Raleigh International

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Raleigh International
Founded 1984 (1984)
Type NGO
Focus Sustainable development
Headquarters Dean Bradley House, Horseferry Road, London, UK. SW1P 2AF
Area served
Mission To drive sustainable development through inspiring young people to be the agents of change
Website raleighinternational.org
Formerly called
Operation Raleigh

Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity.

They work in remote, rural areas to improve access to safe water and sanitation, build community resilience, to sustainably manage natural resources and to protect vulnerable environments.[1]

Established in 1984 as Operation Raleigh, 40,000 young people have been part of a Raleigh expedition.

Raleigh International's work[edit]

Raleigh International operates in Borneo, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Nepal and Tanzania, with permanent offices in these countries. Long-term partnerships have been established with local communities, NGOs and government departments, ensuring projects are needed and sustainable. Past countries have included Chile, Ghana, Namibia, Malaysia, Mongolia and Fiji.

All volunteers are trained and supported to work alongside communities living in poverty. They work in remote, rural areas to improve access to safe water and sanitation, build community resilience, to sustainably manage natural resources and to protect vulnerable environments. This is carried out in a number of ways, through raising awareness of health and hygiene, sustainable farming methods, as well as construction of early childhood development centres, community buildings, rocket stoves and other infrastructure.


Raleigh International runs expeditions in Borneo, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Tanzania and Nepal for individuals aged 17-75, of any nationality or background. Volunteers (aged 17-24) work on community and environmental projects as well as undertaking a tough adventure challenge, and are supported by volunteer managers (aged 25-75). Expeditions are 5, 7 or 10 weeks for venturers and 8 or 13 weeks for volunteer managers.

International Citizen Service[edit]

Raleigh’s International Citizen Service (ICS) programme is funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development and led by VSO in partnership with other respected development organisations.[2] The programme comprises two opportunities, ICS and ICS Entrepreneur. UK volunteers aged 18-25 spend 10-12 weeks in Nepal, Nicaragua or Tanzania working alongside local volunteers on community development projects.


Colonel John Blashford-Snell and HRH Prince Charles launched Operation Drake in 1978, running youth projects from ships circumnavigating the globe, to develop self-confidence and leadership through adventure, scientific exploration and community service. In two years 414 young people took part in the round the world voyage, working on land-based projects in 16 different countries.

Following the success of Operation Drake, the much more ambitious Operation Raleigh was established in 1984, and ran for four years until 1988. Two renovated ships - Sir Walter Raleigh and Zebu (ship) - carried 4,000 volunteers and almost 1,600 staff to take part in expeditions around the world.

The success of Operation Raleigh saw it continue on a permanent basis in 1988, with an emphasis on land-based expeditions. It became Raleigh International in 1992, reflecting the growing diversity of expedition volunteers. Today over 40,000 people have been part of a Raleigh programme, and Raleigh continues to work with young people alongside communities living in poverty across the world.


Notable Raleigh alumni include:


External links[edit]