Sanitation Initiatives Internship

Lobitos, Peru show on map
founded in 2013
Coordinator | Michael
Coordinator | Michael
Due to a collapsed sewage system in Lobitos, EcoSwell need volunteers to develop sanitation initiatives such as dry toilets and wastewater treatment projects. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:

Early in 2016, EcoSwell installed a Biodigester of 7,000 litres at the Community Hall of the Lobitos Artisanal Fishermen's Association, as one of the objectives after a successful crowdfunding campaign. This was done in order to give a primary treatment to the building's wastewater and prevent it from continuously adding to the underground and above-ground pollution of the local ecosystem, since there is no end-of-pipe treatment of wastewater in Lobitos and it just tends to accumulate in certain sewage spill points or "ponds".

The Biodigester is now working adequately and it is allowing for reuse of the treated wastewater for below-ground drip irrigation of nearby green areas of the Community Hall, as well as separating the sediment from the wastewater for reuse as fertilizer. This project can keep improving and there are several activities in which the intern could get involved with, including:

  • Extending more underground pipes for drip irrigation of larger areas, according to the specifications of the fabricant and the capacity of the Biodigester.
  • Connecting the next door community security building to the Biodigester, calculating requirements and capacity accordingly.
  • Appropriate maintenance of the equipment and reuse of the treated wastewater and sediments.
  • Involvement in other sanitation solutions currently being explored and developed by EcoSwell, including dry toilets.

Project Impact:

Sadly, in Lobitos there is no end-of-pipe treatment of wastewater and the sewage just accumulates openly in certain spill points or "ponds", contaminating the ground and eventually filtrating to the nearby sea. They also pose a health risk, especially for children and animals (birds, dogs, etc.) that approach these infectious ponds. By providing sanitation alternatives, EcoSwell is turning the problem into a solution where contamination of the environment ceases and treated wastewater and other products can be reused for social and economic benefits.

Typical day

All the work takes place within the local, semi-rural community of Lobitos where you will be living. A typical day working alongside the EcoSwell team and possibly other volunteers in Lobitos can vary depending on the project you are taking part in. As part of this role you will be expected to:

  • Be proactive in finding out how we can improve the sanitation of Lobitos, carrying research independently and working jointly with our team of experts on the ground.
  • Depending on progress made, you may find yourself getting involved in the management of the construction of sanitation facilities and the construction itself, such as dry toilets or the installation of pipes to expand the biodigesters irrigation reach.
  • Share your knowledge and educational content. We'll need you to develop the project using your own knowledge and by working jointly with our team to decide what the best approach will be to engage the community.
  • Brainstorming with the team and taking ownership for the project.
  • Support the EcoSwell team on tasks they may need assistance with whilst you are there.

A work day will typically range from 9am - 6pm typically (with a 1-2 hr lunch break), but the EcoSwell team is sometimes up from 6am, surfing or fishing during sunrise and also surfing or relaxing in the evening (catching the sunset at the beach), after the work day is over.

At all times, you'll have the support and guidance of our team of experts on the ground and our advisers based remotely, who have experience in this field.

It is not a necessity to bring special equipment but if you can, and think that it would enhance your ability to work on the project, then it would be advantageous.

Details on Arrival

The programme is available throughout the year starting on any day of the week and time.

Free-time activities

Daily world class surfing (all levels), fishing trips, whale and sea lion watching, exploring new beaches, yoga, library access, baking/cooking, personal development, constant socialising with other travellers, within other fun activities. We have a lot going on, and you’ll love it. Maybe even a little bit too much… many of our interns and volunteers have come to question their own lifestyles after experiencing ours! Come, try something new whilst you still have time and see for yourself. 

Other activities, such as swimming with wild turtles, sea-lion and whale watching, artisanal open sea fishing with local fishermen, within others are affordable and can be arranged but are not included in the programme. These come at an additional cost, but in reality they are very cheap. These activities are payable to the people who run them (ie: the local artisanal fishermen who take you on their boats) and as such we like to support the local economy. 

We can facilitate this as we have positive relationships with them and it represents an additional source of income for locals, while at the same time giving some of our participants experiences that they will never forget. Once in Lobitos, you’ll be able to see what you’d like to do at your own discretion. Regardless of whether you do partake or not in these activities, you will have a blast. 

We are not one of those organizations which imposes loads of restrictions on our participants on what you can and can’t do. We treat our volunteers and interns like adults, and so you are free to behave as one, responsibly. We will make all volunteers/interns fill in an risk assessment before joining us nonetheless, that way we ensure that you know what the risks are and what you shouldn’t do. We’ll give you a heads up on what goes down well and what doesn’t. So no need to worry too much about what you need to do in regards to health and safety and no need to worry about us wanting to “babysit” you. 

Water 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) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently) and Spanish (basic level)
Education Requirements
Environmental Science, Engineering, Geography, Business/Marketing, International Development, Medicine and Conservation at University level
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
- Genuine interest in sustainable development
- Determination, self-motivation and ability to work in a team environment
- Experience working away from home
- Flexibility
- Positive attitude
- Proficiency in Spanish (preferable but not required)
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 17:00

Included Services

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 EcoSwell 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 EcoSwell.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
EcoSwell (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by EcoSwell

Airport pickup, accommodation and food & drink are included in the fees.

You can volunteer at the project site in Lobitos/Peru between 2 weeks and 14 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. EcoSwell 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 EcoSwell during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Airport Pickup at Captain FAP Victor Montes Arias Airport

We will meet you at the airport in Talara and from there we will drive you to Lobitos.


You will have comfortable accommodation in the EcoSwell house throughout your stay with an office workplace/resources and large kitchen. You will have access to a shared bathroom and shower. We also have a chill-out living room with a DVD player and cable TV (which you probably won't use much!).

Dorm Room Bedroom (Single)
Food & Beverages

Peruvian food is categorised as some of the best in world. You’ll get all your meals included; breakfast, lunch and dinner, within the EcoSwell house as part of your contribution. 

This includes, meats, fresh seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, coffee… you name it we have it, and more (as you’ll probably try new fruits you didn’t know existed) and you will be amazed at how much stronger you’ll feel after a few days with us! All food is bought weekly in the nearest city of Talara fresh from the markets and supermarkets. You will also get a chance to try out local cuisine in some of the restaurants in Lobitos.

Of course we can cater for those with dietary requirements such as vegetarians and those with lactose intolerance, for example.

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.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Captain FAP Victor Montes Arias Airport (TYL) in Talara. We assist you to find cheap flights to Peru.
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 Peru provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Peru you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Peru.
Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
$ 1,095
3 weeks
$ 1,613
4 weeks
$ 2,151
5 weeks
$ 2,612
6 weeks
$ 3,657
9 weeks
$ 4,479
14 weeks (max. stay)
$ 6,622
Average fees
$ 510 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Lobitos/Peru between 2 weeks and 14 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. EcoSwell will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Peru.
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 EcoSwell during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Americas South America Peru  Lobitos, Villa de Oficiales 270

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