Public health resources and programs are urgent, and public health volunteering is one of the most vital volunteering programs there is. You could run workshops on nutrition, hygiene, fitness, reproductive health, disease prevention or first aid. You don’t need any prior experience to work in public health abroad, and your work will directly benefit the people who need it most.
In many lower-income communities, such as the ones our projects are active in, people are exposed to greater environmental health risks and thus face a higher risk of illness.
GVI’s volunteers play a vital part in the success and sustainability of our public health programs. Without volunteer support, we wouldn’t be able to continue making an impact in these communities. Through setting up clinics, providing access to clean water and sanitation, educating local communities, and providing capacity, we can make long-term positive impacts on the health of underserved people.
The short answer? Yes, of course!
Many organisations define public health as “the science of helping people”, and volunteering in public health is one way you can enter the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines without previous experience being required.
Public health practice is not the same as medical practice. Medical healthcare providers, on the one hand, offer diagnoses, treatment and advice so their patients can get well. Public health practice, on the other hand, involves education and prevention. Public health programs are not necessarily delivered in clinical settings, but they must be specific, data-based and accessible – simple enough for all people in a community to benefit from them.
Those who choose to work in the public health sector come from tons of different backgrounds – there is no mandatory educational level expected – which means more diverse, progressive solutions to public health challenges being found. It also means you’ll get to interact with a range of interesting people at all stages of life while volunteering.
Our public health programs do often attract skilled volunteers, but rest assured, although previous experience is advantageous, it’s not necessary.
GVI’s public health programs are open to all people, from career breakers to students on gap years. An added bonus for students: we offer academic credits to students. Ask your country expert if you qualify for this.
Join a public health volunteering program in one of our eight incredible locations. You’ll find your people, connect with local cultures and customs, and enjoy an unforgettable travel experience.
Begin your story as a public health volunteer in:
You’ll find something unique in every one of our public health volunteering overseas locations, but take these snapshots from a few of our locations as inspiration for your journey.
Here, you’ll teach basic hygiene activities like brushing teeth to kindergarteners. Though they may seem small, these lessons support children in establishing healthy routines that evolve into much bigger preventative behaviours later on in life.
Your volunteering extends to running workshops on a range of healthcare related topics in the community.
You’ll also run sports or health workshops alongside educators at a local school.
Our public health volunteer program in Fiji runs in partnership with local community health workers. Volunteers utilise official government health materials and resources to create interactive workshops in collaboration with recognised local authorities.
Our volunteers also assist by creating supporting resources and conducting supplementary research to assist the district nurses to collate information about individual villages.
Get moving on our public health short-term internship and you run sports lessons and facilitate workshops about health-related topics such as hygiene and healthy foods.
Our public health program in South Africa also emphasises teaching topics around reproductive health and rights, and emotional wellbeing.
Please note that GVI has a Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy that is implemented on each program. As part of the policy, participants will be required to complete a DPS check, Police Clearance or a National Background Check where necessary, and to comply with the policy.
This policy guides our participants on ethical engagement with children abroad. For more on this policy, and how you can ensure you’re joining a public health volunteer program that is aligned with international standards, navigate here.
GVI programs don’t operate in any orphanages or residential care institutions. Rather, we’re aligned to international frameworks supporting family reunification and foster care models. We only work with community organisations who take the same approach, so the public health projects you would join are typically run in kindergartens, schools and community centres. To see the research that led us to our stance against orphanage programs, head over here.
Head over to our testimonials page, where you can hear from loads of people, like you, who’ve joined our public health volunteer programs. Better yet, we’ll connect you to one of our program alumni who can talk you through the experience on a more personal level.
Our program experts are also set to answer any questions you might have about your journey into public health volunteering. Give us a shout!