Community Education Volunteer

Micro Entrepreneurs Association of Gandoca - Gandoca-Manzanillo, Costa Rica
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-897 Location: Gandoca-Manzanillo, Costa Rica Sector: Community Development Category: Human Rights Min Duration: 2 weeks Lodging: Host Family / Lodge Language: Advanced Placement Fee: 35 USD
Download the Complete Profile Apply for this Placement

Volunteer Job Description

Unfortunately Costa Rica has been included in the list of countries that has a high domestic assault rate according to the World Health Organization. According to their statistics, more than half of the population in Costa Rica are women of which it is estimated that at least 36% of them suffer or have suffered some form of domestic violence.

In Costa Rica there exists laws criminalizing all kinds of aggression, however people often do not report the situation due to fear, shame or simply to minimize the situation from worsening.

The Micro Entrepreneurs Women Association of Gandoca not only helps women and families in the community to develop programs for business development, but also strives to educate members of the community about domestic violence and the resulting impact of the numerous negative actions. It has been proven that a society that is educated regarding domestic violence has a reduced level of such occurrences.

A community educator volunteer must have extensive knowledge as a social worker or psychologist and be able to conduct informative lectures, as well as give extensive therapeutic consultations within the community on issues of domestic violence in all its forms; stressing the need to report any type of abuse and seek help.

A community educator volunteer must be a person with extensive experience and should know the mechanisms of seeking assistance in Costa Rica for the various negative issues brought forth. Therefore, the volunteer must be willing to spend the time necessary to obtain the data related to assistance in its various forms. It is important that the volunteer knows an advanced level of the Spanish language in order to communicate effective in all areas.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Domestic Violence / Community Awareness

A community educator volunteer should identify the most common types of violence that exist in the country and should implement an awareness program in the community that teaches about the seriousness of this social dilemma and how to identify it, report it and seek help.

Sexual Abuse Education

Sexual abuse is considered a form of domestic violence, however the topic must be taught at a different workshop due to the complexity of the issue. Community educator volunteers must educate themselves, (prior to dealing with sexual abuse in Costa Rica), about the country's sexual norms and taboos.

School Awareness of Domestic Violence

A community educator volunteer may be asked to discuss domestic violence issues at the local elementary and secondary schools in the community. These discussions would be first reviewed by the appropriate school staff with the volunteer.

Domestic Violence Sign Campaign

A community educator volunteer may be asked to help members in the community create signs regarding domestic violence and then post such information at different locations within the community. Thus it would be a way to promote domestic violence awareness on a daily basis.

Program Report

At the end of the community educator volunteer's placement he /she must submit a report to the association outlining: the work accomplished in its various forms, a record of the people that received assistance, as well as a record of those currently receiving care plus detailed informative data that would allow the next volunteer that comes to continue the work in a progressive manner.

Emotional Problems at School

The social workers or psychologists,(if they have had previous experience in dealing with certain issues) may be asked by the association to assist in stressful situations at the schools, such as bullying cases.

Host Organization Details

Micro Entrepreneurs Association of Gandoca

For a lot of years, Gandoca was a busy tourist destination, however in recent years the area has become a conservation protected area. The government forced entrepreneurs to relocate their businesses and buildings out of the conservation site. Some foreign and Costa Rican citizens, fought with the government to keep their structures in the conservation areas but in the end through a lot of legal procedures they were forced to leave. Thus resulting in Gandoca having a huge number of unemployed local families.

Micro Entrepreneurs Women Association of Gandoca came to help solve the local problems by working closely with the community to improve the lives of different families, securing a source of employment and economic alternatives, to ensure a better future for the people .

Their mode of participatory management ensures the legitimacy of the association in the community that allows them to develop themselves and develop their various projects in the economic, social and environmental fields with respect to the principles of sustainable development.

When They Were Founded

In 2005, the local community decided to come together to find new native seeds with better quality, to cultivate on farms, which became integral organic farms from that time on, if they were not before. They also decided to diversify production, which at the time was only made up of rice, beans, maize and cassava. In this way they promoted family development at this remote area.

How Are They Funded

The organization is funded by the resources of the local volunteers as they do not receive funds from the local government. All the work at the association is done by local or international volunteers.

Placement Location Information

Gandoca-Manzanillo, Costa Rica

Micro Entrepreneurs Women Association of Gandoca is located at a remote site. The main office of the organization is located at one of the home's of a member of the association.

The town offers services like a convenience store with basic supplies, an internet cafe at the association office, (it is the only one in town), and the only bar and restaurant is located next to it. There are no banks, or a post office or other stores but the area is rich in nature. The town is in the middle of the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and according to Costa Rican conservation law, the town cannot grow to become a big city as the priority is the conservation of animals and endemic plants.

