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Three top community development volunteering programs to try

Article by Rebecca Barnard

Rebecca Barnard

Posted: August 12, 2019

Interested in community development and having an adventure at the same time? GVI has programs all over the world, throughout the year, so there’s no better time to plunge into community development projects.

GVI relies on a constant stream of volunteers ready to roll up their sleeves. As a volunteer, not only will you get to immerse yourself in the culture of the communities you engage with, but you also get to support them and the surrounding environment to become more sustainable and self-reliant. 

In return, you will arrive home with amazing stories to tell your loved ones, and readily transferable skills that you can use in your career and everyday life.

Here are some of our favourite community development projects. 

1) Sports and teaching in India


In the city of Kochi, you will facilitate healthy activities for children to participate in, while helping them develop English language and teamwork skills.

A healthy lifestyle is important in promoting wellbeing and positive childhood development. However, with a lack of equipment, along with a shortage of skilled and available supervisors, many of the children in the densely populated city of Kochi are missing out.

When community members learn valuable skills in childhood, it leads to greater employability as adults. Team sports introduce children to effective communication and the ability to work with others. 

GVI also contributes to teaching English language skills. English language skills can enable the students to access a wider range of income opportunities in the vibrant tourism and trade industries throughout India.  

2) Microenterprise and business skills in Peru


Use your business skills to encourage entrepreneurial development of local, sustainable businesses.

With a high level of poverty and illiteracy, many local people do not have a sustainable source of income. Through enterprise development, the community can access the tourism industry, despite limited resources such as basic household utilities. 

Cusco, a tourism hotspot, is surrounded by World Heritage sites and large agricultural zones. Natural resources are being consumed at an alarming rate. GVI partners with local organisations to work on sustainable agricultural practices, energy, and housing. The protection of regional ecosystems and natural resources are also key outcomes of the program.

3) Rainwater harvesting and water security in Fiji


On this program, you can contribute to local community efforts as they secure safe and sustainable access to water for generations to come.

Environmental management challenges have led to shortages of usable water and sanitation problems for many of the local communities. As a volunteer, you will assist in devising better waste management practices, along with the construction of rainwater collection infrastructure. 

In order to support communities to become healthier, the program works on education around nutrition and improving personal and water hygiene. 

The program also involves working with partner organisations to develop alternative income streams and agricultural practices that are conducive to achieving self-sustainability.

Looking for more? GVI runs approximately 150 programs, across five continents in 13 countries. Browse the community development programs and choose your ideal project.

Rebecca Barnard is an intern at the GVI Writing Academy. The Writing Academy is a skills-development program that pairs development editors with budding travel writers. Learn more about the program here

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