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Community Development Expedition in Fiji

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

Program Details

Program Type

Volunteering

Program Focus

Construction

Teaching

2 weeks from

$1,947.00

Code: FJYW0291E
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Program Information

Help community members develop important infrastructure for future generations in either the forests of the Dawsamu District or the white sand beaches of the Yasawa Island chain in the western region of Fiji by assisting with construction projects, setting up income-generating projects and volunteering in local kindergartens and schools.
Overview
Project Life
Project Details
Free Time
The Team
Dates & Costs

Overview

You will be working alongside local people on a range of community development initiatives 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.

Testimonials

"I just recently returned home from the education project in Fiji. I knew that this was going to be an adventure that I would never forget but what I didn’t know was how it would change 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 everything it stands for, thank you for this life changing opportunity. I WILL be involved with GVI for many years to come!"

- Tyler McKay, (USA)

GVI Live

These updates cover all programs in this location

GVI FIJI

GVI assist Fijian government to monitor village seaweed farms #sustainability http://t.co/bEIOEAFgb3
August 21, 2014

GVI FIJI

Silana Village Chief guides GVI Expedition Volunteers on Jungle Hike http://t.co/GI7mxyRhd0
August 21, 2014

Fiji Islands Video

GVI Blogs

9 MONTHS AGO
Marine Conservation
  By gvi_admin

Students

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • 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
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Transfer to base location
  • 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

Parents

Why Study Abroad

GVI Difference

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • 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
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Transfer to base location
  • 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

Course 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.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • 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
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Transfer to base location
  • 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

Course 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.

Many villages in the Yasawa Islands do not have access to a constant supply of fresh water and lack sustainable sources of income.

GVI works directly with the Yasawa Trust Foundation by supplying volunteers to help with their initiatives.

Thus far, the Yasawa Trust has been successful building rainwater collection systems and in spreading education throughout the area.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • 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
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Transfer to base location
  • 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

Life on the Internship

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.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • 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
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Transfer to base location
  • 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

Program 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.

Many villages in the Yasawa Islands do not have access to a constant supply of fresh water and lack sustainable sources of income.

GVI works directly with the Yasawa Trust Foundation by supplying volunteers to help with their initiatives.

Thus far, the Yasawa Trust has been successful building rainwater collection systems and in spreading education throughout the area.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • 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
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Transfer to base location
  • 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

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.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • 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
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Transfer to base location
  • 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

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.

Many villages in the Yasawa Islands do not have access to a constant supply of fresh water and lack sustainable sources of income.

GVI works directly with the Yasawa Trust Foundation by supplying volunteers to help with their initiatives.

Thus far, the Yasawa Trust has been successful building rainwater collection systems and in spreading education throughout the area.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • 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
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Transfer to base location
  • 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

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, colorful 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 Traveling 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.

The Team

Lauren Bird
Operations Manager

Meet Lauren, Our Operations Manager in Fiji. ‘Laurence’ as she’s known in Fiji was amongst our first ever group of volunteers on our Fiji project when it started.

What does she enjoy doing when she’s not working? ”I like to relax and go swimming, or spend time in Silana village, drinking tea with the local families that we’ve come to know, spending time playing with the kids or just sitting round the kava bowl listening to Fijian music.”

What does Lauren think volunteers bring to the project? “The volunteers are the eyes and ears in the classroom every day, enabling us to gather a wealth of information on every single pupil. Some of the best ideas for improving our program have come from volunteers too.

Katie Drakeford
Base Manager

Meet Katie, our Base Manager in Yasawa. She worked for British Colombia’s Ministry of Forestry before volunteering with us in Fiji, her favorite place in the world, and staying on as a staff member.

Katie’s highlights since working for GVI? “Having a chance to learn and experience so many new things and find what I’m passionate about. Also seeing the way volunteers are so positively affected and changed by their experience here – it’s amazing. I also love the opportunities I get to contribute to research projects and to work with the communities.”

What does Katie have to say about volunteers in Yasawa? “The majority of volunteers come with skills and knowledge that greatly contribute to the success and maintenance of the projects. We continuously get new perspectives on our work, which is crucial to our development.”

Daniel Lund
Country Director

Meet Dan, our Country Director in Fiji. A former freelance journalist and travel writer for the Penguin Rough Guide, Dan is quite the outdoorsman. When not working, he enjoys the amazing diving around Fiji, working on his underwater photography and exploring Viti levu on his dirt bike.

What does Dan think volunteers bring to the table? “They both power and define the projects.  Every day we have volunteers teaching and interacting with a few hundred children, volunteer divers surveying reefs and collecting data, hands fixing rainwater harvesting systems and planting vegetables, as well as cooking, cleaning and generally running our little villages.”

Dan’s favorite part of his job? The motivational aspect. “I enjoy visiting the communities we’ve impacted and hearing the villagers talk about the experience they’ve had with our volunteers and projects – this is usually the most significant motivational aspect of my job.”

Emma Miller
Country Expert

Meet Emma, our fiery American redhead. She’s been a diving addict since age 12, which, combined with her studies in sociology and environmental studies, made volunteering on our Seychelles Marine Conservation project perfect for her. “I loved GVI’s combination of diving, marine research, conservation and sustainable tourism”. Obviously we couldn’t let her get away.

‘M&M’ as she’s also known (she’s an addict) makes a mean jalapeño margarita and is often likened to Robin from ‘How I Met Your Mother’ “Only with fabulous red hair!” Our favorite story about M&M – which we have on video – is a monkey stealing her banana in Indonesia, climbing onto her shoulder and proceeding to pee on her whilst eating said banana.

What does Emma love about being at HQ? “During the day everyone is hardworking, committed, and creative.  On the weekends we all get along well and spend our time exploring Cape Town and everything it has to offer!”

James McKie
Country Expert

Meet James, HQ’s social officer. He’s often likened to a minion from ‘Despicable Me’ “It must be because I’m sweet and work so hard…” He decided to join GVI because of our dedication to sustainability, numerous achievements and fantastic reviews. “It was a no-brainer!”

One of James’ claims to fame is that he played golf with Henry Cooper – the only person to ever knock out Mohamed Ali. “I obviously had to let him win”. He also knows everything there is to know about Fiji, eev.ra.thang.

A great story about James is the one about the Man Overboard alarm… Everyone in his group came rushing over, super relieved to find that it wasn’t him, it had just been a practice alarm. “I’m still confused about why, out of an entire boat load of people, they assumed it was me who had gone overboard…”

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What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • 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
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Transfer to base location
  • 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

Our Impact

Location

Fiji Islands

Our programs here are based in two stunning locations. One in the Yasawa Islands, a chain of rugged islands, known for their white sand beaches and crystal clear lagoons. A 5-hour journey from the mainland, our base is on Nanuya Lai Lai Island, on the edge of a picturesque blue lagoon. The second is in the Dawasamu District on Viti Levu, remote and known for its proximity to Moon Reef and its resident pod of Spinner Dolphins. Based in the villages of Silana and Natalei, this is a perfect location to experience true Fijian life, in an amazing region defined by dense jungle, volcanic mountainsides and the tribal culture of Tailevu Province.

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