I have finished my two week volunteer work with the GVN program in the Philippines. I plan to continue my support to this program in the Philippines with financial support and hopefully return to the Philippines again. If anyone reading this is considering becoming a volunteer, don't hesitate, become a volunteer, you will never regret it!!
Matt | Philippines Volunteer
I worked at a Day-care placement in the mornings and elementary in the afternoons. However, due to my fundraising, I was in a position to run community projects as well including installation of 7 water pumps, roof repairs at local school, CR installation and the clean-up of a playground area.
Noelle | Philippines Volunteer
Just Choose a Project and Apply!
This is an opportunity to volunteer in typhoon-ravaged Tacloban. The community was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in November 2013 and are still very much in recovery mode. Once you arrive you will live with and be integrated into the lives of local families, sharing their food and way of life in Tacloban. Volunteers will likely have rooms of their own (these will be shared if the program is busy) although homes are spartan in keeping with the average Filipino family's lifestyle. Joining in local festivities and visiting amazing locations are highlights for many volunteers.
Volunteers are provided with two meals per day/ 7 days per week. Common to the local cuisine are a variety of meat and seafood dishes. Filipinos like to eat rice, which volunteers are likely to find on their plates for breakfast (sometimes), lunch and dinner. Rice is generally accompanied with meat, fish and/or vegetables.
Do you want to help build homes for typhoon survivors? The structural damage inflicted by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan has forced many families into substandard makeshift accommodation or refugee centers. For many, the hope of once again having a private home seems like a distant ambition. While international NGO’s and relief organizations are trying their upmost to rehabilitate families into new homes, the task is an uphill struggle due to the huge volume of dispersed populations. Please note that this project only builds one home at a time when project funding and materials are available. Volunteers who apply for this project will be informed after their application as to whether the project is available or not on the dates selected. If not we are happy to transfer you to another project in Tacloban. Volunteers in the Build-a-Home project do not need specific construction skills although those with carpentry or construction skills are encouraged to apply. Please note: this program is not available on a regular basis, it only runs when sufficient funding and materials are available. Volunteers choosing this program should be aware that they may not be able to particpate on their preferred dates and choosing a back-up option is recommended.
Rural Health Clinic
Are you a qualified doctor or nurse? Are you non-qualified but committed to improving the health of vulnerable people? Both qualified and unqualified medical volunteers can join this project to provide much needed assistance whilst at the same time experiencing the reality of healthcare in a developing country. Day to day clinic activities will range from assisting the local doctor with daily consultations to helping with local government based initiatives such as vaccinations or deworming. Aside from this, volunteers may also have the opportunity to visit local barangays during community clinic consultations.
Street Children Program
By volunteering with street children, you can help provide inspiration, education and support to some of the Philippines most underprivileged children. These children typically come from dysfunctional homes where there is poverty, violence, neglect or addiction issues. Many have left home to escape from abusive treatment. Others have resorted to begging in the streets because there is no food in the home. Volunteers will support and encourage the children and help them obtain the skills and self-belief to thrive in difficult circumstances. Please note that this project is only available to those aged 20 or older.
Teaching English in Rural Schools
In the Philippines there is a strong national emphasis on the importance of being able to speak, read and write English as all good jobs require proficiency in English. Learning English is incredibly important and getting off to a good start in elementary school is critical. Unfortunately, many rural elementary schools are overcrowded and lack sufficient textbooks and teaching material. Often, the only classroom equipment available is a blackboard. Children are often squeezed into small classrooms, and most schools do not have a library. As a volunteer you will help these children make a great start with their English speaking.
Womens Shelter Program
By volunteering in a women’s shelter, you can help promote female empowerment to some of the most disadvantaged and abused women in Filipino society. The broad range of services provided by the program address the global needs of these victimized women. However, because the program is understaffed, it cannot provide the women with sufficient individual attention without help from volunteers. Volunteers not only assists the shelter staff with the ongoing day-to-day activities, but also have the opportunity to conduct empowerment activities such as livelihood development and skills training. Please note that this project is available to women only who are aged 20 or older.
Do you want to help raise awareness? Are you media-savvy? Being a media intern with GVN's partner organisation will expose you to a full spectrum of different projects and will provide you with the opportunity to equally capture moments of success and struggle. Interns are required to essentially become photojournalists for the entire duration of their stay and to publish their material on our partner organisation's website and across various social media platforms as a means to promote a specific call to action required by the organization.
