Announcement
TRAVEL UPDATE: We're open! Where can I go? and answers to your questions about COVID-19
Select Page

Nepal Community Development Global Citizens

Explore the fascinating country of Nepal while contributing to community development projects.


Program Information

Join GVI and discover Nepal, a country with one of the densest concentrations of world heritage sites in the world. Your time here will be met with equal parts cultural exploration, trekking the vast Himalayan mountains, and personal development as you learn skills and make an impact with local communities. Learn about social issues in Nepal and immerse yourself in Nepali traditions. Students will focus on improving the health and safety standards of educational facilities in Pokhara. Projects might include building desks for classrooms or installing water tanks for drinking water. This allows students to directly contribute not only to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 4: Quality Education, but also others like Goal 3: Health and Wellbeing. Students will also learn about the ethical best practices used to set up international developments like these, including the importance of ensuring these projects are led by the local community.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

Based in Nepal’s second-largest city, Pokhara, students will contribute to hands-on community development efforts and learn about social issues in Nepal. You will work alongside local community members to identify where their challenges are and provide support accordingly. Through this, you are able to contribute to a sustainable development and empowerment plan aimed at providing greater opportunities for Nepali people.

Visit some of the Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries in the region, including Tal Bahari Temple, a sacred site located on a tiny island on Phewa Lake, and the World Peace Pagoda, a hilltop Buddhist monument dedicated to inspiring kindness and consideration throughout the global community. You will have the opportunity to participate in a cooking class and learn how to make a popular dish in Nepal, Nepali dumplings, also known as momos.

Journey to the Annapurna Sanctuary, a site of religious significance for many local communities. You then start your trek to summit Poon Hill, also known as the Annapurna Sunrise Trek, known for its unique biodiversity and diversity of cultural communities that speak their own distinct languages. It is home to the world’s largest rhododendron forest and the world’s deepest river gorge both of which you pass on your trip up to the Sanctuary. During this trekking portion of the trip, overnight accommodation will be provided by the many Nepali tea houses along the trail, allowing for an authentic Himalayan trekking experience.

During your time on the program in Nepal there will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about the Nepalese culture, helping you kickstart your journey toward becoming a global citizen.

*This overview is an example of the activities and project work that students might get involved in on this program. More specific details of the program are finalised several months before each start date and can be discussed further with your GVI Programme Coordinator. The overview shown here has been followed by our staff and student groups in the past.

Program Details

Program Type: Schools , University
Location: Asia - Nepal - Pokhara

Apply Now

Please fill in the required fields

Main Guardian Details

Covid-19 Response

Health and Hygiene

For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.


The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.


What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.


We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.


Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.


Live Updates

Follow GVI Pokhara's Facebook page for live updates straight from the field. Get an idea of the types of projects you might be involved in, meet our staff and participants, experience life on this GVI base, hear about free time activities, and learn about the local culture and environment.
 
GVINepalPokhara

Meet the team - Senior Field Management

Cheryl Martin

Regional Director for Nepal and India
Introducing you to Cheryl. Cheryl is the Regional Director of GVI Nepal and India. Her journey with GVI began in 2011. Before this Cheryl had a history of teaching, although she fancied a change, which lead her to volunteer with GVI in Cape Town. After this she became a staff member and subsequently she stayed in Cape Town for the next four years.

Another role came up as Program Manager for Pokara, Nepal, which Cheryl took on before finally getting to where she is now.

Cherly has always possessed a love for travel. She has backpacked across Europe, working as a nanny. Her main highlight however has to be Peru. In fact it was her experience here that inspired her to volunteer in the first place.

Hannah Westcott

Program Manager

This is Hannah, the Program Manager at GVI’s base in Pokhara, Nepal. She has been visiting Nepal for several years now, mostly working in Kathmandu. When she heard about the opportunity with GVI she was very excited, acknowledging that GVI is a purpose-driven organisation, which she respects and values.


Hannah believes that the small things are what have a large impact on communities. The projects she has been working with include teaching, women's empowerment and more. Hannah can observe the positive change the work brings to the communities. On top of this, she also sees the change that the work can have on the volunteers and how it develops them in their journeys.

Jill Walker

Deputy Director of Programs
Meet GVI’s Jill,also known by her rap name, Rainmaker, or her spiritual name, Field Whisperer. Her journey with GVI began back in 2007 as Thailand's Country Director, where she helped set up GVI’s first TEFL program!

Now she is based in Chaing Rai, Thailand. Jill's role involves providing support for all of our programs around the world. Working closing with each base, she looks to identify and manage any issues that occur so GVI are able to offer the best programs possible.

