Community Development Programs in Jamaica

founded in 2007
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Coordinator | Maureen
Coordinator | Maureen
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Make a positive impact as you rebuild dilapidated buildings, repaint peeling walls, and repair old roads in marginalized Jamaican communities.
Join youth development and building projects as you partner with local NGOs to make a difference.
Raise awareness of social issues in communities through campaigns.
Benefit from a first-hand global experience as you work with experienced local professionals.
Get international development work experience for college and university.
Impact the lives of locals with our community development programs as you help to rebuild underserved and marginalized Jamaican communities. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Do impactful work when you help to rebuild marginalized and underdeveloped Jamaican communities with our community development programs. If you’re looking for challenging and rewarding work, then this program is perfect for you.

Many neighborhoods, schools, and community centers in Jamaica have poor roads, untended buildings, and peeling walls in desperate need of repair. This is so as these underserved and marginalized communities struggle with limited resources.

Community development programs in Jamaica are therefore key to the development of these disadvantaged communities. By providing repairs and maintenance, you will contribute significantly to the development of schools, orphanages, health centers, churches and the wider community.

With our community development programs, volunteers work alongside expert local builders, who will guide you and pass on the skills needed to complete the construction program. You’ll help to make a real difference as you repaint walls and repair structures that assist locals with everyday living.

You’ll also have opportunities to help raise funds for building renovations, to develop sports programs in basketball, netball, football/soccer, cricket, and track & field, or to create campaigns for youth development programs such as recycling campaigns.

Most of our programs are community-based, so outside of the local builders, you'll be working alongside, you'll get to interact with members of the community on a daily basis. The people you’ll meet will be so grateful and friendly that it will likely change the way you see the world.

Bond with your team as you take your life and skills to another level and realize the valuable contribution your efforts have made to the community.

There’s nothing more rewarding than helping to rebuild a better and safer Jamaica for all citizens.

Essential Program Information

Program Times

Our programs are usually run Mondays – Fridays from 9:00 am – 4:00pm. However, we can arrange shorter days for those who require it. Some programs might have activities on Saturdays which are normally pre-planned. We will help you to make the necessary arrangements.


At JVP, our mantra is “Your safety is our number one priority”. This means that our job is not completed until you arrive home safely. 

To ensure this, when you are in Jamaica you will never be alone. A Jamaica Volunteer Programs representative will always be available to you. In addition to this, on your arrival, we'll give you safety tips and strategies to use during your orientation. 

Like most other countries, Jamaica does have crime. However, our programs, routes, and destinations are designed around and away from those areas so you will always be safe. Even further, our volunteer home and program partners are located in some of the safest communities in St Andrew and Ocho Rios.

We provide 24/7 in-country support where our dedicated team members are always there to support you with any emergencies or other needs. This means that when you book with us you will be treated as if you are a relative visiting from overseas and provided with a safe home away from home. 

To further protect you, while volunteering you will be placed with a local mentor who will give you tips and support.  And, we offer more protection with full medical insurance protection through our partners for any unexpected illness or accident. 

Therefore, at all times you'll be surrounded by caring and trusted people to keep you safe.


You can apply at any time for all of our programs. However, we advise you to apply as soon as you can to ensure that you lock up your space.

Once you have paid your deposit and confirmed your place on the program, we will send you an email confirming your payment. This email will also include a link where you can download our Registration Handbook that will provide you with pre-departure reference and support information.

If you require any further information not covered in the handbook our staff is always on-hand to assist you.

Volunteer Experience Value 

If you are wondering if you can use your volunteer experience to boost your professional profile, then yes you can. At your request, we can provide you with a letter or certificate of completion detailing your volunteer activities and accomplishments. 

A volunteer experience abroad is a great resume booster and can be of great value when applying for college or a job. We’ll be glad to assist you to make it happen. 

Typical day

The task you'll do on a day to day basis will depend on your particular program. However, your working hours will be from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm in the afternoons with an hour for a lunch break. 

You'll be transported to your program site in the mornings and picked up around 4:00 pm after you have completed your day's work. You'll then be transported back to your volunteer home in the afternoons unless you have an activity or excursion planned for the evening.

Some of your daily projects could include:

  • Working alongside building professionals to help renovate local schools, churches, and clinics;
  • Helping to raise funds for building renovations;
  • Developing sports programs in basketball, netball, football/soccer, cricket, and track & field;
  • Creating campaigns for youth development programs for e.g. Climate Change Campaigns.

Free-time activities

Most evenings you’ll go back to your volunteer home to hang out and plan for the next day.

Outside of arranged cultural immersion trips and excursions where you’ll have opportunities to experience some of Jamaica’s most amazing attractions, we continually look for eye-opening cultural activities for you to do in your free time.

Because of this we sometimes offer you opportunities to attend local events in the afternoons organized by our cultural ambassador/project coordinator.

Activities such as Jamaican dancing lessons, patois classes, and Jamaican storytelling are designed to keep you entertained, but more importantly, to further help you learn the Jamaican culture.

On the last Friday night before your departure, we have ‘Jamaica Night’ – where we will display some of Jamaica’s most popular food, play popular Jamaican music and also give volunteers the opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned about the Jamaican culture as well as showcase their own culture. 



