Volunteering

Uplift. Uphold. Upskill.

Women’s Empowerment Project in Nepal

Contribute to sustainable and long-term women’s empowerment initiatives in Nepal.

Durations: 1 - 12 weeks
Fieldwork hours35 hrs of fieldwork per week
Participant ratio1:6 staff to participant ratio
GVI experiencesIncludes GVI Experiences

Program information

Contribute to Gender Equality, the 5th Sustainable Development Goal set by the United Nations,  in Nepal’s communities of Pokhara. Learn about the social issues faced by women around the world and those that are unique to Nepal and Southeast Asia.

There’s no better time than now. Make it happen!

Up to 20% off when you book and pay by 30 June
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Travel flexibility. Transfer for free up to 45 days before travel. Because life happens. Terms and conditions apply.
Overview
Dates & Prices
Itinerary
What's Included
Life On Base
Experiences
New
Free time & cultural immersion
Speak to alumni
MEET THE TEAM
Parent Info
Arrivals &
Flights
Your Impact
publications
Our Ethics
Program ethics
Qualifications & Training Options
Support & Safety

Program overview

An increase in gender equality is linked to upward trends in a range of important sustainable development metrics like an increase in national income and fewer illnesses in mothers and young children. You can contribute to some of these positive developmental impacts by volunteering with GVI on women’s empowerment projects in Nepal. 

Volunteers might assist with conducting literacy and numeracy classes with both girls and women, hosting vocational skill workshops with women, and facilitating discussions in local communities on women’s and child health. We also work on creating awareness around human rights violations.

Throughout your time on the program you will share your living quarters, owned by a Nepali family, with participants from around the world providing a truly immersive cultural experience. The house overlooks Pokhara’s Phewa Lake and the Annapurna mountains. Project work is carried out during office hours on weekdays. Evenings and weekends are yours to explore Pokhara with new friends made on the project. 

Highlights

Empower women
Empower women
Contribute to UN SDG 5: Gender Equality by running workshops and classes to empower, support and equip local women and girls.
Enjoy spectacular scenery
Enjoy spectacular scenery
Live like a local in homestay-style accommodation in Pokhara’s lakeside district with scenic views of Phewa Lake and the majestic Annapurna mountain range.
Get immersed in the community
Get immersed in the community
Don’t just travel like a tourist. Become part of the local community and culture to experience a unique way of living – authentically.
Contribute to enduring impact
Contribute to enduring impact
Support and empower ongoing community development projects on the ground that are led by inspiring local NGOs.
Join locally-led initiatives
Join locally-led initiatives
Partner with social impact projects that are owned and led by local organisations who guide initiatives according to community priorities.
Use your skills for good
Use your skills for good
Your unique expertise, skills and interests are matched to relevant community projects that address specific challenges.
Make friends for life
Make friends for life
Share meaningful experiences with like-minded, passionate changemakers from all over the globe.
Enjoy a hassle-free, safe trip
Enjoy a hassle-free, safe trip
With expert local staff, excellent reviews and 24/7 support at every step – you can relax and enjoy the experience stress-free.

Activities

Some of the example typical activities you could participate in on this program.

Women’s empowerment training
Women’s empowerment training
Receive expert training about the local women’s empowerment project objectives and procedures, the local culture, and how to plan and evaluate community projects.
Lead women’s empowerment workshops
Lead women’s empowerment workshops
Facilitate interactive sessions with local women to teach empowering skills such as conversational English, preventative healthcare workshops, resume writing, as well as knitting and sewing classes.
Contribute to local community work
Contribute to local community work
Depending on the needs of the community, you’ll lend a hand to support a variety of project work such as teaching, childcare, women’s empowerment and healthcare.
Gain relevant global skills
Gain relevant global skills
See the world from a different perspective by living in a new culture, and working with a diverse group of people from all over the world.
Personal development
Personal development
Develop self-awareness, leadership, resilience and confidence, with support and advice from experienced GVI staff members.
Free time
Free time
In your free time on the weekend, white water raft on the Trisuli River, paraglide, trek in the Annapurna range or go on a safari in Chitwan National Park.
Pursue individual passions
Pursue individual passions
Use your spare time during the week to self-reflect, raise awareness on community issues on social media, or fundraise for a local project.

