Public Health & Nutrition Volunteer Vanuatu

Volunteer Vanuatu

Travel with purpose and help combat malnutrition and public health issues in Vanuatu. For those with backgrounds or education in nutrition, holistic care, dietetics, nursing, physiotherapy, medicine and community health enjoy working in a team of like minded volunteers visiting authentic villages in Vanuatu to provide health assessments and related services. You'll have guidance from a qualified in country practitioner. A wonderful addition to any C.V. Applications open now. Apply today

Nutrition & Public Health Program

Program Fees

Whats Included

  • Support of in-country practitioner supervisor / coordinator
  • Support of a team (normally 4 to 8 volunteers per intake)
  • Arrival airport transfers
  • 1 day induction & cultural orientation
  • All ground transportation including island ferries (where applicable)
  • Accommodation – Home stays & resort rooms (sharing with other volunteers)
  • 3 quality meals per day (We cater to healthy diets!)
  • Project equipment and materials (eg. safety lancets, gloves, blood testing kits, pamphlets)
  • Kava donations for traditional village greetings (Offerings to village chief’s)
  • 24/7 in-country support & emergency assistance
  • Training & guidance from qualified local staff
  • Certificate of Completion

Whats Not Included

  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Airfares & visa fees
  • Additional tours, souvenirs, spending money
  • Some daily local transport (depending on program eg. $2 p/day)


Apply Now!

Current Intake Start Dates:

  • 03FEB19  – FULL (Try Samoa 18MAR19 intake!)
  • 21JUL19 – OPEN (6 spots left)
  • 17NOV19 – OPEN (8 spots left)

Background Information

The Pacific Island countries, including Vanuatu have some of the highest rates of diabetes in the entire world.   Results from health surveys indicate diabetes rates as high as 47% in certain communities, but on average between 15 – 25% of the population.   Some pacific island countries have the highest death rate from diabetes in the world.   With neighboring Australia at approx 5%, there is a significant need for nutritional education and healthcare support in Vanuatu.  

Obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are placing a huge social, economical and emotional load on the people of Vanuatu.   

IVI’s nutrition and public health outreach cater to students and graduates in the field of nutrition, dietetics, holistic healthcare, nursing, physiotherapy & medicine.   You’ll participate in an outreach program designed to provide free healthcare education for communities which generally lack access to healthcare services. 

Public Health & Nutrition Volunteer Vanuatu Program

Working alongside a qualified practitioner, the aim of the outreach project is health promotion & free assessments in villages, corporate businesses, schools & community centers to increase the knowledge about nutrition and the effect of physical activity in the prevention of obesity and development of NCD’s.

In teams of 4 to 8, you will perform health checks adding to the data captured from previous intakes and provide encouragement to reach health goals.  Monday will be orientation day in Port Villa.  The team will show you around including the local fruit market, walk through town – show banks, supermarket and teach some basic Bislama phrases.  

During the program, you may also be involved in preparing educational talks on various topics such as the dangers of sugar and other disease causing issues.  You may have the opportunity to conduct health screenings like blood pressure checks, blood glucose level tests and waist to hip ratios measurement. 

With support and assistance from the program coordinators, you will be assigned specific health cases and may be involved with but not limited to:

– Conducting individual and group consultations
– Remote island healthcare education

– Corporate health
– Children’s health & education
– Identifying protein deficiency among school kids
– Assisting in the prescription of natural protocols
– Providing educational assistance and local talks (if desired)
– Helping build nutrition and diabetes awareness campaigns
– Designing fitness and exercise programs
– Village exercise programs
– General healthy living programs.

Volunteers may also take part in presentations on exercise and living an active lifestyle, with topics such as healthy eating, sexual health and physical activity for school children.

Who Can Participate in the Outreach Program

Students studying in the discipline of health science, physiotherapy & related fields and qualified nurses, therapists, nutritionists, naturopaths, dietitians & allied health professionals.   A qualified practitioner will be available to support and guide you during the program.  Volunteers without qualifications in this field are still encouraged to apply and depending on your desire and experience, you may be accepted into the program.


Cover.jpg 300x225 - Public Health & Nutrition Volunteer VanuatuAccommodation is in a dedicated house very close to the beach!  Volunteers will share a bedroom with up to 2-4 persons per room (single gender rooms).   There is WiFi included in public areas, laundry facilities (at small additional fee), lockable rooms, hot showers, bed linen, mosquito protection and fans included.   Volunteers are requested to bring their own towel.    Living with other volunteers in a dormitory-style house is heaps of fun and a great way to meet like minded travelers.  The volunteer house is in close proximity to a basic supermarkets, ATM, fresh fruit and vegetable stands, petrol stations and bus stop.

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.


3 quality meals per day are included for the duration of the program.   We can cater to healthy diets too! 🙂  Meals will be authentic to Vanuatu mainly consisting of coconut based curries, dahl, fish, rice, fresh fruits and labob which is a local dessert.    A good water purifier exists at the center so you won’t need to buy water. 

Visa Requirements

It is the responsibility of all participants to obtain any necessary visas.  A standard tourist visa applies for most countries and allows you 30 days in the country.   This can be provided upon arrival into Vanuatu. 

Diet and Lifestyle Observations

  • Population of Vanuatu 280,000 and most of the population of Vanuatu is rural, although Port Vila and Luganville have sizable populations. Port Vila is the largest city and capital with a population of 45,000, accounting for 19% of the country’s total population.
  • Average income 24,000VUV to 30,000VUV p/month. To feed a family of 6 cost for food is 5000VUV p/week. Most families have on average 4 children.
  • Local foods consumed in high amounts – Breakfast – Bread/butter/jam/eggs/mayonnaise.
  • Lunch – Huge (OMG!) servings rice with fish, pork, chicken or beef and mashed Casava and cabbage salad (the salad is actually really good + reef fish yum!)
  • Dinner – repeat. Fruit/snacks – Coconuts, Pineapple, Papaya, Apple, Soursop, Watermelon, Peanuts, Banana chips (fried), Cassava chips (fried), Vanuatu Almonds (they are huge and they fry them in Veg oil and sugar), Bread with peanut batter and jam together. Vegetables in season I noted at market – Island cabbage, Cassava, Potato, Carrot, Lettuce, Eggplant and Green Beans.
  • Observations Diet and Lifestyle – Portions are at least 4 x the recommended size with rice 70% of weight on plate. The local women do not drive and catch the bus (minivans) and walk a lot. High % of women 30 years+ tend to be overweight, with large bloated stomachs (fat appeared to be visceral).
  • Traditional living arrangements in that Men provide income and many women stay at home to raise family and cook/clean, men and women drink a lot of coconut water and possibly not enough water given the climate. Unsure of contraceptive methods but most families have 4+ children.
  • Drink – Alcohol usually on weekend only due to cost, Lots of black tea with sugar and biscuits.
  • Gifts – Books, Toothbrushes, floss, paper, hand sanitiser (The local team have a no sweets/chocolate policy due to the excess sugar consumption).
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