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14 Years, 20,000 Volunteers and Thousands of Changed Lives

Updated on February 13, 2015

When GVN began only 14 years ago, we had no notion of where our little idea would take us. We wanted to make a difference in the world. And we wanted to build a platform that would enable others to go out into the world and make a difference. I can honestly say that looking back over the last 14 years and remembering all the people, places and projects where GVN volunteers got involved and truly made a difference, really humbles me.

Changing Lives

Here at GVN, we believe that when we change one life, we change more than just one life. We could be helping to change a whole family or even a generation. Volunteers really never know how much impact they’re making on the lives of those less fortunate. Let’s say you choose to volunteer in Costa Rica working with orphans or a school. Those kids may remember your visit as long as they live. That’s true impact at its core … being able to give one small child hope that they can move out of the cycle of poverty and into a beautiful world of possibilities.

Hard Work, But Totally Worth It!

The work has been gruelling at times. Making a commitment to change the world never comes easy. We’ve had our share of ups and downs and our volunteers have as well. When you place 20,000 people in various foreign countries working under all types of conditions, you can’t expect everything to go smoothly on every single trip. Yes, there are sometimes problems, but if changing the world was easy, then a lot more people would be doing this job. The fact is that our teams do run into snags, snafus, and situations beyond our control. Though we strive to ensure that everything will go as planned, sometimes things do not unfold as scheduled. We do make every effort to give each volunteer a positive, memorable experience that will forever change the way they view the world.

With a little effort you’ll find dozens of amazing Global Volunteer Network reviews that describe fantastic trips all over the globe where our teams brought much-needed teaching, food, medical care, help with construction, mentoring and above all, love. You’ll discover many glowing GVN reviews where our former volunteers just can’t say enough about what a life-changing experience this is. When you do this kind of work and on this level, there are sure to be one or two people who did not enjoy their experience. We admit that sometimes things can go wrong, in spite of our best intentions. We deplore the idea that someone would call GVN a scam. This is simply not true.

Most GVN reviews tell a bit of the story of how ordinary people who care got involved in one of our programmes. They wound up changing some stranger in a third-world nation, but they will often say that the biggest change came in their attitude about life. Our volunteers always come home tired, a bit ragged around the edges and completely grateful for everything they have. We make every effort to support our volunteers in every way. There is no global volunteer network scam. Just hard-working people who are trying to make a difference.

Be the Change Programme

Be the Change is all about helping our volunteers go out and make that incredible change in someone’s life that could be the difference between life and death. Since we focus on working with “At Risk” women and children around the world, we believe our volunteers can have a profound effect. And they often do.

The Be the Change Conference

We’ve taken this programme a step further and now hold a 7-day Be the Change Conference where attendees can learn valuable skills like how to start a non-profit/charity organisation. We also cover timely topics such as:

  • Invent a product or service that could change someone’s life
  • Get a job with a non-profit or charity
  • Create change at your place of employment
  • Learn more about international development and social entrepreneurship

Each year, at our Be the Change Conference, we inspire people to go back home fired up and ready to make a difference in their community. And every community does need volunteers and committed people to help out.

The Youth Ambassador Program

The GVN Foundation Youth Ambassador Program is another gem where we equip young people (15 - 19 year olds) to leave the comforts of home and go out into the world to make a real difference. Our “Agents of Change” attend a 2-day leadership training programme and then they will have an opportunity to travel abroad and work in one of our projects in Costa Rica, Viet Nam, or Uganda. Our teens always have memorable experiences that alter their world-view forever. In addition, they acquire skills that can help them with their future career.

Recognised by CNN and Bill Gates

GVN is proud to have been recognised by such prestigious people as Bill Gates, CNN, Mashable, and These folks really saw our heart to make a genuine difference in the world. And we hope you will too. When you place almost 20,000 people in foreign countries around the world, it is inevitable that a few people will not have the experience they were hoping for. The good news is that 98% of the time, GVN does accomplish its goals, while our volunteers have a life-changing and memorable experience.

Highly Rated

We have achieved a Silver Star status with Guidestar Directory, an organisation that provides unbiased reviews and information about non-profit organisations. In addition, GoOverseas has highlighted GVN’s programmes, including dozens of user reviews. They have given us a 94% approval rating. We believe that if you’ll take an honest look at GVN reviews, you’ll soon realise that we do have an honest heart and desire to change the world. There is no GVN scam and our people are offended by the idea of a Global Volunteer Network scam. We’re hard-working individuals trying to enable needy people, especially vulnerable women and children, to get the food, medical care, housing and education they need to live a better life.

