Rural Community Development in Nepal
This is a true immersion experience; it’s your opportunity to experience the “real” Nepal. As a volunteer you’ll live and work in a local community and immerse yourself completely in village life. This program provides an experience that is truly unique.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19, the CISaustralia Rural Community Development in Nepal program has been placed on hold in 2023. Please contact CISaustralia for more details.
This is a true immersion experience – your opportunity to experience the “real” Nepal. As a volunteer you’ll live and work in a rural community and immerse yourself in the local culture. Nepal has a large rural and agricultural society, with 85% of the population residing in small villages and working family farms. This program provides an experience that is truly unique in Nepal.
Located 35km from the capital city of Kathmandu, the project team manages a women’s farm cooperative, which also provides English classes to local children in the mornings and a medical clinic, as the surrounding village is a considerable hike from the nearest town. Nepal is famous for its captivating mountain views and the location of this farm project is ideal for enjoying these. It is also perfectly situated, in the “hills” for going on hikes in the surrounding area. Be sure to do the morning trek and catch a sunrise view between mountaintops, as the moon still above sinks down behind you!
- Project Activities: Farm work, teaching, creative activities with children, NGO assistance
- Program Availability: Fixed program dates each year – see the Program Fee and Dates tab (below) or contact CISaustralia for upcoming availability
- Program Duration: 2-3 weeks
- Working Hours: Vary depending on project focus, around 6-8 hours per day, 5 days a week
- Location: Dhading District, Nepal
- Excursions: Staff will help organise trips and activities in your spare time, just let us know if you have any special interests and our team can develop something especially relevant and unique. Kathmandu is a 2-hour bus trip from the farm project site so you are free to visit over a weekend or before/after your program and explore the local cuisine, impressive sights and many sounds of this diverse city. With its juxtaposition of current and ancient traditions, strolling and observing your surroundings will be enough to keep you amazed for hours, but then again so could the mountain views, it’s up to you!
- Support: 24-hour on-site support from our Project Leaders and Site Director
- A valid Police Check or Working With Children Check is required
- Minimum Age: 18+
- Language: English
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.
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 Nepal, visit the Smartraveller website.
The Volunteer's Role
Almost 85% of Nepalese residents work as rural farmers. During your placement you will be living on the farm and contributing to the daily functions, maintenance and improvement of the environment. There are painting, restructuring, planting and education projects to take part in, along with others. The Farm is a dynamic and engaging community to become a part of, which was originally established to provide a safe place for Nepalese females to work and provide a means to support their families as they develop their confidence, strength and independence. Through this project, you have the privilege to work alongside these inspirational young women and learn about the realities of gender roles in Nepal, while being part of a truly progressive project within its culture.
The need for volunteers who can teach English is high. As a volunteer, you’ll not only have the opportunity to teach English to children, but you will also be supporting the local school teachers to enhance their lessons. Schools in rural areas have a shortage of basic facilities as well as formally trained teachers. Your time and efforts as a volunteer will have positive impacts on the quality of education presented in the local village.
Local non-government organisations, or NGOs, are keen to practice English as well and may be interested in receiving your help with writing reports or requests for funding. It’s not only your contribution as a native English speaker which helps to strengthen the local community, but your presence and ability to share your own culture with the local people, while demonstrating an interest to learn about theirs is just as important, possibly even more so.
Farming isn’t easy work by any means, but it is satisfying, rewarding and essential for the survival of the local community. By rolling up your sleeves and volunteering your time at this project, you can help local women to create a sustainable future for themselves and for their children.
The Farm Project has also incorporated a rural medical clinic on site, which will provide additional opportunities for interested volunteers to engage with the village community members seeking medical attention.
There are three key areas of focus. The role you play in this program will depend on the focus area you choose:
- If you enjoy working on the land, you can get involved with a number of projects on the farm. This will involve hands-on agricultural labour (e.g. digging, planting, lifting.) Concurrently, you’ll have the chance to work with the local women who run the farm. Your interest to learn about their mission and experiences will support the unique empowerment movement taking place there.
- Those who are vested in gaining writing experience at an international level can reach out to engage with one of the local NGOs. In particular, they might seek support with drafting requests for funding or with editing their documents, as they should be written in fluent English, in order to reach the widest audience possible and garner interest from potential donors.
- If education or child and adolescent development is of greater interest, volunteering in the rural school houses would be an experience that can’t go undervalued. The focus here will be on teaching English through immersive interactions. It sends a meaningful message for the students to have a native English-speaking visitor in their local classroom. If you’re an Education student, this is a great opportunity for applying what you’ve learned in a completely different setting from the Australian “norm.” Providing local teachers with your informed support and skills to improve the children’s long-term education plan will be helpful as well. This may be challenging in such a different environment, but it’s these types of challenges that tend to make the best lessons for teachers themselves, in the end.
No specific skills are required, but an interest to immerse yourself into another culture and enthusiasm for assisting the local community will be important.
If you are keen to help in the local classrooms, you may consider completing a TEFL or TESOL course (TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language and TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) This may help you arrive better prepared for the experience of teaching second language learners in a country where English is not the first language spoken. These courses provide strategies and planning tactics, specifically for teachers that plan to work in an environment with students from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Any knowledge of farming and agriculture will be of great use. As is any experience with community fundraising or NGO work.
This rural community is very welcoming to interested volunteers, so many skill sets and interest areas can be served through this project. If you can tell us a little bit about yourself then we can help to tailor your placement accordingly. This will help ensure that both you and the community will benefit from the time you spend there.
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you’ll be transferred from the airport to the program team’s nearby accommodation. You will spend the first night here before going to the project location at the farm. There, you will be based approximately 35km outside of Kathmandu and fully immersed in the peaceful countryside with stunning views.
Nepal is one of the best countries in the world for scenery, wildlife and adventure. Kathmandu is about a two-hour bus ride from your project location, so you are welcome to use a weekend to further explore the bustling, urban life of Nepal as well. Whilst visiting Kathmandu, you can use the accommodation services of our city-based volunteer house, which includes Wi-Fi.
Kathmandu itself is a complete juxtaposition of old meets new. You’ll see cows roaming freely by the dusty streets, while the sound of honking horns and buzzing motors almost create a type of hectic music in the background. It may take some getting used to, but it’s great to experience this environment as it compares to the serenity of the farm. As the largest and only major city in Nepal, there is so much to see and do! You’ll be captivated by a sensory overload of smells, sights, tastes and sounds. The top highlights to put on your ‘must see’ list include Durbar Square in the ancient town of Bhaktapur, the Three Goddesses Temple, Swayambhunath (also known as the Monkey Temple), Pasupatinath, Bodhnath and the Mahakala Temple.
While exploring, make sure you take time to get off the main drag and walk some of the backstreets, as it is here that the city’s artistic heritage and captivating culture truly reveals itself. Get to know the locals and notice some of the more subtle cultural differences.
With so much to take in, you may also be happy to simply grabbing a cup of freshly brewed chai and watching the crazy, beautiful, bustling world of Kathmandu go by.
Accommodation for the Farm Project is conveniently located on-site in simple and comfortable dorm-style rooms. You’ll be able to roll out of bed, throw on your work clothes, and head into the common area for some yummy breakfast, all within a few minutes.
Meals are prepared fresh daily using locally and sustainably sourced foods. Most meals are made with organically grown rice and vegetables from the surrounding area, typically served as a curry and with some fruits or biscuits to compliment the meal.
On arrival in Kathmandu, you will spend the first night at our volunteer house. Don’t worry, you’ll be well fed before you go hiking and there are plenty of opportunities to stop and rest, while enjoying the breathtaking views along the route. Just don’t forget to bring your water bottle! (Filtered water is available and provided by the project teams, at both accommodations).
Internet at the project site is available, however it is slow. There is higher speed internet available at the volunteer house in Kathmandu which you are welcome to use when in the city.
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
|2-3 Weeks (Set dates only)
|PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19, the CISaustralia Rural Community Development in Nepal program has been placed on hold in 2023. Please contact CISaustralia for more details.
This program is available on fixed program dates (only). Application deadline is 60 days prior to commencement. Places are limited. Please enquire for upcoming availability.
Program fees include the following:
- Volunteer placement and supervision
- 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 via pre-paid taxi service (on specified program dates within designated times)
- On-site orientation and project induction
- Accommodation – dorm-style at project site, plus first night’s accommodation in the volunteer house in Kathmandu
- Meals – 3 meals per day on the farm
- Bus transport to rural placement from Kathmandu
- Access to the Internet (access can be unpredictable at times)
- Excursion planning – staff can help organise trips and activities for your spare time, as requested (certain activities may cost extra)
- Program risk matrix and COVID-19 risk assessment
- Risk Management and Emergency Response Plan
- 24/7 on-site support – Project Leaders and Site Director
- CISaustralia Certificate of Participation (available on request)
*Due to recent changes in security, it has become extremely difficult for volunteers to be greeted and picked up by our on-site team at the airport. We now use a service called “pre-paid taxi” which works very well.
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)
- Meals (unless mentioned above)
- Extra travel/excursions (other than those mentioned above)
Dates are for reference only and are subject to change. 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.