Community Development & Social Entrepreneurship

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founded in 2018
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Coordinator | Pamela
Coordinator | Pamela
Work alongside staff and community enterprise partners to strengthen organizational management and governance, build financial management capacity, and design... This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Community Development and Social Entrepreneurship interns work alongside Aliados staff in the creation of sustainable community businesses. The Foundation works with several indigenous farmer cooperatives to build sustainable supply chains for native Amazonian and Andean products. Products we are currently working with include guayusa, wild jungle peanuts, achiote and ishpingo, and Andean Agave. Interns work alongside staff and community enterprise partners to strengthen organizational management and governance, build financial management capacity, and design and implement business processes and structures. Interns participate in activities to support community business gain access to international markets. The internship offers the opportunity to increase knowledge and experience grappling with core concepts and theories most relevant to sustainable development.

Intern activities and responsibilities may include: Research supply chain development, international markets, and processing capabilities for current and new potential products, business plan and concept note development for the commercialization of local products, social business strategy and model research, create and implement marketing and communication strategies, administrative support for farmer cooperatives, attend or support with meetings and capacity building workshops.

We recommend that interns commit for at least 8 weeks 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.

Minimum commitment 8 weeks (4 to 6 weeks internships will be considered, and longer is possible with visa extension)

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. 

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.

Using both participant observation and standardized interviews, deduce the capacity and viability, both logistically and economically, of Fundacion Aliados’’ and it’s partners’ projects in developing small community businesses based in biodiversity.

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!)
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

*Program fees includes:

- Pre-departure materials and support. 

- Living accommodations in our fully-equipped and beautiful shared intern house (this includes electricity, drinking water, wifi, basic cleaning/laundry services)

- A thorough orientation that addresses risk management, culture shock sypmtoms' 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, and more.  

- 1:1 check-ins every 2 weeks to track goals, check in on health, support with challenges, and provide feedback;

- 24/7 emergency and health support;

- Thorough vetted network of doctors, therapists, Spanish tutors, organizations, etc. in 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 with an indigenous family.

**Travel expenses and food are not included. 

***Homestay includes meals 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 (Napo province) and Baños (Pastaza province) 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 Bedroom (Double)
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

Dates: Dates are flexible throughout the year. Internships are 8-12 weeks (A minimum of 4 to 6 weeks or longer are also possible with visa).

*Summer internships are competitive and fill up fast, so please apply ahead and there will be specific start dates for the summer*

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
6 weeks
$ 1,400
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
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
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

Community Development & Social Entrepreneurship

Work alongside staff and community enterprise partners to strengthen organizational management and governance, build financial management capacity, and design...


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