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Environmental Volunteering in Cambodia

Teach English and build the local community’s knowledge of environmental issues like climate change, sustainable living, and plastic waste.

Program Code: KHPP0823P

Program Information

Live in the Cambodian village of Kampong Cham expanding potential career opportunities by improving English education, and conducting awareness workshops concerning major environmental issues. This could include monitoring of waste management systems and training locals on ways to reduce their plastic waste, amongst other environmental awareness tasks.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals


Improve waste management systems and increase environmental awareness in Cambodia. Lead plastic waste reduction training and climate change awareness programs assisting with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, UN SDG #11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, #12 Responsible Consumption and Production, and #13 Climate Action. You will also be working on UN SDGs, #4, Quality Education, and #Decent Work and Economic Growth, by supporting local formal and informal educational centers by teaching English. By working closely with our local partners, Buddhism for Social Development Action, BSDA, Centre for Foreign Languages, Organisation for Basic Training, OBT, and the Kampong Cham community, you will also be contributing toward UN SDG #17, Partnerships for the Goals.

Our volunteers live and work with GVI staff, interns, and other volunteers, in the community of Kampong Cham, a bustling riverside town with a relaxed, friendly charm, located approximately three hours from the Cambodia capital of Phnom Penh. Expect a busy day-to-day, including a full days teaching, planning and preparing for lessons and workshops, as well as a minimum of two hours of training each week. You will work anywhere from the sprawling temple complex, to the drop-in educational facility in the town centre, to our classroom situated amongst one of the most ancient and magnificent temples in Cambodia. On the weekends, explore the surrounding area, travel to Phnom Penh to see the royal palace or to Siem Reap to see the ever-popular Angkor Wat.


  • Contribute directly towards improving access to English language development and environmental awareness in Cambodia.

  • Learn how to teach English as a foreign language.

  • Immerse yourself in Cambodia culture by attending its many vibrant festivals.

  • Gain skills in leadership, teamwork, teaching, events management and organisation- to name a few.

  • Conduct your own research project, providing you with your own autonomy and responsibility to understand the community you live and work in.

  • Visit Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s many southern islands, the Royal Palace in the capital of Phnom Penh, go for a river cruise, hike in the mountains, or travel to the popular beaches of Kampot.

Program Details

Program Type: Volunteering
Location: Asia - Cambodia - Kampong Cham

Select a Start Date

  • 2019
  • 2020

Select a Duration

Select a start date first.

Life On Base

GVI Kampong Cham is centrally located in a guesthouse, overlooking the grand Mekong River, allowing you easy access to all that the town has to offer. Experience Cambodian life first hand, as you watch the goings on from your window. In the evening you can relax at the GVI base and hang out with other like minded GVI volunteers, interns, and staff members, or explore the vibrant night markets, restaurants, shops and riverside stalls of Kampong Cham.

Accommodation Tour

Accommodation is in shared rooms with shared bathroom facilities. There is running water for showers and flush toilet facilities are available. There is a laundry service at the guesthouse and each room will also have a fan available.

Both western and Khmer food is available at our guesthouse restaurant, where vegetarians can also be accommodated. For breakfast, you can expect a choice of eggs, bread, fruit and cereal. For lunch and dinner khmer dishes consisting of noodles, rice, and curries are available as well as western dishes such as sandwiches, burgers and pasta. There are many cafes and restaurants in the local area which you are free to visit for additional meals at your own expense.

You will have access to long distance communications whilst on the program, but make sure friends and family know how often they can expect to hear from you. Participants will have access to WIFI at the guesthouse and a local sim card can be purchased to be used with your unlocked cell phone.

The common method of transport to project is by tuk tuk. Traveling by tuk tuk might be a bit different to what you’re used to, but it’s very pleasant, with a breeze through your hair and the feeling of traveling like a local Cambodian. Alternatively, you may also cycle together to project sites by renting a bicycle and purchasing a helmet, which GVI staff will assist you with.

Medical facilities are located approximately five minutes walk from the guesthouse, and there are many pharmacies in Kampong Cham, so over the counter medicine is also accessible, if ever required. We have a team of trained staff who are always on hand to assist with medical issues, should they arise.

