Business Development Volunteer

Fundacion Mujer - San Jose, Costa Rica
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-488 Location: San Jose, Costa Rica Sector: Community Development Category: Organizational Support Min Duration: 3 weeks Lodging: BaseCamp or Host Family Language: Intermediate
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Volunteer Job Description

Fundacion Mujer conducts courses, lectures, and workshops that provide administrative knowledge for women entrepreneurs who's desires are to start their own small businesses and/or to become leaders of social organizations.

Since its inception in 1988, Women Foundation has provided financial support to over 8,600 women entrepreneurs. The organization continues to expand its operations into rural areas to reach a population with less access to technology and development. Likewise, the organization is supporting minorities, like women entrepreneurs in the indigenous population, as well as women with HIV.

Micro-finance volunteers are needed at this placement to help staff to accomplish all their tasks in each division of educational endeavours.

Volunteers would be expected to: contribute to the construction and updating of the database; assist at the reception desk, work in various workshops and assist in developing and implementing educational sessions geared towards the women's entrepreneurial goals.

A micro-finance volunteer must have good organizational and communication skills, computer skills and command of the Spanish language. A volunteer should have empathy with helping to educate Costa Rican women to become entrepreneurs, as well as the ability to work as a team member.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Update Database

A micro-finance volunteer would be expected to help enter personal information in the database about women clients who have applied for a credit in order to become an entrepreneur.

Credit Records Registrant

A micro-finance volunteer would update the records of the clients and would categorize them.

This information will be use for future credits and support of the organization.

Workshop Support

A micro-finance volunteer may be asked to accompany staff to rural areas to provide workshops for woman entrepreneurs who cannot go to San Jose. These workshops are training and seminars in business administrative topics like marketing.

Reception Assistance

A micro-finance volunteer may be asked to help at reception. One of the tasks of a volunteer in this division would be to make phone calls to the clients in order to coordinate appointments for interviews in order to get the credit from the organization.

Host Organization Details

Fundacion Mujer

Fundacion Mujer (Women's Foundation) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting financial and non-financial business women. To support women who desire to start their own small business and/or women striving to become leaders of social organizations.

Its, "MISSION", is to contribute to the economic and productive development of women entrepreneurs and social organizations.

The financial support is provided through small loans that allow women to develop their product or service, or obtain more technology in order to compete in a globalize world.

The non-financial support is through a program of training and development that aims to improve the capacity of the target, using realistic methods to solve their economic, social and educational situations. Fundacion Mujer conducts courses, lectures, and workshops that provide administrative knowledge for women entrepreneurs. The, "GOAL", is to help clients to advance the development of their entrepreneurial skills and thus promote their businesses.

The areas covered are:

1) A Business Management Course, which offers to women entrepreneurs a series of lessons containing the basic knowledge necessary to manage a small business, so they are better prepared to meet market demands. In addition, to encourage the personal development of women to facilitate the process of decision making and confidence in their abilities to make a successful business plan and develop marketing strategies.

2) A Human Formation Course, which is a course on human development. Designed to build self-confidence, self-esteem and help to develop a positive perception of oneself and one's own abilities. This is an important aspect of an entrepreneurs training because business efficiency is influenced by several dimensions in a person's life. The skills of the entrepreneur, their family influence and their own personal perception of themselves. The course in human development serves to empower women to identify themselves as a positive, constructive force in an income-generating society.

3) Technical Courses, are courses focusing in specific areas of learning such as: beauty, cooking, recyclable handcrafts, computer skills, language training and jewelry making to name a few.

When They Were Founded

The Fundacion Mujer Organization was started by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. The organization and its founder, Muhammad Yunus, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, in recognition of the establishment of small, interest free or very low interest loans to alleviate poverty.

In Costa Rica, the foundation was established on July 4th, 1988.

How Are They Funded

Fundacion Mujer is privately owned but they receive some government support in training areas. They also receive donations from direct benefactors interested on helping women related projects.

Donation Requests

At this point in time, the contribution of a volunteer's time is the central need of this organization.

Placement Location Information

San Jose, Costa Rica

Fundacion Mujer is located in an urban area of Sabanilla, called Betania. There are several ways to get to the area by public transportation but on arrival volunteers will be shown how to get there from the BaseCamp accommodations.

Fundacion Mujer office is a two floor house, on the first floor there is the reception, accountant office, kitchen for the staff, a meeting room and one big classroom for the workshops; handcrafts, administration, marketing, accounting and business workshops. On the second floor, there are several offices for the difference departments that support the different areas of development at the foundation.

Transfer From BaseCamp

From the BaseCamp house take the bus to San Jose by the main street and get off at the Municipaly of Guadalupe. From the municipality walk 50 meters east to the corner and turn right. Walk 500 meters until you find a little Catholic church at an intersection. From there, take the road on your left and the second house on the left hand side is the Fundacion Mujer office.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 4 km
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 0:30

Weather in the Area

San José City lies in the Torrid Zone and is in a tropical rainforest. However its elevation gives it a mild climate. Under the Köppen climate classification it features a tropical wet climate that borders on a subtropical highland climate.

The temperature ranges between 17 and 30 °C (63 and 86 °F). Relative humidity averages 68.2% (with extremes of 55% in March and 78% in October) and the daily range tends to be between 60% and 90%, with the humidity typically dropping to the lower end of this range near mid-day and rising again during the night.

It rains on an average of 170 days per year but half the rainfall pours down on only 15 of these days. The rainy season is from May to mid-November, but cloudiness and rainfall can occur during the dry season. There are approximately 2040 hours of sunshine per year. The weather is also very windy.

City/Village Description

San Jose is situated in the central valley and is home to one third of the population of Costa Rica. It is the political, transportation, and entertainment centre.

San Jose is a hub of art, culture, and international events. There is a large system of inter-city parks, full of rare breeds of trees and plants, as well as statues of important figures in Costa Rican history. Festivals happen regularly, providing a unique look into contemporary Costa Rican culture. There are many opportunities in San Jose to learn to salsa, meringue or samba. San Jose has some incredible restaurants serving local and international fare, and has several cinemas showing Latin American films. The night life in San Jose is happening, and there are many great clubs in which to dance the night away.

San Jose, is a fascinating city from a political perspective: as the only democratic nation to decline a national army (instead choosing to allocate funds to public health care), the capital has long been a centre for Central American peace talks and forums. A politically active city, San José, serves as the headquarters for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Hospital Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia
Streets 7 - 9
Avenues 17 - 19
San Jose
TEL 1: 22577922

Placement Address

Fundacion Mujer
200 Meters From Betania School
San Jose
Costa Rica

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Costa Rica at our BaseCamp Center in San Jose. Given that this placement is less than a 1 hour and 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers working here will have the option of living with us at BaseCamp or living with a host family.

The following information outlines a brief description of life at BaseCamp and also what someone can expect living with a host family in Costa Rica. Once you have completed our application, you can let our staff know if you would prefer to live with a host family. Otherwise, your application will default to having you live with us at BaseCamp.

If you have any questions about the difference between life at BaseCamp or life with a host family in Costa Rica you can always give us a call or send us an email. Our contact details are listed in the footer of every page of the site.

BaseCamp Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica
BaseCamp Costa Rica Address

Ave 16 St. 39&41
Los Yoses Sur
San Jose, Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica Contact Details

Tel: 506-8763-9595
Tel: 506-4030-1891
Mobile: 506-8763-9595

Take a Tour of BaseCamp
Accommodation in Costa Rica

All volunteers on our program in Costa Rica start out at our BaseCamp Center. The center is located in the capital city San Jose, and is a fantastic place from which to start your adventure.

Once volunteers have finished their orientation, where they live depends largely on the location of their placement. If their placement is more than a 1 hour 15 minutecommute from BaseCamp, then the only accommodation option may be host families or volunteer lodges in the national parks. However, if the placement is within a 1 hour 15 minute commute, then volunteers can choose whether or not to stay with us at BaseCamp or live with a host family.

BaseCamp Costa Rica is located in the province of San Jose at Los Yoses area. This is a fantastic area closed to the University of Costa Rica, San Pedro Mall, banks, supermarkets, restaurants, embassies and stores. Walking distance to down town and only 30 minutes away from the Juan Santamaria Airport.

BaseCamp has four bedrooms and three wash-rooms. The beds are mainly bunk beds in dormitory style rooms. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. There is a large common area where movies, books and games are available to our guests and there is a patio with a nice set up. This is an ideal setting for reading, studying Spanish or just some quiet relaxation.

BaseCamp is where volunteers first come when they arrive in Costa Rica and where they live for at least the duration of their orientation and training. The meal plan at the centre is based on a 14 day rotating schedule of a variety of traditional dishes from around the country. This meal plan allows volunteers to gain comfort and familiarity with both Costa Rican food and meal etiquette before making the transition to living with a host family.

Orientation and language training sessions take place in the BaseCamp Center. Each day of orientation blends some workshops and lessons with a mixture of outings to explore and become familiar with transportation and knowledge regarding the city.

Living With a Host Family in Costa Rica

Living with a host family in Costa Rica is a fantastic way to gain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the people and customs of the country. Each home-stay will provide a bed and three meals per day for our volunteers. The majority of host families offer private rooms with only one or two volunteers living with the family.

In the case of a volunteer lodge or ranger station (which is often the only option for placements within a National Park), volunteers will be living in dormitory type accommodation and meals will be provided in a mess hall or dining area.

