Sani Isla Sucumbios, Ecuador


Support Quality Education

Skills Needed

  • Architecture
  • Construction Management

Language Proficiencies

You must be able to speak English, Spanish.

When Can You Start?

You can start as soon as possible and stay for 1¾ month to 11 months



Project Details

Description and Impact

Immerse yourselve in the amazon rainforest and Kichwa culture and use your skills to contribute to an integrative project for indigenous development as well as rainforest protection.

We are currently in the first phase of the project, which consists of preparing a solid base for all
future development of the institute. This includes: building a house for volunteers and its
warehouse, working together as the institute main gate, and walkway to the institute.

A detailed project of the house has been drawn, the building site has been cleaned up, materials and tools are being collected and timber is getting cut. Construction has started in June 2015.

Upcoming phases are designing the institute master plan, designing and building the walkway, designing the first and main buildings of the institute.

You will primarily be focused on follow up with the construction on site according to the project, depending on the current priorities and agenda, designing the main building of the institute and the walkway. All roles will require that this individual communicate and collaborate with local workers and other volunteers, keep updating regularly the local project leader, project manager and project architect/design team on construction progress, issues and on-site changes. Remotely, this may require images and text or Internet calls (internet is available on site). Other tasks may include ordering of required building materials and supplies, on-site solving of construction details, travelling to town (3 hours journey with motorized canoe) and manual work on site.


Within the current phase of the project there are three main outcomes:

- finishing the first building

- preparing a masterplan

- design of walkway and main institute building (depending on time of stay)

Additional Useful Skills

  • Architecture degree (masters preferred)
  • Minimum 2 years experience
  • Experience in timber construction (bamboo construction experience also welcome)
  • Skills in manual drawing (sketching and technical)
  • Experience with on-location architecture is a plus (but not required)
  • Managing excel spreadsheets
  • CAD drawing is optional
  • Knowledge in Office Package
  • Ability to manually help in the construction process
  • Ability to work in challenging situations in terms of communication
  • Organization and planning skills
  • Project management skills preferred
  • Comprehension and resilience in relation to cultural differences and social problems

We Provide These Local Benefits

Benefits Overview

  • Accommodations
  • Learning Opportunity
  • Good For Groups


Before the main structure and roof will be erected, volunteers will live in a tent on site (provided with cooker and rain tarp) or, if the number of volunteer is low enough, they can be hosted in a nearby house. Later, they will live in the volunteer house during completion. Living conditions are rough compared to western standards and hygienic standards will be quite limited, especially in the early first phase as there wont be toilets, bathrooms or running water. Drinking water comes usually from rainwater or wells depending on the season, and can be filtered on site. Proximity to the Napo River make it easy for cloth washing and daily baths. Volunteers will pay for their own food supplies that can be bought in the closest town (In Coca, 3 hours by canoe) or at Saturday markets (In Providencia, 1 hour by canoe). Some food can also be found locally and bought from people of the community. 

Learning Opportunity

You will be able to experience the indigenous kichwa culture at first hand and live immersed in the Amazon rainforest. You have the possibility to get to know about their traditions as well as challenges within it changing environment. You will be able to use your skills to find solutions within a very different context to your day to day life. You will have the unique possibility to live back to basics, which will touch you in several ways.

You can learn about traditional technics, traditional medicines as well as get confronted with the western lifestyle influence.

Additional Benefits

You can book individual tours throughout the region with local guides to get to know more of the rainforest. Also Ecuador offers a great travel experience from the Andes to the Galapagos.

Ask a question about this project

Good evening, I just finished the architecture course, I do not have work experience. Can I participate in this project?
Miguel, Jul 21st, 2017
Dear Miguel, thank your message! We don't necessarily look for professional work experience, non the less we require you to have solid life experience in community projects, volunteering or extracurricular activities. Please let us know if this applies to you. Thank you!
Representative of this project, Jul 21st, 2017
I'm a native English speaker, but my Spanish language skills are not good. Would this project accept someone whose Spanish skills are low, but with a basic Spanish so the learning will happen quickly?
Brian, Apr 18th, 2017
Dear Brian, thank you for your enquiry! If you Spanish level is basic it would be possible if you spend a longer period in the project. What time where you thinking of and how much time you have available? Also if you would want to start volunteering remote it would be possible. Options can be discussed based on you experience and availability. Best regards, Anja R.
Representative of this project, Apr 18th, 2017