Support educational objectives in Nepal through infrastructure development. Contribute to Quality Education, the 4th Sustainable Development Goal set by the United Nations by building and renovating educational facilities in the communities of Pokhara. Sharing a Nepali homestay with other participants from around the world. On weekends, explore the region’s famously scenic natural landscape.
On this program volunteers participate in improving learning environments at local educational facilities we partner with in Pokhara. The projects are led by our local partners like primary schools and children’s centres. The objective of these projects is to improve the educational outcomes of the students or to improve the health and safety standards of the facility. Specific improvements to the facilities include constructing desks, benches, whiteboards, painting classrooms, building libraries, upgrading bathrooms and developing sports grounds.
Projects are led by our local construction coordinator. While no previous experience is required for this project, physical fitness and DIY or construction experience are beneficial. Project training and guidance is provided by our staff and local construction personnel. Construction volunteers in Nepal can expect to assist with constructing furniture, building and repainting walls. You will be working alongside local workers for the duration of most of our projects.
Throughout your stay in Nepal you will be sharing your Nepali homestay accommodation located on Phewa Lake with views of the Annapurna mountain peaks with other GVI participants from around the world. Volunteer work is carried out during weekday office hours. In the evenings and on weekends you will have the opportunity to explore Pokhara with your new friends. Trek up to Poon Hill, go kayaking on Phewa Lake, or book a paragliding experience.
Assist local partners in Nepal with construction and renovation projects to empower the community through better resources.
Live like a local in homestay-style accommodation in Pokhara’s lakeside district with scenic views of Phewa Lake and the majestic Annapurna mountain range.
Don’t just travel like a tourist. Become part of the local community and culture to experience a unique way of living – authentically.
Support and empower ongoing community development projects on the ground that are led by inspiring local NGOs.
Partner with social impact projects that are owned and led by local organisations who guide initiatives according to community priorities.
Your unique expertise, skills and interests are matched to relevant community projects that address specific challenges.
Share meaningful experiences with like-minded, passionate changemakers from all over the globe.
With expert local staff, excellent reviews and 24/7 support at every step – you can relax and enjoy the experience stress-free.
Some of the example typical activities you could participate in on this program.
Learn about construction project objectives and procedures, the local culture, and how to work as a team on a project.
Practically support a local construction team to address the needs of the community by improving schools facilities, water supplies and creating practical resources, such as shelving and furniture.
Depending on the needs of the community, you’ll lend a hand to support a variety of project work such as teaching, childcare, women’s empowerment and healthcare.
See the world from a different perspective by living in a new culture and working with a diverse group of people from all over the world.
Develop self-awareness, leadership, resilience and confidence, with support and advice from experienced GVI staff members.
In your free time on the weekend, white water raft on the Trisuli River, paraglide, trek in the Annapurna range or go on a safari in Chitwan National Park.
Use your spare time during the week to self-reflect, raise awareness on community issues on social media, or fundraise for a local project.
Some of the partners we work with on base.
|Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)|
|Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)|
|All project equipment|
|24-hour in-country support from local staff|
|24-hour emergency desks|
|Group introductory call|
|Endorsed GVI Specialisation Course|
|Endorsed Leadership Course|
|Sustainable project work|
|Data collection and research|
|Real projects with partners|
|Weekly group check ins|
|Remote Academic Internship Supervisor|
|Remote Career Internship Supervisor|
|Preferential recruitment on GVI positions|
|Job portal access|
|Endorsed Careers Course|
|Career coaching sessions|
Certificates and achievements
|PDF reference - upon request|
|Linkedin reference and skills endorsement|
|Additional drinks and gratuities|
|Extra local excursions|
|International and domestic airport taxes|
|Medical and travel insurance|
|Personal items and toiletries|
|Police or background check|
Home to the tallest mountain range in the world, and known internationally as the gateway to the Himalayas, the city of Pokhara is well-loved by hikers, paragliders, kayakers and other adventure enthusiasts. On a clear day, you have a spectacular view of the Annapurna Mountain range. When you hear people say that the fishtail is out, it means the sky is clear and the sacred Machhapuchhre Mountain (also known as Fishtail) is visible. Surrounded by snowy mountain peaks and built around the picturesque Phewa Tal (Phewa Lake), the city is a unique mix of natural beauty and urban convenience.
Our community hub in Pokhara is situated in Lakeside, which is lined with great eateries serving local Nepali cuisine and international fare. You’ll also find shops selling local crafts unique to the region, such as intricately patterned pashmina shawls and vibrantly coloured Buddhist thangka paintings.
There are a range of shops offering rugs, bags and other items woven by local women, artwork (such as mandalas hand painted by local artists), trekking equipment, and many other locally produced goods. There are also many cafes where you can relax, catch up with new friends, or use the Wi-Fi to keep in touch with friends and family back home.
