Community Development and Environmental Change in Zambia

This project helps to develop Livingstone – its people and community – with innovative and self-sustaining structures, while at the same time bringing hope of a better quality of life to the local people, contributing to meaningful and sustainable projects, and beautifying the community.

Program Overview

The broad aim of this project is to help develop Livingstone (its people and community) with innovative and self-sustaining structures, while at the same time bringing hope of a better quality of life to the local people, contributing to meaningful and sustainable projects, and beautifying the community. This project is unlike many others that CISaustralia engages in, as volunteers will be creating safe and sound structures for the community through ecological and self-sustaining methods. Program participants will work with and engage with other volunteers from around the globe, staff and local community members to determine what projects are most relevant and important (build planning, engagement, culture and communication skills). Volunteers will then help design and execute these structures.

This program explores creative opportunities for reusing, repurposing and recycling plastics. Volunteers will spend their time helping the local community through various traditional building projects and learning about eco-building and working with Eco-Bricks – plastic bottles filled with discarded rubbish that can be used to build vital structures. Volunteers work alongside engineers who will help build approved and structurally sound buildings and structures. Volunteers will be able to assist in the build of a project that has been requested by the community, which may include community-based buildings, local family dwellings, water storage, benches, pump houses and classrooms. Participants will assist in hard but rewarding work, by helping with mixing cement, making and laying bricks, laying concrete floors, plastering walls, painting or refurbishing existing structures – all in a closely supervised environment.

Volunteers live and work in Livingstone, a sizable region that consists of a populous city and expansive outlying communities on the border with Zimbabwe. Nearby Victoria Falls, national parks and game reserves provide countless adventures, while the welcoming Zambian locals will keep you culturally engaged.

Project Details:

  • Project Activities: Build projects, Eco-Bricks, farming, swap shops, education, litter clean-ups
  • Project Availability: Fixed program dates each year – see the Program Fee and Dates tab (below) or contact CISaustralia for upcoming availability
  • Project Duration: 2-12 weeks
  • Working Hours: Monday to Friday, approximately 7 hours (not including lunch break)
  • Location: Livingstone, Zambia
  • Excursions: There are a variety of cultural activities and places of interest volunteers can choose to visit on their own (at own expense) outside of project hours. Our on-site staff can assist in providing advice.
  • Support: 24-hour on-site support from our Site Coordinators
  • A valid Police Check or Working With Children Check is required
  • Minimum Age: 18+
  • Language: English

A workshop, guest lecture and/or presentation will also be conducted by one or more of the following organisations:

  • Wayawaya – a local social enterprise for empowering women
  • One of the local girl impact mentors – to talk about Zambian culture, working with girls and the issues they face and how the girl impact program is benefiting the community
  • Head sister from Linda/Maramba Clinic – to talk about the Zambian medical system, challenges faced, health regulations, medical differences, etc.
  • Head of Lumuuno Training Centre – to talk about the issues women face with further education/finding employment, how the program helps with this and then share some of their success stories
  • Senior social worker from Lubasi Girls homes – a safe house for girls that are victims of sexual violence – to talk about how they work with the community to identify girls, the process that follows once they are in the house and how they then work to empower them
  • A local caregiver from Pure Skills – a small NGO that focuses on skills training using recycled and up-cycled materials – to talk about home-based care


This program provides a unique combination of meaningful and rewarding volunteer work with exceptional cultural immersion and social opportunities galore. There are a number of great features and essentially something for everyone.

Here are a few great reasons to participate in this program:

