Join a community of sustainable development pioneers in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes

  • Favourited 896 times
  • Last activity: 11 Apr 2024



 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks



  • Description


    Be a part of creating something meaningful: helping to create vibrant, prosperous and regenerative communities in the Ecuadorian Andes, so that migration can be a choice, not a necessity. We're looking for helping hands in our cultural exchange centre, to support the daily running of our socio-environmental programmes between international interns and indigenous communities.

    >>> ABOUT US & THE PROJECT <<<

    Hi, my name's Joshua (UK) and I first came backpacking to Ecuador in 2013 and fell in love with the culture, landscapes and people. I returned in 2017 on a mission to create a space to help low-income, rural communities whilst creating a meaningful experience for travellers to experience new cultures and ways of life.

    In 2021, Karina (my partner from Quito) and I founded our project, just outside Guaranda, in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. Our mission is to develop volunteering, tourism and community programmes that preserve local culture and create a meaningful exchange of ideas, worldviews and traditions. 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.

    In our free volunteering programme, you'll mainly help with cooking, cleaning, and some manual labour/gardening. If you have any special skills we're also open to hearing what you have to offer! So if you're looking for the opportunity to immerse yourself in new cultures, contribute to a meaningful cause, and live alongside a community of change-makers, read on!

    >>> THE REGION <<<

    The project is on a hillside in the village of Atandahua, just outside of the quaint colonial town of Guaranda in central Ecuador. We're nestled in a valley surrounded by rolling 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 social issues such as child malnutrition (48%), teenage pregnancy (26%) and poverty (40%). With few opportunities, illegal migration to the US has become a huge problem; leading to brain-drain, abandoned older generation and the indigenous culture is at risk of being lost.

    >>> THE TEAM <<<

    Aside from myself, Karina and our son, Liam (2 years old), we have a range of local employees who work with us in adminstration, the kitchen and on construction projects. We also have a wide range of professional mentors who work on our internship programme with skills in agroecology, anthropology, architecture and more!

    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

    DIY and building projects
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability 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. 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



    We'll up front - we are a small organisation without external funding, so our free volunteering programme is the unglamorous chores of cooking, cleaning and manual labour; it's designed for those who are travelling on a budget but still want the experience of living in nature and immersing themselves in a rural community.

    Most of the work is to support our internship programme, which is designed for young professionals who pay to develop their skills through community & environmental projects. We're looking for those who enjoy manual work, enjoy living in community, are optimistic and can work independently.

    While manual work will always be part of the job, if you have professional skills in things such as marketing, business development or fundraising, we'd be open to talking about what else you could offer.

    If you come to stay with us we will provide you the following in exchange for 5 hours a day Monday to Friday:

    - Weekday lunches (we are able to meet most dietary requirements)
    - Comfortable dormitory accommodation (WiFi, hot water showers, kitchen, office, washing services)
    - Community living with others interested in sustainable development & cultural immersion in a rural community
    - Access to some group activities, workshops, presentations and site visits related to sustainable development
    - Optional ability to help out with weekly English classes with local children


    - 8.00am: Group Check-in (with all volunteers and interns)
    - 8.30am: Chores, cleaning & manual labour (largely unsupervised)
    - 10.30am: Cooking lunch (normally with local cook)
    - 12.30pm: Communal Lunch
    - 1pm: Free Time

    - 3pm - 4pm: English Class for local children (Tuesdays)


    Our programme does not require professional skills, though you must value living in a clean space and feel comfortable helping to cook for a group. If you have one of the following skills we would also be interested in talking.

    - Building: carpentry, bioconstruction, engineering, plumbing & water filtration
    - Farming: sustainable agriculture/permaculture design and implementation
    - Marketing: Film-making, photography, website development, promotion, social media (minimum 12 week stay)
    - Volunteer Coordination: helping to manage other volunteers (minimum 12 week 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:

    - 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. Ideal volunteers have a low-intermediate level of both Spanish and English, but not essential. There is a local language exchange every Tuesday in Guaranda.

  • Accommodation


    You have two options of where you can stay:

    Dormitory Space:
    The most social option is in our brand-new new dormitory space (photos coming soon!). We have a total of 4 rooms with space for 20 people in total. We have shared hot-water showers, toilets and a communal kitchen, office and large living area. It has fiberoptic WiFi and all the basics to help you feel at home. We have a laundry room where you can wash by hand, or pay to have your clothes washed (we have had experience of people damaging machines in the apst through misuse).

    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), 5-10 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 generally safe, $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 our brand-new dormitory space. There is also an office space for which to work in.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We haven't had any camper vans until now, the entrance is pretty steep, but once up here there's loads of flat space and beautiful views!

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

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

Host ref number: 691694896697

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