Global Volunteer Network (GVN)

Fully Verified What's this?
8.4 / 10 after 80 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) offers volunteer service opportunities in community projects around the world.  At GVN we align with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', so we work with local community organizations in each country.  We provide a wealth of experience, resources and dedication to both our volunteers and partners.

Submit a review

I spent six weeks in Uganda volunteering with the Public Health Improvement project. I was based in Mukono and each week travelled out to different villages to participate in some public health initiatives.

The first village, Kitale, we visited a Primary School specifically for children who are orphans. We were working right in the classroom, and teaching the students about sex education, as well as sanitation. We spent hours playing in the field - I taught them how to play Frisbee, a popular Canadian game where you throw a disc through the air, and the kids ended up playing better than I did!

The second village, Bugadu, was one of my favorites. We visited local homes and took surveys on the knowledge villagers had regarding their own public health - birth control, family planning, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS awareness, healthy eating, water sanitation, etc. In this village, we spoke with Village Action Team members, a group of women who diligently work together to empower each other economically - by growing corn, as well as making beads to sell. During a meeting in this village which was being conducted in Luganda, which I did not understand, I spent four hours just playing with the kids. Laughing, and dancing. Throwing balls around and again, playing Frisbee. It was one of the high lights of my trip. Just the kids and I.

In Kasana, the third village, FREDA Africa was just visiting for the first time. We did a lot of initial work by consulting with individuals who were extremely passionate about the welfare of their home. This trip was full of meetings. By the time we were set to leave, we had plans to set up a water sanitation system, because the villagers were fetching their water from a mud hole as well as the Nile, neither of which are clean water sources.

There was one week that we stayed based in Mukono. During this week, we went to local high school and told them about FREDA Club. FREDA Club is when these youth take the initiative to be public health leaders within their school and community.

I loved being in Uganda. The GVN partner and her team were incredible, and I have kept in touch with all of them. Weekends were for free time, and there was tons of things to do in the surrounding areas of Kampala, Mukono, and Jinja, as well as the options of travelling to Northern or Western Uganda.

I've had a once in a lifetime experience, and I have plans to go back some day.

Program:
Location:
Posted: May 7, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
22

I participated in the Be The Change program in Taupo, New Zealand in 2009 and it was a life changing experience.

The program is set up to empower those who want to make a difference in the world by giving them the tools and confidence to step out of their comfort zone and take action.

You come out of this experience knowing that one person can promote change and the GVN team is there to help you with your ideas and any obstacles you might encounter. Or, if you don't come with a specific goal in mind, they help you discover your passion and guide you as you explore possibilities.

The participants in our group came from more than 8 different countries and we became a family during the week. We not only learned together, we laughed and cried together (and especially inspired each other).

Throughout the week we learned the basics of what it takes to get your project off the ground, and how to advertise/promote your ideas using social media. We also had time for fun as we explored the local culture.

I left the workshop, not only inspired to "Be the Change" but as a changed person with friends from all corners of the world.

Since 2009, I have participated in Distribution Trips in Kenya (2011) and Peru (2012) and both experiences were equally rewarding.

Program:
Location:
Posted: May 7, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
By: Tinah
Age:
57

The personnel at the host agency in Guatemala were very friendly and helpful. I was fortunate to live in Antigua, a well-preserved colonial city west of the capital where the majority of the majestic churches were never re-built following earthquakes in the 1700s and survive in their destroyed state. In the mornings I took part in an advanced Spanish-language class with a great teacher. We spent our class time conversing only in Spanish since the teacher had limited knowledge of English. She gently corrected my errors in grammar to make my Spanish more polished.
Shortly after 12 noon I would take a bus to an indigenous village several kilometers away to work with children at an after-school child care program. What a delight it was to work with mainly 3rd grade students and also teaching English to a group of 6th graders. It's amazing how quickly the students became attached to me, and me to them. At the end of my month there, the directors of the after-care program had a going away party, and there was not a shortage of tears. With the ease of email, we are able to continue to communicate. Being retired, I am always ready to help somewhere, and would not hesitate to sign up again for this programme.

Program:
Location:
Posted: May 6, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8
Age:
68

Honestly it was the most beautiful experience in my life. From the day I apply through GVN till I get the orientation in Rwanda. Everything went well. All of them were very organized.

Rwanda is a beautiful country, clean, green, eco-friendly, and safe!

People are multilingual. A lot of them speak English, French, and Kinyarwanda.

Definitely you won't regret!

Program:
Location:
Posted: May 6, 2013
Overall:
Support:
Value:
By: Leandro
Age:
37

My family spent two weeks in the San Cristobal program at the end of 2011. Most people who visit the Galapagos are on highly structured tours, whisked from place to place, and carefully shepherded by guides. As volunteers, we had a very different experience, seeing things that most tourists don't.

The station is located at high elevation on San Cristobal, a much cooler, cloudier, and verdant area than the hot arid coasts. They support a very wide variety of efforts, mainly centered around supporting native plant life and encouraging local people to support conservation. We spent a lot of time doing greenhouse work, sorting and planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, and moving plants around from sun to shade or vice versa. We also spent time on removing non-native plants, especially Mora (Blackberries), which has run wild.

Perhaps the most eye-opening day for me was spent at a neighboring farm 20 minutes down the road. There our task was clearing one of the farmer's fields that had become overgrown with Mora, but what struck me was seeing up close how local subsistence farmers live, raising all their own food (pigs and chickens running around the yard, and a few cows for milk), and living in a house they constructed themselves of local materials. For years I'd heard the Galapagos described as pristine and mostly untouched, but it's important to learn that people have lived there for a long time, still live there now, and are an important part of the story.

Other work we did included tasks in support of the station, such as collecting fruit from the surrounding forest, helping prepare meals, and even hauling lumber out of the forest for construction. (When they need wood, they cut down a non-native tree and turn it into boards by hand.)

The work is 5 days/week, with weekends off, so most people head into town on the weekends to enjoy the beaches, snorkeling/diving, restaurants, and tours. The station is also flexible if you want more time off, for doing a multi-day island tour, for example.

The station can accommodate up to 50 volunteers, though we were there at a very quiet time with around 15, and every few days people would arrive or depart. Most of the volunteers are in their 20s; as a family we comprised both the youngest and oldest people there. Our youngest, then 9 years old, could not officially be a volunteer (we had to assume responsibility for her), but they were quite good about finding tasks where she could contribute as well.
On the whole this was a great experience. We were able to see a very different side of the Galapagos from what most tourists see, and also contribute toward improving the islands for everyone.

The people at GVN were quite good at getting us prepared, making sure we had the right equipment (no dark clothes or the bugs will eat you alive!), helping us plan the itinerary (getting to the Galapagos can be complicated, you have to go through mainland Ecuador and there are often weather delays), and helping us be ready for the conditions at the station. We were quite happy with their support.

Program:
Location:
Posted: May 3, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
8
By: Eben
Age:
46

Pages