Travel to Oxapampa, a city located in the Peruvian Amazon cloud forest, to contribute to a range of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including # 4 Quality Education, #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, #4 Quality Education, and #6 Clean Water and Sanitation.
Gain hands on experience in community development in a traditional Peruvian context. Learn about best practices in community development such as ensuring that projects are set up in participation and lead by local communities. You will also learn about the global impact goals set by the United Nations as each project is aligned with these.
The connection between community development and conservation is a major focus of this program. Helping educate the local communities and visitors from all around the world on best practices in sustainable development and protection of the cloud forest, the habitat and the wildlife that live in it. You can also get involved in initiatives like environmental education workshops on-site, at local schools and the annual reforestation project. Community development project interns might get involved in supporting local educators with facilitating English language learning for young students in their classrooms, supporting local professionals with improving their vocational skills, including conversational English used for business, and assisting locally owned businesses with becoming more sustainable.
Communication with community members on this program is conducted in Spanish. If you are not fluent in Spanish, Spanish lessons will be required. These can be requested when you book onto the program. Simply speak to your Enrolment Manager to learn more.
|24-hour emergency desk|
|24-hour in-country support|
|Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)|
|All project equipment|
|Food (except on long-term internship placements|
|Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)|
|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|
The Oxapampa province is located on the eastern slopes of the Andes and reaches down into the lowlands of the Amazon Basin. With GVI Peru, you will get to stay in the Amazon cloud forest while contributing directly to conservation and sustainable development efforts.
Wake up in the forest, overlooking the canopy, surrounded by mountains and nature. Enjoy a cup of locally grown Peruvian coffee while listening to the sound of morning song birds and the nearby river, as you get ready for the day. This is the opportunity to develop your skills in wildlife conservation, habitat preservation, environmental conservation, and research techniques.
You’ll share a home with like-minded people from all over the world who are passionate about sustainable development – and you’ll get to make an impact on incredibly unique projects.
You will live in rustic dormitories that sleep up to eight people per room, and are equipped with electricity. The base is powered by an on-site hydroelectric plant as well as s...
We provide day transfers from the Francisco Carle Airport (JAU) in Jauja to our base in Oxapampa during the daytime, on the day before your program start date. Alternatively, yo...
Local SIM cards and pay-as-you-go credit are affordable. They can be bought in Lima If you bring a network-unlocked mobile phone with you. Your connection might not be as fast o...
All meals are provided on base and are mostly vegetarian with meat occasionally included. Ingredients consist of locally-sourced seasonal produce, including eggs, oatmeal, rice,...
Peru is famous for its unique and dramatic climate and Oxapampa is no exception. The weather is humid all year round and can be quite unpredictable at times. The average tempera...
Oxapampa is 2,200 metres above sea level so it is important to give your body time to adjust to the high altitude and follow our staff instructions while acclimating. There are ...
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
During your program, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a variety of the following adventure and wellness activities on a monthly basis, specially designed to further immerse you in the diversity and richness of the habitats and cultures around you.
Joining a GVI program not only allows you to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems – but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer over weekends.
Field staff are a great source of advice and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. You can choose to travel before or after your experience with GVI (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships you’ve established on the program. Please note that the below options are not included in the program fee, and would be up to you to arrange at your own expense.
Visit the town square, where you can enjoy some modern conveniences, and spend time among local community members. There is a lovely market, a co...
Spend the weekend at Villa Rica in a beautiful part of Pasco, located just two hours from base. Here you can take a boat across the Laguna El Oconal, taking in the breathtaking ...
Vist Pozuzo, a village about three hours from the base. Here you can explore La Poza de Agua y Sal, a pool of crystal-clear water where you can swim and watch the wildlife. On r...
Take in the cascading waters of El Tigre Waterfall, also known as Catarata Rio Tigre. Viewed from a pedestrian suspension bridge over the river, this waterfall is located just 1...
Located to the north of Oxapampa you’ll find the Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park, known for its diverse flora and fauna species and rare cloud forest biome. We are situated ju...
Travel to the city of Cusco, known as the gateway to Machu Picchu. Here there are many trails available for hikers of differing fitness levels. This is arguably the most popular...
Visit the Nazca Desert in southern Peru to view the massive geoglyph designs made by the Nazca people. Created between 500 BC and 400 AD, these symbols measure between 400 and 1...
A great day trip from Lima, is a visit to Huacachina, an oasis in the middle of the desert. Swim in the lake, relax on its shores, or sandboard on the surrounding dunes....
Peru’s capital offers an endless variety of experiences. Visit the Larco Museum, where you can view pre-Columbian artifacts, the Magic Water Circuit fountains, or the tomb of Sp...
Known as Peru’s white city, Arequipa is set between three volcanoes and filled with buildings made from white volcanic stone. The city has a unique culture, history and cuisine,...
Travel to Puno and learn how the indigenous Uros people make their own islands using dried totora reeds that float on one of the highest lakes in the world, Lake Titicaca. The U...
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.
Surrounded by high jungle scenery and located just 500 kilometres northeast of Lima, the small town of Oxapampa boasts many interesting cultural aspects. Rolling hills blanketed...
January: The Adoration of the Kings – or honouring of the birth of Christ by the three kings – is celebrated with great fanfare.
Peru has a predominantly Catholic population. However, communities still hold certain beliefs of the Inca religion. They honour the Earth Mother, as well as local spirits....
Coffee is grown in the area, but it’s not the main crop. The most important agricultural crops are fruits such as quito-quito and sweet passion fruit, as well as squash and roco...
In Peru, there are about 50 very different and popular languages that are spoken. The majority of these languages are indigenous. The most commonly spoken, and official language...
14 Jan, 2020
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.
‘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.
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.
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
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.
Our main focus in Peru is creating awareness in the community around why the environment is worth protecting and educating the community on how to create a sustainable relationship between farming and naturally occurring forests. In partnership with CDS, we create working examples of sustainable living to demonstrate that community members can enjoy a good life while making use of alternative resources and income streams – in a way that respects and protects the local environment and wildlife. This assists community members understand the importance of conservation and how much it can benefit their community when done sustainably.
Peru is also known for being a popular cultural and adventure destination among international visitors. Due to this, the country has a thriving tourism industry which provides members of the local communities with employment opportunities. The ability to speak English is often a vital skill needed to access these jobs.
The fact that a large portion of the community lives in rural areas with limited resources and infrastructure often impedes their access to education. Our programs in Oxapampa also focus on assisting in the socio-economic development of the region by supporting English language learning and community development.
GVI works in collaboration with our partner, the Center for Sustainable Development (CDS), and focuses on three pillars: conservation, sustainable development education, and research. CDS is a non-profit, family-run organisation headed up by PhD biologists. In 2011 they bought the land where our base is situated and have been working in the cloud forest in Oxapampa ever since. Their objectives are to recover and protect the cloud forest, and create working examples of sustainable ways of living in order to educate and train members of the local community so that they can adopt these initiatives. The CDS team are experts in their fields and are excited to share their knowledge and expertise with you.
The main UN Sustainable Development Goals that we contribute to are Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 8:Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 15: Life on Land and Goal 17: Partnership for the Goals.
GVI Oxapampa long-term objectives:
1. Educate the local communities on sustainable development, the importance of the forest and how best to protect it.
2. Support the local community of Oxapampa in improving their English language skills.
3. Create an interactive learning environment through developing and delivering workshops, classes, presentations and practical prototypes.
4. Facilitate the development of rural community ecotourism in the Oxapampa region by encouraging local community members to get involved.
5. Provide an authentic experience to GVI Peru volunteers. Through training and mentorship by staff, allow participants to develop both personal and professional skills within the field of education and the community.
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.
We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.
Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.
We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.
We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work 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 COVID-19 pre-departure guidelines, base expectations, personal and area hygiene practices and what we are doing to keep you safe.
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.
Instruction on the specific project objectives and skills necessary to carry out the required tasks, including research and monitoring practices.
Career paths in social and environmental impact are not as well-established as in other fields. That’s why we’ll provide our interns who have successfully completed their program with our Careers in Sustainable Development course. In this course, you’ll learn about current and emerging opportunities in a range of sectors, allowing you to make the best decision about your future.
This online course, valued at £295, is included in all internships. Full course details can be found here.
Leadership is a critical skill set for anyone looking to make an impact or drive sustainable development. Develop your own leadership style and learn how to set achievable objectives, give effective feedback and manage conflict successfully. 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.
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.
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
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...
For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.
The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.
Learn to make Peruvian food
Discover the natural dyes of Peru
Take a mindfulness hike through the forest
Try a tree climbing and canopy adventure
Explore waterfalls in the rainforest
Hike through a remote cloud forest
Climb a mountain in the Andes range
Camp in untouched cloud forest