It is important to note that volunteers working with monks will have to adhere to a semiformal dress code. This is in respect for the local culture, where men’s formal shirts and trousers are needed and women’s blouses and skirts are preferred. Both men and women should wear smart office shoes. Think office wear and that will be smart enough!

On a whole Kampong Cham enjoys warm balmy weather year round, perfect for an evening stroll through the town, though the temperature can drop slightly in December and January. The monsoon season is between May and October when temperatures remain high but there can be heavy rainfall once or twice a day. This will give you the opportunity to sit back and listen to the sound of falling rain while looking out over lovely Kampong Cham. For swimming, the sea in Cambodia is warm throughout the year.

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 Volunteer-In-Kampong-Cham'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.


When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.

As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.



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Meet the team - Senior Field Management


Program Manager

Meet Lily our Program Manager at the Hub over in Cambodia. Lily's Masters in International Development and previous work in London on development has provided her with great experience for her role here at the GVI base. Lily is also currently training for London Marathon, although the Cambodian heat stands as an obstacle in the way!

Molly Plexico

Regional Director for Southeast Asia
Meet Molly, our hard working Regional Director for Southeast Asia. Overseeing operations in 3 countries is no easy task but Molly is more than capable.

Her goal is to visit one country for every year she is alive. The most unusual place she has travelled to is Uzbekistan, on a trip beginning in Europe and ending in Southeast Asia. This is where she fell in love with Laos which began her journey with GVI. She started working for GVI back in 2012 and she is now based in Cambodia.

Meet the team - In-Country Staff


Education Coordinator
This is Avi, our Education Coordinator in Cambodia, who is from the UK. In fact this is Avi’s first time in Asia and consequently he is firm believer that people should never be put off traveling to unique locations!

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.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will 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.

We launched our programs in Kampong Cham in 2018. Here we work in collaboration with our local partners on various community development and educational initiatives, where we aim to assist their existing endeavours. Providing better education empowers students to reach their aspirations and broaden their employment opportunities in the future. Here in Kampong Cham, if you are able to speak English you have a much greater opportunity of employment in the tourism sector. Working in this sector can usually provide chances of promotion, a greater income and a chance to change one’s economic background and is, therefore, an aspiration for a lot of the local community.

All these initiatives allow us to offer support to the community and our local partners, and to address many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as #1- No poverty, #2 – Zero Hunger, #3- Good health and well-being, #4 – Quality Education, #5- Gender Equality, #8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth and #10 – Reduced Inequalities.

Our Partners In Kampong Cham

Project Objectives


GVI Kampong Cham Long-term Objectives:  

1. To improve the quality of education to the local community of Kampong Cham, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic background or any other disadvantageous factors.

2. To strengthen bonds with our current partners and develop new partnerships with local organisations to broaden our areas of work and the communities we work within.

3. To improve the opportunities, aspirations and autonomy of local women and girls and to raise awareness in the local community on the importance of women’s empowerment for their family, the economy and for equality.

4. To improve awareness about health and wellbeing and provide basic tools and knowledge in maintaining hygiene and prevention of NTD (neglected tropical diseases).

5. Improve the awareness and knowledge of important environmental issues and increase community participation in efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.


The best decisions in international development and conservation cannot be made without accurate and up-to-date data or informed research. Our many field teams around the world collaborate with local and international partners to analyse data and draw conclusions. In addition, many of our participants have used research they have collected on their various GVI projects to complete their Masters, Doctorate, or postdoctoral studies. We also run a fellowship program which connects postdoctoral researchers at globally-respected universities with our many sustainable development programs around the world to support their research and ensure continuous improvement of our best practices on base.


A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.

For All GVI Participants

Welcome Presentation

Introduction to GVI as a whole and the work in your specific location. Learn about the short, mid, and long-term objectives of the sustainable development projects at your base, which United Nations Development Goals they impact most directly, and which local partners we work with.

Health and Safety Training

Learn about the Emergency Action Plans in place at your base, the full Risk Assessment, and best practices for personal safety.

Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Training

Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.

Your Program Specific Training

Environmental Challenges and Current Solutions In Cambodia

Explore the relationship between the community of Kampong Cham and the surrounding environment. Look at current environmental challenges in Cambodia, such as waste management, what is being done to combat these issues, and the next steps necessary for progress.


Joining a program not only allows participants to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer.

