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Volunteer and Intern Abroad since 1997
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Program Details
Program Type Volunteering
2 Weeks From £ 1,145.00
Code: FJMO0409E

Community Development Expedition in Fiji

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

Our Impact


Location

Fiji Islands

Our programs here are based in two stunning locations. One is based on the idyllic Caqalai Island pronounced ‘than-ga-laiin the Lomaiviti Island group. Caqalai is a tiny island (you can walk around it in 15 minutes) defined by white sand beaches and a lush interior. The island is on the edge of an expansive reef system and nearby to 10 small villages located on the neighbouring Moturiki Island. 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.


Program Information

Work on a diverse and varied range of projects in traditional coastal villages, which may include; Helping community members to implement important livelihood strategies and protect the environment for future generations, assisting with key infrastructure construction projects, setting up community based income-generation initiatives, volunteering in local pre-schools and schools, and working on studies that inform important environmental management decisions.
Overview Project Life Project Details Free Time The Team Dates & Costs

Overview

Make your home among the luscious forests and mountainous backdrop of the Dawasamu District on the east coast of Viti Levu Island or the picturesque island of Caqalai.

You will be working alongside local people on a range of community development initiatives at one of our two bases in the Tailevu or Lomaiviti Province of Fiji.

As a hands-on member of this expedition team you will be involved with a diverse variety of key initiatives involving themes such as fresh water management, education enrichment, environmental monitoring and mapping, income generation, waste management, health awareness, women’s empowerment and sustainable agriculture practice.

The dramatic Fijian landscape is defined by sweeping volcanic hillsides, dense jungle, fresh water waterfalls, extensive beaches and colorful coral reefs. In this picturesque environment you will set to work helping community members to 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…

Depending on the community needs and project direction, involvement in a range of activities and experiences which might include: Directly participating 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, snorkeling, traditional ceremonies, and Fijian language lessons.

Testimonial

"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

RT @wcsfiji: @wcsfiji is looking forward to supporting the Fiji government and our country host UN conferences on climate change (COP23) &…

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GVI FIJI

GVI ready for Prize Giving Day at NDS ! 🎉🎉 #gvifiji #lastdayofschool #celebration #kalavata https://t.co/Y4uTZNi9ht

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Fiji Islands Video

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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 traveller, 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

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction materials
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Transfer to base location
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Visa costs

Project Details

The goals and priorities of this expedition are discussed and determined in collaboration with the local communities of the Dawasamu District. There are five core focuses of the expedition: WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene), health and nutrition, income generation, education enrichment and empowerment, and environmental management and protection.

In both locations GVI works to enrich the education available to children and our expedition volunteers will be involved with various interactions at the local schools during the expedition duration.

Overall, our program aims to assist villagers to adapt their livelihoods in response to the changing pressures on traditional life due to both environmental and social change. GVI focuses on empowering communities by actively engaging important issues involved with the factors that inform their quality of life, such as access to fresh water, access to education, food security, and options for income generation.

Volunteers help the local communities develop small income generating projects, assess environmental impacts, enrich available education, and solve basic infrastructure issues through improvements and new initiatives. 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 works directly with local communities by supplying volunteers to help with initiatives that improve quality of life, enrich education, and reduce risks associated with climate change and natural disaster events.

So far our initiatives have successfully increased access to fresh water, improved education resources, enriched educational opportunities, and expanded income generation options for these communities.

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction materials
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Transfer to base location
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Visa costs

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 the programme.

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, 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 or visit one of Fiji’s famous island resorts.

In the water, for those that are not dive qualified you could enrol in a scuba diving course and dive the various dive sites in the region, home to abundant marine life, colourful corals and steep drop-offs. Get lucky with your dive, and visibility can exceed a massive 40m.

Fiji’s capital city, Suva, is only a few hours from all our project sites, 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. The old historical capital of Fiji, Levuka, which makes for an interesting day trip, is accessible by ferry and small boat and located on the nearby Ovalau Island.

 

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. 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.

Either before or after your program 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 metres above sea level.

Staying on dry land, you might consider a trip to the 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

Michele Comber

Programme Manager
Meet Michele, our brilliant program manager in Fiji. She has a lot of travel experience in the US around Europe. She volunteered for one year in Mombasa Kenya on the childcare programme, became Project Manager for three years and worked in South Africa on an under 18's programme.

She loves GVI because ''this job gives me the opportunity to work with people who volunteer from all around the world and being able to work alongside individuals who had the same drive and passion as me, willingness to give up their time, share their skills and knowledge to assist the schools and the community groups we work with.

I have had the honour to work with some amazing partners in different countries who have welcomed me into their communities and let me be a part of their lives , giving me the opportunity to grow and learn. Their strength and their faith and their beliefs that all things can be achieved if you have hope will always stay with me.''