Are you community-minded? Are you interested in social work? Volunteering on the Community Center project will let volunteers become heavily involved with Community Program and Child Sponsorship Programs; for this reason this project is ideal for volunteers with a background in community and social work. Inside the community centers, our partner organisation conducts a multi-faceted operation by coordinating projects and programs for a wide range of demographics, ranging from preschool children to adolescents and local mother's groups.
Public Health - Nutrition
Do you have an interest in the nutrition needs of children? Do you want to help educate parents? The goals of this nutrition project are two-fold. The first is to provide a stable supplementary feeding program for malnourished infants or pre-school children aged three to six years old. The second is to disseminate information to parents about the importance of healthy nutrition through a series of workshops and seminars. Through this process parents get to witness the improvement that good nutrition has on the health of their children whilst at the same time learning how to best utilize their available resources to provide a stable diet irregardless of their personal income.
Our vision is to connect people with communities in need, with a particular focus on vulnerable women and children. We do this by supporting the work of local community organizations in countries through the placement of international volunteers.
We are excited to get your placement under way where you will:
Be a part of GVN's efforts to inspire learning, innovation and action to unlock the potential of vulnerable communities around the world. Work with exceptional grassroots projects in community development, conservation and wildlife, personal development, fundraising and physical challenges.
Have the 24/7 support of a non profit with 12 years experience in placing 19566 volunteers that will provide you with an affordable and rewarding placement.
Volunteer with a world-class organization which is recommended by Bill Gates and CNN.
Be a part of progressive non profit that has raised over $2 million to help women and children in need.
Have the comfort of knowing that GVN staff have collectively flown over 1 million miles to ensure you get a quality placement.
Make a long-term impact in your community of choice - it's not just a vacation.
How GVN works...
The first step is to fill out an application to see if we have a place for you. Then if your application is successful you will be accepted and we will then get to work organizing your placement.
GVN is a registered Charitable Trust, so volunteers finance themselves, or can fundraise online with our unique GVN platform, with US donors receiving tax receipts. The Program Package provides you with all that is listed below, along with personalized support from our expert staff and the knowledge that you'll be working with a reputable and registered charity with over 12 years experience in the field.
At the heart of our work is the communities our volunteers work to support - we ensure that these communities truly benefit from your time in Philippines and that the Program Package fully supports you financially while you're volunteering.
The Program Package also includes a project donation, which supports the work the GVN Foundation does in addressing nutrition, education and healthcare needs, as well as supporting longer-term development approaches, including income generation activities and microfinance.
Your program package includes:
Personal support from your Program Specialist throughout the preparation process.
Your Program Guide, with all the details on Philippines and your placement.
Fundraising strategies and access to our crowd funding platform where you can raise up to 100% of the cost your trip, with tax receipts for your US based donors.
Access to Your Own Online Journal: which helps you to communicate effectively and easily with your family and friends back home.
Opportunities for Preferred Pricing and Personalized Service when booking Airfares: through our travel partner GYT Flight Centre who go the extra mile to support GVN volunteers.
Accommodation: Home stay.
Meals: 2 meals daily (breakfast & dinner)
Airport pickup: On arrival date.
Training: In-country orientation and training.
Supervision: In-country staff supervision.
Support: Pre-departure personal support from your volunteer coordinator, 24/7 in-country support from partner, and 24hr emergency line.
An opportunity to debrief and provide feedback
Free access to GVN Changemakers program which alerts you to future internship/job opportunities at GVN.
A Letter of Completion in Volunteer Service.
The opportunity to stay connected with your project.
Global advocacy and fundraising campaigns to continue your part of the movement for social change with an international non-profit that has granted over $2 million to our partner organizations.
The program package does not include: Flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, transport to projects if necessary, departure from the program.
We recommend you allow a weekly budget of US $35 for your other expenses such as bottled water, personal items, beverages, and entertainment.
Your Program Package
Calculate the price of your individualised program package. Details on longer placements may be available on request.
Select A Project
Then: Select A Length
Your Program Package
For those securing far enough in advance, there is a possible US$300 discount. Confirming your placement early on allows us and our partner communities the ability to plan in advance with confidence in terms of volunteer numbers and funding for the months ahead.
