Affordable Construction Programs with IVHQ

By International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ   Reviews (7)   97% Rating

IVHQ supports building and renovation projects all around the world. We encourage our volunteers to work with locals to both learn and share valuable skills. Improving local infrastructure is a tangible and long lasting way to benefit the community. It can include building brand new structures, renovating existing buildings that are unsafe, or participating in civil infrastructure initiatives.

Past volunteers have helped construct schools, orphanages, community centers and recreational centers. The tasks involved will vary according to location, project, community needs, and skill set. Safety is always a concern, and volunteers will never be asked to perform tasks that could be dangerous to them.

In order to better prepare, we encourage our volunteers to participate in an interactive pre-departure training on what it means to be a responsible volunteer.

Below are a list of countries that offer building volunteer programs with IVHQ.

  • Argentina: Programs begin every Monday and last 1 to 24 weeks. After an orientation, you are placed in your project in Cordoba Province in the town of Villa Allende.
  • Bali: Programs begin every first and third Monday and last 1-12 weeks. After an orientation, you are placed in or near the cultural center of Ubud.
  • Colombia - Bogota: Programs begin every first and third Monday and last 1-24 weeks. After an orientation, you'll be placed in the city or the surrounding suburbs.
  • Costa Rica: Programs begin every first and third Monday and last 1-24 weeks. Volunteers are mostly in and around San Jose, but can be placed all over the country.
  • Fiji: Programs begin every first and third Monday and last 1-12 weeks. Projects are based in and around the capital city of Suva.
  • Ghana: Programs begin every first and third Monday and last 1-24 weeks. Projects are based in townships and villages in and around Accra.
  • Guatemala: Programs begin every Monday and last 1-24 weeks. Projects are located in the colonial city of Antigua and surrounding towns and villages.
  • Laos: Programs begin every Monday and last 1-12 weeks. Volunteers are placed in the capital city of Vientiane and Sisattanak.
  • Madagascar: Programs begin every Monday and last 2-24 weeks. Volunteers are based on the island of Nosy Komba, 15 to 25 minutes by boat from the larger island of Nosy Be.
  • Peru - Cusco: Programs begin every Monday and last 1-24 weeks. Programs are located in Cusco and surrounding valleys, close to Machu Picchu.
  • Peru - Lima: Programs begin every first and third Monday and last 1-24 weeks. Programs are located in Lima, the capital city.
  • Philippines: Programs begin every Monday and last 1 week to 6 months. Placements are in and around the Calinan District, Davao where volunteer orientation and general administration is carried out by a partner organization.
  • Sri Lanka: Programs begin every first and third Monday and last 1-24 weeks. Building projects include temple reconstruction in and around the sacred city of Kandy.
  • Thailand: Programs begin every first and third Monday and last 1-12 weeks. Orientation and most placements are in located in and around the northern region of Chiang Rai.
  • Uganda: Programs begin every first and third Monday and last 1-24 weeks. The program is based in Kitende, just outside the capital city of Kampala.
  • Portugal: Programs begin every first and third Monday and last 1-24 weeks. The program is based in Portugal's capital city, Lisbon.
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Starting Price

Rating Values

  • Impact
  • Support
  • Fun
  • Value
  • Safety

Program Reviews (7)

28 years old
University of Technology

Volunteer: Philippines - Construction

Overall 10

The experience to this placement was one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Aside from the hospitality of the local people, the great people I have met from different part of the world, this experience was rewarding and has made me see things and appreciate the life we have in such a privileged society. Bringing things back to basics and being apart of contributing to the local community is an experience that someone wanting to make a difference in this world can dream of. Volunteering for me has not only about giving back to the community but it has also aided to my personal growth. Thank you IVHQ for the faultless support and I look forward to my next placement.

How can this program be improved?
The program as mentioned was faultless. Keep up the great work!!
Provider Response

Hi Martin, It is absolutely our pleasure! We are so glad that you had a rewarding experience in the Philippines. Thanks for your lovely review and for being a great volunteer. We hope to have you volunteer with us again in the future.

24 years old
Quincy, Massachusetts
Wentworth Institute of Technology

Mas madera!

Overall 10

Cusco was an amazing experience! I worked on a kindergarten for a neighborhood south of the city. We only had 5 volunteers that week, so progress was a bit slow, but we were still able to get down most of the formwork for concrete columns. One story stands out in particular:
On one of the days, we spent the entire day just moving wood. The wood for the concrete formwork isn't new obviously, so we picked it all up from one house, loaded it into a a dump truck, and brought it to the site. Mind you, normally, we climbed about 300 stairs to the worksite, o the dump truck had to find another way around. The dump truck took the long way around, which included backing down a road with about 3 inches of space between a sheer cliff! Then we unloaded the truck, and brought the wood up a steep hill to the actual site. The entire day, all we did was move wood so much more work than I thought it would be!

How can this program be improved?
I would give the volunteers a heads up that you go straight to work after the orientation. Some of the volunteers didn't know, and came slightly unprepared (not construction clothes) no big deal, I just think an extra reminder would help!
23 years old
Ghent, Belgium


Overall 9

Maybe this is mentioned already, in that case let’s stress it another time: I was just astonished by the happiness and humility of literally every person from Laos we met during our volunteer experience -especially considering the fact that Laos is the most bombed country in history (1960’s, part of the Vietnam war). Laughing and being friendly just seems so natural for them… and it’s so catchy, like a great song! People from Northern Europe, for example, can learn from this for sure.
Lalala for me means sunshine and joy. It comes when you feel so happy that you want to start singing a song, but it’s so overwhelming, that you cannot think of a song quick enough and you just start singing a random melody starting with lalala. That’s what my time in Laos has given me many times.
A great example (one of many):
I had my 22nd birthday, by chance, on my last day of volunteering (construction and renovation). So on my last night, we decided to celebrate it, along with a farewell last night for two other volunteers. We sat in front of the guesthouse with about 20 other volunteers, like we did every night, having cosy down time with a little bit of inevitable Laolao (local spirit). Suddenly, half-way through our night, a birthday cake came out of the restaurant of the guesthouse and everyone started singing happy birthday! Some other volunteers, whom I still call good friends till today, had arranged the cake, made by the wife of the owner of the guesthouse. After dividing the cake in about 25 pieces (and having leftovers!), we all got in the back of two pickup trucks. A few minutes later we arrived at a Karaoke place, where each group can rent a private karaoke room for a certain time. I never saw this before! Apparently it’s an Asian thing…
Seeing my fellow volunteers there, including staff, enjoying themselves, definitely made this a Lalala-night to remember.

How can this program be improved?
The whole experience was great and unforgettable, but if I have to say something: The culture week (first week) had some great cultural and local experiences. But on the other hand, I had the feeling they were trying to fill up a whole week, while the activities could have been done in about three days. This would give people who only stay for a short period more volunteering time. I know they are open for this option, because I saw some volunteers already working some days their first week, but more clarity about that option could be beneficial for other volunteers.
Provider Response

Hi Hanne, It's great to hear from you. Thanks for sharing a little from your experience volunteering in Laos. What a special birthday! We are so glad that you had such an unforgettable time in Vientiane. We look forward to welcoming you on another IVHQ program in the future.

23 years old
Wilmington, NC
University of North Carolina- Wilmington


Overall 10

I'd have to say that I was very impressed with IVHQ from the beginning. I have never worked with an organization that had such quick feedback and a staff with the willingness to really meet your needs. I decided to go with IVHQ because I really felt through their service that they were indeed a "legit" organization. I got off of the plane in Guatemala and per specific instructions prior to my arrival I was greeted immediately by a smiley face flag to the left of the exit door. I never once felt that I was in danger and always felt that the open communication between the in-country organization, Maximo Nivel was helpful. I was taken to my accommodation, which I have to say was AWESOME! I walked into Casa Shakina and was greeted by 20 new friends (who by the end of the week were sisters.) Maria was the "house mom" for us and provided us with wonderfully made meals 3 times a day (how lucky were we!?) and Lopez who was the security guard making us always feel at home and safe!

I cannot tell you how happy I am to have chosen IVHQ- Guatemala! Antigua was a beautiful little town with cobblestone roads and enough history to keep you busy for a few days! We didn't find it hard to scope out a little local bar for ladies night or the local Crepes place for dinner/desert one night...we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in this beautiful place.

As for the Renovation and Construction project, I definitely felt they my time and effort was appreciated not only by the community of San Mateo but also by the Maximo Nivel staff. I felt so welcomed and so loved by the community and every day in the courtyard I was able to play with the local children! The transportation to and from the work site was not bad and I actually enjoyed mingling with the locals on the chicken bus. By the end of the week I had perfected the jump onto and off of the continually moving bus, yes, it comes to a rolling stop IF THAT! Although my Spanish was little to none, every single person I came into contact with was so helpful and met me halfway in broken "Spanglish." I will never be able to quite put into words the impact that this trip has made on my life...but I do know that I will carry the memories with me forever. I am so thankful for an organization that puts the money that you pay to volunteer directly back into the community/program that you're working on. As soon as I landed back in the U.S. I was immediately wanting to go back! So I went home and applied for another volunteer opportunity with IVHQ, here I come South Africa, December 2015!!

I highly recommend IVHQ if you're wanting your money to be used in the best way, to get THE BEST support, and to ultimately Impact others while having your life impacted. I am so very thankful for IVHQ and what they provide.

How can this program be improved?
One thing that I would change would be the length of time working each day, I would have loved to work a bit longer! I feel as though we made a huge impact on the progress of the project but I know we could have done so much more!
Provider Response

Hi Audrey, Wow! It sounds like you had such an incredibly rewarding time volunteering in Guatemala. The chicken bus definitely sounds like an experience, good job on fine tuning the getting on/off routine :). Thanks for sharing your thoughts both on volunteering abroad and on IVHQ; it’s great to hear that you were happy with the service we provide and that of our partner organisation in Guatemala. All the best for 2015 and we are looking forward to having you on our South Africa program in December.

23 years old
Courtice, Ontario
University of Ontario Institute of Technology


Overall 10

Bali is such a beautiful place to be volunteering! The fact that you are out of the touristy area and living in town just outside of Ubud with the locals makes your Bali experience that much more authentic. A normal day of volunteering in Construction would be start work at 1and finish by 4, so you will still have tons of time to explore your surroundings and get to know the other volunteers. mornings would consist of relaxing around by the pool or hanging out with other volunteers at local coffee shops (Kopi Desa or Cafe Vespa). Or just hoping on a scooter and exploring the rest of the town. Weekends are your time to explore and travel around with other volunteers, I was there for three weeks and visited Kuta, Gilli T for a weekend, and also did the Mt. Batur sunrise trek during the week. I would highly recommend doing the sunrise trek and spending at least 3 days at Gilli T. The food got better as my weeks went on, but if you didn't like it there are towns of places in town that you could go out and eat. The only down fall i had with the construction program is I thought it would have been more labour work, but instead for the two weeks of actual working we just painted a school.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing about this program it would be to have more options to do at the construction program. Like some people could paint if they want while others can do what ever els work needs to be done, so that way people are not doing things that they don't want to do.
Provider Response

Hi Brett, Thanks for your sharing your experience in Bali. We have followed up with the local team regarding your recommendation for the Construction and Renovation project. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ!

23 years old

A great experience!

Overall 9

My recent three-week stay in Colombia was a conclusive experience on many levels. Beginning with the comprehensive staff, Monica, Susi and Monika are passionate and committed, and are very helpful in helping you meet your goals. The appartment is situated in a very safe neighborhood, which is great by itself but ultimately feels a little seperated from the real Colombian culture. The food was excellent, and a great variety of restaurants are but a short walk away. Some maturity is needed from the volunteers however, as there is a curfew and certain rules that most people will have no problem respecting (ie no drugs in the appartement).

The program itself (construction in my case) was located in Soacha, a large working-class city/suburb that made me feel in a completely different country, with its Latin music blasting on the streets, small bakeries, and traditionnal restaurants. I do have to point out that teaching/construction in Soacha implies a 2-hour bus ride to get there, which wasn't ideal at times.

There is always the possibility to try the other programs at any given day, if you are flexible. Some people signed up for teaching, but ended up caring for the elderly (abuelitas), while some preferred variety. My advice is to stick to 1-2 programs, since you can really get attached to the beneficiaries and better understand their issues.

Monica and her staff will often propose various fun activities and outings, which are entertaining and give you a better feel of Colombian life. Bogota is a vibrant and dynamic city to live in, and there is always something to try!

As a volunteer, I signed up with IVHQ and Emerging Voices to discover a new country, meet new people, practice a third language, and most importantly help the needy and create a deeper bond with some people (be it children, homeless, elderly, veterans, families, etc). At the end of the day, I was very satisfied to realize that I successfully met all these goals.

I would definately recommend this program!

How can this program be improved?
-Long bus drive to Soacha
-Appartment is very safe, but could be a little more modest in terms of placement
41 years old

the most awesome

Overall 10

this experience was the best by a million miles to any travel i have done. had the best time, worked on construction and in a police station with street kids and in the amazon. i haave been home 7 weeks and have booked tickets to go back in 3 month. The most beautiful scenery, food, people could live there forever

About The Provider

IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) provides safe, unique, meaningful and extremely affordable volunteer programs in 35+ countries around the world, with a constantly expanding base. Programs are available in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, South America and the Pacific, where IVHQ works alongside local NGOs to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities. IVHQ has programs in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Morocco, Victoria Falls, Madagascar, Bali, China, Nepal, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Laos, the Philippines, Fiji, New Zealand, Romania, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Hawaii!

Whether you're taking a volunteer vacation, a gap year, or on a career break, IVHQ has a wide variety of programs ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks to fit anyone's schedule. Browse through the programs below and visit the IVHQ website for more information.

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