Learn More About Us

If you’d like to learn more about our organisation, please check out this thorough overview of GVN. The article includes more information about the programmes, fundraisers, along with recommendations from CNN, Bill Gates, Mashable and other unbiased reviews. You can also check out the GVN Foundation in this article. The GVN Foundation is the fundraising arm of our organisation and they work tirelessly each year to create innovative new programs to raise money for those who want to go.

GVN is dedicated to its mission and passionate about seeing real change for the future of our world. The organisation members and volunteers feel strongly about these quests to transform planet earth into a beautiful place where each person has enough wholesome food to eat, good medical care and a clean, safe place to live.

Thanks for listening,

Colin Salisbury, Founder and President



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    • profile image

      Patrice 2 years ago

      I am a Be the Change 2011 alumni. It was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had in my life. I hope to one day have the experience all over again. My work in Rwanda was motivated by the inspiration that I received at Be The Change!

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      Lindsay Nance 2 years ago

      Joining this movement/organization not only changes the world, but will change your life. It did mine! ~So grateful to GVN.

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      Eliza Raymond 3 years ago

      Proud to be a part of the GVN family. Keep up the great work!

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      Abdulrahman Hammad 3 years ago

      a life changing journey ...

    • profile image

      vital 3 years ago

      I am grad, am part of GVN. nserving others makes a difference, a significance, a self worth not necessarily a net worth

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      Lydiah 3 years ago

      I am really proud of GVN and all your good works.Happy birthday.

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      Maria Berempya 3 years ago

      GVN, is one of the most outstanding organization that needs to be recognised worldwide and rewarded. Thanks GVN your work is amazing congratulations as you turn in 14 years transforming lives.

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      benjamin 3 years ago

      im really proud of GVN and all your good works.... Thanks for giving people a reason to live.keep the good work going.....GVN Rocks,love you guys and happy birthday. Im proud to be a family with GVN

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      Andrea Cuellar 3 years ago

      GVN is a wonderful organization with great vision and values. Im so proud to have been part of the Be The Change program because it really gave me the inspiration and support i needed to pursue my dream project. Their founders are truly special individuals who honestly care for others! Im forever grateful to them!!

    • profile image 3 years ago

      I would really love to participate i. GVN projects.These has always been my passion and dream.

      Changing lives is something unforgettable in ones life.

      Thank you GVN family

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      Tina Houchin 3 years ago

      My association with GVN began in 2009 when I attended the Be The Change Program in New Zealand. I not only made forever friends from around the world but I left with the motivation and confidence that it only takes one person to make a difference. However, once you are involved with GVN, you have a support system that is ongoing. Since that time I have been on 2 Distribution Trips (Peru & Kenya) and was given the opportunity to see first hand the impact that donations and volunteers have on these communities. I have also been blessed to become Treasurer of the GVN Foundation Board and have worked with inspiring individuals (both past and present board members). As stated in a couple previous comments, a large percentage of the donations go directly to the community projects.

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      Andrea 3 years ago

      GVN is fabulous! I've had two experiences working with them and both were life-changing and life-affirming. I volunteered to work in an orphanage in Kathmandu -- the greatest experience in my life. I am still in love with that country, that city, and the Nepalese people. Years later, I learned of a huge problem in Lao caused by secret bombing carried out during the Vietnam War, and GVN's Be The Change program was exactly what I needed to help me start a project to raise money for the removal of the unexploded ordnance still wounding and killing Laotians today. The organization is supportive, the people who staff it are resourceful and inspiring, and what they make possible is beyond amazing.

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      Lijalem Dagnaw 3 years ago

      I have never participate in this specific volunteer project ; but I have met and seen people of this project around the world demonstrating their solidarity with marginalized segments of the society like orphans, elders,..etc. Their effort in teaching English language is also appreciated with experience sharing and adapting new styles of delivery for our domestic teachers.

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      Ajay 3 years ago

      What an amazing organisation! Stellar people doing incredible work. Anyone who has any sort of interaction with GVN is sure to gain a lot out of it, speaking from personal experience!

