Fiji – an archipelago in the South Pacific – is famous for its ubiquitous palm lined islands, warm and welcoming hospitality, and rich cultural heritage. Find adventure – and purpose – among the tropical jungles, coral reefs and friendly communities of this truly idyllic destination.
Fiji’s archetypal white beaches and warm blue waters are only outdone by the variety and abundance of marine life in and around the Pacific Ocean’s vibrant coral reefs – where almost half of the world’s species of coral are found. This makes for fascinating and varied diving, and gives you a front row seat to how these beautiful but fragile ecosystems can be conserved for generations to come.
Choose from a wide variety of volunteer or internship programs in Fiji:
If you’re also interested in our Fiji community development volunteer or internship projects, please visit our GVI People site. We offer programs focusing on the following important work:
As a GVI conservation volunteer or intern in Fiji, you will assist with research on the impact of climate change, overfishing, and plastic pollution on Fiji’s coastal habitats, coral reefs, and various marine species. You will work with our local partner organisations – including the Fiji locally managed marine area network – to find sustainable solutions to these critical issues. This is especially urgent work for the survival of Fiji’s coral reef systems, which have been badly affected by coral bleaching.
Marine environments around the world, including Fiji’s corals and fish, are negatively impacted by warming ocean temperatures caused by climate change, plastic and other types of pollution, tropical storms, and unsustainable fishing practices. The health of marine environments, such as Fiji’s coral reefs, are important because they provide the local population with nutrition as well as economic opportunity through fishing and tourism.
Collecting data on how marine life is dealing with these threats helps local governments like Fiji’s Ministry of Fisheries make decisions about how to effectively manage marine resources. But, collecting this data can be a challenge due to limited personnel and equipment.
GVI marine conservation volunteers in Fiji assist the local government with collecting data on the health of coral and fish populations.
One of the methods used to collect this marine conservation data is called the manta tow. This involves one of our Fiji marine conservation volunteers donning snorkelling gear and being pulled slowly behind a boat. The volunteers assess the health of coral habitats and fish populations by identifying factors such as the vibrancy of the corals. They then record this information on a waterproof data sheet when the boat stops. This method allows large stretches of the reef to be monitored while only having access to limited resources.
Before working on any of our marine conservation volunteer programs or internships, all GVI marine conservation volunteers in Fiji earn our exclusive qualification: the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Specialty.
You can also earn a range of other PADI qualifications – from the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification to the PADI Divemaster certification.
If you join one of GVI’s conservation programs as a volunteer or intern, you’ll be based on the main island of Viti Levu in the district of Dawasamu. Living and working in this community will give you the opportunity to learn about the traditional culture of Fiji first-hand. Upon arrival, you will be invited into the community with a traditional welcoming ceremony. If you are of age, this might include attending a kava ceremony. Kava is a drink prepared in a special ceremonial bowl in front of the local community leaders. It forms a key part of the traditional culture of Fiji. Depending on when you choose to join a program, you might also be able to attend a meke, a traditional dancing ceremony.
GVI’s programs are compliant with rigorous ethical guidelines. We are governed by our ten ethical principles and five human empowerment principles. We also hold a badge of ethics – our dedication to continuously reflect on and improve our policies and practices.
Every GVI program is planned and implemented in collaboration with local partner organisations – creating solutions that will have a lasting impact and can eventually be maintained without external support. We employ both environmental impact and science officers on the ground to ensure that our projects are up to date with the latest conservation best practices and most rigorous scientific standards.
Each of our programs is aligned to one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). In Fiji, as most of our programs are focussed on marine conservation, our main focus is UN SDG 14: Life Below Water.
You can read about the work we’ve done with the help of volunteers and interns like you in our Impact and Ethics Report.
Anyone over 18 (including college students and gap year students), people on a career break, and older adults can join our Fiji volunteering or internship programs at just about any time throughout the year.
If you are under 18 and want to join a conservation volunteering program, you can find a wide selection of opportunities designed specifically for teens here.
You do! We don’t require any pre-existing qualifications or certifications. However, in order to conduct surveys of marine life and coral reef ecosystems, volunteers or interns will have a PADI Divemaster qualification included as part of their program.
Extremely safe. We take every precaution to make sure our participants live and work safely, no matter where they are in the world. We have trained support staff on hand 24 hours a day to ensure that all participants across all our programs are well taken care of.
You can speak directly to one of our enrolment officers or alumni, who can answer any and all questions you might have about life in Fiji, life on the GVI base, or the experience of working in a marine environment.
GVI volunteers in Fiji live in shared bures (traditional huts). You will live and work with other volunteers, interns and GVI staff from all around the world. Living in an international community such as this with like-minded individuals is why many of our volunteers leave our programs with life-long friends.
Learn to cook iTaukei food
Make a traditional drink from kava root
Learn indigenous plant medicine
Hike to the top of Tova Peak
Fish with iTaukei women
Weave a traditional mat
Visit Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park
Boat to Leleuvia Island