Research & Internships

Research and Internship Opportunities

Research and Academic Internships are offered for specific duties and tasks within the foundation. Interns will work from 3-12 months in the office, in the field, or a combination of the two. Time will be allowed for students to carry out research and academic work related to their studies, and local staff will help with arranging research sites and gaining access to research subjects, and with methodology, research design and data gathering methods.

Yanapuma charges an internship fee to cover the costs associated with training and academic support during the internship. The cost is on a sliding scale in the table below

Interns are responsible for their own accommodation, travel and other arrangements. Yanapuma staff can help organizing lodging and other details before arrival in Ecuador.

Program Costs and General Requirements for each Position

  • Independent Study and Internships Costs:
    Program Length Price Range
    0 - 4 weeks $200 - $350
    5 - 8 weeks $350 - $500
    9 weeks + $600
  • General Requirements:
  • Good Spanish (we can offer classes if necessary)
  • Minimum stay of 3 months
  • Studying for Bachelors or higher degree
  • Good organizational and people skills
Internship in Ecuador for volunteering in Quito or Cuenca or the Galapagos Islands

Tsa'chila Communities

From 2012-2014 Yanapuma is working on a grant from the Inter American Foundation in 4 communities of the Tsa'chila culture. The project has 3 primary areas of focus and we are interested in receiving interns to help in these specific areas:

Sustainable Cacao Production

Over the course of 3 years we are sowing up to 52 hectares of improved varieties of local cacao. The Tsa'chila are not natural farmers and have a lot to learn in order to be able to manage this new system. Interns are needed to work with local promotors to encourage farmers to maintain their plots and learn the new techniques for the 3-4 years that the cacao is going to take to begin to produce the first results.

Interns should be studying development and/or agriculture related topics and speak reasonable Spanish. They will live in one of the communities, rotating between communities as the work progresses.

Family Vegetable Plots

The project also involves creating 87 vegetable plots - 85 on small family farms and 3 in local schools. These will be created by June 2013, and thereafter we will be focusing on visiting each one day by day to encourage the women to continue to learn about sowing and harvesting a variety of vegetables, initially for family consumption, but expanding production each year to produce excess for sale locally.

Interns should be studying development and/or horticulture/agriculture related topics and speak reasonable Spanish. They will live in one of the communities, rotating between communities as the work progresses.

Cooking/Nutritional Education             

The third part of the project involves teaching the women how to prepare the vegetables that they are growing for consumption by their families, integrating more vegetables into their daily diet. A local nutrion/diet promotor visits a family each day to prepare food with them. Interns will help in this process each day.

Interns should be studying development and/or diet/nutrion related topics and speak reasonable Spanish. They will live in one of the communities, rotating between communities as the work progresses.

Intern in Ecuador as a volunteer coordinator for NGO

Volunteer Group Leaders

One important resource for the foundation are our international volunteers and groups for short or long term periods (1 week to 6 months) to assist the communities with their goals. We receive the groups of volunteers a number of times a year, particularly during the summer and for this reason, we are constantly looking for people who are willing and able to motivate, manage and lead these groups in different locations around Ecuador. 

--maintain email communication with the contact person in the group (teacher, representative) to organize the logistics and project 
--prepare for the group's arrival by setting up accommodation, food, transport, project work, and budget. This might include visiting the local community where the project is to organize with them the details of the work and accommodation 
--Greet the group upon arrival and be their leader throughout their time with Yanapuma in Ecuador. This includes traveling with the group to coordinate and oversee their transport, project work, and additional activities 
--Be the point-of-contact between the group and the Yanapuma office in case of problems or concerns
--Oversee the health and wellbeing of the group during their time with Yanapuma 

During 2013, positions will be available at the following times: 

There may also be other groups between these periods. 
Canidates that are willing to be in Ecuador for two of the above time frames will be given preference. Yanapuma will pay for the food and accomodation of group leaders while they are with the groups and they will recieve a small remuneration on completion of each group project. 

Groups range in size from 7-12 people and most group members are aged 18-15 years.


