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The Great Primate Handshake

Photo by Dhammika Heenpella. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Here’s an experience not to be missed: spend 28 days travelling in Africa, creating educational media to help African conservation organizations. It’s called the Great Primate Handshake, and you don’t need any special skills to participate.

The Great Primate Handshake concept came about when videographer Laurence Hall and web developer Alasdair Davies met while both were volunteering at the Vervet Monkey Foundation, a South African sanctuary for orphaned and injured monkeys. Laurence was shooting video for the Foundation; Alasdair was building their website.

As they saw the underutilized skill sets of the Foundation’s other volunteers, they came up with a novel idea: create a group expedition across Africa, visiting conservation projects. During those visits, the volunteers work with local educators and the community to create digital media that highlights the organizations’ work, free of charge.The expedition is funded by the volunteers, and the media produced during the trip is used to help people locally and globally better understand the world in which they live, and how they might help protect it.

It took three years for the dream to become a reality. Since 2008, the project has run six trips across Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa. They lead teams of 20+ volunteers on the expeditions, driving across Africa in a overland truck typically used for adventure tourism, equipped with media production tools for photography, video, online journalism, web design, and graphic design.

Follow the current expedition in Uganda on Twitter (@primateshake) and Facebook. And check out some of the videos they’ve produced for conservation organizations. Looks like fun. Good fun.