Skills

  • Community empowerment
  • Cross-cultural communication
  • International sustainable development
  • Women's empowerment
  • Women's issues
  • Women's rights

Partners

Some of the partners we work with on base.

SASANE

Program details

Dates and prices

Select a start date:

That summer feeling!

Up to 20% off selected programs.

Book and pay by 30 June to claim offer.
Payment plans. Flexible payment plans allow you to pay in instalments.

What happens next?

Once you apply, a personal Enrollment Manager will be assigned to walk you through the rest of the process.

Itinerary

The following itinerary is an example of the activities and project work that participants might get involved in on this program. More specific details of the program are finalised several months before each start date.

07:00

Enjoy a morning walk along Lake Phewa. On clear days, you'll glimpse the majestic Macchupuchure mountain, also known as Fish Tail.

08:15

After a team breakfast prepared by our accommodation hosts, assist with base tasks and get ready for project work.

09:30

Project time! Support community initiatives in local schools or by working on construction projects.

12:30

Support small businesses with lunch at a local cafe. There’s a range of Nepali meals – momos being a favourite!

13:30

Project work continues after lunch. Also plan and prepare for the following day’s work.

14:30

Some participants help facilitate a Conversation Club for children in the local community.

17:00

Free time! Go for a walk, visit a local cafe, or catch up with family and friends back at home.

18:30

Share a meal, then reflect on the day's work and its impact on the local community during post-dinner sessions.

What’s included?

What's included
General
Food
Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)
Airport pick up (unless stated)
All project equipment
24-hour in-country support from local staff
24-hour emergency desk
GVI Experiences
Activities
Sustainable project work
Data collection and research
Pre-program training
Pre-departure webinar
Pre-departure training (online)
University of Richmond endorsed specialisation course
Welcome training
GVI welcome presentation
Health & safety
Local culture & environment
UN SDGs
Impact & ethics
Child protection
Certificates
Program certificate
University certificate – specialisation (University of Richmond)
What's excluded
Not included
Flights
International and domestic airport taxes
Medical and travel insurance
Visa costs
Police or background check
Personal items and toiletries
Additional drinks and gratuities

Life On Base

Home to the tallest mountain range in the world, and known internationally as the gateway to the Himalayas, the city of Pokhara is well-loved by hikers, paragliders, kayakers and other adventure enthusiasts. On a clear day, you have a spectacular view of the Annapurna Mountain range. When you hear people say that the fishtail is out, it means the sky is clear and the sacred Machhapuchhre Mountain (also known as Fishtail) is visible. Surrounded by snowy mountain peaks and built around the picturesque Phewa Tal (Phewa Lake), the city is a unique mix of natural beauty and urban convenience. 

Our community hub in Pokhara is situated in Lakeside, which is lined with great eateries serving local Nepali cuisine and international fare. You’ll also find shops selling local crafts unique to the region, such as intricately patterned pashmina shawls and vibrantly coloured Buddhist thangka paintings.

There are a range of shops offering rugs, bags and other items woven by local women, artwork (such as mandalas hand painted by local artists), trekking equipment, and many other locally produced goods. There are also many cafes where you can relax, catch up with new friends, or use the Wi-Fi to keep in touch with friends and family back home. 

There are many activities to enjoy which are close to base. From watching the sunset at Phewa Lake, which is less than 10 minutes’ walk from the base, to the Movie Garden where you can watch outdoor movies – with the backdrop of the lake and mountains. On a clear day, you realise the enormity of the Annapurna range as you see the snow covered mountains as you walk down the street.

The base has a relaxed, friendly and fun vibe. We have a shared undercover area outside where participants meet and mingle. There are tables and chairs on the two balconies where participants meet and play cards, plan lessons or chat about their day. Our dogs (Seti and Kali) are always happy to greet the participants at base. Our base is climate-friendly – solar panels are used for hot water, we recycle what we can, food scraps are collected by local farmers, and all foods are produced locally. 

In the mornings before work, there is time to walk or jog near the lake and enjoy the morning views. Participants often use this time to exercise or pick up a Himalayan coffee at one of the local cafes. In the afternoons, when participants have returned from a project and prepared for the next day, they tend to go out for a walk, enjoy a coffee or stay in touch with friends and family. This is also the time when participants plan their weekend adventures. After dinner, participants often stay around the base and play cards or other games such as Bhaga Chal, a traditional Nepalese game. After dinner many participants go out for a drink or a dessert at a local cafe and soak up the atmosphere. Or they might watch a movie at the Movie Garden. Once a week, there is a social night, which is either a quiz or another social activity at the base.

Accommodation

Our community hub in Pokhara provides homestay-style accommodation that gives participants the opportunity to gain first-hand insight into Nepali culture. You will be living in the...

Accommodation upgrades

You have the option to stay at the neighbouring hotel, which offers deluxe rooms featuring single or double beds, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, private bathrooms with round-the-clock ho...

Transportation

Some project work sites are a short walk from our accommodation. For others, transport is provided. We walk to and from some of our projects, an easy 30-minute walk each way. If th...

Communication

Wi-Fi is available at the base and at local cafes, allowing a chance to catch up on their social media and other communications. Nepali SIM cards are cheap and accessible. You can ...

Meals

The host family prepares breakfast and dinner. Breakfast includes cereals, toast and eggs. Pastries and pancakes are served on some days. Evening meals are usually the traditional ...

Climate

Nepal has six seasons rather than the four you may be used to.  Basanta Ritu is from mid-March to mid-May. This period is especially recommended for trekking. The weather is stable...

GVI experiences included in your program, at no extra cost.

Offered once a month, expand your adventure with GVI Experiences. These are just some of the activities offered on your program!

We want you to make the most of the chance to live in – and contribute towards –  the most diverse and unique wildernesses and communities on earth. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI that have been specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development.

Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.

Cook Nepali and Tibetan dumplings family-style
Cook Nepali and Tibetan dumplings family-style
Share customs and cuisine in a Tibetan community
Share customs and cuisine in a Tibetan community
Join a Monk chanting session
Join a Monk chanting session
Watch the sunrise at Sarangot viewpoint
Watch the sunrise at Sarangot viewpoint
Boat on Phewa Lake and learn local folklore
Boat on Phewa Lake and learn local folklore
Watch a movie in a natural amphitheatre
Watch a movie in a natural amphitheatre
Learn Buddhist principles at the World Peace Pagoda
Learn Buddhist principles at the World Peace Pagoda
Visit the International Mountain Museum
Visit the International Mountain Museum

Free time & cultural immersion

By joining a GVI program, you not only have the opportunity to work in collaboration with local communities, you also get the chance to explore the surrounding area or venture further to see what else the region has to offer on weekends.

Our field staff are a great source of advice on local travel options. Many participants choose to travel before or after their experience, solidifying friendships made on the program. 

Engaging with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in today’s world. Cultural immersion is encouraged, and there are many activities to enjoy during your free time or before and after your program. Please note, these suggestions aren’t included in the program fee and are at your own expense.

Festivals

February: The Tibetan New Year celebration, Lhosar, is held in February. Buddhist monasteries decorate their temples, known as stupas. In Tibetan communities, there is music and da...

Yoga and meditation

Yoga and meditation are a part of life for many Nepalis and the region is popular for those who seek to develop their skills and understanding of these practices. Nepal is one of t...

Cuisine

Possibly the most well-known Nepalese dish is dal bhat, a lentil stew served with rice. It is a smoky, spicy, wholesome dish which is also vegetarian, in keeping with the beliefs o...

Religion and spirituality

Most of Nepal’s population identifies with Hinduism, specifically the Shaivism sect. You will find many Hindu temples throughout Nepal. Nepal is also home to one of the most sacred...

Languages

Although Nepali is the official language of Nepal, over 100 languages are spoken throughout the country. Our participants have Nepali language lessons. During your time on the proj...

Weekend trips

Bandipur

Take a day or overnight trip to the village of Bandipur, a mountain village 2.5 hours from base. This small village caters well to visitors. Hike to a viewpoint, visit a temple, an...

Trekking

From one-day treks to more challenging three-day adventures, these can be booked through Skylark Himalayan Tours and Travels. Experienced guides, who are used to working with our G...

National parks

You can access several of Nepal’s most abundant wildlife parks via Pokhara. The Annapurna Conservation Area is home to Annapurna I, the 10th highest peak in the world, as well as e...

Local adventures

Paragliding

Paragliding is incredibly popular in Pokhara and one of the best ways to view the spectacular natural landscape. There are many tour operators in Pokhara where you can book a guide...

Mountain biking

One of the newer activities available in Nepal, mountain biking allows visitors to experience many of the same landscapes as those trekking through the Himalayas. Rent a bike and c...

Further travels

India, Bangladesh and Bhutan

While you are in the region, why not take the opportunity to explore some of the other nations bordering Nepal. Visit India’s capital, New Delhi, or Rikshikesh, the world’s yoga ca...

Kathmandu

Known for its historic religious sites, Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal (and its largest city) is a short flight from Pokhara. Visit the sacred stupas (domed structures ubiquitous ...

Himalayan treks and flights

Nepal is well-known as the location of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain above sea level. Mount Everest forms part of the Himalayan mountain range, which is home to some ...

Speak to alumni

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.

Get a first-hand perspective

Meet us

Meet the team

Get acquainted with the GVI Asia, Nepal, Pokhara family

Tara Prasad Gautam

Program Manager

Meet Tara, the Program Manager at GVI Nepal. Tara manages the hub and is responsible for programming, operations and participant experience.He is ...

Roshani Rai

Teaching Program Coordinator

Meet Roshani, who is one of our Program Coordinators in Pokhara, Nepal. She really enjoys working with and meeting new people through GVI. She is ...

Bribek Gurung

Program Officer

Introducing Bribek, who is our Program Officer in Pokhara, Nepal. He assists in the delivery of programs, organising and leading project activiti ...

Sita Thapa

Women's Empowerment Program Coordinator

Meet Sita, one of the Program Coordinators in Pokhara, Nepal. Sita facilitates day-to-day project work and engagement between commu ...

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.

GVI is a proud member of the Gap Year Association.

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.

Arrivals

We meet you at the airport.

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.

Flights

Find your flights with our partner, Student Universe.
Flights are not included in your program fee
Visit Student Universe

Please note that if you use this service delivered by Student Universe and / or if you buy your ticket through this portal you are agreeing to the Student Universe Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. Your agreement regarding flights will be between you and Student Universe or as per their terms and conditions.

As GVI is providing this portal as a service we are not responsible for the accuracy of this site.

We are also not responsible for any loss, damage (including loss of profits or consequential damages), injury, illness, harm or death in relation to your flight and travel arrangements.

Your Impact

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (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.

Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Early Childhood Development and Education

We support several educational facilities for young students in Nepal. GVI participants contribute by assisting with improving the infrastructure of learning environments, developing educational resources and assisting students to achieve their learning objectives. Subjects we support include English language learning, maths, science and computer skills. For younger students we facilitate arts and crafts lessons to promote fine motor skills development. Sports lessons help gross motor skills development, teamwork and a healthy lifestyle.

Preventative Healthcare

Our public health participants work with local partners in setting up and implementing health and hygiene practices across sites within the community. Based on the needs identified by the community, we assist children and adults through fun, informal educational workshops. GVI participants support health in Nepal by leading workshops on a wide range of topics, including WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene), road safety, puberty and menstruation, waste management and self-care.

Women’s Empowerment

Staff and participants who contribute to our women’s empowerment program in Nepal participate in a number of educational and professional development workshops. Lessons cover topics such as English language, maths, resume writing and alternative income generation. We support women’s health workshops and address issues like self-care and family health. We also work with local partners to raise awareness of issues such as human rights and human trafficking.

Women’s empowerment workshops provide a social outlet for many women and assist them in building a network within the community. The workshops also assist in developing English skills, which can open the door to potential work opportunities, particularly in tourism. These learning opportunities also build confidence in the women of the community.

With our partner SASANE, our participation in the Sisterhood of Survivors (SOS) programme gives women in the community an opportunity to practise their English and presentation skills. The funds we pay to participate go towards training women to become paralegals. We also facilitate workshops with the SASANE team that focus on English and personal development skills.