  • High intermediate level of Spanish (advanced is preferred) 
  • Strong organizational skills to handle all the details and logistics of the volunteer group 
  • Strong leadership skills to provide a safe and fun environment and experience for the volunteers and local community  
  • Three month commitment minimum (6 month commitment is preferred) 
  • Strong people skills and ability to work in a group with other leaders and student volunteers 
  • Previous experience leading groups of young people is preferred 

Education and Capacity Development

General Information:

Region: Pacific Coast, Pacific Lowlands, and Amazon

Communities: Bua (Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas Province), Puka Chikta (Napo Province), Estero de Platano ( Esmeraldas Province)

Program Area: Education

Level of Spanish: Intermediate

Minimum length of time: 3 months (6 months preferred)

Prior teaching experience preferred 
Prior experience working with children in an international setting a plus


Yanapuma is looking for volunteers to teach in different areas (English, mathematics, art, etc) and help the current teachers with existing subjects by adding creativity and new ideas to current curriculum and materials in a culturally relevant way.
In Estero de Platano we are looking for a volunteer to monitor and evaluate the progress of six students that have received scholarships to a local high school through donations to the foundation. In addition this volunteer would help with tutoring children in various subject areas to make sure they are fulfilling their educational requirements.


  • Teach English in a local primary school and high school
  • Teach environmental education in the local primary school and high school
  • Collaborate with other interns and community action groups (Esp. young adults) in a health promotion program
Sustainable development volunteer in Ecuador, position for interns

Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Protection


General Information:

Region: Pacific Lowlands and Pacific Coast.

Community: Bua de Los Tsachilas and Estero de Platano.

Program Area: Sustainable Agriculture and Protection of the Environment.

Level of Spanish: Intermediate to Advanced.

Minimum length of time: 3 Months (6 months preferred).


BA (Preferably MA) and/or training in agriculture, international agricultural development, microfinance or related field with relevant experience
Experience working in Latin America in a rural setting a plus


The aim of this internship would be to assist our agricultural program director with continued growth of a cacao association and native tree nurseries project in the region of Santo Domingo de Los Tsachilas. Currently the cacao association has two demonstration plots where they are experimenting with different types of cacao de fina aroma combined with various types of fruit and vegetables as well as native tree species. The aim is to produce a high quality value added cacao product for sale to national and international markets as well as initially produce locally. In the next two years we hope to begin the process of organic certification. It will also work towards the decrease of monoculture farming methods through combining cocoa production with fruit and native tree species production. This will help to diversify income sources. Processes of commercialization are in their infancy with next year bringing the need for the construction of a central collection point with solar dryers and fermentors. We hope to also legalize the association in the coming year and begin capacity development in accounting.

In Estero de Platano on the Pacific Coast we are looking for interns with experience in vegetable gardens sustainable agriculture as well as composting to improve and maintain a school vegetable and fruit garden. This would also include nutritional workshops in the school and with local community action groups to increase consumption of nutritious vegetables.

Responsibilities: (depending on precise nature of project):

  • Assist agricultural specialist with logistics for educational workshops, delivery of materials, visits to other cacao associations and coordination of volunteer groups.
  • Hold meetings with national cacao processing organizations and investigate possible markets.
  • Promote family vegetable gardens in the community.
  • Research possible means of marketing and publicity of project as well as cacao association.
  • Research possible means of marketing and publicity of project as well as cacao association.
  • Create links with local agricultural organizations
  • Integrate themes of sustainable agriculture, compost, and nutrition into curriculum working directly with elementary school teachers.
Sustainable agriculture volunteer and internship in Ecuador

Permaculture Practitioner

General Information:

Region: Pacific Coast

Community: Caimito, Province Esmeraldas.

Program Area: Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Protection

Level of Spanish: Intermediate

Minimum length of time: 3 months (6 months preferred)



BA (Preferable MA) in agriculture or international agricultural development
Prior experience and/or training in permaculture.


Yanapuma Foundation is looking for a permaculture practitioner for the community of Caimito, on the Northern coast of Ecuador. Caimito and the surrounding area is characterized by mono-crop farming which is degrading the quality of the soil. We are looking to introduce permaculture techniques in order to address this, and diversify agricultural production in the area. We are looking for an intern with considerable knowledge and experience of permaculture.


  • Give training to community members on how to incorporate permaculture into their agricultural methods.
  • Teach the community about organic gardening and implement an organic gardening project
  • Work on the design and implementation of a model permaculture farm
Quito volunteer in fundraising for Ecuadorian NGO

Yanapuma Foundation - Office Internships


General Information:

This is an office- based internship in Quito though travel to project sites will be required.

Travel time may reach 30% of internship duties.

