ECOLOGICAL AGRICULTURE VOLUNTEER/INTERN
About us: The Arajuno Road Project (ARP)/Proyecto Ruta del Arajuno was created in 2008 with the goal of supporting the schools and improving the opportunities available in the communities along the road located between the small city of Puyo and the rural community of Arajuno – a culturally and ecologically diverse area ‐ in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The program works in rural communities providing support in education, improving the infrastructure and learning environment of schools, and working on community development and conservation programs, such as school gardens and reforestation.
Find us online at www.arajunoroadproject.org and www.facebook.com/ArajunoRoadProject
Location: Puyo, Ecuador (Amazonia)
Dates and Expenses: Project participation fees include basic food and housing and vary depending on the pre‐determined length of the service cycle(s) you are applying for ‐ please see below. Flights, visas, insurance, local transport and excursions are the responsibility of the volunteer.
Cycle 1: from 05 FEB to 28 APR, 12 weeks, 950 $
Cycle 4: from 10 SEP to 03 NOV, 8 weeks, 750 $
Cycle 5: from 29 OCT to 15 DEC, 7 weeks, 700 $
Position summary: ARP’s gardens program has traditionally consisted of several school/community gardens where weekly community/school work days are led by ARP field technicians, maintaining the gardens and teaching organic gardening techniques to students and members of the community. The program is evolving to focus on development of an ecological agriculture center where cultivation for the community and ARP’s community center, seedlings for partner sites, as well as experimental and demonstration areas will be established. Tropical soil and water management is an important focus, and both native and common agricultural species are cultivated.
What we ask from you: Volunteers/interns should be able to commit to at least one pre‐defined service period and priority will be given to those applying for consecutive periods. You will live on site in the dormitory at the community center. After an initial orientation, you will be expected to be actively working half of each weekday with additional planning, coordination and administrative duties as needed. Daily work in developing and maintaining the agricultural center is expected and you will participate in a weekly minga (community service) with the community one afternoon each week. You may work in partner sites some mornings, investigate native species and/or help develop cultural events depending on community demand, your experience and communication abilities, and ARP’s long‐term work plan. Documenting your work will be important for the long‐term success of the program and future volunteers. As time permits, you will also have the option to work on community center landscaping, general community center development, or if you have any special abilities/skills, teach a community class.
● Help, develop and maintain ecological agricultural center
● Assist during community work days, when possible sharing healthy cooking ideas via the community snack afterward
● Assist with other Eco‐Agricultural Program tasks when possible
● Keep tools and materials up to date and organized
● Weekly check‐in with program team
● Document work
● Be able to perform manual labor
● Gardening knowledge/experience
● Conversational Spanish
● Previous experience with organic gardening methods
● Previous experience with tropical agriculture
● Previous international work or volunteer experience
● Advanced Spanish
● Excellent people skills
● First class communication skills
● Strong organiza onal and problem‐solving skills
● Ability to adapt quickly to diverse situations
● Tolerant, patient, and understanding
● Familiarity or willingness to learn Google Drive/Docs
Accommodation: The volunteer dorm is located in a rural area on the outskirts of Puyo, 6 km out of the city, on site at ARP’s office and community center.
The site is an old school that was closed in 2014 due to changes in the national school system that resulted in the unification of many schools. ARP has a multi‐year, successful history of community collaboration through the school dating back to 2010, if not earlier, that neither the community or ARP wanted to lose. It is a site that has a 60+ year history as the first school along Arajuno Road and also as the heart of the region, which is being recuperated with ARP’s help.
The dorm was a classroom that has been converted into subdivided, shared spaces similar to a hostel. Bathrooms, shower, kitchen and dining area are located in a separate building. The office, located in another classroom, has Internet. The coordinator lives on site, so you will always have someone for assistance as needed. Most volunteers describe the atmosphere as very communal and family‐like.
Volunteers share responsibilities for maintaining their living environment. Basic food items are bought weekly by ARP personnel. Cooking meals is a shared activity, as well as cleaning. Help from volunteers is also greatly appreciated in producing our own food.