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help exchange   Host 29292
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Help Exchange

All Year: summer, maybe winter too
Area (ha): 8000
Persons: 6
Category: Accommodation Business
Host ID: 29292
Country: Albania

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Last Updated: June 7, 2017

We have a small but very busy non-profit NGO with lots of projects, based in Valbona National Park. We work with many local guesthouses too, so we can use help with everything from running the collective booking system, fixing hiking trails, manning the information center, grant-writing, and renovation work. You name it, we do it (and probably really need help!) In 2017 we are planning to expand into our own facilities (until now we've been operating from one of the Guesthouses in Valbona Valley National Park).
Therefore, in a couple of weeks, we're going to be especially interested in Volunteers who can help with:

- basic construction skills to fix up an old farmhouse (with grape vines and maybe even livestock in the ground floor!) - assuming we can fix it up, you can also have rooms! (This is exciting step up from previously, when all volunteers had to camp). If you have these skills, you'll probably know better than I do what is needed, but I imagine painting, repairing woodwork - if you can also do fancy stuff (like installing a kitchen?) so much the better!
- Ditto this for the old building we're trying to purchase in which to create "The Valbona River Center" - as this is basically a barn with a broken ceiling right now, any skills would be helpful.
- Assuming we fix the VRC, then there will be a lot of services to run from it - we are thinking to create businesses (rafting, flyfishing) which can train local people to have good-paying (and fun!) jobs. Also there will be a lot of tourists to talk to and sell maps etc to.
- Computer Skills! We have a lot of ideas for stuff we could build online in order to connect tourists with local people - increasing economic benefit from Nature for local people, so that they become more invested in defending the nature!
- As our NGO functions as the 'protector' of local people, we often get requests for help, so be ready to dash of on random rescue missions! Could be anything from cutting a hay crop to being an emergency waiter . . .

In the meantime we also do trail marking and maintenance, which we'd love to have help with. Given as said above that we're moving into new areas it would be great to expand the trail network. We currently support 200km inside and around the NP, but there are whole new valleys to explore: Gashi, Tropoja and Curraj e Eperm.

Or if you have some special skills you'd like a chance to exercise, we're open to projects of all sorts. For example, last year we had a filmmaker staying here, who's made a great video about our community-based trailmarking project.

We are mostly interested in people who are planning on spending at least a month, as it takes a week or two to be able to work independently. Especially if you need to do a lot of hiking first, in order to be able to explain the trails to tourists!

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