Tell me more about the Philippines
Situated on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is one of the major crossroads in the eastern hemisphere. It claims title to the second largest archipelago on the planet, with over 7,100 individual islands within its borders and it is home to over 100 ethnic groups and hundreds of language dialects. For hundreds of years the Philippines was a Spanish colony that was eventually given to the U.S. in 1898, following the Spanish-American War. In 1946, at the end of World War II, it finally attained total independence. Since the end of the dictatorial government of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, the Philippines has been beset by divisive electoral problems and Muslim separatism in the South. For more information we suggest you purchase the Lonely Planet’s guide to Philippines.
What is the climate like in the Philippines?
The Philippines climate is tropical marine with hot and humid weather all year round. Although there are many regional variations the country can be divided into two seasons: wet and dry. The wet season (May to October) delivers heavy rains to most of the archipelago while the dry season (November to April) brings hot and humid air. Temperatures rarely rise above 37C with the average temperatures sitting at 20 to 32C. Mean annual sea-level temperatures rarely fall below 27C.
Tell me more about your partner organization in the Philippines
Our partner in the Philippines is a non-governmental organization and has been working in the Tacloban region for over 10 years. Their objective is to assist and develop local communities through education, integration and volunteerism. This is achieved through the establishment of programs and projects aimed at assisting local communities with their basic needs that benefit the most number of its people.
What kind of volunteer work is available?
Volunteer opportunities are available in teaching, supporting street children and vulnerable women, health, nutrition and as a media intern. There are also a variety of side-projects that volunteers are encouraged to become involved with.
What age do I have to be to volunteer in this program?
Volunteers must be 18 years or over when they volunteer (some projects are only available for those 20 or older). There is no upper age limit, we only require volunteers to be in good health.
When will I know specific details about my placement?
The specific details of your placement are determined during training. You will consult with the program manager in the Philippines so that requests and specific needs can be met with regards to both the volunteer and the needs of the community.
What language do I need to speak to participate in the program?
English. You may have English as your first or second language. English is one of the two official languages of the Philippines. Filipino (also known as Tagalog) is the other. In Tacloban the local dialect is Waray-Waray but most locals speak either English or Tagalog or both.
When do I need to arrive in the Philippines?
Volunteers are requested to arrive on the Saturday prior to their Monday start date. Generally, volunteers fly into Manila and connect with a local flight to Tacloban. Accommodation is provided from the time you arrive until your final day of volunteering.
What are the living arrangements when volunteering?
Volunteers live with local families and will share their food and way of life. Volunteers will be provided with their own room (which may be shared if volunteer numbers are high). Host families will provide two meals per day (breakfast and dinner) with volunteers responsible for their own lunch.
Where will I be located?
The Philippines program is located in Tacloban City on the island of Leyte. Project locations are in and around the city with most located near to volunteers' homestay accommodation.
How many volunteers are there on site at the same time?
This depends on how many people volunteer at any one time. Typically there be between 3-8 other volunteers at any one time.
Are we able to do any sight seeing?
Volunteers are encourged to explore during their time off - weekends are normally free to travel or simply relax. We recognize that volunteering can be quite intensive and a chance to unwind is vital. There are often other volunteers that want to do sight seeing also so you may wish to join up with other volunteers to your surroundings. Visiting beaches, attending festivals and exploring neighbouring islands are popular destinations for many volunteers.
What hours am I expected to take part in the program?
Generally volunteers will work Monday to Friday for 4-8 hours depending on the project and their personal commitment. Project work is typically 4 hours in the morning with afternoons often spent on side projects or other activities.
What resources are available for the program?
In most cases resources are limited. You may like to take donations of goods with you to distribute or use in the program. If you do choose to fundraise or donate items, it is a good idea to check with our partner organisation as to what will be of use to your particular program.
How do I pay my fees?
Your program fee is payable to Global Volunteer Network 10 weeks prior to the 1st of the month you wish to volunteer. Please note, your placement is not confirmed (ie secured) until your program fee (or a deposit) has been received. Please note that all charges incurred by the payment of the program fee are at the volunteer’s expense, e.g. if a bank transfer incurs a bank fee at the point of origin, that is at the expense of the volunteer. Seventy percent (70%) of the program fee is refundable until two calendar months before the 1st of the month you are due to begin your program. For example a volunteer with 15 July 2015 as their start date would need to submit their refund request form by the last day of April 2015 to be eligible for a refund. Refer to GVN's legal terms of service for full details.
What clothing is appropriate for the program?
Considering the temperature and humidity, we recommend light coloured, cotton clothing that covers your whole body - this is best to keep the sun and insect bites away. Also keep in mind that the Philippines style of dress is typically more modest than those in the West are used to. Please use good judgement and discretion and respect the local community. Comfortable sturdy footwear as well as a pair of sandals/jandals for light walking is recommended. Don’t forget sunglasses and a hat.
