Travel to the breathtaking Yasawa Islands in western Fiji to assess village infrastructure focusing on food and water security. You will help to construct vegetable gardens, rainwater harvesting systems, plant erosion reducing trees and grasses, and help train villagers in new agricultural methods and environmental management techniques.
Together with your team, you will help the Yasawa community address major problems facing their villages such as solving severe shortages of fresh water.
This project will take you from island to island, assessing each community’s specific needs. In some communities you may install rainwater-catchment systems to help supply fresh water during the local dry season. In others, you may be working with the team to develop community vegetable gardens.
This project offers you the chance to improve the quality of life throughout 27 villages across the Yasawa Island chain while living in one of the most beautiful settings in the world.
Directly helping in the construction and installation of rainwater catchment systems, helping to improve the lives of villagers, island hopping, visiting stunning remote island locations, scuba diving, snorkelling, learning about traditional ceremonies, experiencing idyllic traditional Fijian villages, walking white beaches, climbing volcanoes, enjoying breathtaking scenery, cave snorkeling, cultural immersion in the Fijian way of life, learning to speak Fijian, making lifelong friends.
GVI is real volunteering
Our projects are constantly evolving according to the needs on the ground at any given time. 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.
You will generally work Monday through to Friday with weekends off to relax or explore the local area.
Work days normally start very early with breakfast, before the morning meeting when the days goals will be reviewed. Equipment will be loaded into the project boats before deployment to local villages. You will work alongside local villagers to implement infrastructure and to improve current projects.
In the afternoon, you and your team will return to base to relax and prepare dinner. You will stay in a basic dormitory with a communal living area, kitchen and work area.
On the weekends, you will have the opportunity to scuba dive, snorkel, sea kayak, hike, island hop and/or just explore the local Fijian culture.
Severe water shortages are common in the Yasawas, especially during the dry season. At times the project focuses on the design, construction, and installation of rainwater collection systems that looks to solve the problem of water shortages in the community.
A main focus of current operations is the sustainable garden initiative which aims to help the community improve their nutrition and diversify their diet, as well as providing an additional source of income by enabling them to sell locally grown produce.
In addition, this project has a sustainable garden component, which aims to help villagers diversify their diet and improve their nutrition. This initiative also provides a new source of income as villagers are able to sell locally grown vegetables.
Some other tasks and activities you may be involved with include: village awareness workshops; aquaculture – coral replanting; erosion management; or tree planting.
How this project makes a difference:
The people of the Yasawa Islands face many challenges. Many villages do not have access to a constant supply of fresh water, lack a sustainable source of income, and would benefit from further education in resource management.
In conjunction with The Yasawa Trust Foundation, we assist with the assessment of village needs and help design and implement responsible and sustainable solutions.
I've recently returned from the Yasawas, in Fiji, where I worked for 4 weeks in the GVI rainwater harvesting system construction project. Collecting fresh water is a priority there and GVI, in...
I've recently returned from the Yasawas, in Fiji, where I worked for 4 weeks in the GVI rainwater harvesting system construction project. Collecting fresh water is a priority there and GVI, in partnership with the Yasawa Trust Foundation, is already making a strong impact in people's everyday life. Nevertheless, this project is conceived in a holistic way, reflecting the conviction that development is a complex process and investing in education is always the best asset to preserve all kinds of material achievements. Therefore, I also had the opportunity to work at school and school related activities, as well as on the alternative gardens projects.
This all relates to my previous experience with GVI, in Latin America (Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador and twice in Nicaragua) where I worked for the Phoenix projects teaching at both GVI and state-run schools. Although these are mainly education projects, other activities make up a larger approach to community development , such as food security, intergeneration solidarity or environment sustainability.
All in all, I can say that my resolve to stay with GVI is due to its ability to constitute as a force for change in the world and a means for people to come together and contribute to that very goal.
I learned how to use a variety of tools, install guttering, mix concrete, build a base, drive a boat (with some help, of course), navigate at night by light of a flashlight, cook with limited foods (world-famous chefs would be envious of our creations with corned beef), adjust to long bouts of quiet, immerse myself into a new group of people, experience homesickness in a new and very unfamiliar environment, and I loved it. Not every moment was perfect and this list is not even remotely extensive, in fact the more I think about it, the more I am certain I could fill a series of notebooks with lessons learned and favorite memories from my very brief two weeks in my life shared with you all in Fiji, but the experience really changed my life and I have all of you, my fellow volunteers, and my Fijian family to thank for it.
Thank you for such an awesome experience in Fiji, I have come back reenergised and have changed the course of my medical career - I will be taking next year off to work in the developing world. Thank you all for the inspiring and profound impact you had on my person and my career. I feel that this decision is the beginning of something truly extraordinary!
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 white sand 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, you could try island hopping around the 20 volcanic islands of the Yasawa group. These remote islands are characterised by white beaches, crystal blue lagoon and dramatic rugged hills, some with summits 600 meters above sea level. Hike in the Mamanucas Highlands and enjoy a spectacular 360 degree view at the top of Malolo Island.
In the water, if not on our expedition and not dive qualified, enrol in a scuba diving course to the dive the various sites dotted around the Yasawas, 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 stay closer to the surface, you can snorkel with manta rays near Naviti Island or with sharks on the Waya reef. And for some simple 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.
Build Your Program
- 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
- A traditional Fijian Sevusevu ceremony and village visit
- Training on the design and implementation of rainwater catchment systems
- Cultural immersion in the Fijian way of life
What's Not Included
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal kit
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes