Global Volunteer Network (GVN)


Our vision is to connect people with communities in need. We do this by supporting the work of local community organisations in countries through the placement of international volunteers.

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.

The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) is a New Zealand Charitable Trust (non-profit NGO) based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Why do we do it?
"We believe in inspiring learning, innovation, and action to unlock the potential of vulnerable communities around the world."

GVN places volunteers in Asia, South America, and Africa and has fundraising treks to Everest Base Camp, Mt Kilimanjaro, and Machu Picchu; along with specialist tours such as the Youth Tour for 15-17 year olds, and our Young At Heart Tour.

GVN profile

Programs from GVN

  • Multiple Countries
    This week long Be The Change Course is designed to take your idea or dream and give you the skills and confidence you need...
    16 reviews
  • kids in Nepal
    Nepal Children's Homes: With placements starting from two weeks, volunteers can be a 'big brother' or 'big sister' to...
    9 reviews
  • Volunteer in the Philippines with children
    You have the opportunity to work in a variety of projects teaching, childcare, mentoring and community projects to assist...
    7 reviews
  • Volunteer teach in Vietnam with GVN
    Are you crazy about kids? Do you want to support them in building a brighter future? The Global Volunteer Network currently...
    6 reviews
  • Peru 2012
    This is a unique opportunity for a small team of volunteers to see how funds are distributed from our Eat So They Can...
    5 reviews
  • Volunteers with local children in Uganda
    The Global Volunteer Network currently has opportunities aimed at providing primary and secondary education to needy...
    4 reviews
  • Everest Base Camp
    Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Our Everest Base Camp trek is a unique opportunity to challenge yourself,...
    4 reviews
  • GVN Childcare and Orphanages Program in Guatemala
    Costa Rica
    Are you driven to help the world's most vulnerable citizens? Do you love kids and want to help them thrive? There are many...
    4 reviews
  • Peru Jungle conservation
    GVN has opportunities to work on a range of projects in Peru such as childcare, teaching, construction, healthcare and...
    3 reviews
  • Wildlife in Ecuador
    You have the opportunity to participate in different projects which have their location at four different biological...
    3 reviews
  • Kenya
    Take on a "bucket list" physical challenge while supporting a community in need with GVN's Mount Kilimanjaro Fundraising...
    3 reviews
  • Volunteer at a school in Costa Rica with GVN
    Costa Rica
    The Global Volunteer Network has opportunities to work in a range of programs in Costa Rica. Volunteers can assist with our...
    2 reviews
  • Volunteering with children in Rwanda with GVN
    Volunteers will assist our partner organisation's mission to facilitate processes to help eradicate poverty, reduce HIV...
    2 reviews
  • Volunteer teacher in Ghana
    You have the opportunity to assist underprivileged communities in Ghana through Global Volunteer Network and our local...
    2 reviews
  • elephants in Thailand
    The Global Volunteer Network has opportunities available to work with Elephants at a refuge through our partner organization...
    1 reviews

Program Reviews

  • Edward Thomas
    Age: 51 or older
    Real Connection

    As the typical NGOs pass by in their tinted windowed white SUVs you feel more connected to the communities since your modes of transport are jeepneys and trykes. The Nutritional day starts with shopping at the open air wet markets and veggie stands. You make a connection with your favorite vendors who are aware of the valuable work you are doing. The tryke drivers know you and transport you in their often overflowing trykes down the dirt roads to the village. Awaiting you are children who are the most well adjusted, smart and creative kids you will ever meet. You will be amazed at how the sense of community exists as you observeve 5year olds caring for their younger siblings. The richness and depth of community will awaken your passion for the day's work.
    Live your life like you mean it!

    How could this program be improved?

    I would only suggest that options for housing be offered

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    Useful: 2 Inspiring: 2
  • Ruth Delbaere
    Age: 19-24
    Brazil Teaching Program

    I volunteered on the GVN Brazil Program this September and it was by far the most rewarding, eye opening and heartwarming experience I've ever had. GVN supported me before, during and after my trip and is always there to answer any questions you may have.

    During my stay in Rocinha, I was working and living with wonderful volunteers from all over the world in a shared apartment. I did the Teaching Program, so I got to teach smart and enthusiastic kids every afternoon, as well as equally amazing adults some days of the week. At night we got to do some locals classes which was a lot of fun as well, I've never met more welcoming and friendly people than the ones in Rocinha!

    The children running up to you yelling "Teacher!", grabbing your hands and hugging you, will put a smile on your face every single day. The lessons are great because the kids are genuinely happy to be there and eager to learn, especially when you put in the effort to make everything interesting for them (singing songs, playing games, reading stories, letting them act things out and draw, asking people to come up front to point things out etc.).