There are many activities to enjoy which are close to base. From watching the sunset at Phewa Lake, which is less than 10 minutes’ walk from the base, to the Movie Garden where you can watch outdoor movies – with the backdrop of the lake and mountains. On a clear day, you realise the enormity of the Annapurna range as you see the snow covered mountains as you walk down the street.
The base has a relaxed, friendly and fun vibe. We have a shared undercover area outside where participants meet and mingle. There are tables and chairs on the two balconies where participants meet and play cards, plan lessons or chat about their day. Our dogs (Seti and Kali) are always happy to greet the participants at base. Our base is climate-friendly – solar panels are used for hot water, we recycle what we can, food scraps are collected by local farmers, and all foods are produced locally.
In the mornings before work, there is time to walk or jog near the lake and enjoy the morning views. Participants often use this time to exercise or pick up a Himalayan coffee at one of the local cafes. In the afternoons, when participants have returned from a project and prepared for the next day, they tend to go out for a walk, enjoy a coffee or stay in touch with friends and family. This is also the time when participants plan their weekend adventures. After dinner, participants often stay around the base and play cards or other games such as Bhaga Chal, a traditional Nepalese game. After dinner many participants go out for a drink or a dessert at a local cafe and soak up the atmosphere. Or they might watch a movie at the Movie Garden. Once a week, there is a social night, which is either a quiz or another social activity at the base.
Our community hub in Pokhara provides homestay-style accommodation ...
You have the option to stay at the neighbouring hotel, which offers deluxe rooms featuring single or double beds, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, privat...
Some project work sites are a short walk from our accommodation. For others, transport is provided. We walk to and from some of our projects, an ...
Wi-Fi is available at the base and at local cafes, allowing a chance to catch up on their social media and...
The host family prepares breakfast and dinner. Breakfast includes cereals, toast and eggs. Pastries and pancakes are served on some days. Evening...
Nepal has six seasons rather than the four you may be used to.
We want you to make the most of the chance to live in – and contribute towards – the most diverse and unique wildernesses and communities on earth. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI that have been specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development.
Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.
Joining a program not only allows you to collaborate with local communities, but also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding areas or travel further afield over weekends to see what other parts of the region have to offer.
Field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Many decide to travel before or after their experience (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships established on the program. Please note that the below suggestions are not included in the program fee, and are for you to organise at your own expense.
Take a day or overnight trip to the village of Bandipur, a mountain village 2.5 hours from base. This small village caters well to visitors. Hike...
From one-day treks to more challenging three-day adventures, these can be booked through Skylark Himalayan Tours and Travels. Experienced guides,...
You can access several of Nepal’s most abundant wildlife parks via Pokhara. The Annapurna Conservation Area is home to Annapurna I, the 10th high...
Paragliding is incredibly popular in Pokhara and one of the best ways to view the spectacular natural landscape. There are many tour operators in...
One of the newer activities available in Nepal, mountain biking allows visitors to experience many of the same landscapes as those trekking throu...
While you are in the region, why not take the opportunity to explore some of the other nations bordering Nepal. Visit India’s capital, New Delhi,...
Known for its historic religious sites, Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal (and its
Nepal is well-known as the location of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain above sea level. Mount Everest forms part of the Himalayan mou...
Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.
On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.
February: The Tibetan New Year celebration, Lhosar, is held in February. Buddhist monasteries decorate their temples, known as stupas. In Tibetan...
Yoga and meditation are a part of life for many Nepalis and the region is popular for those who seek to develop their skills and understanding of...
Possibly the most well-known Nepalese dish is dal bhat, a lentil stew served with rice. It is a smoky, spicy, wholesome dish which is also vegeta...
Most of Nepal’s population identifies with Hinduism, specifically the Shaivism sect. You will find many Hindu temples throughout Nepal. Nepal is ...
Although Nepali is the official language of Nepal, over 100 languages are spoken throughout the country. Our participants have Nepali language le...
05 Mar, 2019
11 Oct, 2018
25 Nov, 2013
If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.
We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.
Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.
Meet Tara, the Program Manager at GVI Nepal. Tara manages the hub and is responsible for programming, operations and participant experience.He is ...
Teaching Program Coordinator
Meet Roshani, who is one of our Program Coordinators in Pokhara, Nepal. She really enjoys working with and meeting new people through GVI. She is ...
Introducing Bribek, who is our Program Officer in Pokhara, Nepal. He assists in the delivery of programs, organising and leading project activiti ...
Women's Empowerment Program Coordinator
Meet Sita, one of the Program Coordinators in Pokhara, Nepal. Sita facilitates day-to-day project work and engagement between commu ...
‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.
We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.
GVI is a proud member of the Gap Year Association.
Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’
Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:
Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.
When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.
As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals.
We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile.