Long term field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Many decide to travel before or after their experience (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program. Please note that the below suggestions are not included in the program fee, and are for the individual to organise at their own expense.

Weekend Trips

Historical Excursion

Explore the history of Cambodia by visiting the National Museum of Cambodia.

Silver Pagoda

Visit the Silver Pagoda, famous for its floor which is covered in five tons of silver! Inside you can find The Emerald Buddha: a human sized, Baccarat-crystal sculpture.

Markets of Phnom Penh

Whilst in Phnom Penh you could tour around the sprawling markets including Central Market and Russian Market in which you can buy anything from car parts to fresh fruit.

Phnom Penh

In the capital city of Phnom Penh you can visit the riverside promenade, home to restaurants, bars and cafes.

Kampong Cham

Take dance classes, listen to live music and or enjoy an evening boat trips along the Mekong River.

Further Travels

Kep Beach

Kep beach is one of the most pristine beaches of South-east Asia and is well worth the travel (approximately five hours from Kampong Cham). Enjoy the sandy beaches, calm atmosphere and wealth of bars and restaurants.


Kampot: Take a cycle around Kampot’s city centre, kayak through the jungle’s streams and visit the green pepper farm. This city makes for the perfect weekend trip.A city known for its colonial architecture and the last of the bamboo railroad. Explore the hilltop temple complexes and the stunning scenery of Kamping Puoy.


Take a cycle around Kampot’s city centre, kayak through the jungle’s streams and visit the green pepper farm. This city makes for the perfect weekend trip.


A spectacular village where you can take a boat to view the dolphins amongst the river.


The Vietnam border is just one hour from Kampong Cham by bus, with Ho Chi Minh City approximately five hours away. Here you could delve into your travels of South-East Asia further and explore the markets, cathedrals, temples and pagodas the city has in abundance.

The Mondulkiri Province

The province stands in contrast to the rest of Cambodia. Its name literally means ‘Meeting of the Hills’, and it consists of a combination of mountains, hills and rainforests. You can expect some spectacular wildlife sightings here, including elephants, leopards, monkeys and birds.

Angkor Wat

Located in Siem Reap, approximately a five hour bus or 40 minute flight from the capital, this is Cambodia’s most famous temple complex, boasting around 2.1 million visitors each year. Showcasing the 12th century splendour of the Khmer Empire, Angkor Wat continues to be a place of spiritual inspiration and is a point of pilgrimage for all Cambodians.Cambodia’s Southern Islands: These four islands boast some of Asia’s most spectacular beaches and yet are untouched by commercial tourism providing you with pristine coastlines away from the busy sites of Angkor Wat or Phnom Penh.

Cambodia's Southern Islands

These four islands boast some of Asia’s most spectacular beaches and yet are untouched by commercial tourism providing you with pristine coastlines away from the busy sites of Angkor Wat or Phnom Penh.

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.


Khmer – This is the official language of Cambodia and is spoken by roughly 16 million people across the world.

Cham – Is another language spoken in Cambodia, by roughly 204,000 people. It is the dialect of the Cham people of Southeast Asia.

Local Handicrafts

Cambodia has a thriving tourist souvenir industry, and make many locally made souvenirs such as a traditional scarf called a Krama, ceramic, lacquer and wood carved items and beautifully decorated bottles of flavoured rice wine.

Cooking & Dancing

There are three main types of dances in Cambodia, namely Khmer classical dance, Cambodia folk dance, and Cambodian social dances. Khmer classical dance was founded in the royal courts of Cambodia and is the dominant dance style in theatre and at ceremonies.

The national dish of Cambodia is Amouk, which is a combination of fresh river fish, coconut cream, ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass, steamed in banana leaves and served with a side of rice. A large part of Cambodian cuisine features fish and freshwater seafood, along with the staple grain of rice, though they also offer many meat and vegetarian dishes.


There are festivals throughout the year, the most notable being the Khmer New Year in mid-April.

Spirituality & Religion

The official religion of the Kingdom of Cambodia is Theravada Buddhism, which is practiced by the majority of the population, who visit monastery temples found throughout the country.

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.

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.


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


Upon arrival at the airport, participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. The minimum staff to participant ratio on GVI’s programs is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.

Health & Safety Case Studies

19 Nov


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


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


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


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

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)