Volunteer Coordinator for Cultural Exchange Centre

Agency
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founded in 2021
Joshua
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Coordinator | Joshua
Coordinator | Joshua
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High­lights

Use your skills for good by helping create a community space for local people in a region high in poverty, malnutrition, teenage pregnancy, and educational challenges
Experience traditional indigenous culture: language, clothing, markets, music, food, buildings, and ways of life!
Get to know the warm local people of Ecuador and improve your Spanish with them; they are always keen to chat
Develop your leadership skills and build friendships with other international volunteers/interns
Experience Ecuador's huge diversity in only an hour's drive - hiking in the mountains, bird watching in the jungle, and exploring colonial villages
Develop your experience managing volunteers, spaces and programmes as part of an exciting new Cultural Exchange Centre in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 20+
Singles
Couples
50+

Be a part of creating something meaningful - bring your volunteer coordination skills to help manage a volunteer programme that is transforming an abandoned farmhouse into a thriving cultural exchange centre with permaculture gardens, in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes.

The Project
Hi, my name's Joshua, the founder of the cultural exchange centre, El Terreno. Our mission is to bring together local Ecuadorians and people from around the world through sustainable tourism, culture, education and ecology – to create a more meaningful, sustainable and prosperous world. Since July, 2021 we've received over 100 volunteers and interns to regenerate local ecosystems, build pride in indigenous culture, provide dignified employment opportunities, offer a wide variety of unique experiences.

If you're looking to use your talents to travel the world, experience new cultures and make a difference, apply to become our in-house volunteer coordinator to ensure clean spaces, hearty food and a positive group atmosphere. You live and work alongside other volunteers and interns from around the world, as well as immerse yourself in a local culture in the rural community where the project is based.

The Region
The project is on a hillside in the village of Atandahua, just outside of the quaint colonial town of Guaranda in the province of Bolivar in central Ecuador. The project is nestled in a valley surrounded by traditional farmland and indigenous communities, with a spectacular view of the majestic Chimborazo Volcano (the point on earth closest to the sun!).


Although stunningly beautiful, Bolivar is one of Ecuador’s poorest provinces. There is a high rate of malnutrition, illiteracy and poverty. With few employment opportunities, many high-school graduates quickly leave to the larger cities, and the indigenous language and culture is under threat.

The Team
This place is run by the founder, Joshua (UK) and his partner Karina (Ecuador), as well as members from the local community and long-term volunteers who are passionate about growing the project.

“My name is Joshua; I’m 34 and from the UK. I first came as a backpacker to Ecuador in 2013 and fell in love with the place - the people, the culture, the biodiversity and of course, with Karina, my Ecuadorian partner. In 2017, I returned on a one-way ticket and after spending 3 years searching the country looking for land, we found the perfect spot to begin building the vision that we have nurtured for many years. We also became parents to our son, Liam, in May 2022!”

We would like to add a organised, positive and friendly volunteer coordinator to the team - could that be you?

Cultural Exchange

The people of Atandahua are some of the warmest you will ever meet. You will frequently greet them as they take their cows to pasture or as you jump in the back of a camioneta (pick-up truck) on your way into Guaranda. Being immersed in this environment, you will get to experience what life is really like for the people in the rural Andes.

Typical day

For this position, you will focus on the management of the volunteer spaces, meals and group dynamic. In exchange for 5 hours a day, 4 days a week we will provide you with lunch on your workdays and shared volunteer accommodation to build bonds with other international volunteers. You have free use of the kitchen to prepare other meals and 3 days a week to explore some of the unique activities the region has to offer.


Typical Work Day

Work Days: Monday to Thursday

- 8.00am: Group Check-in (with all volunteers and interns)
- 8.30am: Cooking lunch/snacks, Cleaning and Organising the Casa Comunal 
- 12.30pm: Communal Lunch
- 1pm: Free Time

Monday: Cleaning Casa Comunal
Thursday: English Class (optional)
Sunday: Receiving new volunteers


Skills

We are specifically looking for a volunteer coordinator to complete the following tasks

  • Accommodation:
  • Coordinate the arrivals of new volunteers (family homestay and casa comunal)
  • Give a tour of the Casa Comunal to new volunteers
  • Coordinate keeping the Casa Comunal clean and tidy
  • Food & materials purchases for the Casa Comunal
  • Coordinate snacks and lunches
  • Cleaning of sheets & blankets
  • Feeding our dog (Zorro)!
  • Coordination:
  • Join/lead the daily check-ins
  • Participate in weekly team and volunteer meetings
  • Coordinate weekly English classes
  • Group Dynamic:
  • Create a welcoming environment for volunteers/interns
  • Suggest and coordinate social activities
  • Organise the farewell circles at the end of each person's stay