This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.
All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Early Childhood Development and Education
We support several educational facilities for young students in Nepal. GVI participants contribute by assisting with improving the infrastructure of learning environments, developing educational resources and assisting students to achieve their learning objectives. Subjects we support include English language learning, maths, science and computer skills. For younger students we facilitate arts and crafts lessons to promote fine motor skills development. Sports lessons help gross motor skills development, teamwork and a healthy lifestyle.
Our public health participants work with local partners in setting up and implementing health and hygiene practices across sites within the community. Based on the needs identified by the community, we assist children and adults through fun, informal educational workshops. GVI participants support health in Nepal by leading workshops on a wide range of topics, including WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene), road safety, puberty and menstruation, waste management and self-care.
Staff and participants who contribute to our women’s empowerment program in Nepal participate in a number of educational and professional development workshops. Lessons cover topics such as English language, maths, resume writing and alternative income generation. We support women’s health workshops and address issues like self-care and family health. We also work with local partners to raise awareness of issues such as human rights and human trafficking.
Women’s empowerment workshops provide a social outlet for many women and assist them in building a network within the community. The workshops also assist in developing English skills, which can open the door to potential work opportunities, particularly in tourism. These learning opportunities also build confidence in the women of the community.
With our partner SASANE, our participation in the Sisterhood of Survivors (SOS) programme gives women in the community an opportunity to practise their English and presentation skills. The funds we pay to participate go towards training women to become paralegals. We also facilitate workshops with the SASANE team that focus on English and personal development skills.
Our construction volunteers assist with refurbishment and improvement projects within the community. We aim to improve the facilities for students and teachers. We particularly support semi-rural government schools just outside the city. They’re small, usually less than 100 students, and are frequently under-staffed and under-resourced. All work depends on the needs of the community at the time and can include: building desks for students and teachers, making storage units and shelves for the classroom, and developing waste disposal areas. Other examples include creating handwashing stations to support health programs and general classroom refurbishment.
We also aim to provide economic support. All construction resources are purchased locally and local people are employed to work with us. If we are working in a village, we purchase supplies from that village, where possible. To support the community businesses, we have our lunchtime meals in one of the village cafes.
All of these initiatives offer support to the community and local partners, and address many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 3: Health and Well-being, Goal 5: Gender Equality, and Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.
GVI Pokhara long-term objectives:
1. Support students to reach learning goals appropriate to their age, grade level, or individual needs.
2. Support the community with improved facilities, with an emphasis on educational facilities.
3. Increase the knowledge and understanding of health in the community, with an emphasis on prevention, and developing health-related skills such as emergency first aid.
4. Increase professional and vocational skills held by women in the community, through education and empowerment.
The best decisions in international development and conservation cannot be made without accurate and up-to-date data or informed research. Our many field teams around the world collaborate with local and international partners to analyse data and draw conclusions. In addition, many of our participants have used research they have collected on their various GVI projects to complete their Masters, Doctorate, or postdoctoral studies. We also run a fellowship program which connects postdoctoral researchers at globally-respected universities with our many sustainable development programs around the world to support their research and ensure continuous improvement of our best practices on base.
Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.
We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.
We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.
We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.
We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.
We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.
For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.
We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.
In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.
We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.
We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.
We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.
As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.
However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.
We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos
We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases
When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.
We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.
We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.
Each one of our initiatives is aligned to objectives set by a local organisation or professional. Our staff and participants work to support these local actors in achieving their specific goals.
Our participants don’t replace the staff employed by local organisations. Rather, they support currently employed staff with achieving their objectives. Our goal is always to increase local capacity to address local problems.
Participants require training and support to ensure that they carry out tasks correctly. Our staff provide this training and support so that local staff can focus on what is truly important to their organisation at the time.
A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.
Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.
Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.
Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.
Learn about gender equality, skills development and examples of income generating activities.
Learn about our empowerment principles.
Take a short boat trip to Barahi temple at the centre of Phewa Lake, introducing you to Hindu culture. Then visit the Buddhist temple in Hemja, a Tibetian settlement.
SASANE is a local anti-human trafficking organisation. Here participants attend a session educating them about human rights and the state of human trafficking. Participants also complete a cultural cooking lesson, learning how to make momos (Nepali dumplings) using traditional methods.
Complete two lessons with a local Nepali teacher.
In this course, you’ll explore the most common pitfalls of community development initiatives so that you can avoid them. You’ll also learn how to carry out community development work effectively and ethically and how local context impacts program development. After successfully completing the course, which you have the option of doing prior to your in-country program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Richmond.
This online course, valued at £295, is included in all volunteering programs. Full course details can be found here.
We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.
It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays ju...
As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the heal...
The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes ...
Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations a...
Make the most of our unique programs with these exclusively curated local adventure and wellness experiences.