Volunteer opportunity posted by: Vinaka Fiji
Posted on: December 11, 2012
The Vinaka Fiji Trust was established in 2010 to formalise and further the work and economic assistance provided by the owners of Awesome Adventures Fiji to the people of the Yasawa Islands Region.
The Vinaka Fiji Volunteer program aims to improve the provision of basic needs and amenities, often taken for granted in modern society, yet missing from village life in the Yasawas. It seeks to do this both through direct aid and by acting as a facilitator, bringing those who can help - companies, government, aid agencies and individuals together with the landowners and residents.
The key areas of focus for Vinaka Fiji are fresh water, nutrition, education, power, marine and environment.
Specifically this includes supporting villages with:
Vinaka Fiji Volunteer programs:
Schools in the Yasawas are remote, under-resourced and the teacher to student ratio is extremely high. Work with local teachers to help school children develop their sport and play as well as teach extra curricular activities and skills. Vinaka Fiji supports both primary and secondary schools as well as some kindergartens.
2) Sustainable Communities
Assist in critical areas including securing fresh water, resource management, environmental initiatives, sustainable agriculture practices and assisting in the set up of micro enterprises. This is a highly diverse and rewarding program.
3) Marine Research and Conservation
This program involves gathering, collating and submitting important marine data. There is a strong focus on developing a finer appreciation and better management of the sea as a resource for villages. Full training and certification courses are available.
Become part of a Fiji village community and work alongside local people on a range of community projects. The projects are focused on improving basic living conditions and aimed at achieving sustainability. This program assists in several critical initiatives including developments to improve access to sufficient fresh water through rainwater harvesting solutions, education of communities in resource management, environmental initiatives, sustainable agriculture practices and assisting in the set up of micro enterprises. The goals and priorities of this program are assessed regularly and set in conjunction with village community consultation and the resources available.
Many villages in the Yasawa Islands do not have access to a constant supply of fresh water and lack sustainable sources of income in part due to this fact. Volunteers help with this initiative through planning, hands on construction of rainwater collection systems, water capacity management, tracking and education. In addition we establish water management committees in each village so after a project is completed they are left with the responsibility for ongoing management of the new infrastructure and supply.
How you'll make a difference:
One of our primary goals is to secure a fresh water supply for all 27 villages in this region. This is being accomplished through construction projects and local education. Seasonal rainfall and a lack of natural reservoirs are responsible for drinking water shortages and we aim to implement and promote alternative water sources and income generation initiatives. Our goal is aligned to the World Health Organizations Millennium Development Goal of 'all people having access to 5 liters of drinking water per person per day'.
As a volunteer, you'll also be helping to construct vegetable gardens, assisting in introducing diversity in crop planting, and building an awareness of the need for crop rotation. You'll also be assisting in establishing chicken coops in the villages with a view to egg production supplementing the diets of the villagers, and perhaps increasing production with a view to selling eggs to the local resorts. Its about working towards sustainability.
Although volunteer programs are available from 1 week, we strongly suggest you consider at least 2 weeks in the field. The longer you spend volunteering, the more value you add and greater the benefit for communities in the Yasawa Islands.
What's not included:
What to expect:
All Vinaka Fiji Volunteer programs are based on a Saturday to Saturday week-long stay, with each separate program operating Monday to Friday in the schools and villages. Saturday and Sunday are spent at leisure. A typical day will begin with an early breakfast at around 6.30am, followed by a 30 to 60 minute Longboat transfer from the Resort Base to the schools and villages where you'll be working. Lunch is either provided by the village or taken with you from Base, depending on the day's activities. You will generally depart the villages and schools heading for 'home' around 3.00pm in the afternoon, in time to have a shower and attend a debriefing on the days achievements and planning for the next day, before you enjoy an evening meal with other volunteers and resort guests from around 7pm.
Saturdays and Sundays are for leisure and the Yasawa's many charms provide a multitude of opportunities to experience the culture and traditional ceremonies at Fijian villages, dive or snorkel the beautiful reefs in stunning remote island locations, relax and enjoy tropical white sandy beaches, explore caves and bushwalking, climbing volcanic mountains or cruising to nearby islands. the list is endless and allows you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Fijian way of life. Sunday is typically a "day of rest" in Fiji so supervised activities are limited, but volunteers are always welcome to attend the traditional Village Church Service - generally a very moving experience.
Where you'll be based:
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more stunning location to work, in terms of both the scenery and the people you'll be living with. The Yasawa villagers are known for their ear-to-ear smiles, their cheerful 'Bula' welcome and their warm, friendly nature.
One of Fiji's most stunning regions, and where the Vinaka Fiji Volunteering Programs are based, are the remote Yasawa Islands group consists of a chain of 20 ancient volcanic islands. Four of these islands have dramatic elevations with summits just short of 600 metres above sea level. The pristine white sandy beaches and dramatic monoliths surrounded by crystal-clear lagoons provide a beautiful environment in which to relax or enjoy the many activities on offer.
Where you stay:
Standard accommodation in the Yasawas is generally in either a dorm or sharing a bure (pronounced "boo-ray"). A bure is a traditional Fijian wood and straw house. Traditionally bures were houses where adult Fijiian men would socialize, eat and sleep - while families lived in a house known as a Vale. These days, bure is a term often associated with Fijiian holiday cabins, which are modeled on the basic shape of a traditional bure and built with materials that pay homage to the traditional buildings.
You will stay at Barefoot Island Lodge.
This resort at spectacular Drawaqa Island lies in a pristine location between two beaches. One of the beaches overlooks the lagoon where the awe inspiring manta rays come to feed each day. Much of the surrounding waters of the island have been declared a Marine Reserve.
The standard Double/Twin Bures and Dorms (just 4 per room) are set amongst mature trees just back from the beach with a central facilities area for bathrooms. The Deluxe Bures are safari tent style with a full opening wall and deck toward the beach and an ensuite bathroom with outside shower.
The resorts new owners have a strong commitment to the environment both on land and in the ocean. Their background is in diving and they have undertaken a lot of research and conservation work in Fiji and Australia. There is a Marine Biologist at the resort to provide in depth interpretation and information.
There is excellent snorkelling straight off the beach including some great drift snorkels. An experienced dive team are also there to take you on some of the most awesome dive experiences you'll experience in Fiji. The resort offers a relaxed nature based experience in a location you'll never get tired of photographing.
All rooms are serviced daily with staff making your bed, sweeping out your bure and replenishing water in your foot bowl. Bed linen is provided however, you will need to bring all other linen including towels and toiletries. There is a basic laundry service available for a small fee.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are included in your package costs, with the resort offering a good variety of simple fare. Also available at the resort for purchase is a small range of snacks, soft drinks and alcohol. With regards to alcohol we ask you to treat this with respect so that it does not inhibit your participation on the programs. The Program Managers have the right to refuse the supply of alcohol to any volunteer and or to deny participation in the work program if they feel this is at odds with the program or posing a risk.
We will do our best to work with any dietary requirements you have, but please check this prior to making bookings as some resources can be limited in the remote locations we work in!
Visit Vinaka Fiji website and fill out the application form: http://www.vinakafiji.com.fj/volunteering-application