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Alternative Livelihoods in Fiji

Assist with a variety of of community development initiatives in the town of Dawasamu, with the possibility to also help develop alternative livelihood strategies.


Program Information

Participants will get a chance to work in traditional villages along the coast of Fiji, where they will they assist the local communities in various community initiatives. Depending on the needs of the community at that time, you may also have the opportunity to help in developing alternative income generation initiatives. All of our efforts aim to make a sustainable long-term difference, with the opportunity to impact some of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

Participants will be welcomed in the Dawasamu district where our base for this program is situated. Once you arrive at base camp you will experience true Fijian hospitality!

You will team up with other international participants to contribute to community development initiatives and, possibly the opportunity to assist with alternative income generation strategies for members of local communities. Your tasks may include working with the locals in assessing the needs of the village, monitoring waste management systems and creating recycling depots, to name just a few.

Before initiating any projects research is conducted and community groups and leaders are consulted to determine the relevant issues that need to be addressed. Participants work on various different projects depending on when they join the program. If there is a need at that time, you may also have the opportunity to work with the villagers on alternate ways to generate income.

Highlights include:
- Taking part in a range of activities ranging from working with community members and local village groups, researching and exploring new initiatives and projects, supporting a range of projects relating to developing alternative livelihood strategies, interacting with villagers, all while making lifelong friends from a range of cultural and geographical backgrounds.
- Participants will learn all about traditional Fijian villages, becoming immersed in the local way of life, which is not only vastly different to living in a mainstream city, but rather alluring, and many of our participants dream of staying in Dawasamu long after the project comes to completion.
- There are many stunning locations as a part of weekend (or post-project) side-trips, that can be arranged. These including scuba diving, dolphin watching, hiking, snorkeling and even taking part in Fijian language lessons wherever possible.

Program Details

Project Life

A typical day on program will normally start quite early in the morning to prepare for the day ahead. You will get involved in a daily review of projects, help to prioritise what has to be done on the project site.

From Monday to Friday you will be participating in the program, with weekends free to explore as you wish!

Accommodation during your stay includes basic dormitory style rooms, with a communal kitchen, work area and general living space. The team likes to eat together in the evenings, sharing stories about experiences from the day, as well as learning more about each other and the various countries the various participants have travelled from. Meals are cooked on a rotational basis by teams, which will be communicated as soon as you arrive on base for your introductory training.

Project Details

This program works to assist villagers in creating systems to address areas such as waste management and recycling. There may also be the opportunity, depending on the needs of the community at that time, to assist them with learning how to adapt their livelihoods in response to the changing pressures on traditional life, as a result of ongoing 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 alternative options for income generation.

In this way, participants collaborate with us to genuinely make a positive contribution to both the landscape and ecosystem in the region.

Participants will effectively help to:
- Research,
- Support,
- Create, and
- Maintain community development initiatives and the possibility to work on income generating initiatives for the local community.

Some tasks and activities may include:

- Assisting in creating handicrafts made from recycled materials.
- Researching new project development possibilities, determining where there is a need and if the community can do anything to supply in this need.
- Identifying and supporting access to new markets, like in neighbouring tourist areas.
- Developing vegetable garden projects

You will also assist in range of community initiatives, these may include light construction, women’s empowerment, education enrichment, and community workshops and presentations.

Dawasamu has a host of short, mid and long term objectives, which will be outlined below:
Firstly, it is important to note that all of GVI’s 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 SDG’s 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.

When you arrive on base, an important part of your orientation will be around the history of and importance of the UN SDG’s. You will learn about the specific goals relating to the initiatives in Dawasamu, including No Poverty, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water & Sanitation, and Responsible Consumption & Production. Our goal is for you to learn as much about these as possible in order for you to continue to act as active global citizens once you head back home, helping to fulfill our long standing mission of building a global network of individuals who are united by a passion to make a difference.

In terms of specific objectives in Dawasamu, the following are important to consider:
- Improving waste management in the area by developing community-based waste management solutions;
- Introducing and promoting the principles of WASH in the Dawasamu District, also including first aid;
- Creating alternative livelihood projects which can help women generate income within the village; as well as
- Improving English literacy levels and implementing holistic educational techniques into the learning environment.

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.


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.

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.


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 conduct, 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.


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)

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.


Support

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.


Safety

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. Our minimum staff to participant ratio 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

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.


The Team

Claire Ogg

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.

Zara Roche

Operations Manager
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."

Michele Comber

Program 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.''

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.

Shayle Havemann

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!

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  • 2020

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Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Herritage, 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.
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.

live base updates

Follow GVI Volunteer-In-Dawasamu'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.
 
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