    Arriving in a favela by yourself is daunting of course, especially when you don't speak Portuguese. All I can say is that it's SO worth it to jump in head first and go for it, you will not regret it. Sure, it won't always be easy but that just makes you a stronger, more independent person. The people you meet, the experiences you have, the things you visit in Rio will stay with you forever. My main advice: come with an open mind and stay as long as you can!! I was only there for a couple of weeks and I so wish I could've stayed longer.

    Thanks to GVN and the local Brazil Program, I can't wait to come back some day!!

    How could this program be improved?

    It is not always very organised, though this is very understandable as the program is located in a Brazilian favela. Come with an open mind and don't expect too much, just take in the favela life and rhythm :).

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    Useful: 1 Inspiring: 1
  • JoAnne Summers
    Age: 51 or older
    Ammon, Idaho
    Brigham Young University
    GVN's Be the Change in Taupo

    I attended Be the Change in Taupo, New Zealand in November, 2013. It was my first venture into the volunteer abroad arena and was an ideal venue for me to get information and interract with experienced volunteers. The week was life-changing for me.
    GVN staff picked me up at my hotel as arranged through e-mail. There were 9 of us there as participants and 6 GVN staff. We lived as family in 2 houses with both staff and participants intermixed, which was a bonding experience. We shared cooking and cleaning responsibilities. I loved this format, finding that volunteers are an adaptable and thoroughly interesting group to live with for a week. We were a diverse group, ranging in age from 20 to 67, of varying ethnicities, nationalities and backgrounds. At the end of the week, I considered them all friends.
    The purpose of this workshop was to both inform and motivate volunteers to pursue our own charitable projects at either a local or international level, or to feel confident in participating in existing projects. I came away both informed and motivated. I was most impressed with GVN staff's enthusiasm and dedication to their work.
    Having previously attended both business and horse training workshops, I had a vlue comparison. Be the Chage delivered what I considered to be a good product for the price.
    I have no criticism for the Be the Change program. When I fail to find anything to criticize, I tend to be generous with my ratings. I will be going to Uganda in June as a follow-on to investigate how GVN distributes money they raise through participating in the global Eat So They Can fundraising campaign.

    How could this program be improved?

    I do not have the expertise to suggest changes to this program. I consider it a unique training and idea exchange venue.

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 3 Inspiring: 0
  • Andrew Eldred
    Age: 51 or older
    Surrey, England
    University of Oxford
    Sugod school

    GVN were efficient and their advice was pertinent and timely. CERV in the Philippines were welcoming and keen to provide a good experience for the volunteers as well as making use of our work.
    My wife taught while I helped to do some building maintenance in the same school. The host family were exceptional in looking after us and the school also made us very welcome.
    Overall it was a very satisfactory experience.

    How could this program be improved?

    The one point I regretted was not knowing how few tools there were available at the school. With hindsight we could have taken some equipment with us!

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    Useful: 3 Inspiring: 0
  • Eve
    Age: 31-50
    Life changing!

    Working with Volunteer Service in Nepal (VSN) through GVN was nothing but a positive experience for me.

    The people I met through the program (VSN staff, fellow volunteers, host family and of course, the children!) had the most impact on my life, not to mention the beautiful scenery in Nepal.

    At the time I was in the program VSN was taking over guardianship of the SSCH kids. I saw these children in the non VSN home they were in during my placement as a volunteer, which could only be described as appalling and then, when having the privilege of returning to Nepal the following year as Volunteer Coordinator, saw the undeniable impact VSN was having on those children's health, happiness and wellbeing.

    I had gone into the program initially, as a volunteer, with my eyes open and admittedly with scepticism but came out the other side with nothing but respect and admiration for the amazing work VSN was doing in changing, for the better, the lives of the children within their care..

    VSN's pragmatic and appropriate methods of maintaining the Nepali culture within their homes set them apart from some of the other NGOs I visited whilst I was in Kathmandu. I respected the ethos and values VSN was trying to uphold, keeping the children close to their traditions (without bringing in Western ideals) but also trying to improve their social standing and way of life through good nutrition, health and education.

    There was no question that I would continue my support of VSN following my departure from Nepal, which I have done along with other fellow Aussie volunteers back in Australia through ongoing fundraising efforts over the past 7 years.

    Some of us have also been back to visit the children over the years and continue to be astounded with the children's happiness and wellbeing since coming into VSN's care.

    How could this program be improved?

    If only VSN could support more children than what they do currently, so more kids receive the opportunity of a better future!

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    Useful: 2 Inspiring: 0
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