Sierra Leone Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Programme
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Volunteer support can make a big difference to Tacugama and what we can achieve. We are always pleased to hear from people with transferable skills and knowledge who are interested in volunteering at the sanctuary.

Whilst volunteering at Tacugama you will be working hard, sometimes independently and sometimes as part of a team with other local and international staff. It is not a working holiday and you are expected to be responsible for the successful delivery of the tasks that you will undertake. We are passionate about what we do and we want you to enjoy being part of the Tacugama team - our volunteers are important to us!

Volunteering at Tacugama will give you the opportunity to develop your skills and expertise, understand more of the challenges facing conservation and development, and learn much about this amazing country. While you are here we encourage you to use your initiative to further both your personal and sanctuary development by participating in other aspects of our work. Whilst our volunteers work very hard, they also have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the sanctuary and visit the capital city, Freetown.

You’ll find lots more information below about volunteering at Tacugama – we look forward to hearing from you.

If you’d like to help us but don’t have the opportunity to come to Sierra Leone then we’d love you to spread the word about Tacugama, the work that we do and encourage your family, friends and colleagues to visit our website and blog and consider adopting one of our chimpanzee – thank you!

Volunteer Opportunities

Meet some of our previous volunteers

Harriet (UK)

Ruud (Netherlands)
Enclosure Enrichment


Current volunteer opportunities at Tacugama


We are looking for an education coordinator to work along side the local coordinator and teachers for Tacugama Kids Programme (TKP). The programme runs through the academic year, working with rural schools in the local area teaching class 5 (age 11-12). TKP provides environmental science lessons for the whole of the academic year and aims to develop understanding of environmental and conservation issues. Please see the January and July 2008 newsletters for more information on the programme. Requirements

  • Proven experience working in an educational setting with children
  • An interest in teaching the subject of conservation and environmental awareness
  • Ability to create and carry out new initiatives independently
  • Previous experience living in developing countries and/or in an isolated setting with limited amenities
  • Job Description

  • Provide support to the local education coordinator
  • Suggest and implement new ideas to improve the programme
  • Help improve the teaching skills and methods of the local teachers
  • Create ways to motivate both teachers and pupils and ensure the TKP is enjoyable and as well as educational
  • Period:

    Minimum of 3 months is required. Longer stays will be considered on an individual basis.


    Applicants who believe they have other valued skills and experience that could be of use to the sanctuary are also welcome to apply. These could cover areas such as community development projects, arts and crafts, habitat enrichment, fundraising or others where you can demonstrate how they could help Tacugama meet our objectives.


    If you are interested in volunteering, please send your resume/cv, reference letters and a statement of intent (300 words maximum) to Please include the following information:
  • What motivations, expectations & objectives do you have for your stay at Tacugama?
  • How will your contributions benefit Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary's projects?
  • Do you have bush experience in developing countries?
  • Do you have experience living alone in an isolated area?
  • Do you have any health conditions (allergies, disabilities, asthma, etc...)?
    Please contact if you any further have questions.

    The following applies to all volunteers at Tacugama

    We do not ask volunteers for financial contributions for their stay, however we ask that once accepted and prior to arrival you help with our fundraising by finding at least 5 adopters for our chimps. Details of our adoption scheme can be found on our blog site:
    Most of our chimps are in large forested enclosures, during daytime you may not see them outside of feeding times. As Tacugama aims to prepare the resident chimpanzees for release to the wild, volunteers should not expect to have direct physical contact with them.
    Also note that chimpanzees are potentially dangerous animals and we do receive chimpanzees from unknown backgrounds with some diseases infectious to humans. Although we take all possible precautions, volunteers are required to sign a release form before their volunteer work begins.
    Volunteers must acknowledge and sign a Memorandum of Understanding that the sanctuary reserves the right to access and publish any information, data and images regarding the sanctuary, its staff and chimpanzees compiled/taken by volunteers. The use of such information, data and images by volunteers for any purpose must be authorized by the sanctuary.
    Tacugama reserves the right to terminate the services of any volunteer should it consider them unsuitable for the task and or that their attitude is detrimental to our operation.

    Jessica (South Africa) teaching staff literacy

    Volunteer Requirements

    Health issues
    Volunteers must be both mentally and physically fit to work in a tropical climate and capable of living in an isolated environment. Volunteers are required to submit a written proof of:
  • Health status
  • Negative TB test result or chest x-ray result
  • Vaccinations against Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, polio, rabies, and tetanus
  • Yellow fever vaccination (It is a requirement for entering Sierra Leone)
    Volunteers are advised to take malaria prophylaxis. Chloroquine resistant falciparum malaria is reported in Sierra Leone. Please consult with your doctor.

    All expenses (e.g. return airfares, food, living expenses, medical expenses, insurance, etc) must be covered by the volunteer. Tacugama provides basic accommodation on the site. We also provide one basic mid day meal, consisting of rice, fish and various leaves. As of January 2009, the average living cost for a volunteer is US$200 - 250 per month. You may spend less if you can eat local food (rice, soup, fish). Imported food items are normally more expensive.

    Asami (Japan) Assisting with research work.

    Useful Information

    The volunteer living quarters is located at the sanctuary. The quarters can be shared by up to 3 volunteers at a time. Each volunteer has his/her own room with bathroom and a shared kitchen and dining room.
    Power & Communications
    There is no constant electricity but a generator is available for the use of computer and to charge cellular phones etc. Local mobile phone companies have coverage for the sanctuary. You may bring your phone, provided it is not locked by your current mobile service provider. (SIM cards are cheap ($3) easily obtainable). We also recommend you bring rechargeable batteries for your head lamps & other such devices.
    As we are located in a forest reserve in the hills, it can be cool during the nights and when it is raining. A sleeping bag is recommended. The climate can also be very hot and humid, even in the rainy season, so be prepared for both hot and cold. The rainy season is usually from May to October. It can rain for days and weeks. Volunteers coming during the rainy season are advised to bring good rain gear.
    Day off
    The volunteer is entitled to have one day off each week, but must be able to adjust according the sanctuary's activities.
    Location of the Sanctuary
    The sanctuary is located 30 minutes drive from Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Public transport is available from the nearby village (40 minute walk from the sanctuary) to the centre of the town.
    English is the official language of Sierra Leone. Good speaking and written English is required. The most common language in the region is "Krio".
    An entry permit/visa is required for all non-Sierra Leonean (except ECOWAS) citizens.
    Please see below for airlines flying to Lungi International Airport. Several airlines also fly to Lungi from neighbouring West African countries.
  • Kevin McPhillips (through BMI): Londow Heathrow (
  • Air Maroc: Casa Blanca
  • SN Brussels: Brussels
  • Kenya Airways: Nairobi

    cover page bradt guide to sierra leone
    More info
    Bradt have just published and up-to-date (2009) guide to Sierra Leone which has lots of great information about our beautiful country.

  • Blog - Support Tacugama

    Rosa (Spain)

    Laia (Spain)

    John (Scotland)

    Johann (Canada)
    Fundraising & admin

    Esther (UK)
    Enclosure Enrichment

    Sorn (Thailand)
    vet, preparing for x-ray

    Howard (UK)
    Preparing fieldwork equip.

    Laura (Spain)
    Working in the lab.
    Gola being weighed

    Chimp Facts

    Chimpanzees are found in a wide belt that extends across equatorial Africa from the west coast to within a few hundred kilometres of the east coast. They are the most adaptable of the great apes, living in habitats that range from rain and montane forests to dry woodlands, and sometimes even savanna.

    More Facts

    Last Updated: January 20, 2007 at 16:20 EST