  • Help plan, design and build local structures that are particularly important for the local community
  • Learn a range of core skills – communication, cultural, planning, project management, group dynamics, organisational, environmentally friendly / sustainability
  • Engage with community leaders and local levels of government
  • Help reduce waste in order to clean-up Livingstone
  • Build environmentally-sustainable structures for local communities
  • Get involved within the community and with those who need support
  • Choose from heaps of both relaxing options and high adrenaline adventure activities during your time off
  • Variety of activities and community projects – from building and painting, to reading clubs – there’s something for everyone
  • Various locations – you will be based within under-privileged communities in various districts of Livingstone
  • Friendly people – the work of a volunteer is very much appreciated by the communities. You will meet the friendliest, most gracious, most determined and zealous people, who are guaranteed to inspire and motivate you!
  • Make friends for life with fellow volunteers – the project places you in the same accommodation and with similar social / cultural programming as volunteers on other projects, so you can swap stories and learn from each other
  • Visit the majestic Victoria Falls, also known as “The Smoke That Thunders” – one of the many popular tourist attractions easily accessible from Livingstone
  • Explore further afield to the neighbouring countries of Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to see different people and places
  • A workshop, guest lecture and / or presentation will be conducted by one or more local organisation on topics such as empowering women and girls, the Zambia medical system, skills training, home-based care, etc.

Sample Itinerary

7:00am: Rise and shine. Eat breakfast of cereals, toast, tea and coffee

7:45am: Depart house to your morning project

12:00-1:30pm: Pick-up from your morning project location for lunch at the volunteer house

1:30-2:00pm: Planning Session – you are given this time to prepare for your afternoon projects

2:00-4:30pm: Head off for your afternoon project

4:30pm: Depart your afternoon project and return to the volunteer house for free time

6:00pm: Dinner time. You are free to enjoy a nice cooked meal prepared for you at the house or to venture off in to town to taste some local cuisine

COVID Safe Travel

The health and safety of our students is our highest priority. We take our duty of care for our students, their families and our Australian University partners seriously. For all of our program locations, we have developed a site-specific COVID-19 risk matrix and risk management and emergency response plans so that health and safety response protocols are monitored, managed and communicated.

In preparation for your overseas program, it’s important that you carefully read and understand information related to COVID-19 Travel Safety and Insurance Requirements.

CISaustralia monitors Smartraveller and reliable news feeds to keep up to date with the latest COVID information and any associated travel restrictions and entry requirements for all destinations where we have programs. Due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 situation, Government travel advice can change quickly. For the most up to date information on Zambia, visit the Smartraveller website.

The Volunteer's Role

Volunteers will spend their time helping the local community through various traditional building projects – learning about eco-building and working with Eco-Bricks. Volunteers work alongside engineers to assist in the build of a project that has been requested by the community. Volunteers will assist in hard but rewarding work, and whatever activities are undertaken, you will be helping the community and leaving a legacy in Livingstone!

Volunteers in Livingstone will be fully immersed within the community every day. The Livingstone community volunteer program is so unique and different than any other project because you are able to experience so many different activities since every afternoon is different. You will have the opportunity to join in a variety of activities that help uplift the community, including After School Club, Reading Club, Math Club, Art Club, Maramba Old People’s Home, Linda Farm, Adult Literacy Club, Life Skills workshops and more! This gives a well-rounded experience and exposes students to all parts of the community.


  • Building & Development
  • Community & Conservation
  • Conservation & Environmental
  • Sustainable Building Practices

A portion of your program fee directly supports the project’s various initiatives and employs local staff. Your work as a volunteer in Livingstone supports a long-term effort addressing local needs that cannot be properly sustained without the support of overseas volunteers.

As a volunteer on the Community Development and Environmental Change project in Livingstone, you’ll enjoy a variety of project duties according to your skills and interests as well as the project needs and local demands at the time. Whether you are an experienced environmental student or worker, or simply interested in the environment and community development, you will have plenty to keep you busy, engaged and feeling fulfilled at the end of each day.

The following are some common project types volunteers may assist with:

Volunteers will spend some of their time helping the local community through various traditional building projects and building with Eco-Bricks. Volunteers work alongside engineers who will help build approved and structurally sound buildings and structures. You will be able to assist in the build of a project that has been requested by the community, which may include compost bins, water storage, ablution facilities, benches, pump houses and classrooms. Volunteers might also assist with refurbishing an old playground, painting a classroom or building various recycling stations. You will assist in hard but rewarding work, by helping with mixing cement, making and laying bricks, laying concrete floors, plastering walls, painting or refurbishing existing structures.

