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.
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.
"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!"
What's Not Included
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 Not Included
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.
Dawasamu’s short, mid, and long-term objectives:
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 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 visualize 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 fulfill our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Dawasamu:
1. Improving waste management in Dawasamu by developing community-based waste management solutions
2. Introducing and promoting the principles of WaSH in the Dawasamu District including First Aid
3. Create alternative livelihood projects which can help women generate income within the village
4. Improving English literacy levels and implementing holistic educational techniques into the learning environment
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 Not Included
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.
Program Manager Caqalai
Meet Claire, our Program Manager on our Caqalai Base in Fiji. Claire received her degree in agricultural and environmental sciences and is also an avid diver and marine conservationist.
She has lived and worked on various continents around the globe and has extensive experience in the diving industry.
While travelling Claire has come across earthquakes, cyclones, volcanoes and pirates!!! Talk about living on the edge! Working for GVI is an adventure in itself, luckily not the dangerous kind. She was first attracted by GVI because of our good reputation within the industry and she likes the fact that we employ, train and give back to the communities that we work in.
Meet Zara, our awesome Operations Manager here in Fiji. Zara started out as an eager education volunteer right here in Fiji back in 2014 and she was impressed by the stunning location in Fiji and GVI's volunteering ethos. She has been with us ever since and has worked her way up to Operations Manager, overseeing all the logistics on our base.
Zara is a water baby and she loves to get into the water for a dive/swim at any opportunity I can. As a GVI staff member in Fiji, she gets the opportunity to dive into the South Pacific paradise often. "When your job doesn’t feel like a job because you are getting the opportunity to do what you love is a blessing! GVI is a one big family based organisation and I appreciate working for a company who believes in working together with communities there is a grassroots non-hierarchy approach. This approach I believe is a fantastic way of successfully delivering volunteering projects."
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.''
Dane Lee Marx
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.
Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.
When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!