Attitude


It's often said that the people make the place. In creating a positive, environment, experience shows us that we're looking for people who have the following qualities:

- Leadership: Confident in leading groups, creating a positive dynamic and getting things done

- Hard-workers: tasks can be very physical, often in a variety of weathers and temperatures

- Positive: determined, solution-focussed and able to take the initiative when required
- Organised: punctual, meet deadlines, takes responsibility, and keep communal spaces clean and tidy
- Interpersonal skills: sensitivity to others needs and good communicators
- Contextual understanding: align with our vision and are respectful of cultural difference

Free-time activities

Free Time Activities

With your time off, you can take a walk around any of the beautiful local trails in the surrounding communities, down to the river or jump in a taxi to savour the spectacular cloud-covered sunset. There are regular buses into town if you would like to go shopping, try the local food or learn about Guaranda’s Carnaval - the best known in the country.

For a day’s outing, don’t miss hiking up to Chimborazo’s refuge and enjoying a hot chocolate at over 5,000m above sea level. Alternatively, take a tour around the salt mines and micro-businesses of the nationally renowned village of Salinas de Guaranda. If you prefer warmer climates, within an hour you can drop down to sea level and go hiking in protected virgin forests in the search of pristine rivers, tropical birds and immense waterfalls. Guaranda really has it all (minus the tourist traps!).

Climate

We are at almost 3,000m (10,000ft) above sea level and the average temperature is 13°C (55°F). Below is a list of typical weather patterns throughout the year, though climate change is definitely throwing these off, so be ready for anything!

- Summer (Jun - Sep): hot sunny days (leading to water shortages), colder cloudless nights and often a strong wind; temperatures ranging from 7-20°C degrees (45-70°F)
- Winter (Feb - Apr): Often dry mornings and heavy rain in the afternoon. Less day/night temperature variation and no wind; temperatures ranging from 10-15°C degrees (50-60°F degrees)
- Spring/Autumn (May, Oct - Jan): Somewhere between summer and winter!

Due to the high altitude, the sun feels cooler but will burn you more easily - so be prepared with a hat and sunscreen. The temperature is cool at night and Ecuadorian houses have no insulation/central heating, we have blankets and hot water bottles to help keep you cosy. Fortunately, there are no mosquitos at this elevation!

Hiking
Museum/
Opera
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Sightseeing
Swimming

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 20 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 (intermediate level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 08:00 - 12:30

What's Included

Accommodation
The local community has generously offered the ‘Casa Comunal’ (village hall) as the volunteers’ living quarters. As it is a community building which often receives visitors, we ask for it to be kept clean and tidy - for which volunteers are responsible. There are two dormitories with a total of 8 beds, bathroom (with hot water) and a kitchen used exclusively for volunteer use (apart from the odd community event). It has WiFi and all the basics to help you feel at home. Washing can either be done by a neighbour, a laundrette in the nearby town or by hand.
Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
We provide lunch during your work days, which we can accomodate most dietary requirements.

The remainder of your food you must cook yourself, you will receive a personal basket and fridge space to store food. There are basic shops in the village and nearby town (10mins bus/30 minutes walk) or supermarkets in Guaranda (30 minutes bus)
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.
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.
Vaccines
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

Start Date & Duration
We are looking for someone to fill this role from January 2023, earlier if possible, for the period of at least 3 months. At least 1 week can be taken off during this period to enjoy other parts of Ecuador.

Getting To Us

  • Guaranda is equal distance between the two international airports, Quito and Guayaquil
  • Bus travel is cheap and low-risk, $7 for a 5 hour journey
  • Shared shuttle cars are available $45 for a 4 hour journey
  • 10 minutes by bus you reach the nearest town with some food & vegetables
  • 30 minutes by bus you arrive in Guaranda with supermarkets and the large weekly market

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
12 - 50 weeks

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 El Terreno 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 El Terreno.

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Volunteer Coordinator for Cultural Exchange Centre

Develop your experience managing volunteers, spaces and programmes as part of an exciting new Cultural Exchange Centre in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes

Free of charge

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