Are there more expenses once I arrive?
In instances where your accommodation is situated outside of walking distance to your program site you will need to pay for your transport to and from work each day. This will amount to just a few dollars a week. The program fee covers your basic needs, such as accommodation, most meals, and supervision. If you arrive early or intend on staying on in the Philippines for longer than you are volunteering then you will need to have spare money for this time. Also money may be required for your days off and entertainment etc. Other costs include buying bottled water, departure tax, and any shopping you will do personally. You will also need money for transportation back to the airport after the completion of your placement.
Do I need an entry visa?
If your stay in the Philippines is 30 days or less, you may not need a visa for your time in the country. If your stay is more than 30 days, you will need to obtain a Foreign Tourist Visa prior to arrival. Volunteers may obtain visas from Philippine embassies and consulates.
Do I need travel insurance?
All GVN Volunteers must have insurance. You are free to take out insurance cover through any provider of your choice. However, as some policies do not cover volunteering, we recommend you check you are covered during your volunteer placement.
For your convenience we have arranged a comprehensive package specially designed for volunteering. It includes excellent medical and accident coverage as well as “loss of deposits” cover which covers fees paid to GVN, airlines etc. If you would like to learn more just follow this link: http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/insurance/
What immunizations /vaccinations will I need?
This is a suggestion of what may be needed - please consult with your medical professional or travel specialist for more details.
Hepatitis A & B
Diphtheria and tetanus
Japanese B encephalitis
Some of these can be taken in oral form so please discuss with your doctor to see what is best for you.
How does GVN choose volunteers for this program?
Each GVN program has different criteria depending on our partner's requirements. Every application is reviewed to ensure that the minimum requirements (as set out on the program page) are met. Next we look to see what skills or experience you have that relate specifically to the program. We are also interested in any previous volunteer experience you may have (either local or international), travel experience, and your particular interest in the program.
After reviewing your application, should we require any further information from you, we will email you to request this.
Do I have to be from New Zealand?
No, you can volunteer through the Global Volunteer Network from any where in the world.
Can special dietary arrangements be catered for in this program?
It is possible for special arrangements to be made if you have a vegetarian diet or other special dietary requirements. Those with special dietary requirements are required to inform program staff prior to arriving.
How safe is it to volunteer in the Philippines?
As in many countries, foreigners are perceived as wealthy in the Philippines. Although the people are generally warm and friendly towards foreigners, as well as appreciative of the work done by volunteers, not every individual is the same. We work extremely hard to ensure you are placed in safe environments while volunteering and security policies are in place to achieve this. However, as in any situation at home or abroad, there is no way to erase all potential threats so volunteers should be aware of potential risks.
About The Philippines
Situated on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines claims title to the second-largest archipelago on the planet with 7,107 individual islands.
Coral-fringed islands are home to extraordinary sights not to be missed: spectacular rice terraces, tropical rainforests, underground rivers, soaring limestone towers, uninhabited 'Robinson Crusoe' islands, and cascading waterfalls.
Development in The Philippines
The agricultural industry dominates the Philippine economy, which is considered one of the fastest growing economies in South East Asia. Important sectors of the Philippine economy include agriculture and industry, particularly food processing, textiles and garments, and electronics and automobile parts. Most industries are concentrated in the urban areas around metropolitan Manila.
The success of the Philippines economy has not alleviated the astonishing poverty present in the country. There is a widening gap between rich of poor and it is estimated that 40% of all Filipinos exist below the poverty line. Perhaps the most revealing fact about the nature of poverty found in the Philippines is that the richest 10% percent of the population holds 40% percent of the national income, while the poorest 10% percent of the population claims ownership to 1.5% percent of the national income.
Volunteers provide assistance to disadvantaged socio-economic groups within the Tacloban community, focusing primarily on education, nutrition, community support and healthcare.
As a volunteer in the Philippines you will help to improve the lives of residents of Tacloban, an area that was severly damaged during Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in November 2013. You will support the community as it recovers and support community projects aimed at improving the lives and livlihoods of vulnerable women and children.
What else can I do in the Philippines?
Volunteers will have the opportunity during their free time to join in local festivities and visit great beaches and other fantastic locations. The Philippines is home to some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling so be sure to hit the water while you're there!
Take some time before or after your volunteer placement if you wish to explore other cities/regions in the Philippines.