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Volunteer for the Visayans

Community Nutrition Helper

Tacloban City, Philippines

Help us combat hunger and malnutrition by working closely with VFV staff and local community members in initiating and running tailored nutrition and feeding projects.

Profile

Volunteer for the Visayans (VFV) works in rural communities through its Nutrition Program. This is primarily to tackle malnourishment through the provision of nutritious meals to undernourished preschool kids and educate the community through series of lectures and workshops on nutrition and basic hygiene. All meals provided are researched and nutritionally analyzed to ensure that each week the children receive the adequate nutrients in accordance with government supplementary feeding guidelines.

Nutrition Programs are based in rural villages in Tacloban, Palo, and Tanauan.

This project is handled by one of the VFV community program coordinators or sponsorship program coordinators.

The Nutrition Program has been running for many years, since the founding of the organization. However, each site only runs for 4 months unless there is quite the need to extend the nutrition project to 6 months or even a year. Only those nutrition projects for VFV’s sponsored children run continuously.

The target demographic

The nutrition program is intended for pre-school children and all the kids under the Sponsorship Project. The education side of the project is intended for the community, in particular the children themselves and the parents.

 Purpose of the program

The program is put in place to help certain communities, to feed malnourished children, and in the process educate the people on the importance of proper nutrition. There is the need to educate on the need to reduce on the amount of salt and sugar used in the local diet, and to increase consumption of vegetables. There is limited public education on these issues.

Role of the Volunteer

The volunteer will be supervised by the local coordinator and work alongside one or two other nutrition volunteers.

Depending on the site to which the volunteer is assigned to, he/she may work either in the morning or afternoon but always only half a day from Monday to Friday except during holidays for at least 4 hours daily.

The volunteer is responsible for providing meals to the children on a daily basis. He/she will plan the menu taking into consideration the nutritional deficiencies that need to be addressed. He/she will purchase local ingredients available at the market to supplement the nutritional needs of the children. He/she will monitor the kids’ progress by measuring their height and weight to calculate the BMI.

In addition, the volunteer must teach the kids proper hand-washing and brushing teeth after meals at the beginning of the project and continue to practice this the whole time. It is the aim to instill good practices to them.

With regards to planning menus, volunteers must take into consideration the locally available resources the kids normally eat. Primarily the reason is that the kids would only eat food they are used to eating. Secondly, parents are more likely not able to afford vegetables and other food items not normally available locally. The project aims to educate the parents in such a way that they can replicate at home what the volunteers are making in the project.

Every two weeks there is a nutrition lecture for the parents of the children enrolled in the program. We always encourage volunteers to start with basic hygiene and nutrition. Not all the parents have good grasp of the English language so it is imperative that lectures are easy to understand and filled with illustrations. During lectures/workshops a VFV coordinator will be there to assist and translate.

Dress Code

To conform with the Filipino conservative culture and to look professional, volunteers must dress modestly. The volunteer must report to work wearing the appropriate clothes.

Top must consist of shirt of blouse or t-shirt with sleeves. No singlet or tank top. Top should not have plunging neckline. Bottom wear must be long pants or knee-length skirt. Footwear must be shoes or sandals.

Outside work, a volunteer can wear more comfortable article of clothing such as shorts and tank tops and wear flip flops.

Transportation to the Placement

During placement, volunteer will take any of the following public transportation vehicles, depending on their destination: jeepney, multicab, tricycle, or motorcycle. Patience is required when traveling to and from placement.

More common transport vehicles are jeepneys and multicabs. When visiting far-flung areas that do not have jeepneys, people take tricycle or motorcycle.

The minimum fare for a jeepney between Bliss and downtown is only 0.14 USD, while between Bliss and Robinson is 0.16 USD. The further you are from your destination, the more you pay.

Nutrition placements can be reached in about 40 minutes to one and 30 minutes depending on the distance from Bliss.  

Typical day

The Nutrition Program typical work day starts as early as  08:00 in the morning  and ends at 12 noon when preparing lunch for the kids and from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm when preparing early dinner, and runs from Monday through Friday. The rest of the day and of the week are free time which the volunteers can use for their personal activities or for any side projects at their placement or the community.

Commuting from homestay going to placement and vice versa means taking the primary modes of public transportation which involves taking both the jeepney/multicab and the "haba-habal" (motorcyle). Getting to the placement could take as long as 45 minutes or as quick as 30 minutes depending on the traffic and the frequency of the vehicles coming by. Same is true with going back from placement.

Food preparation involves planning menus for the week, budgeting, buying local ingredients from the public market, cooking, and washing the dishes. A staff and some of the locals, usually the moms of our sponsored kids, would always assist the volunteer in every aspect of the preparation and the feeding proper.

Apart from the feeding, our volunteers would usually organize fun games or nutrition lectures with the kids. Proper hygiene, healthy eating habits and proper nutrition should always be kept in mind as the end goal in every activity at the nutrition center. Our volunteers should infuse helpful activities to the program ,from the simple proper handwashing and toothbrushing to the more complicated but comprehensible nutrition lectures or workshops, not only for the kids but for the local moms as well.

