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Outstanding Volunteer Project – Winners

Across the world, many volunteer and travel projects are making a huge difference in a number of sectors, be it environmental, humanitarian, social or educational.

Annually, we look to recognise and showcase volunteer projects/programmes that stand out through key characteristics with an emphasis on sustainability, responsibility and best practices in this growing industry segment and award them with the Global Youth Travel Award – Outstanding Volunteer Project.

Below is the listing of winners over the previous years:

2015: Blue Ventures Expeditions – Belize Lionfish Expeditions

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Blue Ventures

The Award for the 2015 Outstanding Volunteer Project was awarded to Blue Ventures Expeditions and their Belize Lionfish Expeditions project. The Blue Ventures project was elected the winner from 18 entries from across the globe.

Lionfish are a particular menace for Belize, a small country where fishing and marine tourism support the livelihoods of over 15,000 people and contribute 25% to GDP.
The Lionfish Expeditions project aims to fill critical data gaps for Belize’s most remote marine protected area that includes the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and survey data collected by volunteers is used to monitor the progression of the lionfish invasion, population status, diet and reproductive rates, as well as to test hypotheses on specific impacts and recommendations for management of the species within the protected area.

The project also uses culling efforts to suppress the Lionfish population in the protected area allowing native species to recover.

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The runner up for 2015 is Pod Volunteer‘s Thailand Marine Conservation project and an honourable mention was awarded to ISV in collaboration with Volunteer Africa 32O South for their VA 32 ‘Township to Village’ Community Development project.

2014: African Impact – Cape Town teaching, sports and vulnerable childcare volunteer programme

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During WYSTC 2014’s Grande Finale – the Global Youth Travel Awards – the Award for the Outstanding Volunteer Project 2014 was awarded to African Impact and their Cape Town teaching, sports and vulnerable childcare volunteer programme. The project was picked as the winner from 19 entries.

The judges were impressed by African Impacts Cape Town project which quantifiably demonstrates the impacts of their economically and environmentally sustainable programme.

African Impact runs several volunteer projects in Cape Town, South Africa which have a common goal of supporting sustainable community-driven change. Collaborating with strategic partners from disadvantaged communities, volunteers add meaningful value to early childhood development, physical education and after-school programming for vulnerable children and youth.

Children at the local preschool  Teaching in Schools  Sports Volunteering in Khayelitsha Township
Volunteers Painting the Preschool  Volunteers Talking to Kids about the Environment  Red Hill Community

All five submissions short-listed for the Top Five were of very high quality, therefore the judging panel wishes to mention Azafady – Pioneer Programme, as the runner-up and we consider the other three as Highly Commended projects: International Student Volunteers Inc, in partnership with The Ruth Plaut Foundation (Blue Moon) – Blue Moon Community Development and Children’s HELP Program | EcoaldeasPerú (Peruvian Amazon Ecovillages) – Amazon Watershed Project | Volunteer Africa 32 degrees south (VA32) – Wild Coast Schools Project

2013: Global Vision International (GVI) – Project: GVI Fiji


The winner of the 2013 edition was announced during the Global Youth Travel Awards at WYSTC 2013 in Sydney. All entries were evaluated individually by each member of the judging panel, with a total score accumulated.The winner was Global Vision International (GVI) with their volunteer project in Fiji.

“GVI Fiji employs a holistic approach to community support and development integrating local youth and international volunteer led programs to promote sustainable village infrastructure, educational enrichment, and environmentally conscious resource use.
GVI works with local stakeholders to make valuable contributions to remote communities in a culturally sensitive way.”


2012: Ecole Travel Ecuador – Project: Hacienda Tranquila

winner 2012

The award for 2012 Outstanding Volunteer Project was presented to Hacienda Tranquila by Ecole Travel Ecuador.

“The project demonstrated high levels of participation on a well-managed project with clear measurable and achievable targets. The project particularly impressed with its 10-year environmental plan and the work it has already achieved in re-mediating the effects of invasive species in the globally important ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands.”

Additionally the judging panel would like to highly commend “Vulnerability to Trafficking: Research and Action Development to Protect Migrant Children Workers”, submitted by Foundation for Sustainable Development in partnership with Prayas Centre for Research and Action, as this innovative project worked to reduce child trafficking in the Udaipur region of India, in partnership with the local communities.