Living with a host family can greatly enhance your performance at your placement. For one, it will have a huge influence on the speed with which you gain familiarity with the local language. This, along with your deeper understanding of cultural practices and beliefs that you are likely to gain in this environment, can go a long way to improving or strengthening your relationships with your team mates at work. Furthermore, a significant percentage of our host families are closely affiliated with the organizations with which our volunteers work. As such, even the evening meal or hanging out around the house can become valuable time during which volunteers can share their ideas and continue their support of their host organization.

All of this being said, living with a host family is not for everyone. It is very important for volunteers to honor the house rules in their host family and to be punctual. Also, depending on how remote your placement location, host families can be very rustic. Our staff in country can give you a better idea of what exactly you can expect from a host family in any particular community. However, in general, if these things sound like they might pose a challenge for you, we strongly suggest that you look at a placement within commuting distance from BaseCamp Costa Rica.

How the Program Works

Our program structure and costing is completely flexible which lets our volunteers ensure that they only pay for exactly the degree of support that they want.

Option 1 - Free Services

Some volunteers prefer to coordinate their own accommodation, meals and other support while overseas.

Anyone is welcome to use our volunteer placement search tool to help in finding a placement that is well suited to their interests. Once someone finds a placement that they wish to work with, they are welcome to make all the rest of their arrangmeents on their own.

As well, our team of staff overseas are often able to offer a few helpful pointers for volunteers 'doing it on their own'. Just send us an email with your questions and we will put you in touch with our team abroad. We only ask that you keep your requests fairly general, as this type of advice is exactly how our team earn their living. :)

Option 2 - Placement Support - 250 USD

Other volunteers would like assistance in selecting and confirming their placement, but they plan to manage their own accommodation and other expenses on their own.

These volunteers have the option of choosing to only have our assistance with selecting and confirming their placement. This option also includes ongoing placement support while abroad, so a volunteer would be able to ask our team for help if things at their placement were not working out.

In providing Placement Support, our team works with each volunteer through email, telephone and either Skype or Google Hangouts, to ensure that each volunteer has a clear understanding of their placement options. Our in-country staff will put together a custom list of placement options for each volunteer that they believe are the most appropriate matches with the volunteer's background, skills and interests. Then each volunteer can work with our team both in Canada and abroad to go through each of the options and narrow-down their selection.

Option 3 - Full Program Support

For most volunteers who are volunteering for less than a year, they are looking for an option that includes their accommodation, meals, airport reception, country and program orientation and placement support. This is what our Program Fees are designed for.

We are proud of how over the years we have ensured that our program fees are amoungst the most reasonable of any program in the world while we continue to provide exceptional volunteer support both at home and abroad.

Our Program Fees and listings of what these do and do not include are listed below:

Program Fees

Program Fees - Costa Rica

  Registration Fee
  1 Week
  2 Weeks
  3 Weeks
  4 Weeks
  5 Weeks
  6 Weeks
  7 Weeks
  8 Weeks
  Additional Weeks

Costa Rica wildlife and conservation placements require an additional $7 USD per day fee to cover park fees and accommodation. All program fees are listed in US Dollars.

What is Included
  • Pre-Departure support
  • Placement consulation
  • Airport reception & transfer
  • 2 Day orientation
  • Accommodation (BaseCamp or host family)
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Emergency & placement support

What is Not Included
    Before Departure
  • International flight
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Visa costs where required
  • Work permits where required
    While Overseas
  • Daily transportation to and from placement
  • Transport to airport on departure
  • Placement fees if requried

Program Dates

Our regularly scheduled program start dates are the first Friday of each month, every month of the year. We strongly recommend beginning your program on one of these dates as this will allow you to go through our orientation alongside other international volunteers.

If you would prefer, our application will also allow you to select a custom start date for your program. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee for a custom start date which ranges from 50 to 75 USD.

Feb 04, 2022 Mar 04, 2022 Apr 01, 2022
May 06, 2022 Jun 03, 2022 Jul 01, 2022
Aug 05, 2022 Sep 02, 2022 Oct 07, 2022
Nov 04, 2022 Dec 02, 2022 Jan 06, 2023
Feb 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023 Apr 07, 2023
May 05, 2023 Jun 02, 2023 Jul 07, 2023
Aug 04, 2023 Sep 01, 2023 Oct 06, 2023
Nov 03, 2023 Dec 01, 2023 Jan 05, 2024


These dates are the day that volunteers should plan to arrive on the ground in country. We can accommodate arrivals in-country at any time day or night on these dates.

Give us a Call
Canada / USA 866-646-4693 (toll free)
UK 866-646-4693 (toll free)
Australia 866-646-4693 (toll free)
International 613-353-3000
Send us a Message