Volunteer Abroad Programs Since 1997

Work with local people on community development projects in the South Pacific

Project Overview

You will be working alongside local people on a range of community development intiatives at one of our two bases in Fiji.

Make your home among the luscious forests and mountainous backdrop of the Dawsamu District in the east of Fiji's mainland or, travel to the white sandy beaches and sapphire blue waters in the Yasawa Island chain in the western region of Fiji.

As a hands-on member of this expedition team you will assist several critical initiatives including fresh water management, education, income generation projects, environmental initiatives, health awareness and sustainable agriculture practices.

The dramatic Fijian landscape offers sweeping volcanic hillsides and beautiful crystal clear lagoons. In this picturesque environment you will set to work helping community members develop important infrastructure for future generations.

Please note, this program offers durations up to 24 weeks. Speak to your Country Expert for more details of extending your stay in-country

Highlights include...

Directly helping in the construction and installation of rainwater harvesting systems, building vegetable gardens, volunteering in local kindergartens and schools, helping rural communities set up income generating projects, interacting with villagers and making lifelong friends, visit idyllic traditional Fijian villages and be immersed in the Fijian way of life. On weekends or pre/post your volunteer work you can enjoy island hopping between stunning remote island locations with beautiful beaches and breathtaking scenery, participating in activities such as scuba diving, dolphin watching, hiking to waterfalls, snorkelling, traditional ceremonies, cave swimming and Fijian language lessons.


Scholarships

We are always looking for enthusiastic and dedicated people to join our team. This expedition offers qualifying and high-performing volunteers the chance to stay on the expedition for a longer duration on a GVI Scholarship free of charge and as part of the staff team in the field. If you would like to work towards a field career and make the very most of your time abroad, you might want to work towards a place on a GVI Scholarship. Successful scholars may find themselves offered full time employment with GVI, and many of our current staff have come through this route. Contact us for more information!

Please note, the awarding of scholarships is at the sole discretion of GVI and may be offered immediately after the completion of your program or at a later date.

GVI is real volunteering

With this program running in two separate sites, you might be able to request your location of choice. However our projects are constantly evolving according to the needs on the ground at any given time and our Country Expert will be able to advise which project requires the most assistance at the time of your booking. All the information displayed here will give you an overall feel for the project, but you should be prepared for any changes in the field when you travel. An evolving project means that we can constantly meet the needs and requirements of our partners, who dictate the work that we do. The way it should be.

Project Life

The  team rises bright and early to prep for the day ahead. You will review current projects and then head to the project site with your team to start work.

You will stay in basic dormitory accommodation with a communal kitchen and work area and living space to relax with fellow volunteers. In the evenings the team will gather to eat and share stories with meals are cooked by teams on a rotational basis.

Project work generally runs Monday to Friday with weekends providing time to relax and explore the local area.

Fiji's many charms provide a wealth of opportunity for the traveler, world class dive sites, tropical beaches, island hopping and snorkeling are some of the most popular ways for volunteers to take it all in. Fiji’s famous culture, warmth and hospitality will make every adventure a pleasure. For more information on your time off project, see the Free Time section above.

Project Details

The goals and priorities of this expedition are discussed and determined in collaboration with the local communities in both the Dawasamu District and Yasawas Island chain. There are four core focuses of the expedition in both regions: water, agriculture & nutrition, income generation and education.

In both locations we have been specifically requested to assist with English language teaching, maths, sports education and arts with a long term aim of enriching the education available to children.

Overall we help improve agricultural diversity, practice and efficiency in both regions. The diet of rural Fijian communities is often basic and in some instances lacks nutrition, contributing to health problems. Through our agricultural initiatives we are helping the community to grow a healthy variety of vegetables, which can also act as an additional source of income.

In the Yasawas one of our key goals is to secure a fresh water supply for people in this region. This will be accomplished through infrastructure improvements and educating the community. Seasonal rainfall and a lack of natural reservoirs are responsible for drinking water shortages and we aim to implement and promote alternative water sources such as rainwater harvesting.

In the Dawasamu District volunteers will be helping the local communities develop small income generating projects. In comparison to other areas of Fiji, this district is relatively untouched by tourism and there are few sources of income for the local community.

How this program makes a difference

GVI volunteers work directly with the local communities by supplying volunteers to help with their initiatives such as rainwater collection systems, water security improvements, agriculture initiatives, health awareness, income generation project and support at local schools.

So far our initiatives have been successful in increasing access to fresh water, broadening agricultural practices, increasing nutritional awareness and enriching educational opportunities.