Construction 

Our construction volunteers assist with refurbishment and improvement projects within the community. We aim to improve the facilities for students and teachers. We particularly support semi-rural government schools just outside the city. They’re small, usually less than 100 students, and are frequently under-staffed and under-resourced. All work depends on the needs of the community at the time and can include: building desks for students and teachers, making storage units and shelves for the classroom, and developing waste disposal areas. Other examples include creating handwashing stations to support health programs and general classroom refurbishment.

We also aim to provide economic support. All construction resources are purchased locally and local people are employed to work with us. If we are working in a village, we purchase supplies from that village, where possible. To support the community businesses, we have our lunchtime meals in one of the village cafes.

All of these initiatives offer support to the community and local partners, and address many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 3: Health and Well-being, Goal 5: Gender Equality, and Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

Project objectives

 

GVI Pokhara long-term objectives:

1. Support students to reach learning goals appropriate to their age, grade level, or individual needs.

2. Support the community with improved facilities, with an emphasis on educational facilities.

3. Increase the knowledge and understanding of health in the community, with an emphasis on prevention, and developing health-related skills such as emergency first aid.

4. Increase professional and vocational skills held by women in the community, through education and empowerment.

Publications

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.

All of our publications are on Google Scholar
Google Scholar
View publications
GVI Nepal Pokhara Annual Report 2018
Annual Report
2018
Author(s)
Hannah Westcott

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

01

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.

02

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.

03

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.

04

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.

05

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.

06

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.

07

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.

08

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.

09

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.

10

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.

Program ethics

No entertainment-based activities

We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos

No orphaned animal sanctuaries

We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases

Guidelines for touching or movement restriction

When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Animal welfare guidelines

We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.

Local community empowerment

We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.

Learn more
No veterinary programs

We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.

Learn more
No orphanage programs

We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.

Learn more
Child and vulnerable adult protection policy

Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.

Learn more
No medical volunteering

We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.

Learn more
No disability support programs

We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.

Learn more

Training

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

Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically

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

Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals

Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.

Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact

Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.

For all participants at Pokhara

Community: Gender Equality

Learn about gender equality, skills development and examples of income-generating activities.

Community: Human Empowerment

Learn about our empowerment principles.

Introduction to local Hindu and Buddhist Culture

Take a short boat trip to Barahi temple at the centre of Phewa Lake, introducing you to Hindu culture. Then visit the Buddhist temple in Hemja, a Tibetian settlement.

Anti-human Trafficking Presentation

SASANE is a local anti-human trafficking organisation. Here participants attend a session educating them about human rights and the state of human trafficking. Participants also complete a cultural cooking lesson, learning how to make momos (Nepali dumplings) using traditional methods.

Nepali Language and Culture Lessons

Complete two lessons with a local Nepali teacher.

Certificates & qualifications

GVI Online Community Development course (optional)

In this course, you’ll explore the most common pitfalls of community development initiatives so that you can avoid them. You’ll also learn how to carry out community development work effectively and ethically and how local context impacts program development. After successfully completing the course, which you have the option of doing prior to your in-country program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Richmond.

This online course, valued at £295, is included in all volunteering programs. Full course details can be found here.

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.

Safety

View support and safety protocols

Support

View risk mitigation

Health and safety case studies

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 ...

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 ...

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 n...

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 arou...
Included in your program, at no extra cost.

Make the most of our unique programs with these exclusively curated local adventure and wellness experiences.

Offered once a month, expand your adventure with GVI Experiences. These are just some of the activities offered on your program!
Cook Nepali and Tibetan dumplings family-style
Cook Nepali and Tibetan dumplings family-style
Share customs and cuisine in a Tibetan community
Share customs and cuisine in a Tibetan community
Join a Monk chanting session
Join a Monk chanting session
Watch the sunrise at Sarangot viewpoint
Watch the sunrise at Sarangot viewpoint
Boat on Phewa Lake and learn local folklore
Boat on Phewa Lake and learn local folklore
Watch a movie in a natural amphitheatre
Watch a movie in a natural amphitheatre
Learn Buddhist principles at the World Peace Pagoda
Learn Buddhist principles at the World Peace Pagoda
Visit the International Mountain Museum
Visit the International Mountain Museum