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Why Choose GVN

International volunteering requires you to invest a considerable amount of time, funds and trust in the organization you are volunteering with.

At GVN we provide you not only with the facilities, but also with the confidence to go ahead and help communities in need around the world.  With 10 years of service and 16,000 volunteers under our belt, we strive to remain helpful, personable, and professional in our relationship with volunteers.  We aim to provide you with all the resources, support, and information you will need to take part in a successful and rewarding volunteer program with us.


How GVN Works - One Small Organization - One Big World!

Over the past 10 years we have connected 16,000+ volunteers with our 93 projects in 19 different countries throughout South America, Africa, and Asia. Our diverse opportunities include volunteer programs, training programs, and fundraising treks.

This is how we do it...

Achieving Our Vision


Our vision is to connect people with communities in need. We do this by supporting the work of local community organizations in countries through the placement of international volunteers.
Our staff in New Zealand are passionate about their work, we want to ensure volunteers have an incredibly rewarding and memorable personal experience on their placement.

We work with our partner organizations to support them in achieving their goals and ensuring that their projects are sustainable and effective.

Benefits of working with local partners


At GVN we value our relationships with our local partner organizations.  When you volunteer with us you can be assured you are helping a local grassroots organization rather than a large travel/tour provider.  This means that volunteer efforts directly benefit local groups, local communities, and local people.

By sourcing international volunteers for our partners we allow them to concentrate on the work they are doing to bring positive changes to their communities, rather than having to worry about recruiting and sourcing volunteers.

Our local partners experience the everyday life and struggles of the local people, they have intimate knowledge of what they go through and what they face in their day to day life.  Our partners want to impart this knowledge to our volunteers giving them the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of communities in need.

Our partners and their goals inspire us each and every day in the GVN office.

Local Partners

At GVN we align with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', so we work with local community organizations in each country. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.

What this means for our volunteers is that they receive a unique and genuine cultural experience whilst being immersed in a local community.

We are proud of the work our local partners are able to carry out through our volunteers.  Below are just two examples of our partner’s recent achievements:

GVN Kenya Partner, Ms. Irene Wairimu Ngatia, has been honoured by the Embassy of United States in Nairobi, Kenya for her outstanding leadership and humanitarian service to children and families in need of social services, education, shelter, food, and medical attention throughout the region.

On the 5th anniversary of our Vietnam partner’s operation, Viet Dang noted that “more than 1,200 international volunteers have been placed and thousands of dollars have been donated, which has helped improve many needy lives in the central region of Vietnam.  I have seen at many places in our program the children being happy, healthy and well-educated. Many thanks.”


7 Reasons to Choose GVN


1. Reputable Company

The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) is a New Zealand Charitable Trust (non-profit NGO) based in Wellington, New Zealand. Our Charitable incorporation number is: CC46460. GVN has been verified and approved by Idealist (the largest volunteer portal on the internet. GVN is also a member of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO), and our ‘sister’ organization the GVN Foundation has been granted special consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Prestigious web sites such as Lonely Planet and have placed web links to us. Additionally, when you apply, we can provide you with contact information for previous volunteers if you wish. GVN is also an approved member of the Site Trust Network and you can view our verification page.

Bill Gates2. Recommended by Bill Gates

Bill Gates personally recommended GVN by stating "I'd love to see more young people taking action to help the poor and disadvantaged. Two places to get started are Network for Good and Global Volunteer Network." Newsweek Web

3. Recommended by CNN

CNN listed the Global Volunteer Network as one of 10 organizations that can help you to make a positive impact on the world around you. CNN encourages you to visit our website to get more details on how you too can Be The Change.

4. Proven Track Record

To give you peace of mind, GVN has over nine years experience and has placed 16,000+ volunteers since 2002. Read volunteers' journals and testimonials or speak to a returned volunteer directly about their experience abroad through GVN.

5. Volunteer Support

GVN’s specialist staff provide personal support to volunteers, assisting not only with preparation for your placement, but whilst in-country, and follow-up on return home. GVN provides comprehensive Program Guides, project resources (eg teaching resources).

6. Community Focussed

GVN aligns with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', therefore we work with local community organizations in each country. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.

7. Personal Security

GVN offer an insurance package tailored specifically for volunteers. Partner’s staff are always available (24hr/7days), along with this GVN also has a 24hr/7day emergency hotline.

Introduction to Volunteering

So you’re interested in volunteering abroad but not sure how to get the process started?  What do I do from here, what can I expect from GVN, and what’s needed from me?

At Global Volunteer Network, we have 9 years of experience placing international volunteers and we’re here to share our knowledge with you, to help you get where you want to go. This page is a short guide to how volunteering works in practice.

Where What and When


Are you interested in a specific country or culture? Or you do have a particular type of project in mind, regardless of where in the world it is?

