Skilled builders & farmers wanted to create a cultural centre in the Andes mountains near Guaranda, Ecuador

  • Ecuador
  • Favourited 703 times
  • Last activity: 30/01/2023



 Min stay requested: at least 1 month



  • Description


    Be a part of creating something meaningful - Bring your skills to transform a property with an abandoned farmhouse in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes into a thriving cultural exchange centre with permaculture gardens.

    >>> THE PROJECT <<<

    Hi, my name's Joshua, the founder of a cultural exchange and social innovation project. 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 our volunteer programme and help us restore a 150-year-old farmhouse and surrounding land into a vibrant cultural centre that will host an abundance of community, cultural, educational and tourism activities.

    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’re delighted to receive your valued contribution to our mission of creating a more prosperous and meaningful world, while trying to make your stay as warm and welcoming as possible.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities


    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.

    By delivering community activities, you will spend time with the locals, both adults and children. There are regular festivals in the region (especially around carnival time) that you can participate in and some volunteers are invited to eat at local people’s houses.


    In this volunteering programme, you will have the opportunity to develop practical skills as we develop the cultural centre, cook and clean during the morning, while later in the day you can practise your community engagement skills through the classes we will run for the community.

  • Help



    In our 'Terreno' volunteering programme, you will focus on the development of the cultural centre. 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.


    Work Days: Monday to Thursday

    - 7.45am: Collection of Tools/Equipment
    - 8.00am: Group Check-in (with all volunteers and interns)
    - 8.30am: Building Work on the Cultural Centre
    - 12.30pm: Communal Lunch
    - 1pm: Free Time
    - 3pm - 5pm: English Class for Community (Thursdays, Optional)


    We are specifically looking for volunteers with at least one of the following skills:

    - Building: carpentry, bioconstruction, engineering, plumbing & water filtration
    - Farming: sustainable agriculture/permaculture design and implementation
    - Volunteer Coordination: work with volunteers to maintain communal spaces clean & tidy, cook snacks/meals and enjoy free-time activities
    - Marketing: Film-making, photography, website development, promotion, social media

    >>> 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:

    - 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

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    As a bi-lingual project, it's a great opportunity to practise your Spanish both within the team and with the friendly local community. We look for volunteers with at least a low-intermediate level of Spanish and English to be able to effectively communicate with the team and the local people.

  • Accommodation


    You have two options of where you can stay:

    Casa Comunal:
    The most social option is by staying in the casa comunal. 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 fiberoptic 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.

    Family Homestay:
    If you would prefer to practice your Spanish, get to know the local culture and enjoy a little privacy, a family homestay is also an option. Rooms may be humble, in keeping with the lifestyle that people live here. However, all will include a private room, hot shower, shared kitchen, WiFi and a washing station (either by hand or machine). You will also have full access to the kitchen, bathroom, living and WiFi room of casa comunal (volunteer dormitory accommodation), only a few minutes walk away

  • What else ...

    What else ...


    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!).

    >>> 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

    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

    >>> 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!

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We have fibra-optic WiFi (20MBs) in the Casa Comunal. For the moment, volunteers use the dormitories/homestays to make their calls.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5hrs a day(día), 4 days(días) a week(semana)

Host ref number: 691694896697

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