The program aims to help communities set up sustainable farming programs and provide assistance in preparing the land and maintaining the crops. Volunteers assist by helping to prepare the land, planting, watering, weeding and harvesting. Recently, staff and volunteers worked hand-in-hand with Linda Farm for the disabled to build various Eco-Brick structures, which assist locals with additional income generation. There are plans for many more exciting projects and structures at the farm.

One of the most valuable investments one can make is through making an Eco-Brick. A centralised Swap Shop will be set up and used for community members to exchange their Eco-Brick for a donated item. The Eco-Brick will act as currency and will be exchanged for numerous items including clothing, towels, linens and other household items. Along with the flagship shop in town, Mobile Swap Shops will also be part of the Swap Shop experience. Volunteers will take donated items to rural communities where people will be able to exchange their Eco-Bricks for items. By having an established location in town as well as “on the go” services, the project will be able to maximise its reach.

The Ministry of Education is thrilled to be supporting this project and efforts to work with local schools and communities where workshops will be held to educate people on what, why and how to Eco-Brick. Hands-on demonstrations will be provided as well as follow through on progress.

One of the ways to help beautify and gain free building materials is simple – litter picks. In conjunction with Livingstone City Council and communities of Livingstone, volunteers will participate in community litter picks where you get to bond with the community as you work side-by-side to clean-up the area, removing waste that would otherwise be burned or buried as well as gather materials for Eco-Bricking.


There are a variety of activities to get involved with during your free time (at own expense):

GO ON SAFARI – Livingstone, Zambia is safari country. Here you can spot a whole lot of wildlife, do rhino bushwalks and get up close and personal on an elephant-back safari.

EXPERIENCE VICTORIA FALLS & ZAMBEZI ADVENTURES – Take advantage of your proximity to the great and mighty Victoria Falls as well as the other adventures the Zambezi has to offer. Zambezi boat cruises, river safaris, river fishing safaris and canoe trips are all ways in which you can encounter these great waters. You can also ride quad bike trails or view the scenery from a helicopter.

GET INVOLVED IN GROUP ACTIVITIES – During your stay at Livingstone Backpackers, you have the opportunity to play volleyball with the locals, explore the variety of restaurants and bars in town, watch a movie under the stars at night and braai (BBQ) with your group of new friends.

ENJOY CULTURAL TOURS & MARKETS – Although you will be spending time in the community, you will also be able to embark on a cultural tour to a local African village, giving you further insight into another way of life. You can also shop at some of the many markets and stock up on locally hand-made goods for your loved ones back home.

There are a huge number of optional activities and trips that are available to you (at an additional cost), whilst on the project. Here are a few other ideas:

  • Dinner/sunset cruise on the Zambezi River
  • 2 nights on an island paradise in the Zambezi, inclusive of several activities and meals
  • 2 nights on safari in Chobe National Park
  • The world’s most exciting white water rafting on the Zambezi River
  • Bungee jumping and gorge swings over the Batoka Gorge below Victoria Falls
  • Lion walk and encounter
  • Elephant-back safaris
  • Canoeing safaris on the Zambezi River above Victoria Falls
  • Game drives in Zambia’s Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park


The project is based in Livingstone, a pleasant city of about 140,000 people just north of the Zambezi River and the border of Zimbabwe. A major tourist hub, especially for visitors to Victoria Falls, Livingstone is considered among Southern Africa’s finest “adventure centres.” The city enjoys most of the modern amenities of a popular tourist destination, including modern stores and a variety of eateries and bars. Situated at nearly 1,000 metres above sea level, Livingstone enjoys rather distinct seasons, with precipitation and temperature (day and night) varying from season-to-season.


Volunteers reside at a comfortable and secure complex, The Livingstone Backpackers, a 5-minute walk from Livingstone town centre. The hostel features a dining area, bar, swimming pool, large garden and even a rock-climbing wall. The property sleeps up to 87 people and accommodates volunteers from a few projects. Volunteers will typically reside with fellow volunteers in the distinct “Volunteer House”, however, if capacity is reached (30), groups of volunteers may be placed in the backpacker rooms.

The accommodation is mixed gender, but males and females sleep in separate rooms. Bedrooms sleep 4-8 people, with bunk beds in each room. Bed linen is provided (please bring your own towel!) and a cleaning service will attend to your room daily. The house is positioned within close walking distance to town, where you will find a wide range of amenities.

As a volunteer, you will be provided with three meals a day during the week (Monday through Friday). Breakfast is either a daily hot breakfast option or it’s on a help-yourself basis and consists of cereals, toast, tea and coffee. Lunch and dinner are full meals, and will be cooked for you by the chef at the volunteer house. Weekends are free for you to explore, and as such you are free to explore your culinary options as well.

Why Volunteer with CISaustralia

CISaustralia believes strongly in supporting volunteer initiatives across the world that promote sustainable and long-term societal, environmental and economic change to benefit and empower local communities.

While the term volunteering is widely known and accepted, we prefer to use the term Experiential Service Learning. This better relates to our philosophy surrounding close community engagement as well as a focus on projects that have a long-term approach and a range of positive impacts for both communities and our students. Over 98% of CISaustralia participants receive academic credit for their program abroad, which fosters a more culturally immersive and deeper reflective experience.

CISaustralia volunteering programs contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which aim to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. While not every program will achieve all seventeen of the UN goals, your role as a volunteer will have a positive impact by doing work that really matters. We partner with organisations that have in-depth, first-hand knowledge and close relationships with local communities. Prior to your departure, our team in Australia will prepare you with extensive resources so you feel supported every step of the way. You will also be supported throughout your entire overseas program by our fantastic and experienced in-country staff. 

Volunteering abroad is a life-changing experience, enabling you to learn and grow on many personal and professional levels, to broaden your perspective on the world and to become a global citizen. CISaustralia prides itself in having the strongest global partners who are socially responsible and equally committed to their local communities and ethical practices. We love what we do at CISaustralia and are here to provide you with the support you need to successfully volunteer abroad – so that you can contribute to positively changing the lives of others, and yourself, along the way. Get ready for an exciting once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Read more: Why Volunteer Abroad with CISaustralia?

Program Fee & Dates

2-4 weeks (SET DATES ONLY)
This program is available on fixed program dates (only). Programs start on a Monday and end on a Monday. Application deadline is 90 days prior to commencement. Please see specific start dates below or enquire for upcoming availability. Longer placements may be available on a case-by-case basis.
Application FeeA$ 95
Program Fee A$ 3,599
OS-HELP A$ 7,921
June - July 2024 (2 weeks)
Limited Places Available - contact CISaustralia to reserve your spot
Application Deadline29 March 2024
Arrival Date17 June 2024
Departure Date01 July 2024
Application FeeA$ 95
Program Fee A$ 3,599
OS-HELP A$ 7,921
November - December 2024 (2 weeks)
Application Deadline02 September 2024
Arrival Date25 November 2024
Departure Date09 December 2024
Application FeeA$ 95
Program Fee A$ 3,599
OS-HELP A$ 7,921


Program fees include the following:
  • Volunteer placement and supervision – covers resources, materials, equipment and operational costs to host volunteers
  • CISaustralia support services before, during and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial advice
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure guide and session
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off (on specified program dates within designated times)
  • Arrival orientation
  • Accommodation – shared room, same gender, dormitory-style
  • Meals – 3 meals per day, Monday through Friday
  • Project transportation
  • Housekeeping service
  • Booking and/or logistical assistance for optional excursions (excursions at additional expense)
  • Program risk matrix and COVID-19 risk assessment
  • Risk Management and Emergency Response Plan
  • 24/7 on-site support – Site Coordinator, Project Leaders
  • CISaustralia Certificate of Participation (available on request)

What is not included:

  • Program application fee
  • International Student Identity Card
  • Flights (CISaustralia will however provide travel guidance and support via our formal travel partner)
  • Medical insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Police or Working With Children Check
  • Vaccinations (if required)
  • Weekend meals
  • Laundry service (available on-site for a few dollars)
  • Extra travel/excursions (other than those mentioned above)

Please do not book flights until you have received the dates in your acceptance paperwork and you are confirmed on the program.

CISaustralia reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partners.

Adventure Awaits

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive the latest updates on all CISaustralia programs, scholarships, news and more!