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Business and Community Development Volunteering in Jamaica

There are some great government grants available for start-up businesses in Jamaica, but for some, it can be a challenge getting themselves to a point where they’re eligible to apply for them. Volunteers can help these local enterprises to scale up their efforts and improve operational efficiencies, while also enabling them to take advantage of these central funding schemes.

As a volunteer, you’ll be working alongside small businesses, charities and NGOs as a business mentor to provide guidance and assistance with the basics of getting an organization off the ground or take it to the next stage. You will be able to assist with business planning, bookkeeping, website design, social media, financial planning and IT skills.

Business and Community Development volunteer in Jamaica with IVHQ

Creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset are a must as you will be working with limited resources. You will also need to be proactive in learning about the market or community in which the enterprise operates, so you can best support it to succeed.

Volunteers are required to have relevant study or work experience. We recommend you bring your own laptop to Jamaica, however this is optional. You’ll usually split your time between meetings in the local community and working from the program office.

Please note that once you have registered for this project, you will need to supply a copy of your resume so you can be placed with the most appropriate enterprise.

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Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $395 for 1 week
  • Help on a range of community-based projects

  • Assist with a range of school lessons, care projects and other local initiatives

  • Placements based on projects that need help at the time

  • Suited to volunteers who want to make the biggest difference, regardless of the type of work

  • Volunteer for up to 5 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Jamaica at a glance
  • Based around the popular town of Ocho Rios in Jamaica

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, daily breakfast and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a volunteer house or local homestay

  • Between 5 and 15 volunteers start in Jamaica each month

The IVHQ Jamaica volunteer program is based in the parish of St Mary in the northeast of Jamaica. Volunteer projects are located in St Ann and St Mary, within 10 to 50 minutes from the volunteer accommodation. The program is located in close proximity to the popular port town of Ocho Rios, which is a resort and cruise ship harbor and has plenty of restaurants and craft markets which volunteers can explore in their free time.

The Jamaica volunteer program begins on the first and third Monday of each month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 4 weeks.

Volunteers traveling to the program are asked to fly into Sangster International Airport (MBJ) on the Sunday prior to your program start date.

The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month and volunteers need to arrive in Jamaica on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Sangster International Airport (MBJ) which is the closest airport to the volunteer accommodation. Airport pick up is provided on Sundays only.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in the Parish of St Mary (around 1.5 - 2 hours away). Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Jamaica prior to your volunteer program, you will need to liaise with the local team to arrange a pick up from your location.

Orientation is provided by our Jamaica team at the volunteer accommodation. Orientation begins at 9am Monday morning and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Jamaica – Introduction to Jamaica, Jamaican Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Jamaica, Introduction to your Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff. You may have a morning or afternoon shift, or both, and can expect to work a minimum of 3 hours, Monday through Friday. A typical daily schedule would be as follows:

Weekdays

7.30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.

8.00 AM Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project.

12.00 PM Break for lunch.

1.00 PM Work at the placement commences if you have been assigned with an afternoon shift.

3.30 PM You are free to travel back to the volunteer house to relax, go sightseeing or do some shopping.

Please note, this is an example schedule as some projects take place in the afternoon. Start time and daily workload depends on your chosen project.

Volunteers are accommodated alongside other international volunteers in a dormitory-style volunteer house. Living is comfortable in the volunteer house with electricity, running water, WiFi and western bathrooms. There is no air-conditioning in the accommodation, however fans are provided.

Bedrooms are comprised of single bunk beds and you can expect to share a room with one to three other volunteers of the same gender. Tap water in Jamaica is generally safe to drink but please check with your accommodation host if you are unsure. We encourage you to bring a reusable water bottle to refill each day, as this will avoid you having to purchase plastic water bottles. Low pressure showers should be expected and the water is usually not heated. You should bring your own toiletries and towels.

A basic daily breakfast (toast, spreads, cereal, milk, tea and coffee) is included in your Program Fee and you’re free to help yourself to these each morning at the volunteer house.

For lunch and dinner, you can cook for yourself in the communal kitchen at the volunteer accommodation - this includes a gas hob, oven, jug, microwave, fridge, freezer and pantry space. Alternatively, you can purchase lunch and dinner from nearby restaurants for between $5 and $25 per meal.

For volunteers who would like to have their dinners catered for, a home-cooked weekly dinner plan (Monday - Friday) is available for US$40 per week. You can arrange this at your program orientation and pay for it through the local team in Jamaica. Vegetarians and vegans can be catered for, however not all diets can be covered - speak with the team in Jamaica about any requirements you have before you book the dinner plan.

Jamaica

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
1 week $395
2 weeks $715
3 weeks $1,000
4 weeks $1,275
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs and in-country trips or tours.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program.
  • Lunches and dinners while in-country.
  • Transport to and from your placement (between US$5 - $12 per day).
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Jamaica generally find US$250 to be sufficient for weekly expenses.
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals

You have the weekends free to relax and sightsee and there is no shortage of things to see and do in Jamaica! Ocho Rios is a popular destination for resorts and cruise ships, and you can expect to discover beautiful beaches, waterfalls and art galleries within close proximity of the volunteer accommodation. Snorkeling, hiking and other adventure activities are also popular with travelers to Jamaica.

The team in Jamaica also have a range of tours that you can book directly with them, either before or after you arrive in Jamaica. These include but aren’t limited to a Kingston city tour (visiting the Bob Marley Museum, an eco-community and a cultural music lesson), Black River safari (cruise down the Black River and see alligators, tropical birds and mangrove trees in their natural setting) and a surf camp.

See our Jamaica Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Jamaica!

Capital Kingston
Population 2.8 million
Languages English
Currency Jamaican Dollar (JMD)
Time zone UTC-5:00

Weather and climate: The climate in Jamaica is typical of a Caribbean climate - warm days year-round with rainy winters and dry summers. The pleasant Jamaican climate makes travel possible at any time of the year. The rainy season is generally from May to November. Average temperatures in Jamaica range between 70°F and 80°F (21°C to 28°C), with July and August being the hottest months and February the coolest.

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this program, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.

Volunteers must speak English. Volunteers must provide a recent criminal background check. Volunteers must have adequate travel insurance.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!