You will travel to indigenous villages in the beautiful Yasawa island chain to assess village infrastructure focusing on food and water security. Your tasks and projects can be varied, from helping to construct vegetable gardens, rainwater harvesting systems or plant erosion reducing trees and grasses, to helping train villagers in new agricultural methods and environmental management techniques.
The long term goal is to increase the quality of life throughout 27 villages across the Yasawa Island chain. Many of these villages experience severe water shortages, especially during the dry season, only cultivate root vegetables and have few sources of income. The project is run in partnership with local communities and The Yasawa Trust Foundation, who aim to improve the provision of basic needs in the Yasawa Islands.
Based out of an idyllic beachside field camp, volunteers will be able to dive, snorkel, become immersed in Fijian culture, and explore other island chains on the weekend.
We are always looking for enthusiastic and dedicated people to join our team. This project offers qualifying and high-performing volunteers the chance to stay on the project for a longer duration on a GVI Scholarship free of charge and as part of the staff team in the field. If you would like to work towards a field career and make the very most of your time abroad, you might want to work towards a place on a GVI Scholarship. Successful scholars may find themselves offered full time employment with GVI, and many of our current staff have come through this route. Contact us for more information! Please note, the awarding of scholarships is at the sole discretion of GVI and may be offered immediately after the completion of your program or at a later date.
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.
On project, you will work Monday through to Friday on your allocated construction project, with weekends free to relax or travel the local area with your fellow volunteers.
Work days consist of an early start and morning meetings to review the days’ goals, loading equipment into boats and travel to the project site where you will work alongside the local community before returning to our base in the afternoon.
Accommodation is in a basic dormitory setting with communal living, kitchen and work areas.
Use your free weekends to scuba dive, snorkel, kayak, island hop and generally explore your fascinating surroundings and the Fijian culture.
During the dry season, water shortages are common and severe. At times the project and your contribution will focus on the design, construction and installation of rainwater collection systems to address this problem.
A main focus of the current operations in the Yasawas 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.
Some other tasks and activities that you could be involved in may also 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