Giant Tortoise Breeding Center Giant Tortoise Breeding Center Galapagos, Ecuador IOI - Empowering Galapagos
Work with national park staff in tortoise care, from new babies to adults. Work with public education of visitors to the Breeding Center.
Ecotourism Intern Galapagos, Ecuador IOI - Empowering Galapagos
Work in the national park's communications department. Conduct surveys, generate statistical data, and create databases to help staff make important ecotourism decisions
Turtle Nest Monitoring Galapagos, Ecuador IOI - Empowering Galapagos
Help the Galapagos National Park staff in monitoring nest sizes, determining nesting patterns, and identifying species.
Social Media Intern Galapagos, Ecuador IOI - Empowering Galapagos
Generate photos, video, and text that meaningfully captures the nature of IOI’s presence and impact and assist our social media team in content creation and dissemination
Community English Education Assistant Galapagos, Ecuador IOI - Empowering Galapagos
In this program you will have the choice between formal and applied teaching opportunities with students inside the classroom and others outside the classroom.
Sustainable Agriculture Ambassador Galapagos, Ecuador IOI - Empowering Galapagos
Volunteers will learn local techniques for sustainable tropical agriculture and will help the town of Isabela maintain their greenhouses.

7 Project reviews of IOI - Empowering Galapagos

Project Details

We empower isolated communities to grow in a sustainable way. To that end, we run projects in Conservation, Education, and Social Development.

Who we are
IOI is a non-profit organization that designs educational adventures to empower isolated communities to grow in a sustainable way. We strive to help establish ecological sustainability and social stability in our host communities. As such, our mission is to provide international education programs that support the education, conservation, and social development of isolated communities by assisting local institutions in sustainably handling the human-environmental intersection. 

What we do

  • We develop and implement our outreach projects with local institutions to ensure their sustainable implementation. Our projects address pressing conservation, education, and social development needs. Our partners include the Galapagos National Park, the Biodiversity Protection Agency, the local school system, and the provincial government.
  • We provide volunteer opportunities in conservation, education, and social development, providing our participants with life changing experiences, and our local partners with funding, expertise, and (wo)man power on site.
  • We immersive study abroad programs in which students spend up to 3 months studying the local environment and learn the local culture. All our programs are based on cultural integration and service learning.

Where we work
We work in the community of Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island in
the Galapagos, Ecuador. Our 5k beach is right across the street and the Volcano Sierra Negra is basically in our backyard. From Marine to Mountain, snorkeling to camping, nature is at our doorstep!

Our history
Since embarking on our journey in 2006, IOI has evolved into a mature and recognized organization with an innovative design of merging educational travel with conservation and community development. We began in Galapagos and, after 10 years of experience, have expanded to Cuba and Costa Rica.

Vision and Mission
We Empower Isolated Communities to Grow in a Sustainable Way. It is our Vision to help establish ecological sustainability and social stability in our host communities.  Our mission is to provide international education programs that support the education, conservation, and social development of isolated communities by assisting local institutions in sustainably handling the human-environmental intersection.

Who are we looking for
We are looking for adventurous volunteers ready to travel to remote parts of the world to make an impact on conservation and education projects. Our volunteers should be flexible, understanding, and respectful of the local cultural context. Depending on the position, we ask that our volunteers are physically able to work outside, sometimes in extreme weather conditions (think the tropics!) and be able to work on a team and individually.

Why choose us..

  • It's a unique opportunity to gain insight and firsthand experience in the the world of hands-on conservation and environmental management
  • All of our locations are unique and have exceptional beauty and biodiversity.
  • Our sites are slow lane kinds of places. If you need a break, this is your ideal escape.
  • You will learn Spanish and immerse yourself in the community--you'll finish your time volunteering feeling like a local!

The main focus of the project is on
NPO Status
Yes, registered non-profit organization
Contact Person
Monique Mancilla
Monique Mancilla
Spoken Languages

Social Impact

IOI's non-profit model finances conservation of isolated and unique places of particular natural beauty or relevance by inviting participants to contribute to our preservation efforts via their travels. As a non-profit, all surplus from our participation fees goes into the conservation efforts of the respective location/project - from coral gardening to teaching English, and from female empowerment to turtle research. 

IOI has worked with local authorities, the Galapagos National Park, schools, universities, and other international nonprofits to ensure that all its efforts are consistent with the needs of the local habitats and community. Collaboration and contribution are built into the ethos of IOI, and by working together, we’re ensuring that the wild and beautiful landscape of the Galapagos remain protected and thriving for centuries to come.

Our different lines of work have distinct outcomes and impacts.

  1. Our volunteer programs help the partner organizations with (wo)man power in their research efforts, conservation missions, and education mandates.
  2. Our study abroad programs are fully community based and thus provide our host-families with vital income (often for the housewife) and cultural exchange potential. Additionally, our programs create additional revenue for local restaurants, operators, and transport organizations. IOI is often the biggest spender in the local economy and pays fair rates creating equal opportunity.
  3. Our outreach programs support our partner organizations with technical expertise and funding for their ongoing efforts. Additionally, we run community development programs in female empowerment, environmental education, personal and emotional health, and urban gardening. 

Pursued Sustainable Development Goals

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