Testimonials

I have been very impressed by GVI and their work ethic in Fiji. It has been refreshing to see a volunteer organisation that prioritises the needs of the community and the targeted nature of the...
Howard Foster, Fiji project partner

I have been very impressed by GVI and their work ethic in Fiji. It has been refreshing to see a volunteer organisation that prioritises the needs of the community and the targeted nature of the volunteer contribution.

I just recently returned home from our education project in Fiji. I knew that this was going to be an adventure that I would never forget buy what I didn't know was how it would change my life. After...
Tyler McKay, USA, 2012

I just recently returned home from our education project in Fiji. I knew that this was going to be an adventure that I would never forget buy what I didn't know was how it would change my life. After living in Fiji for over a month I realized just how easy my life was compared to the Fijian people's.  They truly do not have anything they do not need and are surprisingly the most welcoming, polite and friendly people I've ever met. Once I returned home I made a decision that I was going to come as close to living like their life style as I possibly could. 1 week after my arrival back home I had sold half of my wardrobe and nearly all of my possessions. With this money I received from selling my possessions, I decided I will use it to pay off my remaining debt, so that I will be able to continue traveling the world and helping children in different cultures/countries. The reason I'm writing you is to,thank you for the opportunity you've giving me to experience this completely new and exciting time in my life. Before I left for Fiji I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life, now I have a strong sense of direction. I firmly stand behind GVI and every thing it stands for,  Again thank you for this life changing opportunity. I hope you consider my request and regardless of the outcome I WILL be involved with GVI for many years to come! 

Free Time

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.

Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Fiji!

Optional Side Trips

Fiji is a beautiful and exotic destination where you will find picturesque beaches, world class dive sites, and Fiji’s famous culture of hospitality and warmth. As an island nation, many of your potential activities are water based!

Starting locally, in the Yasawas you could try island hopping around the 20 volcanic islands These remote islands are characterised by white beaches, crystal blue lagoons and dramatic rugged hills, some with summits 600m above sea level. In Dawasamu, just a short boat ride away you can visit the famous pod of dolphins that reside all year round on Moon Reef or hike into forests and swim in hidden waterfalls.

In the water, if not on our expedition and not dive qualified, enrol in a scuba diving course to dive the various world class sites in Fiji, home to abundant marine life, colourful corals and steep drop-offs. Get lucky with your dive, and visibility can exceed a massive 40m. But if you want to experience this  closer to the surface you can snorkel in the crystal clear Pacific Ocean. And for some good old fashioned swimming, visit the Sawa-I-Lau limestone caves off the north coast of Nacula Island, one of the most famous natural attractions in Fiji.

Further Travelling Opportunities

A little further afield, the possibilities just keep on coming. Explore the town of Nadi with its bustling market, nearby hot springs at Sabeto or get a feel for the local atmosphere at a rugby match. Fiji’s capital city, Suva, is a city known for its relaxed atmosphere, energetic nightlife, large farmers market and atmospheric port. Here you can visit the Fiji Museum where you can find ancient tribal artefacts, one of the best exhibitions on tribal art in the Pacific, or read up on Fiji’s cannibal past. From Pacific Harbour, join a river safari into the heart of Fiji or dive with bull sharks in Bega Lagoon, one of the world’s most famous shark dives.

Staying on dry land, you might consider a trip to Sigatoka National Park where you’ll find a miniature desert of rolling sand dunes or a more relaxing option would be the Coral Coast and the Kula Eco Park, Fiji’s only wildlife park.

Latest from the Base...

I come home, back to my same old comfy bed, with my big bathtub and mom’s cooking – all so familiar...
Saying goodbye to a place that has given me so much is never easy.  For the past three months...

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Program Details

Fiji Community Development Expedition
Volunteering
Fiji
FJYW0291E

Build Your Program

Program Cost

  • $2372.00

Add-ons

(GBP250 / USD425 / EUR300 / AUD425) (4 week minimum program duration) Add a GVI internship certification to your program and receive additional training specifically designed to develop your leadership skills and prepare you for a career in the field. Interns receive one-on-one mentoring and complete focused assessments throughout their program. Participants will receive formal recognition and a professional reference on completion of the internship.
(GBP18 / USD31 / EUR22 / AUD31) The myTsafe online document store keeps copies of your most valuable and private information safe and you can share them easily and securely with others.
(GBP15 / USD26 / EUR18 / AUD26) By making a small contribution to GVI's Charitable Trust you will support conservation projects that can offset the impact of CO2 emissions associated with your international flights.  Visit www.gvi.org for more information.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Arrival orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Transfer to base location
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Construction techniques training
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction materials

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes