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Performing Life Bolivia

Integral Health Assistant

Cochabamba, Bolivia

Teach youth and families about health issues; lead health related workshops; help families and youth improve personal and household hygiene.

1. Introduction of the volunteer job

a) The purpose of the volunteer job is to provide Integral Health education and training for youth between ages of 8 and 18, families, and communities that are part of Performing Life International, Inc. (PLI) Social Circus, Music, and Enrichment programs, which currently take place in the city of Cochabamba and two satellite centers in outlying areas. 

b) Currently PLI is offering Integral Health volunteer positions. Volunteers work with staff and youth to overcome the social exclusion of poverty while promoting healthy development of youth to ensure their integration into society.  The Integral Health volunteer will use direct contact and community outreach to disseminate awareness that children and youth must live healthy lives to be catalysts for social change within their families and communities.

c) The program of Performing Life International, Inc. (PLI) helps children and adolescents who are working on the streets, working in menial, often dangerous jobs, and living in situations of extreme poverty in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The Integral Health program introduces youth to healthy, social opportunities for improving their daily lives and creating better futures for themselves and their families.  

d) The Volunteer Position fulfills PLI’s mission by creating Integral Health programs that promote mental, physical, and social development of working children and youth.  The program's purpose is to teach integral health knowledge and disease prevention to youth and families who come from outlying areas, many of which are without access to basic services, sanitation, or health care.  

2. Description of the program

Performing Life International/Fundación EnseñARTE Bolivia's programs engage children and adolescents between the ages of 8 and 18 who come from low-resource circumstances.  Many are driven by poverty to work and/or live on the streets of Cochabamba, Bolivia in risky circumstances.  For many of these youth, social exclusion limits the futures they can envision.  Volunteers help youth discover positive alternatives to street work and the importance of good health for achieving long-term personal goals.

We seek volunteers who are independent, responsible, critical thinkers, and self-sufficient. Due to our limited staff and budget, the Integral Health program is volunteer-run. Volunteering with Performing Life can be a highly rewarding experience for the volunteer, the youth, and organization.  We are open to new ideas and volunteers are generally given freedom to integrate special skills they have into our programs as a way to offer a broader spectrum of opportunities to the participants.

Performing Life is a proven model that successfully reaches at risk-youth to help them improve their lives, families, and communities. Most of the youth regularly participating in our programs attend school, have reunited with families, and no longer work on the streets. 

Because the Integral Health program is developed and run by volunteers, documentation and analysis of activities are imperative for transferring knowledge to the next group of volunteers.  

3. Volunteer Tasks

a)  As a volunteer, your job is to understand the health needs of PLI youth and create and implement a Plan of Action with measurable results for your time with the organization.

b) The volunteers will help with one or more of the following tasks: contribute to the Integral Health Plan of Action; work with other volunteers to develop and implement weekly series of classes based on specific themes responding to assessed needs;  maintain youth health records and follow-up plans; document classes, write health reports, and make recommendations; write program updates for monthly newsletters; and compare the Plan of Action with actual results.

c)  The program empowers youth by teaching them productive skills that help them take charge of their health needs, stay in school, and avoid drugs to  improve their chances for economic independence.

d)  The role of the volunteer is to develop short- and long-term integral health projects that can achieve PLI objectives; communications strategies to engage diverse collaborators; and platforms for understanding community interests and values regarding health education.

e)  The Volunteer will work with the National Director and Program Directors to improve health education infrastructure; reach out to local collaborators and supporters; and facilitate communications between schools, youth, and families.

4. The Location 

a)  PLI programs currently take place in the Department of Cochabamba, one of nine departments in Bolivia. There is an office and music studio located in the city of Cochabamba; Social Circus and Educational centers are located in Montenegro and Alto Buena Vista, each approximately one hour by public transportation from the city center.  Each center has a cafeteria and a manager, serving a meal after each class.  Each center has a Social Circus instructor, Circus Arts volunteers, and Education Enrichment volunteers.  

b)  Volunteers working in the Integral Health Program will come to the PLI office in the City of Cochabamba every Monday at 9:00 for staff meetings, then either work in the office on their program planning and curriculum development or do errands required for the week's preparation. Volunteers may come into the office during Tuesday through Friday if they need to make telephone calls or work on their plans. The current office is small with only one computer for volunteer use. It is recommended that the volunteer bring their own computer.  For working during the week in the office, volunteers can schedule a time between 9:00 and 17:00, Tuesday through Friday to meet with collaborators or staff, conduct research, and prepare for classes.

5.  Expectations

a)  While enjoying themselves in whatever diversions they chose, the expectations are that the volunteer will develop and manage Integral Health curricula, create innovative ways to engage youth from diverse levels of health understanding; direct, produce, and disseminate integral health programs in culturally-relevant formats that meet the special needs of the youth; create sustainable support from collaborators for special projects; market the Integral Health program to supporters, families, and volunteers; develop creative projects to improve youth health and knowledge; and facilitate family understanding of the need for higher education.

b)  For individuals entering Bolivia, the immigration department has Visa regulations that differ according to the country issuing the passport.  PLI assumes that Volunteer World is advising on these issues, including computer and cell phone compatibility.  More details are in the PLI Volunteer Handbook, available in English and Spanish. 

Typical day

Social Circus, Educational, and Health programs take place in two outlying communities:  Montenegro and Alto Buena Vista.  The Administrative Office and Studio is located close to the center of the city of Cochabamba.  Inexpensive public transportation is available between the city center and each location.  The day begins according to the volunteer's particular assignment, its location, and relationship to where the volunteer is living.  

Activities: Teach youth and families about preventative health; lead health related workshops; help families and youth improve personal and household hygiene; empower girls and boys to take control of their health; identify health resources and schedule representatives for presentations; identify health resources that youth and families can access at low or no cost; facilitate appropriate, confidential connections for youth and families needing physical and mental health care.

Day-to-day schedule.  The Integral Health Assistant reviews the assessments and activities of the previous Health Assistant; assesses the youth in each center; and develops a plan of treatment based on an analysis of these factors.  The Health Assistant works with the collaborating health agencies and organizations to ascertain the status of their involvement and present commitment, then integrates their services into the Health Plan of Action to be carried out for the volunteer's time of service with the program.  It is very important that all services be culturally relevant, sensitive, and address community values, especially those that may need some modification for the improved physical and mental health of the youth.


·       Mon, 9:00-11:00, staff and volunteer meeting; break for lunch; 13:00-17:00 weekly reports, work on special projects, develop health curricula, schedule presentations.

·       Tue-Fri, develop local contacts, roster of providers, organize schedule of presentations in coordination with the Social Circus and Music programs; organize youth health visits and follow-up appointments, such as to the dentist; present workshops and demonstrations targeting the urgent health needs of the population; engage the family and community with improving health and sanitation conditions.

·       Schedule times for presentations, health curriculum development, participant and family assessments and evaluation methodologies, and maintain documentation in participant folders.  

Details on Arrival

Volunteers are accepted in the programs any time during the year, except during vacations when no one is in the office.  Some volunteers arrive during vacations and use that time to travel around Bolivia before beginning work in the program.  Our schedule runs according to the public school year.  Volunteers who arrive at the beginning of the year should plan to be here the last full week of January when the team assembles and prepares to begin the program the first part of February.  Those who are here at the end of the program, usually the first week in December, should plan to stay for another week to prepare program documentation, help with year-end wrap up, and prepare sections of the annual report.  During the two-week vacation in July, many volunteers organize sightseeing and exploring ventures.  The other major holiday is Carnaval, when most  volunteers go to Oruro for the world-renowned folkloric parade.  Many volunteers come individually, while others come in groups of two to four.  

Free-time activities

Cochabamba is a very interesting, lively place. There are plenty of sports and outdoor activities for those who like to be physically active. There nice restaurants, interesting public markets, and well-stocked supermarkets for those who enjoy good food and cooking. There are clubs for those who like dancing and nightlife. And there are lots of other activities such as lectures, films, games nights, poker tournaments, dance classes, and concerts presented by local groups of all kinds. Several countries maintain centers in Cochabamba, offering regular programs and opportunities to meet new people. There are numerous museums and cultural exhibits that are a good introduction to the region. The surrounding villages and countryside offer beautiful places to visit. 

Volunteers frequently organize weekend trips to towns, national parks, and other attractions nearby. For example, Toro Toro features caves, waterfalls and dinosaur footprints; Chapare offers rainforests with monkeys, birds, and other wild animals; while the archaeology site of Incallajta and nearby Pocono provide the contrasts and connections between the people of pre-colonial times and current populations.

Water Sports
Winter Sports

Program Requirements

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).
Language Skills
You need to speak Spanish (fluently)
Health Declaration
Criminal Background Check
Education Requirements
Health at University level
Required Documents
Send Curriculum Vitae/Rèsumé emphasizing multi-cultural, health education, and social skills, " required level of language proficiency, " experience working with youth and families in low-resource environments and " passport or document required by Bolivian immigration depending on the regulations pertaining to the country that issues the passport.
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
• Language Requirements: Advanced Spanish, Quechua is a plus
• Required Skills: Community health education, promatora methodology, disease prevention; ability to put health care and disease prevention information into culturally-relevant context; ability to develop health-related presentations integrating social circus and music.
• Exceptions: Volunteers with specialized skills and/or exceptional knowledge in integral health fields may be accepted for less time.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 17:00

Suitable for


Any questions? Just ask. We at Performing Life Bolivia are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation

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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Performing Life Bolivia.
Airport Pickup at J Wilsterman Airport

Performing Life International / Fundación EnseñARTE Bolivia charges no fees to volunteers.  We provide pick-up from Wilsterman airport and the Bus Terminal in Cochabamba.  Provide us with date and time of arrival, plus transport line and bus or flight number.

Food & Beverages

Performing Life International / Fundación EnseñARTE Bolivia charges no fees to volunteers.  

Each of the Social Circus, Education, and Health centers has a cafeteria serving free meals to youth  after the morning and afternoon classes.  Any volunteers who are in the centers during meal times are welcomed to share a meal with the youth.  

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. Please arrange your own accommodation.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is J Wilsterman Airport (CBB) in Cochabamba. We assist you to find cheap flights to Bolivia.
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 Bolivia provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Bolivia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Bolivia.
Americas South America Bolivia Cochabamba, #58 Calle Chipaya

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