Monitoring and evaluating the progress of the program is also an important aspect of the volunteer's role. This includes measuring the height and weight of each kid and keeping track of their records to make sure that the are getting the proper nutritional support and care.

To sum everything up, it's always a busy day for our volunteers but rest assured that it's all worth it. The experience has always been satisfying and fulfilling for everyone and certainly no dull moment for anyone who loves working for the welfare of the children.

Details on Arrival

Volunteers can apply anytime all year round and may arrive at anytime of their convenience. Pre-departure information is sent during application process and an in-depth program orientation is also conducted upon arrival. 

Free-time activities

Our volunteers can use their free time either for their personal activities or for organizing side projects with the kids or with the moms. The former may include a trip to some of the beautiful white-sand beaches and sandbars, islands, waterfalls, underground river, surf camps, and caves found in the region while the latter can include baking sessions with the local moms, dance tutorials with the teens, or teaching any other craft or life skills to the locals. Our volunteers would usually organize those activities as a group during long weekends or holidays. We also have our Volunteer's Lounge which has wi-fi and where volunteers can hang around with fellow volunteers. They can also use the lounge for a movie night once a week.

Water Sports
Swimming
Concert/Music
Diving/Snorkling
Climbing
Hiking
Sports
Yoga/Meditation

Program Requirements

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). Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Criminal Background Check
required
Education Requirements
Nutrition, Science, English, Math at Highschool level
Required Documents
CV with photo, Passport, Police Check and and Character References
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Relevant knowledge and experience in the field of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Public Health.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 06:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

Any questions? Just ask. We at Volunteer for the Visayans are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
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All program fees are charged directly by Volunteer for the Visayans.
Services by Volunteer for the Visayans

The following are expected program expenses: airport pickup and drop off, food and drink, accommodation.

Airport Pickup at Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Upon arrival in Tacloban, a coordinator will meet you at the airport and introduce you to the rest of the VFV staff and your homestay family. After this you will be provided with a full orientation on Volunteer for the Visayans as well as a short comprehensive health and safety briefing. Following this, you will be escorted by one of our coordinators and shown how to use the local transport system. You will be shown how to get back and forth from your volunteer placement as well as being briefed on how to get to a variety of different points of interest.

Accommodation

  • Volunteers assigned to our Tacloban area projects will be placed with homestays in Bliss, where we are located. Bliss is a congested, low-income neighborhood but it has a low crime rate and is safe. There is strong community cohesion and pride, and the neighborhood homes and surroundings are relatively well-maintained. Our community center is located in the middle of Bliss. An adjacent basketball court area serves as a gathering place for the community. Here you’ll see youth playing basketball; tethered cocks staking out their territories on the sidelines; children keeping busy; adults sitting on benches, exchanges stories; slabs of meat being cut on portable tables; and vendors selling their wares.
  • Most of our homestay families have been with us for many years and are experienced in working with international volunteers. They take pride in their role and view the volunteer as a valued member of the family. They want volunteers to experience Filipino culture and participate in the family’s daily activities as well as special celebrations that come up. 
  • All homes have electricity and running water. You will have a private bedroom for you alone or that you share with another volunteer, and you will sleep under a mosquito net. A fan will be provided as none of the homes are air-conditioned. There is just one bathroom in the house that is shared by all family members. Your home will be safe, clean and comfortable, but living conditions will be much lower than in developed country.
  • The bathroom accommodations, in particular, are very basic and volunteers will be taking cold water, bucket baths. Because the weather in the Philippines is tropical, volunteers typically say that the cold water baths have been refreshing. However, each person needs to consider whether these conditions will be acceptable. There will be other things to adjust to, including the neighborhood roosters who will announce the start of a new day with pre-dawn crowing. You will be taken out of your comfort zone, at least initially. Most volunteer report they adjusted fairly quickly to these conditions.

Guest Family
Food & Beverages

You will eat the same local food as the family (though the homestay parents know what foreigners typically enjoy). Homestays can cater to the special dietary requirements of some volunteers, so please include this in your application form. You will also be provided with filtered water to drink, as it would be best for travellers to be cautious and not drink tap water.

You will be provided with two meals a day (breakfast and dinner) by your homestay. All meals will be served with rice and typically include fish, chicken or pork. 

Local café’s and restaurants can also be found all over the city, with most meals costing from around 2 USD to 6 USD. Bottled water is also available in most food establishments and in grocery stores.

Internet Access
Limited 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 Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in Manila. We assist you to find cheap flights to Philippines.
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 Philippines provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Philippines you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Philippines.
Costs (Prices in USD)
4 weeks (min. stay)
$960.00
5 weeks
$1,040.00
6 weeks
$1,120.00
7 weeks
$1,200.00
11 weeks
$1,520.00
19 weeks
$2,160.00
50 weeks (max. stay)
$4,640.00
Average fees
$166.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Tacloban City/Philippines between 4 weeks and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Volunteer for the Visayans will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Philippines.
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 Volunteer for the Visayans during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
Asia South-Eastern Asia the Philippines Tacloban City, Lot 63, Cluster 2, Barangay 64, Bliss, Sagkahan
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