Forest Conservation & Sustainable Agriculture

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founded in 2018
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Coordinator | Pamela
Coordinator | Pamela
Learn about the benefits of agroforestry systems and sustainable production practices to gain an understanding of the importance of these systems. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Forest Conservation & Sustainable Agriculture interns collaborate with Aliados staff on activities related to combine smallholder farming with forest management to strengthen socio-ecological resilience. Work areas include developing model agroforestry plots with communities, introducing new crops into traditional farming systems as a way to diversify revenues, forest restoration using mixed species intercropped with short term cash crops, and reforestation on degraded areas to increase biodiversity and wildlife habitat. Interns learn about the benefits of agroforestry systems and sustainable production practices to gain an understanding of the importance of these systems in the face of climate change. Participants also investigate the feasibility of producing new products in Amazonian agroforestry systems and how small holder farmers can obtain added value certifications such as Fair Trade and Organic. 

Intern activities and responsibilities may include: Ecological monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and data collection and analysis, community nursery and plant management, working in agroforestry plots with farmers, agroforestry research in partnership with IKIAM university, assist with workshops and trainings in communities, study the social and biodiversity benefits of agroforestry systems, and research case studies of native crop production and the potential for new markets for these products, support in implementing reforestation proposals and management plan activities for sustainable forest management.

We recommend that interns commit to 8-12 weeks minimum commitment on the ground in Ecuador, have an intermediate level of Spanish or English proficiency (or a strong motivation to learn quickly before and upon arriving!), and bring knowledge in their area of research if looking to do a personal project.

Interns are expected to finance their own travel costs and food and will receive a packing list upon acceptance. On our end, we provide interns with a coordinator as well as a supervisor within the organization that guides and mentors with your particular work area. Additionally, the organization provides:

Interns must also cover:
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Necessary vaccinations
  • Necessary flights & visas

Typical day

Working in the field for a small nonprofit means significant variety from day to day depending on the stages of our projects and the needs of our “Aliados” (partner associations and communities). Fieldwork days sometimes start as early as 6:30 - when traveling to our furthest communities - and involve conversing with farmers, caring for plants in the vivero (nursery), or helping design business, marketing, and cultivation plans. Office days typically start at 8:30 and end at 4:30 and are spent collaborating with our team and other interns, but can include a short field trip to conduct market research or interview potential partners. Overall, working with Fundación Aliados provides interns with an exciting, informative, and manageable learning experience in international development and international living.

Working in viveros (nurseries), chakras (biodiverse parcels of farmland), the selva (jungle), and the office, support Fundacion Aliados’ and partner indigenous communities’ efforts in reforestation and sustainable agriculture.

Free-time activities

Tena is known for it's world class rivers - for white water kayaking, rafting, canyoning, canoeing, paddle boarding, and swimming. There are also endless hikes to waterfalls, canyons, caves, and communities to explore! 
Water Sports


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 (intermediate level) or Spanish (basic level)
Required Documents
Resume and letter of intent
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Experience in Latin America and/or working in a rural setting desirable
Intermediate Spanish or English proficiency (or a strong motivation to learn quickly before and upon arriving!)
Bring knowledge in your area of research if looking to do a personal project.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:30 - 16:30

What's Included

Services by Aliados

-Pre-departure materials and support

-Lodging in our fully-equipped intern house (wi-fi, electricity, water, cleaning, etc)
-A thorough orientation that addresses risk management, culture shock symptoms and remedies, cross-cultural adaptation skills, intro to history/culture/politics of the region, team-building amongst interns and staff, setting a vision and goals for your experience
- 1:1 check-ins every 2 weeks to track goals, check in on health, support with challenges, and providing feedback
- 24/7 emergency support
- Thorough vetted network of doctors, therapists, Spanish tutors, organizations in the country
-Provide a space for learning and reflection with other foreigners having a similar experience
- Re-entry Training
- Alumni group and future references
- One week homestay experience with an indigenous family

**Food and travel expenses are not included
*** Homestay includes meal and lodging

Our intern accommodation is a spacious 2-story apartment and sleeps up to 10 people. It is located right on the malecon or boardwalk of Tena, and is convenient walking distance to everything in the city. The house has a kitchen, three dorm bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, two patio balconies (one with a growing urban garden!), and a beautiful view of the city, river, and surrounding mountains and jungle. It’s a short walk from river swimming spots with an amazing views, and the main town's boardwalk which is a fun place to hang out.  Volunteers and interns are responsible for their own food, but often cook communally. The house is fully equipped with all bedding is provided, water, electricity, WIFI, cleaning services, and everything you need in the kitchen - stove, toaster, pans, cutlery, fridge, etc.

A bilingual (English and Spanish) intern program manager lives nearby and will be happy to help you with any questions or doubts you may have.

Tena is the regional capital of Napo and has around 20,000 inhabitants. Local agriculture consists of corn, yucca, bananas and plantains, all produced for either subsistence or sale at the local market. The only 2 crops grown for exportation are cacao, native cinnamon, and guayusa.

Napo is a region that attracts many tourists who want to experience the Amazon. Puerto Misahualli and Baños are popular destinations and especially geared towards tourism. You will not find tourists in Archidona, and only a few in Tena, which makes the immersion in a local environment even more tangible.
Dorm Room Guest Family Guesthouse
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. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito. We assist you to find cheap flights to Ecuador.
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 Ecuador provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Ecuador you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Ecuador.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

Interns welcome all year long. Dates are flexible. Recommended 8 to 12 weeks internships (A minimum of 4 to 6 weeks or longer also possible with visa).

The best airport to fly into is Quito (UIO, Mariscal Sucre International Airport) as it is only 4 hours from the project. You will be put in contact with the director of the program upon applying and they can give easy to follow instructions to get to the project Headquarters from Quito or Guayaquil International airport.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 25 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
$ 1,000
8 weeks
$ 1,800
12 weeks
$ 2,600
25 weeks (max. stay)
$ 5,200
Average fees
$ 229 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Aliados 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 Aliados 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
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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Aliados 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 Aliados.

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  Americas South America Ecuador  Tena, Abdón Calderón y Garcia Moreno 205

Forest Conservation & Sustainable Agriculture

Learn about the benefits of agroforestry systems and sustainable production practices to gain an understanding of the importance of these systems.


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