There are so many options available at GVN there’s bound to be a program to suit you.  We recommend you read through our program descriptions or speak to our staff members to find out which program is the best match for you. 

Our programs run year round and placements range from 1 week to 6 months.  It’s up to you when and for how long you take part, giving you flexibility to make your arrangements.

The Application Process


Application Process

If your application is successful we will email you with a Letter of Acceptance. To secure your placement in the program you will then need to pay your application fee. GVN is one of the few organizations that allow you to transfer your application fee to another program at no extra cost.

Throughout the process, we are committed to working with you to answer any of your questions or concerns.

Preparing for your Trip


Once you have secured your placement in the program you will be provided with further information to help you prepare for your trip.  You will receive access to your online Program Guide which covers topics such as country information, details on your placement, travel links, visa application process and much more.  Your Volunteer Coordinator will be in touch with you, and can answer any questions you may have and provide you with guidance while you are preparing for your placement.

We also have videos, photo galleries, volunteer journals and other resources to give you an idea of what you can expect during your volunteer program with us.

Arriving in Country


You will be provided with detailed information on the necessary arrival arrangements for your program.  In most cases volunteers will be picked up at the airport by a representative of our partner organization and taken back to their accommodation.

This ensures you are supported from your arrival in country and minimises your chances of getting lost in an unfamiliar city!

On the Project

on project

You will find the in country partner to be an excellent support base during your placement.  In most instances training and orientation are provided at the start of your placement as a means to help you settle into your project as well as providing cultural and safety advice for your time on the project.

During your placement GVN staff in New Zealand are also available to support you as a volunteer and will email you while in country to discuss how the program is going.  Our 24 hour emergency telephone number provides an opportunity to get in touch with us in the case of an emergency.

Returning Home - What Next?


Taking part in one of our volunteer programs is an inspirational and motivational experience.  You will return home wondering how you can continue to support the projects you participated in.

Returned volunteers join our Change Makers club which provides them with a variety of opportunities for staying connected to their volunteer project and GVN.



"Meeting amazing people who became like family to me, getting to know and love the children I worked with, exploring a beautiful country and culture: all of this is just the beginning of what my experience in Viet Nam was. What GVN does is unbelievable, and I’m very thankful to be able to say I’m a part of it."

Mariana Azcarate
Mexico, USA

Vietnam Volunteer

Apply Now for Your Place!

"GVN Vietnam has certainly changed my whole outlook on everything. English teaching worried me, but as they say, if you know how to speak the language, you’re qualified! So here I am with no previous experience, teaching basic English to young children. You can have the opportunity to work with adorable babies as well! They have so much love to give and you can’t help but give it back.  In the 2 months volunteering, not one day has gone by where I have regretted my decision to come to Vietnam. The Vietnamese are so friendly and helpful, if you just put the smallest smile on your face, you’ll get a bigger one back.”

Shirley Haisty
New Zealand

Vietnam Volunteer

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Testimonial Sami

"I have volunteered twice for GVN and both times I found that GVN did the ground work necessary for me to go into a remote area so I could safely do the work I volunteered for. You go with a feeling of security that you're not out there alone. Yes, physically you may be but GVN is not far away! After I retired, I use to travel as a backpacker for months at-a-time. Since I've found GVN, I now get to travel and experience something better. Thank you for the opportunies you have provided me with. I plan on working as a volunteer as long as life allows me to."

Sami Buisson-Daniel
Pennsylvania, United States
Kenya Volunteer

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Testimonial Nicole

"GVN staff were great. All the information before the program was worthwhile and informative. The contact in Costa Rica was excellent; she always rang and popped by to check everything was OK and she was able to arrange, change and adapt with ease."

Nicole Johnson
New South Wales, Australia
Costa Rica Volunteer

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Testimonial Pooja

"I had a wonderful time at San Cristobal. I was so sad to leave. The staff at the station are some of the most helpful and friendly people I've ever met, and I was sad to have to say bye to them. Thank you for providing such opportunities that make the world a smaller place!"

Pooja Sawrikar
New South Wales, Australia
Ecuador Volunteer

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Testimonial Angela

"The program information was fantastic! It insured I knew where I was going and what to expect when I arrived. It was very informative covering everything from what to pack to how to get to the program on local transport."

Angela Weastell
Dunedin, New Zealand
Thailand Volunteer

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Testimonial Rebecca

"Volunteering was magical on so many levels. The partner is inspiring, well organised, passionate and a privilege to be aligned with. The opportunities available to impact directly on the lives of those in need are incredibly special, and the rewards are felt by the children, their communities and the volunteers themselves."