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      Eliza Raymond 3 years ago

      I am proud to serve on the Board of the GVN Foundation and support the inspiring work they do with grassroots organisations around the world. I love GVN Foundation's model of enabling locally-run organisations to implement innovative solutions to local problems. When you support GVN Foundation, you know that your support will go a long way and have a direct and immediate impact. Keep up the great work GVN!

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      Cindy Laura 3 years ago

      Happiest birthday GVN! It has been a solid 14 years of changing peoples lives and keeping hope alive. I wish you many many more. Keep the fire burning!

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      Israel 3 years ago

      I admire your vision and passion to keep hope alive.

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      jessica 3 years ago

      I thank u for all my heart for your good heart for starting to help people . I wish to keep helping those who doesn't have anyone or anywhere to find happiness God bless u all and keep working hard. ALL THE BEST IN ALL

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      Maryanne 3 years ago

      An extraordinary organisation that has assisted so many people. I attended the Be The Change program in November 2014 and not only did I learn a lot about myself but I have been given the guidance and support to live my dream of assisting an educational scholarship fund enabling underprivileged children continue with their education. I encourage all interested people to get involved with GVN and support the fantastic projects they are partners with. Thankyou to all at GVN!

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      Octave 3 years ago

      Getting involved with GVN when changed my life. I really appreciate the initiative

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      Emma 3 years ago

      I've been fortunate to met Colin and the team behind GVN. They really are the most down to earth and hard working people you'll meet. The entire organisation is run out of a humble office in tiny little New Zealand yet they've achieved so much. I was part of Be The Change and this 7 day conference is a breeding ground for creative ideas and projects with social impact. The environment is like a bubble of safety and security, where you feel supported to develop the passion and motivation behind your project. You'll make friends for life. It's hard to replicate such an environment.

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      Adeline 3 years ago

      Am so patriotic to change lives and each time I see GVN projects and works it feels like oh yes!The world needs this!...God bless GVN and the founder for this great wind of change.

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      boniface NDAYAMBAZA. 3 years ago

      Getting a chance of being a GVN member I hope w'd be the crucial issue for me due to the incredible experience from GVN. Happy birthday of 14 years.

      Big up your plans are more interesting

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      Dana 3 years ago

      GVN was a life changing experience for me, one that I will never forget. I learned so much from the incredible leaders that are doing incredible work all around the world, and met the most wonderful of people. Thank you GVN for such an incredible and unforgettable experience.

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      kevin peter 3 years ago

      Congratulations as you turn 14years. May the Good Lord Continue to Guide the organization.

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      Kate 3 years ago

      I was a GVN volunteer back in 2003 and for the last 10+ years have been working for their Nepal partner and so have seen first hand the direct impact their volunteers have on the communities they work with and vice versa. Over and above this, GVN strives endlessly to support where possible long term projects in their partner countries. It is thanks to them, that for the last 11 years our Brighter Future Children's Home kids have a home to call their own and have been allowed to grow up in a safe, loving and creative environment.

      As a Be The Change alumni I have witnessed first hand the inspiration, guidance and support this conference gives to those with an idea or project they're not quite sure what to do with.

      GVN is an organisation that never stop giving and through them I have been able to realise my dream of being the change, one day at a time.

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      brilian joan 3 years ago

      GVN, if I say this is one of the most outstanding organization that would be an understatement. Thanks GVN your work is amazing congratulations as you turn in 14 years transforming lives.

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      Gillian 3 years ago

      Getting involved with GVN when I was 19 changed my life. Six years later, after three placements and one BTC conference, the experiences I had through GVN still guide me personally and professionally. The organization is run by a fantastic group of people who are committed to helping their local partners, ensuring the volunteering experience is beneficial to both sides. Thank you GVN!

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      Greg 3 years ago

      I've participated in two projects with GVN. A distribution trip to Uganda and the BTC conference in Costa Rica. I cannot say enough great things about this amazing organization and the incredible people who run it. I love the friends I've made through my association with GVN and have gained incredible inspiration to do more with what I've learned.

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      Michelle 3 years ago

      I loved the Be The Change program! I learned a lot and met some incredible changemakers who are doing amazing things around the world.

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      Staci 3 years ago

      This is a fantastic organization if you really want to change the world!