Fiji is an archipelago of 330 tropical islands. Fiji is one of the most developed Pacific Island economies however, a chronic lack in investment and under-employment pose obstacles to sustainable and equitable economic growth in Fiji.
A great disparity exists between the working class communities of Fiji and the multi-national owned tourism resorts which represent approx 25% of Fiji’s Gross domestic product. Sadly, much of the wealth generated from this sector does not filter down to the local communities.
IVI have a well established program in Fiji build by local Fijian’s with in depth understanding of the local needs. We have a have a variety of skilled and non skilled volunteering options for anyone seeking to live like a local far away from the trendy monotonous tourist resorts.
Location of Volunteer Programs
Nadi is the main tourist hub with lots of back-packers places and night life. It’s also well known for for Denerau Marina where many large 5 star resorts are and western style shopping. Denerau is the gateway to the Fiji islands, which is the most popular choice for most holiday goers’ to Fiji. We’ll likely take you here and show you around as part of the orientation or if you’re heading out to the remote island teaching placement.
Lautoka, located 20 min north of Nadi, is a lovely and safe working class harbour city with many areas to explore (eg. hiking trails, mud pools etc). You will be spending time in the working class areas where the genuine needs exist.
Suva, the largest city in Fiji is located in the southeast coast of the island of Viti Levu and is a harbor city built on a peninsula reaching out into the sea. As the commercial hub of Fiji it’s not as touristy as the Nadi area and therefore you’re able to observe the authentic fiji lifestyle.
Sigatoka is noted as the ‘adventure capital of Fiji’ and is located about 1 hour from Suva and 1 hour from Nadi. It is known for it’s incredibly beautiful coast line, tourist beaches and resorts and heaps of activities from 4 wheel drive tours, shark feeding, surfing, rivers & waterfalls, golf etc and is home to the famous Bega lagoon and bega fire walkers.
Accommodation & Meals
We have a dedicated and experienced team on the ground and a large network of host families and ground operators in various parts of the country. Accommodation and Meals are included for the duration of your volunteer program. 3 meals a day on weekdays and 2 meals a day on weekends will be provided for the duration of your placement. Food will be mainly western style cuisine with a Fijian and Indian influence.
IVI’s Fiji Placements are broken into 2 types being Home Stays or Volunteer Centers:
Our Home Stay placements are mainly located in Lautoka and Nadi and surrounding islands & villages. Home Stays are a beautiful and affordable way to experience the authentic way of life. We guarantee friendly, safe and comfortable surroundings where you’ll be supported as much or as little as you need. If you’re concerned about living in someone else’s house, don’t worry! There will be other volunteers there with you (normally around 2 – 4 p/house). Read below for more info.
Our Volunteer House placements are located in both Suva and Sigatoka. The Volunteer Houses are more social experiences and dedicated to those who want lots of social interaction with other volunteers.
Home Stays (Nadi, Lautoka & Islands)
Enjoy living like a Fiji local. You’ll have your own single room or twin share with another volunteer within private, clean and safe western style homes.
Each home stay varies but generally you’ll be with at least 2 – 4 other volunteers in the house. If you prefer a single room, please let us know in advance. We can cater to various needs. Our home stay families are awesome! So friendly, very relaxed and very well set-up for volunteer guests with separate living areas and comfortable amenities in western style houses. We’ve been working with our home stays for up to 20 years now so you can be assured it will be a great experience.
You will have a place to store your personal belongings, a private bathroom and toilet (where possible – not all placements include this), a fan and single mattress or double/queen if sharing with your partner.
Internet is usually not included with most volunteers purchasing a temporary 3G plan for their own device. We recommend digicel which has a shop at Nadi airport where you can pay FJD $7 per week which includes 7GB per week of data with unused data rolling over to each week, so it’s super cheap! Also digicel does free digicel to digicel messages and calls which is great for communicating with other volunteers when you’re out and about.
Meals are served at your home stay each day or at the project site. Our host families take great satisfaction in feeding you well! Fijian portions tend to be very generous and you’ll have a good variety of options if staying on the mainland. Typical meals are as follows:
Breakfast – Wheatbix, cornflakes, bread, butter, tea, coffee, milo etc. Volunteers can choose to have eggs if they wish.
Lunch – Volunteers to prepare their own sandwich. Tuna, cold meat, salad, eggs. Some prefer to take left over dinner from the night before for lunch.
Dinner – Cooked meal (eg. stews, soups, curries, fish, roast vegetables, taro, sweet potato, bread, rice etc. Our host families are also fantastic cooks and love cooking for you!
Volunteer Centers (Sigatoka & Suva)
Accommodation is in a dedicated house for volunteers with shared bedrooms of 3-6 persons per room (single gender rooms) and normally 1 bathroom per room.
Living with other volunteers in a dormitory-style house is heaps of fun and a great way to meet like minded travelers. The volunteer houses are in close proximity to a basic supermarkets, ATM, fresh fruit and vegetable stands, petrol stations and bus stop.
The houses can accommodate up to 20 volunteers at a time. The bathrooms are shared with western style toilets and hot showers. The accommodation is equipped with free Wi-Fi which volunteers are able to use, but please note the speeds can vary depending on how many volunteers are using it. You may be best to purchase a 3G plan 7GB for FJ$7 fro digicel. Laundry services are available for a small fee. Bed linen, fans and mosquito protection are all provided. We recommend volunteers bring their own towel. The rooms are lockable and there are also safety deposit boxes available.
For couples or those wanting more privacy, private rooms in the volunteer house are available for an additional US$150 per week, subject to availability.