Minimum Level of Spanish: Intermediate (The working language in the office is Spanish)

Minimum length of time: 3 months (6-9 months preferred)


BA (MA preferred) in international relations, international development or related field
Prior experience with fundraising and grant/proposal writing preferred
Ability to multitask and prioritize a variety of proposals with all levels of the organization
Ability to hold meetings and deliver presentations to prospective donors and partner organizations. 
Strong computer skills especially with Excel, PowerPoint, Microsoft Word
Commitment to the mission and vision of Yanapuma

The fundraising/ grant writer intern will work directly with the projects coordinator in researching, prioritizing and managing a diverse range of donors. He/she will work to cultivate individual donors through the website’s general donate, sponsorship, membership and small funding needs spaces by creating and promoting campaign pages, annual fundraising drives and bulk e-mails. He/she will cultivate national donors and corporate sponsors through holding meetings and building relationships with local corporations, government funds and grant making foundations. Lastly he/she will research possible international sources of funding and write proposals to international trusts as well as international grant-making facilities that have similar operative and policy goals.


  • Research possible national donors, write proposals and manage database of deadlines, requirements and actions for each donor.
  • Research possible international grant-making facilities and international trusts, write proposals and manage database of deadlines, requirements and actions for each donor.
  • Cultivate donors at UK universities and schools.
  • Promote Yanapuma Foundation through individual donation spaces within website.
  • Cultivate donors through bulk e-mails and campaign pages
Internship in Quito for international volunteer to work for NGO in Ecuador

Marketing and Web Development

General Information:

This is an office- based internship in Quito though travel to project sites will be required.

Level of Spanish: Intermediate

Minimum length of time: 6 months

BA (MA preferred) in media studies, journalism or related field 
Prior experience working with Dream Weaver web development application preferred
Prior experience working with video and picture editing a plus
Prior experience


  • Ongoing development and implementation of a marketing strategy for the foundation and Spanish school, for local, international, and web-based public.
  • Creating videos of project work and the Spanish School for uploading to website.
  • Creating publicity materials for events.
  • Contacting former students and volunteers for testimonials to put on web pages.
  • Creating partnerships with alternative travel agencies and other organizations overseas to recruit more volunteers and Spanish students.
  • Managing project news blog.
  • Fundraising through web 2.0 applications (social networks and social book-marking).
  • Continuing to build the Yanapuma community through management of Facebook Group. 
  • Creation and distribution of promotional materials for Spanish School and Foundation in Quito (e.g. flyers, posters etc).
  • Developing online marketing plan for the Spanish School and volunteering programs.


Research in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands for international students and volunteers

Research Opportunities:

Yanapuma also offers research opportunities in a variety of fields associated with the mission of the foundation. Students will receive in-country supervision in tandem with their institution's academic advisor.

Yanapuma will provide:

·        Pre-arrangement of research sites, accommodation and meal costs, etc., prior to arrival in Ecuador.

·        Discussion of research options, topics and possibilities prior to arrival in Ecuador.

·        Orientation to Ecuador, culture, etc.

·        Regular meetings as appropriate to discuss methodology, theory, data gathering, problems that arise, etc.

·        Introductions to local experts in relevant fields.

·        Free internet use for those with their own laptops and paid computer access for those without

- Optional Spanish Language classes through Yanapuma Spanish School.

Yanapuma offers students the opportunity to carry out supervised research in a variety of fields. Students will receive in-country supervision in tandem with their institution’s academic advisor.

Specific current research opportunities are:

1. Anthropology/Sociology
* Yanapuma offers access to many of the 17 indigenous cultures of Ecuador, and can advise on relevant issues facing them today.

2. Tourism Studies
* Tourism is an important part of Ecuador’s economy, and is also important to developing communities. There are many community-based ecotourism projects in Ecuador, and opportunities to study tourism from a variety of perspectives, as well as to help specific communities in their development.
3. Global/Development Studies
* As a country rich in biological and cultural diversity, Ecuador faces many challenges in terms of globalization and the effects of development on the social, cultural, and environmental fabric of the country
4. Environmental Studies
* Ecuador is faced with the many environmental challenges of a developing nation, especially important to study in light of the immense biological diversity of the country. Some pressing issues are:

Biodiversity loss

Loss of water supplies through increased agriculture, deforestation, etc., that threatens many rural communities

Threat to Galapagos of tour boats that have no environmental standards

Lack of recycling and efficient waste management



Payment for food and lodging in community $12.00-16.00 per day

To register your interest in carrying out research or an internship with us please contact us using the Contact Form on the menu bar.