In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Volunteers working on school building maintenance will need to be flexible, open minded and creative as you'll have to find ways to get materials to work.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 16:00

What's Included

Services by Jamaica Volunteer Programs

  • Pre-arrival assistance
  • Airport-pickup
  • Welcome Dinner on Arrival
  • Program Orientation
  • Accommodation (Youth Hostel)
  • Meal (Breakfast)
  • Volunteer Placement
  • Daily Project Transfers with Private Driver
  • Internet access
  • 24/7 in-country support

Airport Pickup at Norman Manley International Airport

Volunteers are requested to arrive on a Sunday as volunteer projects begin the first and third Monday of each month. If your project is in Kingston, then you'll be recommended to arrive at the Norman Manley International Airport and for Ocho Rios projects, the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay will be recommended. On the confirmation of your application, you will be instructed on the appropriate airport.

As part of your transportation package, you’ll have a tour guide/driver who not only knows all the safe places to take you but also know the customs of Jamaica.

Whenever you arrive at the airport, you’ll be met by one of our local staff or an appointed driver who will be holding a Jamaica Volunteer Programs sign. Where there is a time difference between pick-up hours and flight arrival, volunteers are requested to wait at the airport until pick up time. You can also be picked up from a bus stop or other agreed locations.

After you have been picked up, you will then be transported to your volunteer home where you’ll be given an orientation upon arrival. 


Our projects are offered in two different locations — Kingston and Ocho Rios — both with dorm-style accommodations and comfortable living. However, each location offers a different Jamaican experience.

Staying in homes owned by local people will allow you to touch, feel, and see the real Jamaica. Our volunteer homes offer three different types of rooms: dorms, single and double rooms.

Our main homestay, nestled on top of the picturesque hill of Smokeyvale, St Andrew is a secret hideaway called Smokey Manor with breath-taking sceneries of the Blue Mountains to the East and a spectacular view of Kingston to the South.

This community is a visual feast of ferns, flora, and fauna. Everywhere you turn, there will be towering fruit trees, cool breeze, and panoramic mountains.

If you are a nature lover, you will enjoy our Country Walk Tour. Travel through Manning’s Hill, a quaint little village, and see Jamaica before it wakes up. The peaceful surroundings and tranquil atmosphere provides the perfect setting for meditation, exercise, and a chance to commune with nature.

As you pass through rural villages on your hike, you will have the feeling of stepping back in time. See the unhurried lifestyle and the friendly people who make Jamaica truly unique.

At our Ocho Rios homestays, you can spend your days making a difference in local lives and spend your weekends discovering thrilling and exciting excursions.

Our Harmony Haven Volunteer Home is nestled on the north coast and close to shops, restaurants, and beaches. Here, you’ll have access to a shared kitchen, dormitory-style bedrooms, shared patios, and a terrace.

Or, you can stay at the Bellamour Studios and Apartments which is located in the heart of Ocho Rios and within walking distance from some projects, shops, restaurants, and beaches.

Here you’ll have access to bunk beds and a shared kitchen. However, meal plans are not offered at this property.

All of our volunteer homes offer rooms with fans and the option to pay US$5 per day for air conditioning.

All homes have electricity, running water, western-style bathrooms, and free wifi.

For the safety of volunteers and consideration of other roommates, we provide curfews hours on weekdays starting at 11:00 pm and on weekends at 1:00 am. 

Bedroom (Double) Bedroom (Single) Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

You’ll be served daily breakfast at the volunteer house as part of your package. We offer a basic daily breakfast which includes toast, eggs, fruits, tea/coffee, and juice. Two days per week, you’ll have a full Jamaican breakfast. 

The volunteer house has a communal kitchen that consists of an oven, gas hob, microwave, and refrigerator. You'll have the option of cooking your own dinner, buying meals from nearby restaurants at an approximate cost of US$7-25 per meal or you can have your dinner catered for by our local chef. Volunteers can buy a home-cooked dinner plan for US$70 per week. Talk with your program representative about arranging this pre-arrival.

In Jamaican homes, you’ll find a variety of foods and drinks which are as varied as the people and scenery, and you’ll be able to sample all of them including the popular jerk, roast breadfruit, and ackee & saltfish (the national dish).

Our home-cooked food is a melting pot of all the cultures brought here during slavery and the plantation era, and staying in a Jamaican home is the best place to sample these. At our homestays, you’re guaranteed the most delicious, nutritious meals made from organic ingredients.

You will, however, have to buy lunch at or near your project site. Our program advisors will help you make arrangements for an affordable lunch or show you how to find the closest food store.

At JVP, we cater to all diets, including vegetarians and vegans; however, these may not be available at nearby restaurants. To make a final decision about special dietary requirements, discuss this with your project coordinator.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Norman Manley International Airport (KIN) in Kingston. We assist you to find cheap flights to Jamaica.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Jamaica provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Jamaica you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Jamaica.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

Our community development programs are available all year- round allowing you to take part when you can, so on your application just indicate your start and end dates. 

Although we are flexible, we encourage volunteers to arrive on weekends so you'll have a full week to volunteer. There are times during the year when Jamaica has major holidays and celebrations, so it is advisable to plan your trip that your dates do not coincide with these major events. 

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
2 weeks
3 weeks
4 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$434 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Jamaica Volunteer Programs will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Jamaica Volunteer Programs during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Jamaica Volunteer Programs cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Jamaica Volunteer Programs.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Community Development Programs in Jamaica

Impact the lives of locals with our community development programs as you help to rebuild underserved and marginalized Jamaican communities.


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