis – Japanese encephalitis is transmitted by mosquito bites, we therefore emphasize the use of mosquito repellents. Vaccinations are available, and we would recommend that you consult your physician or travel clinic to discuss your options. Transmission and infection risk are higher for tourists that stay longer in the country and in rural areas.
Yellow Fever- A proof of vaccination will only be required for entry into Sri Lanka if you are travelling from a country with endemic Yellow Fever, for more than twelve hours. If this is the case for you, we strongly recommend that you consult your physician/travel clinic to discuss and/or arrange vaccination.
Malaria – Sri Lanka is not a high-risk Malaria region. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend that you consult your physician and/or travel clinic to discuss options to prevent mosquito bites. We advise you pack mosquito repellent and wear long sleeves and trousers to reduce the chance of insect bites.
Dog Bite Protocols - Mission Rabies takes dog bites and potential rabies exposure very seriously. We follow strict protocol in line with the latest WHO recommendations in the case of dog bites. Post-exposure prophylaxis is available in Sri Lanka and can be obtained if needed. You will be briefed before you travel and in-country on our procedures for your own protection and there will always be a member of Mission Rabies staff to answer any questions on this.
Food and Water Safety - There is always the risk of ‘travellers diarrhoea’ when you travel due to different food and water. We recommend you only drink bottled or purified water and eat from reputable restaurants. With regard to food, we will provide clean, safe vegetarian food for each of your meals. Many people have said that steering clear of meat will go a long way in preventing illness; anecdotally this does appear to have been true for many of our previous volunteers. We recommend consulting your physician to discuss treatments that you can bring along and signs and symptoms to look out for when travelling.
You must ensure you have suitable travel insurance for the project and for any additional activities you that you may choose to do. You are eligible for free travel insurance on a Mission Rabies trip by becoming a member of our sister charity WVS. This costs £40 for the year and includes a range of other benefits. To join, please visit click here and scroll to the individual membership option at the bottom of the page. Once you’ve signed up and paid, you’ll be covered on your Mission Rabies trip.
We want you to be as prepared as possible for your time spent with us, so we have highlighted some of the more challenging aspects of volunteering with Mission Rabies below:
Physical work and early starts – It is worth mentioning again that in order to reach 70% coverage of a dog population our teams have to work very hard! The working days therefore start early and are long, with the climate adding a further physical demand.
Emotional stress- There is a chance that you will witness suffering, be it human or animal, while on this project. You cannot know how you will react to seeing a dog suffering from a terrible case of mange or with a fractured leg, seeing people in need or finding a personal bond had been shattered by illness. It may simply be alarming to see dogs who lived chained outside, or are handled roughly. It is perfectly normal to feel a range of emotions in response to this. We can help support you and ensure that all the hard work you put into this project makes a long and lasting change to the lives of people and animals you meet.
Sharing Rooms – To ensure we can get as many volunteers in the field as possible and keep the in-country costs low for you, you will be sharing a room with another volunteer of the same sex. If you specifically request to have a single room this may be arranged, however it will be at an extra cost. In addition if you are volunteering with a friend we can accommodate this, so please mention this upon application.
Food — As an animal welfare project, the food provided whilst working with us will be vegetarian meals. Sri Lankan food offers a delicious array of flavours and spices; these local dishes may be a new experience for you but we would encourage you to dig in and enjoy! Specific allergies can be discussed with our team - please do mention them upon your application.
Climate – Sri Lanka has a tropical climate, with high temperatures all year round. The average high in September where we are working will be around 30, with temperatures only dropping to around 25 at night. We will make sure that you have plenty of fresh, clean, safe water throughout the day. Just remember to pack high factor sun cream and a hat!
Please have a read through the Volunteer Resources section of the website and our blog to get an idea about what it is like come on one of our projects and get in touch if you have any questions about any part of the work; we are more than happy to help with enquiries however big or small!
You can also follow the link to our photo gallery and take a look at last year’s project in Sri Lanka.
You are not alone!
Mission Rabies is well aware of the fact that travelling to Asia can be an overwhelming experience even for seasoned travellers and we want your volunteer experience here to be as rewarding and comfortable as possible. Integral to that idea is the Volunteer Coordinator (VC). The VC will be a Mission Rabies employee or former experienced volunteer. The VC will be your primary point of communication in Sri Lanka and will be identified to you upon your arrival so that you can ask him or her questions and have a point of contact for any problems.
The VC will be on the ground working with your team, they'll help you get to grips with the tasks and activities of the project and will be available if you have any questions, concerns, or particular needs throughout your time in Sri Lanka. The VC will ensure that International Guests have a positive experience. Importantly, the VC will have emergency contact information for each volunteer as well as contact information for local hospitals and protocols for helping volunteers in the event of a medical emergency or natural disaster. Lastly, the VC will have all the information about the optional visits during your group’s days off and will be able to help you navigate planning trips of your own if time allows.
In between our 2 working weeks you will have (a very well-deserved!) 2 days off to explore more of what this incredible island has to offer! There will be the opportunity to take part in an optional organised tour to visit some of Sri Lanka’s best sights, including a visit to a national park to see the islands wildlife and climbing the mighty Sigiriya....more information on this to follow!
Mark and Samantha Green are the founders of Dogstar Foundation, an animal welfare charity who are working at the forefront of improving dog and cat health and welfare in Sri Lanka. The charity focuses on tackling the root cause of the suffering of street dogs by running spay-neuter clinics and educating the local communities on animal health and welfare. Mission Rabies have been working in partnership with Dogstar since 2015 and we look forward to working with them again in 2019!
Mission Rabies is a certified BS 8848 volunteering organisation. We have adapted our projects to a set framework, which evaluates risks in the countries of action. To be able to claim the status of ‘BS 8848 compliance’ an organisation has to implement all measures within the framework. Therefore, Mission Rabies evaluates the situation on the ground before sending international volunteers on projects. We conduct a strong risk assessment and have health and safety procedures in place which include:
If you have any questions with regards to our health and safety accreditation please contact: email@example.com
Volunteer safety is our priority.
September - October 2019
This year we are offering the chance once again for volunteers to join our incredible teams out in Goa, who are working tirelessly to make Goa the first rabies-free state in India!
Join us as we head through the back streets of beautiful Goa delivering life-saving vaccines, to protect both the dogs and human communities they live alongside!
|Suitability:||Vets, Vet Nurses, Vet Students, Vet Nurse Students, Non-Vets|
Wennappuwa, Sri Lanka
August- September 2019
This year we are offering the chance for volunteers to join us once again on our lifesaving project in Sri Lanka. It is a fantastic opportunity to join our teams in Wennappuwa, just north of Colombo.
Discover the true Sri Lanka by getting involved in the day to day running of a mass vaccination campaign and help us protect future generations from rabies!
|Suitability:||Vets, Vet Nurses, Vet Students, Vet Nurse Students, Non-Vets|