Meals are served at the volunteer house 3 times per day during the week; breakfast and dinner only are served during the weekends. There is also filtered water available at the volunteer center. Bottled water is readily available in Fiji. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you. You will be expected to clean up after yourself, and to play your part to keep the accommodation neat and tidy.
24/7 Program Support
Throughout your volunteer in fiji placement, you will have the support and guidance of our dedicated IVI Fiji Managers, local ground operators and host families. They will provide you with competent assistance and in depth knowledge about Fiji. There goal is to ensure you’ve had an unforgettable experience. We will also provide you with a 24 hour emergency telephone number so that you can always reach a member of our ground operator team in the event of an emergency.
The Fijian people have a strong sense of their own culture and customs and highly developed sense of honor. The locals are generally very friendly and welcoming. Within Fijian villages, tribal alliances are still intact and money does not play a significant role in their daily lives. Visitors are not always accustomed to the slow work pace (they call it “Fiji time”). Do not worry too much about this, just go with the flow!
The Home Stay placements involve a simple and effective orientation which includes a tour of the local area and an overview of the project including any necessary permits, paperwork and logistics. In most cases you will have 1 to 2 days to ease your way into the culture and settle into your new surrounds before commencing in your designated program.
The Volunteer Center placements also have a 1 day orientation or you can choose to do a dedicated orientation week to get you familiar with the Fijian culture. Orientation is hosted in either Suva or Sigatoka depending on where you’ve chosen to stay. It begins on the first Monday morning of your volunteer program and includes an Introduction to Fiji, culture and customs, local excursions, cooking and art, rules and expectations, safety, introduction to the project and placement.
For home stay placements, arrival and departure airport transfers are included in the cost of your volunteer program for a pick-up from Nadi to the Nadi / Lautoka areas. Transportation to/from your home stay to the placement each day is generally your responsibility, however your home stay family will assist you and ensure you receive local rates for any costs involved. We’ll place you as close as possible to the placement to limit daily travel times. Expect between 5-30 min each way for a small local transport fee (approx $2 p/day). Travelling by bus in Fiji is an experience of it’s own! 🙂
For volunteer center placements, an arrival airport transfer from Nadi to Sigatoka or Suva is included for pick-ups on Sundays only. If arriving on other days, you’ll need to make your own way to the placement. If arriving on the Saturday, you’ll need to book an extra nights accommodation in advance at a cost of US$50 p/night including meals. Travel time by bus between Nadi and Suva is approx 3-4 hours, or 2 hours to Sigatoka. Local travel to the projects each day is included it the cost of the program fee.
Requirements & Expectations
You are welcome to come with a group, with a friend, with family or own your own. If you are coming on your own don’t worry you will meet plenty of like minded volunteers! IVI sends approx 20-50 volunteers to Fiji each month. Generally, volunteers must be 18 years of age, however we can cater to as young as 16 years old depending on the application. There is no upper age limit. Volunteering is becoming increasingly popular with many mature guests, some of retirement age looking to give back to developing communities.
Our programs are designed for proactive individuals with a mindset of supporting the less fortunate. The more you put in, the more you will get out. A high degree of patience and understanding is also necessary as it’s likely that conditions will be very different to your home country. Fijian’s are known for being very laid back!
It is important for the volunteers to realize that due to the nature of the Fijian culture (and developing country), things change very quickly and without much notice. Because of this it is very important for volunteers to be flexible and adaptable to their schedule.
Weekends & Extra Tours
Weekends are always free for relaxing or sightseeing of your choice. Our ground operators will help you organize additional trips with special (non tourist) rates which can be paid directly in local currency.
Volunteers based in Nadi & Lautoka can choose from a wide variety of options with Nadi being the main tourist hub for Fiji and the Fijian Islands.
Volunteers based in Sigatoka can spend the weekends exploring Suva, visiting Colo-I-Suva or Mosquito Island and searching the craft and produce markets in Suva’s town centre. From Pacific Harbour you can organize activities, such as kayaking, white-water rafting, shark feeding, jet ski tours, zip lining and diving.
School Terms 2019
Holiday 22APR – 03MAY (2 weeks)
Term 2 06MAY – 09AUG (14 weeks)
Term 3 26AUG – 22NOV (14 weeks)
GoGetFunding is a Crowd funding site which offers a simple and professional online fundraising solution to help fund a portion of your trip or even a donation toward your chosen project. Simply create a fundraising page to share your story via social media platforms such as facebook & twitter.
Some of our past volunteers have raised over $2000+! Why not give it a try? If you use the above link, our logo will be displayed in your profile to help us share our message through your social network community.
Volunteer in Fiji Program Fees
- Airport Transfers (Nadi)
- Food (Quality homestyle Fijian cuisine)
- Accommodation (Home stay – single room or Volunteer Centre – Dorm style)
- Training & Supervision as required
- Use of necessary equipment incl program materials
- 24/7 emergency assistance, volunteer support, local guiding and advice
- Certificate of Completion
- Comprehensive project guide
- Discounted travel deals & flight layby options!
What’s Not Iincluded
- Travel Insurance (Mandatory)
- Airfares & Visa fees
- Tours, Souvenirs, Spending Money
- Some daily local transport (depending on program eg. $2 p/day
- Ferry transfers (unless specific in project outline)
New Partnership ‘Travelee’
Australian Survivor finalists Elena Rowland & Lee Carseldine have formed an inspiring organisation called Travelee and teemed up with IVI. Travelee are helping connect people to adventurous travel with purpose.
El has an incredible story about overcoming depression through perseverance, strength and hope. El visited the woman & children’s commune project in Fiji during Christmas 2017 to share her story with the 400 residents of the community and managed to raise $3000 providing 1 year’s rent for 10 of the most deserving woman of the commune. READ ABOUT EL’s VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE