Community Maintenance

Over the years VSN has worked with many communities through the provision of labour and skills to help them achieve their goals, whether that be painting the local school, building school toilets, installing water pumps and taps, creating a village football pitch, or preparing ground for a new children’s home project.

Support is only given where there is a genuine community need and in consultation with the community itself. VSN does not impose projects on communities in order to give our volunteers something to do. In most cases, we are invited to support an ongoing or new initiative through the provision of volunteers, thus enabling the project to reduce its labour costs. VSN does not guarantee funding for maintenance projects, but if funding is available, may make a contribution.

As a community maintenance volunteer you will work side by side with community members and hired/skilled labourers. Unless you come with a specific skills set or expertise you will be performing manual labour activities, i.e. a whole lot of humping, dumping and digging! By comparison to western standards the projects you will work on will be extremely low tech, and you will perform each and every task by hand with rudimentary local tools.

A member of VSN staff will visit the projects on a regular basis however, you will be expected to take your day to day guidance from the community you are working with. In 99% of all placements you will be staying in the community you will be helping, so you should be able to develop a strong bond with the people you are working with.

Some maintenance projects are linked directly to VSN’s own children’s homes and may require volunteers to dig an underground water tank, paint a perimeter fence, shore-up landslip prone banks, undertake ground clearance, landscaping and planting schemes, dig trenches for water pipes or redecorate a home.

This programme can be physically demanding so a reasonable level of fitness is required, alongside a strong back, as you may be doing a lot of lifting and carrying. Projects are often disrupted for a variety of reasons i.e. a shortage of supplies in the market place, strikes, weather and festivals. Given this, patience, motivation and determination are a prerequisite to being a community maintenance volunteer, as is the ability to work with your hands and do whatever is needed with a smile on your face.

New projects are added throughout the year as needs arise. For current community maintenance projects please download the placement profiles.