Meet the team - In-Country Staff

Rhythm Gautam

Teaching Coordinator
This is Rhythm! He is 22 years old and was born and raised in Pokhara, Nepal. He was originally a trekking guide, then the opportunity to become a Teaching Coordinator popped up and he got involved. At the moment he teaches both Englishs and Math to partner schools for grades one to five.

Sita Thapa

Project Coordinator

Meet Sita. Sita is one of the Project Coordinator for the Women's Empowerment project in Pokhara, Nepal.


She has been with GVI for a year now, and it has since become family for her. As part of her role she works with community members and leads volunteers. She finds inspiration working with volunteers and is grateful to do the work she does, empowering women in different ways.

Your Impact

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.


Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. Then, once on base you’ll learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.


Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.


Early Childhood Development and Education


We support several educational facilities for young students in Nepal. GVI participants contribute by improving the infrastructure of learning environments, developing educational resources, and helping students achieve learning objectives. In addition, GVI staff and participants also sometimes run informal educational workshops with students from the local community. Subjects we support include English language learning, maths, science, and computer skills. With younger students arts and crafts lessons are held to promote fine motor skills development. Sports lessons help promote gross motor skills development, teamwork, and healthy lifestyle.


Preventative Healthcare


GVI participants support health in Nepal by conducting WASH, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, workshops. This includes facilitating practices like hand washing and tooth brushing in the local community.


Women’s Empowerment


Staff and participants contributing to our women’s empowerment program in Nepal participated in a number of educational and professional development workshops. These encompass many subjects but might include lessons on topics like conversational English, mathematics, resume writing, and alternative income generation. In addition we also support women’s health workshops to address issues like prenatal health and human rights presentations to address the prevalence of human trafficking in the region.


All these initiatives offer support to the community and local partners, and to address many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as #4 – Quality Education, #3, Health and Wellbeing, #5 – Gender Equality and #6 – Clean Water and Sanitation.


Our Partners In Pokhara

Project Objectives

Pokhara’s Long-term Objectives:


1. Providing support to students to reach learning goals appropriate to their age, grade level, or individual needs through increasing access to educational resources and their effective use in providing quality learning experiences.


2. Increasing the knowledge and understanding of healthcare in the community with an emphasis on prevention, and developing health-related skills such as Emergency First Aid.


3. Increasing professional and vocational skills held by women in the community, through education and empowerment.


Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


 


We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.


 

Our 10 Ethical Commitments

 

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


 

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


 

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


 

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


 

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


 

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


 

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


 

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


 

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.


Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.


However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.


Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.


Festivals

February: The Tibetan New Year celebration, Lhosar, is held in February. Buddhist monasteries decorate their temples, known as stupas, and there is music and dancing in Tibetan communities and families exchange gifts.

March: The Nepalese version of India’s Holi celebration, the festival of colours, is celebrated in March. In Nepal this festival is known as Fagu Poornima. This is an incredible visual festival during which crowds throw one another with coloured powders.

May: As the birthplace of the Buddha, Buddha’s birthday is a big event in Nepal. This is known as Jayanti day and is celebrated during May.

September to October: Probably the most popular and well-known festival celebrated in Nepal is Dashain. Taking place over the course of 15 days, it honours the main goddess of Hinduism, Shakti, in all her forms. This is a time when families come together and celebrate. Parades and feasts are common throughout the festival. It corresponds to the Navratri festival held throughout India.

October to November: Tihar is another festival held around the end of October or early November each year and corresponds to Diwali, the festival of lights, popular in India. The festivities extend for five days and each day features a unique celebration.

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga evolved as part of the Hindu tradition. As a country with a large Hindu population, yoga is part of Nepalese culture. Nepal is one of the top yoga retreat destinations in the world. There are plenty of classes you can take during your stay in Pokhara. Mediation is also a central component of both Hinduism and Buddhism. Visit a Hindu tradition meditation class for to learn japa mala meditation or a Buddhist tradition meditation class for a Vipassana meditation class.

Cuisine

Possibly the most well-known Nepalese dish is dal bhat, a lentil stew served with rice. It is a smokey, spicy, wholesome dish which happens to be vegetarian-friendly as well, in keeping with the beliefs of the Hindu religion. Momos, traditionally thought of as a Tibetan food, are popular throughout the Himalayan region, and Nepal is no exception. Momos are a type of steamed dumpling, served with a dipping sauce, and come in a variety of fillings. When you are out and about be sure to stop at a street stall to try a sel roti, a fried, ring-shaped salty snack.

Religion and Spirituality

Most of Nepal’s population subscribes to Hinduism, specifically the Shaivism sect. You will find many Hindu temples throughout Nepal. However, Nepal is also home to one of the main Buddhist sites in the world, Lumbini, the birthplace of the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama and does have a significant Buddhist population as well. You can learn about both these traditions during your stay in Pokhara, by speaking to locals, and visiting the many religious sites in the area. Visit Tal Barahi, a temple located in the centre of lake Pewa, dedicated to the goddess Durga, or the World Peace Pagoda, a Buddhist stupa.

