Dive in crystal blue water and discover the rich biodiversity of the South Pacific while assisting with research which will aid the local management of marine protected areas. Contribute to national efforts to conserve Fiji’s delicate coral reefs and marine ecosystems while living on the research base on the stunning Caqalai Island. Travel to idyllic traditional Fijian villages; gain your PADI Advanced Open Water qualification and contribute towards tangible, long-term community benefits.
UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Travel to the clear blue waters of the South Pacific Ocean, learn or improve your diving in one of the world’s most beautiful tropical countries and discover an incredible underwater environment.
Join an international team of volunteers on this marine conservation expedition which focuses on the collection of important marine inventory data from underwater research dives. This research is then made available to local communities and organisations to help better inform management decision making. The project is geared at providing long term benefits to the local communities through strategies designed to help guarantee food security for future generations. Please note, this program offers durations up to 24 weeks.
Learning new scuba diving skills, conducting underwater surveys in the warm, turquoise waters of the Pacific, spending time getting to know the local community and their traditional villages, teaching children about environmental conservation during weekly school visits, assisting in the creation of coral farms, discover a myriad of fascinating marine creatures to study, enjoy island hopping, stunning remote island locations, scuba diving, snorkelling, traditional ceremonies, idyllic traditional Fijian villages, white beaches, climbing volcanic mountains, enjoying breathtaking scenery, cultural immersion in the Fijian way of life, learning to speak Fijian.
You will first complete an initial training phase where you will learn to accurately identify locally targeted fish, invertebrate or coral species. Training will involve snorkel and dive point outs with the staff, as well as learning benthic, fish, coral and invertebrate species.
Depending on weather conditions, we aim for everyone to have 1 or 2 dives/snorkels each day, 5 days a week, during which you will conduct underwater surveys after you complete your training. Besides diving, you should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, marine debris surveys and removal, environmental education session or alternative income training, depending on local and project needs. You will also be required to complete base duties.
You will stay on our program partners Caqalai Island base in basic dormitory accommodation with your fellow volunteers with a communal kitchen, living and work area, taking turns with base duties on a rotational basis.
Weekends are usually yours to rest up and relax, or perhaps even explore some of the surrounding area, all depending on the project needs and requirements.
Bring snacks to supplement diet
books/ipod for free time
bring an unlocked phone and buy a fijian sim card to stay in touch with home
expect basic island living!
Our program partner has partnered with local NGOs and organisations in order to identify the best ways to assist the community to conserve their marine resources. The following research priorities have been identified:
Data collection on targeted fish species
Habitat mapping for coral reefs and mangrove (Coral Reef and Mangrove Habitat mapping)
Development of an environmental education and awareness program for local schools and communities.
Development of terrestrial and marine environmental best practice on Caqalai Island
Our program partner works closely with the Fiji Department of Fisheries and the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network to ensure that the impact of this research and program remains is both relevant and useful for the wider community.
Caqalai’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 Caqalai:
1. PROTECTION and MONITORING- Establish locally managed marine areas with villages of Moturiki in keeping with community led management plans
2. EDUCATION- capacity building within key stakeholders to ensure strong environmental leadership in the future
3. LIVELIHOODS- Introduce methods of alternative livelhoodto generate incomefor local communities to reduce dependance on damage fisheries for income
4. RESILIENCE- Reduce the vulnerability of communities to the negative impacts of climate changethrough awareness and training in adaptation techniques and disaster preparedness
5. COLLABORATION – Encourage good governance, inter-organisational collaboration and inter-village cooperation
How this project makes a difference
The communities with which we work do not have access to the necessary resources to carry out regular data collection in their fishing grounds and there has been a significant detriment to coral and fish stocks due to natural disaster events and unsustainable fishing practice.
Data collected on our volunteer powered surveys is presented to the local community land owners along with alternative livelihood methods and management strategies to help local stakeholders to make informed decisions with regards to their vital marine resources and long term food security.
Volunteering with us 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 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.
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!
4 – 12 weeks
FJYW0298E Fiji Marine Conservation Expedition
Location: Australasia – Fiji – Caqalai
4 WEEKS $3,895
8 WEEKS $ 5595
12 WEEKS $7295
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