Rebecca Ramsay
Queensland, Australia
Nepal Volunteer

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Testimonial Margaret

"Great programme. Worked hard and played hard! Volunteering does make a difference- slowly but surely. Volunteering has made a huge impact on my life. I should have done it years ago! Just go for it. You will make great friends, see new places, learn different cultures, have a sense of achievement and make a difference."

Margaret Holding
Christchurch, New Zealand
South Africa Volunteer

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Testimonial Liane

"I was very appreciative with the amount of information provided prior to placement. This was very useful for me and also comforting as it gave me a sense of 'knowing' something about what I was going to."

Liane Oldfield
Norfolk Island, Australia
Vietnam Volunteer

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Testimonial Jennifer

"The GVN Coordinator was great- I asked her a thousand questions and she always replied promptly and politely!"

Jennifer Duncombe
New South Wales, Australia
Philippines Volunteer

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Testimonial Catriona

"I had the most unbelievable experience. It was hard work but hugely rewarding and after 6 weeks I didn't want it to end. I met so many great people and learnt so much about the environment. By the end it felt like my home; an experience I will never forget and recommend to everyone."

Catriona Moss
Bedfordshire, England
Ecuador Volunteer

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Testimonial Carrie

"Any questions that I had prior to the program were promptly answered with a 'no problems at all attitude' meaning the whole process was stress free."

Carrie Hesketh
Tasmania, Australia
Vietnam Volunteer

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Testimonial Kathy

"My stay in a rural Maasai village working as a nurse in their clinic was a once of a lifetime experience. I saw the overall needs of a population while at the same time experiencing the tremendous sense of community so lacking in my country. As one of the oldest volunteers, I challenge anyone of my age to also share their life experiences in whatever field such as I did. You will be a better person for it and if I can do it so can you!"

Kathy Schaefer
Georgia, United States
Kenya Volunteer

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Testimonial Richard

"Teaching in Ghana was such a worthwhile experience, not only for me but for the kids I taught as well. The impact you make on the school is something that benefits the children massively, allowing them to experience fun and a different method of teaching. Volunteering is a great way to see the world, whilst benefiting others."

Richard McMahon
Bath, United Kingdom
Ghana Volunteer

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Testimonial Melany

"All information was relevant and any questions I had were answered quickly and accurately."

Melany Rhodes
Auckland, New Zealand
Vietnam Volunteer

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Testimonial Ben

"My experience was absolutely spectacular. The owner of the reserve and his wife are simply good people and made me experience something I will take with me the rest of my life."

Ben Li
Illinois, United States
Ecuador Volunteer

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Testimonial Charlotte

"GVN staff are extremely efficient and I'm so happy I volunteered with them!"

Charlotte Evans
West Sussex, United Kingdom
Vietnam Volunteer

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Testimonial Brian

"I would definitely say I made a difference, but not just for the people in Kibera and Kenya but in my own life. Volunteering has allowed me to come back home with a different perspective not just in the way I live but how I interact with others. I recommend volunteering as it allows people the true experience of those we are trying to help going beyond what you see on television or in magazines."

Brian Chan
Ohio, United States
Kenya Volunteer

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Testimonial Chas

"Going to Kenya with GVN was the most rewarding experience of my life so far. GVN works with a great organization in Nairobi (VICDA) who were very supportive and offered up a great safari at a discounted price. But the best part of my travels was not watching lions mate 10 feet away, but the children. They are beautiful gems, both inside and out. Their smiles and laughs can light up any room and leave a stamp on your heart that will never go away. I thank GVN for making it possible for me to go in such a safe and inexpensive manner. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but next time with my whole family."

Chas Young
Calgary, Canada
Kenya Volunteer

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Testimonial Jenn

"I have really come to love and appreciate Rwanda. I came with a mission to give of myself to help others. I did not want to come to just be a tourist, but to make an impact. I feel I’m leaving Rwanda with many more lessons I have learned than lessons I have taught, or changes I have made. I can say this is a huge learning experience. One thing I found a challenge here is the language barrier. It can be so difficult to communicate, and get where you need to go or buy something you want. I can say that no matter what language a smile and a hug go a very long way. I have sat in rooms with women and children who don’t speak one word of English, but a smile can bring the whole room together!"

Until next time...

Jenn Frey
Ontario, Canada

Rwanda Volunteer

Apply Now for Your Place!


Featured Programs
Downloads / Resources

10 Reasons to Volunteer PDF
Learn about the top 10 benefits of volunteering in this comprehensive report

Ripples of Difference eBook
A collection of unique and inspiring short stories by real volunteers

Vietnam"I'd love to see more young people taking action to help the poor and disadvantaged. Two places to get started are Network for Good and Global Volunteer Network."

Bill Gates
Newsweek Web
wango Member of Wango
World association of non-
governmental organizations
un GVN Foundation has
special United Nations
Consultative Status
Global Volunteer Network Reviews on GoRecommend