Languages

Although Nepali is the official language of Nepal, over 100 languages are spoken within the limits of the country. Throughout your time on the project you will have plenty of opportunities to learn more about the Nepali language while interacting with locals.

Example Itinerary


Day 1-2: Say hello to Nepal

Arriving in the capital of Nepal is not an experience you'll forget in a hurry. Known for its ornate Buddhist and Hindu temples and sprawling pagodas, this vibrant city is located 4,600 feet above sea level at the foot of the Himalayas. With a population of 1.4 million residents of mixed ethnicities and religious beliefs, Kathmandu is the spiritual capital of the east.

Day 3-4: Travel to Pokhara

Travel by ‘tourist bus’ from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The journey can be very long so be prepared to sit back and take in the wonderful scenery. If it’s a clear day you will have some amazing mountain views.

Once you arrive and settle in, we’ll have some welcome activities including Health and Safety information and our GVI Welcome Presentation. We’ll take a walking tour of the nearby local area and also take a short boat ride to see Tal Barahi Temple.

Day 5-8: Service and reflection

You will be doing service work. Our main focus will be making improvements to local schools. The exact project will be confirmed closer to your time as it depends on the progress of projects underway as well as weather conditions. Tasks may include painting, building, digging and repairing. Be prepared for hard work but lots of fun and a great feeling of satisfaction as you help improve the local facilities.

In the evenings you will have the opportunity to participate in a range of experiences from learning Nepali dancing and cooking to participating in social activities such as quizzes and movie nights.

There will be time set aside each evening for a group and individual reflection. This is also a time to discuss the day’s achievements and ways in which the group can effectively prepare for the next day’s work. Days are tiring but equally rewarding with plenty of time for fun.

During the week there may also be opportunities to visit nearby local sights such as the beautiful Tal Bahari Temple or the Gurkha soldier museum. Cultural and adventurous activities can also be factored in such as Nepali language lessons and cooking classes, rafting and kayaking trips on Trisuli or Seti Rivers, or a mountain biking or hiking adventure.

Day 9: Cultural Immersion

You will have the opportunity to experience a range of cultural activities such as visiting the World Peace Pagoda, the Tibetan Refugee Camp, local temples and monasteries. You’ll also have time to relax with a milkshake along the lake and explore the many local stores in Pokhara. In the evening you can learn how to make traditional Nepali momos, a handcrafted dumpling.

Day 10-13: Himalaya Trek

Time for your team to embark on a stunning 4-day camping trek in the Annapurna
Conservation Area, which offers truly breath-taking scenery. The trek is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the diverse culture of this part of the Himalayas.

You’ll pass trailside shrines, teahouses and local villages. You’ll see a bunch of rhododendrons, bright pink and purple plants as you head from Dhampus to Hyenjakot. The route will take you through cultivated fields, forests, bamboo thickets, lush foothills, and near picturesque blue lakes. Each night you’ll be staying in this beautiful wilderness.

You'll rise early from your camp in Ghorepani to make the ascent of Poon Hill in time for the sunrise. On a clear day, the panoramic Himalayan vista from here is one of the finest in Nepal, and well worth the effort. The final day of your trek sees you drop down passing expansive farmlands before finally, you'll reach the end of the trail, where transport will be waiting to take you back to Pokhara.

Day 14-15: Travel day - Pokhara to Kathmandu

To break this journey up you have the option to head off to the Trishuli River for some white water rafting. This can be done as a day trip or with an overnight stay at the river camp. The Trishuli River is where you will be rafting and it is on these rivers you will find some of the world's best white-water, warm water and bug-free beaches.

Day 16: Say Farewell

After saying goodbye to new friends and reminiscing over a great two weeks you will head to the airport in time for your flight home.

**Your trip can be extended to include additional side trips and / or further service work.

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.


 

COVID-19 Safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures are in place throughout each GVI program. Learn more.

Support

Once a participant books, our support team will oversee their pre-departure journey. This helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. We will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Safety

Once a participant books, our support team will oversee their pre-departure journey. This helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. We will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Health & Safety Case Studies

19 Nov

HOW GVI UPHOLDS HEALTH AND SAFETY

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.


1 Nov

GVI’S COMMITMENT TO SAFETY AND SECURITY

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.


6 Nov

HOW GVI REMAINS PREPARED FOR NATURAL DISASTERS

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.


5 Nov

HOW GVI MANAGES PARTICIPANTS EXPECTATIONS

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.


What's Included