There is no bus service to the closest town, Sixaola; the only way to get there is by taxi and the local people facilitate this service.

Transfer From BaseCamp

From BaseCamp Center go to San Jose down town by taxi to Ave 9 Street 12 to take the bus to Sixaola that leaves at 6 am and it takes 5 to 6 hours to get there. Once in Sixaola, a member of the association will be waiting for you to take a taxi to continue with the trip to Sixaola. The taxi ride takes approximately 1 hour.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 254
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 7:0

Weather in the Area

In this area, tropical-humid forest predominates, with an annual average precipitation between 4,500 to 6,000 mm, so it is considered one of the rainiest zones in the country.

The weather in this region ranges between 24 to 33 degrees Celsius, but it combines with humidity. Gandoca Manzanillo is on the Caribbean coast. This means it is hot with 100% humidity, it rains frequently and sometimes heavily.

There are mosquitoes and sand flies in the area, as well as Malaria and Dengue fever. The driest period is February through May.

There is no clearly defined rainy or dry season in the southern Caribbean, though the least rainy months tend to be September/October and February/March. Even during the drier months, afternoon or evening storms roll into the Gandoca-Manzanillo area.

City/Village Description

Gandoca is a small village very near the Panama border on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. There is no costal road leading all the way to Gandoca and the road stops at Manzanillo. Gandoca is accessed by car via the road leading from Sixaola, an inland town on the Panama border. Gandoca is definitely not a tourist town, and visitors there are quite rare. You are unlikely to include Gandoca on your travel itinerary, but we decided to include information on it as a curiosity.

Most of the people in Gandoca who work, work on commercial banana plantations.

Gandoca is a typical example of the fallout of banana operations. There's nothing happening in Gandoca. That is why few people go there.

Gandoca is really a beautiful place. Its most notable feature is the turtle conservation project that works there to protect the eggs of sea turtles. Huge sea turtles come to the beaches near Gandoca every year to lay their eggs in the sand. It is a truly awesome sight to behold, and many people are concerned with protecting these magnificent animals. Unfortunately, their eggs are considered a delicacy, so every year the turtle project works to move the eggs to safe sites and protect them from poachers. They welcome volunteers to help with this endeavour.

Gandoca is at the southern end of the Gandoca-Manzanillo wildlife reserve, and is situated next to some of the most beautiful, pristine wilderness areas in the region. The beaches are exquisite and the jungle is lovely. Eventually, a coastal road may be built all the way to Gandoca, opening it up to tourist traffic. This would greatly benefit the local people, as well as the tourists who would be given access to this beautiful spot. However, care must be taken to preserve the wilderness within the reserve, as it is home to some of the last remnants of the original Costa Rican wildlife and rainforest ecosystems.

This place is fairly isolated, however there is electricity but it goes out occasionally; as an isolated town there is no phone signal and no internet except for one house that has internet and they use it as an internet café.

In Gandoca there are no ATMs or supermarkets. If volunteers need an ATM, they would travel to Sixaola, around a 20 minute ride by car.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Clinica Daytonia
From the plaza in Daytonia 100 west
TEL 1: 2754 2085

Placement Address

Micro Entrepreneurs Association of Gandoca
In Front Of The Soccer Field In Gandoca
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 more than a 1 hour 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers here will be living with a host family after your orientation. Living with a host family is an awesome experience for a person looking to really experience Costa Rica and its culture.

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.

If you think that living with a host family is not for you, then this placement might not be the best fit with what you are looking for. You should try completing our application. It's totally free and will allow our team in Costa Rica to come up with a list of exactly which placements they would reccommend for you based on your personal preferences, background, skills and interests.

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

Placement Fee Alert

This placement has a placement fee!

In some cases, a placement will have to take on certain expenses in order to host a volunteer. For example, some medical internship placements take time away from paid medical staff to help with educational assistance. This has a cost that is compensated by a placement fee. In other cases, the organization may have to pay for additional equipment, energy consumption or other expense in order to put a volunteer to work.

In such cases, the organizaiton charges a fee. This fee is paid directly to the organization in cash on the ground.

One of the reasons that we keep this fee separate is so that volunteers who do not pay us for accommodation, meals etc (Program Fees), will see that they will still have to make this payment directly to the organizaiton upon their arrival.

The placement fee for this organization is: 35 USD

Program Dates


The following is a list of all months during which this placement is not available.

  • December

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.

Nov 05, 2021 Dec 03, 2021 Jan 07, 2022
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


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