Jack Wilkinson

Education Project Leader
Meet Jack, our education projects manager in Fiji. He first volunteered in Peru at the age of 18 with a small, badly managed NGO which had some great partners but 'bizarre practises'. He then spent many years stockpiling money so as to be able to travel independently for 5 years, beginning in summer 2014. After gaining his Celta he then travelled to Nepal where he worked with a Nepali Ngo who were working toward introducing ‘child centred’ learning in rural schools.

This was an incredible experience living with a family in VERY rural Nepal with many festivals and sacrificial chickens. In this role he was teaching children 6 days a week and demonstrating teaching methodologies and techniques to fellow teachers through workshops and training sessions. After Nepal he hooked up with GVI in India as the volunteer coordinator (education) where his responsibilities were the same as in his current role.

His favourite thing about working with GVI is meeting all the crazy people we employ and attract. He loves enabling volunteers to achieve things they wouldn’t imagine.

Averham Bayon-on

Community Project Leader
Meet Averham, our community project leader in Fiji. He has spent time volunteering in Vanuatu & Ghana, promoting youth development & sustainability, as well as conducting workshops about adolescent reproductive health and environmental pollutions.

He has also interned in Tecpan, Guatemala where his projects tackled different aspects of sustainable farming and improving child health and nutrition within the district. He has an Honours Degree in International Development Studies & Health Studies.

His favourite thing about working for GVI is living in a Fijian village and being able to see how the projects are progressing first-hand.

Alexa Bingham

Community Projects Leader
Meet Alexa, our amazing community projects leader in Fiji. She has spent many years travelling and volunteering all over the world with GVI. She was a Health and Arts Project Coordinator for in Kerala, India. She went on aGVI volunteer experience in Ecuador, surveying reptiles, birds and amphibians. She even went to Mexico doing diving conservation.

She has experience teaching in the UK, Peru, Spain and Nepal. She was also hub leader for FoodCycle, setting up a community foodservice from scratch with a team of volunteers. She has an MA in International Development specialising in forest politics, gender and development and indigeneity and sustainability. She also holds a CELTA English Teaching qualification.

Her favourite thing about working for GVI is having the chance to use her skills and creativity in the field, then seeing the impacts of her hard work... 'but also living 5m from the sea in a Fijian village ain't bad'

Dane Lee Marx

Country Director
Meet Dane, GVI's cheerful country director for Fiji. He has spent several years as the Conservation and Ecology Manager on Frégate Island, a small private island in the Seychelles. There he had been fortunate to have overseen and implemented projects ranging from monitoring and protection of rare birds, invertebrates and sea turtles to wide-scale habitat restoration as well as management of significant operations responsibilities.

After leaving that position he took a year off to do some travelling – six months of flyfishing, camping and exploring new Zealand, visiting some friends and family in Australia, and some exceptional diving and island hopping in Indonesia. He holds a BSc in Biology, Earth & Environmental Sciences, an Hons. in Zoology, and a MSc in Conservation Biology. 

For him, GVI  is an exciting organisation as it carries out an impressive range of high impact, grass-roots level projects in some of the most interesting locations across the globe. This and the combined focus on both community based development and a deep seated conservation aligned perfectly with his own interests and passions.

Dee Tuivucilevu

Marine Research Officer/Community Liaison Officer
Meet Dee, our Marine Research Officer/Community Liaison Officer in Fiji. Dee is a Fijian born environmental conservation enthusiast and has a BSc degree in Marine Science. She has had her fair share of experience related to the field of marine conservation; over the last year or two she did an internship with the Conservation Office in the Cakaudrove province of Fiji and volunteered at an organisation, Nature Fiji Mareqeti Viti, that work towards the conservation and sustainable management of Fiji's natural heritage.

Dee’s sees herself as the fictional character, Catwoman, and her talents are not restricted to conservation; she also has some bizarre abilities to show off. “I can bend my thumb backwards till it touches my wrist.” She loves working for GVI, especially not having to wear formal clothing to work every day!

Daniel Ponce-Taylor

Director of Programs
Meet Danny, our Director of Programs. Although he’s based in Playa del Carmen, Danny oversees the development and running of all of our field operations. He started out with GVI as our Country Director in Mexico and quickly became an invaluable part of the team.


Although being Director of Programs is a pretty demanding job, Danny manages to find time to do the other things he loves in-between. He’s an avid photographer and is always training for a triathlon or ironman.


What’s Danny’s favourite aspect of his job? “Starting new projects – we get lots of request for assistance and it’s difficult to decide when funds are limited. The evaluation process and those initial talks with local partners are very interesting. Seeing projects grow from an idea to full programs is very exciting. I also love the relationships you create with local organisations, they become friends and we jointly work to achieve the project aims.”

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Select a Departure Date

2017

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What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Community work workshop
  • Construction materials
  • Construction techniques training
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Transfer to base location
  • Welcome meeting
  • What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Visa costs