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.
It is only through our collaboration with the communities that we can be successful on a large scale.
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.
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.
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 our program partner 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. We focus 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
Our program partner 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.
Volunteering with JCR 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 our program partner. 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.
It is only through our collaboration with the communities that we can be successful on a large scale.
Community Workshops -All our projects involve consultative and educational workshops with community members.
Waste Management Programme – Most villages in Fiji rely on burning or burying household waste as there are no waste disposal services available in such remote areas. The program has therefore designed and are constructing recycling points throughout the district for people to use as an alternative.
Kitchen Garden Workshop – Both men and women expressed an interest in bettering their understanding of how to grow particular foods to help feed their families.
Nutrition – Following on from the Kitchen Garden workshops, volunteers have also begun developing workshops focusing on nutrition.
Workshops still to be developed – Members of the community also expressed an interest in the following workshops, which have been tabled for future development including child development, climate change, plantation farming and small business skills. If you have expertise in any of these areas, or special knowledge, please let us know as we strive to utilise volunteers and maximise their effectiveness when on project.
In your down time you will be free to travel in the local area and you will be free on the weekends. In this time you could do day trips such as dolphin watching, visiting other islands, scuba diving, or relaxing in a near by resort. After your program there are countless attractions that can be reached after a day or two of travelling.
You could travel to the capital city of Suva, take a ferry to Taveuni – ‘the garden of Fiji’ or explore the interior of VitiLevu– the possibilities are endless!
2 – 12 weeks
Silana Village, Dawasamu
FJMO0409E Fiji Community Development Expedition (MO)
2 WEEKS $1,195
4 WEEKS $1,545
6 WEEKS $1,895
12 WEEKS $2,945
At JCR we have successfully been organising and sending young Australians on overseas placements for over 15 years. We think JCR has some great programs and we sincerely believe that cultural travel is a wonderful experience, an amazing learning curve and can help to positively prepare you for life’s rewards and challenges.
JCR have one goal and that is to make your volunteer experience the most amazing it can be. We work together to ensure that you are matched with the right program, we discuss your options and answer any questions you may have.
It is the reason JCR Volunteer overseas was created: to create lasting memories from amazing cultural exchanges.
Learn more about this volunteer program