Amazon Community Development

  • volunteering in the amazon region of ecuador with Yanpauma foundation at the Selvavida project
  • waterfall in teh Amazon jungle near a Shuar community where volunteers can bathe
  • Service learning in the Amazon jungle with Yanapuma foundation in Ecuador
  • Study abroad in the Amazon jungle of ecuador

Community Development in the Amazon region.

"We are incredibly appreciative for Yanapuma for putting us in contact with the community as it would not have been possible otherwise. It is a very valuable program and Cesar’s future plans for the project sound incredibly positive for the project. All in all everything was incredible. Out of our 5.5 month trip this was the most incredible, difficult, amazing and unique experience we have been through, none of which was possible without Yanapuma’s support and information.” Kym, volunteer 2012

This is a private Amazonian reserve owned and run by a native Shuar. As with many indigenous tribes in Ecuador, the Shuar ethnic group have been marginalized and are struggling to maintain their traditional culture. The principle aimof the project is to foment sustainable community development through education,and environmental conservation. Currently very few tourists visit the area around Macas due to its remote location. Today, the only livelihood available to Shaur communities is felling trees, leading to the further deforestation of our planet's jungles. One of the objectives of the project is to increase local awareness about sustainable tourism through intercultural exchange and thereby providing viable, sustainable economic alternatives to local Shaur communities. The project coordinator, Cesar Tucupi hopes that his project will serve as a blueprint for similar undertakings in the area.  As well as working on projects, volunteers will visit surrounding communities, learn about, shamanism and survival techniques including fishing and how to trap wild animals andhow to make Shuar artesania. The community is a 40 minutes walk or 15 minute bus ride from the volunteer cabins and has a population of around 60 people.

The project is on the Río Colorado near Yagints community, 2 1/2 hours east of Macas in primary rainforest, about 10 hours by bus from Quito.

Range of tasks:

Projects that volunteers can participate in include:
Teaching English, math, or any other subject in which you have particular experience, at the community’s elementary school and giving private lessons to the older community members. Teaching experience is valuable but not necessary.
Compiling Inventories for Bird and Animal Species.
People interested in researching the indigenous Shuar culture.
Professionals or students in the fields of agriculture, water management, grey water and black water treatment systems, sustainable development are welcome to carry out investigations in the area.
Grant writers.
Natural construction, building traditional houses and ecological bathrooms with local materials.
Assisting on reforestation and organic agriculture projects both in Selvavida and in surrounding communities and helping with maintenance and education with the vegetable gardens.

Time commitment:
One week minimum, longer preferred.
spanish level:

Basic or higher is recommended. The director speaks very minimal English, but is very eager to learn.

Work schedule:

Volunteers stay cabins on the Río Macuma located 40 minutes walk away from the community. The costs vary depending on length of s tay, etc. Most basic products are purchased from the local community and consist of rice, yuka(manioc), plaintain, fruits etc and fish is caught in the river next to the volunteer cabins. There are ecological toilets on-site and volunteers bathe in the river.

Skills required:
Volunteers must be prepared to live in a remote rainforest setting in basic conditions—the center has no electricity or no running water (though there is water near by and purified water for personal use). 
Accepted donations:
 Check with Yanapuma staff about current needs