Farming Assistant Volunteer

Ecuador Tierra Viva - Quito, Ecuador
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-748 Location: Quito, Ecuador Sector: Community Development Category: Agriculture Min Duration: 2 weeks Lodging: Host Family / Lodge Language: Basic Placement Fee: 50 USD
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Volunteer Job Description

Ecuador Tierra Viva wants to implement projects that combine local efforts with national and international volunteers to support vulnerable communities in the Coastal, Andean, Amazonian and Galapagos regions of Ecuador. The projects cover a wide range of social necessities and "Book Bus" is one of these projects.

The Book Bus operates out of environmental field stations at Congal on the Pacific Coast, Guandera in the Andean Highlands, Jatun Sacha in Tena, the Amazon Rain Forest and Puerto Lopez in the Machalilla National Park. Each of these stations is in an environmental “hotspot” and the organization will be delivering their literacy program to local school children in the morning and contributing to environmental projects in the afternoon. As a farming and agriculture volunteer you would be working in this endeavor.

In 2012/13 the Book Bus team in Ecuador has supported environmental education projects as part of their literacy scheme to encourage the children of today to become the guardians of tomorrow’s environmental “Hotspots”. By joining their volunteer team you can make a positive contribution to child literacy and help secure the future for the country’s natural resources and the planet.

A farming and agriculture volunteer does not need to have previous experience in the field but must be able to do manual labour in the hot climate of Ecuador and a willingness to work in all farming and agriculture sectors.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Compost Maintenance

A farming and agriculture volunteer would work with several communities who would teach the volunteer how to help them with compost maintenance for their gardens. This is a very important aspect to their farming techniques because it provides strong and healthy plants. If you provide compost to the plants they will grow with their own natural resistance to pests and diseases. Compost is the natural, home grown, method of achieving this. Good compost added regularly to gardens will support healthy and rich soil.

Botanical Gardens

A farming and agriculture volunteer's duties in the Botanical Gardens may include activities such as: planting, pruning, fertilizing, watering, weeding, mulching, pesticide application for pest control and garden cleanup.

Trail Maintenance & New Trails

A farming and agriculture volunteer at projects in various communities may include helping with the pruning, erosion control, post installation, trail improvements and new trail construction which would be directed by a community member.


A farming and agriculture volunteer may be asked to help in the collection of tree seeds and planting them in the nurseries in several communities. Volunteers may also be asked to assist in the installation and/or repairing of fences around reforestation and regeneration sites.

Host Organization Details

Ecuador Tierra Viva

The Ecuador Tierra Viva Foundation is a non-profit charity organization, based in Ecuador. established to improve the quality of life of Ecuador’s neediest communities through provision or improvement of water, health and education services.

Ecuador Tierra Viva wants to implement projects that combine local efforts with national and international volunteers to support vulnerable communities in the Coastal, Andean, Amazonian and Galapagos regions of Ecuador. The projects cover a wide range of social necessities including:

1) Instillation of Water and Sanitation Systems: Ecuador Tierra Viva Foundation supports the development of disadvantaged and neglected areas of Ecuador. In bringing this proposal together, the team of researchers have had conversations with the targeted communities to identify their basic needs. Water, that primary human necessity, ranked as their number one concern.

2) Improvement of Schools and Childcare Facilities: Projects to provide some of the country’s most disadvantaged schools with improved infrastructure and facilities ranging from classrooms and playgrounds to bathrooms and kitchens. There are also teaching placements for those with a TEFL qualification. They plan their projects in conjunction with the community leaders, the teachers and the municipality to determine where their help is most needed.

3) Environmental Conservation Through Agricultural Innovation and Reforestation: The Arajuno River, located in the upper reaches of the Amazon Basin in eastern Ecuador, is an area where indiscriminate fishing with dynamite and other illegal and dangerous practices is putting at risk the health of the local Indigenous Quichua population. The overall result of these fishing practices, coupled with one of the highest deforestation rates in the Ecuadorian Amazon (approximately 2% annually), is a continuous degradation of the environment, human health and the local economy. 40% of the Quichua Indians suffer from chronic malnutrition. The infant mortality rate is 60% for children under the age of 5 years and 80% of the indigenous population live at or below the official level of poverty established by the Ecuadorian government.

When They Were Founded

David Gordon hails from Northern Ireland and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He served as an engineer officer in the British Army before leading his first expedition to South America in 1986.Since then he has traveled widely in Asia, Africa and the Americas. He founded Overland Latin America in 1990 and has led and advised on expeditions throughout Latin America and created the Ecuador Tierra Viva Foundation.

How Are They Funded

The Ecuador Tierra Viva Foundation is a non-profit charity organization. Ecuador Tierra Viva projects are funded by organizations all over the world plus individuals and volunteers who support the aims of the foundation.

Placement Location Information

Quito, Ecuador

Throughout the year the Book Bus works with schools in four different regions of Ecuador. Each school has an allocated “book bus” day, which has been designed to fit in with the school's timetable. The bus is not a replacement for school lessons; it is designed to supplement them.

Volunteers will be traveling all over el Oriente and other regions and staying in different bases. All these locations have the facilities volunteers will need to be comfortable, including: shared bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen.

The nearby big city of Puerto Ayora has a variety of cafes and restaurants to keep volunteers comfortable, not to mention the Charles Darwin Research Centre, a post office and internet connections.

Transfer From BaseCamp

Flights from Quito to either Santa Cruz or San Cristobal are approximately 390 US dollars. (Please note that both the airfare and any park entry fees are to be paid by the volunteer in country)

After you fly from Quito to the Galapagos, you will be met at the airport and taken to your placement base. Though the Book Bus mainly operate on the road they also work out of the small town of Bellavista - about an hour drive from the airport.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 1250
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 4:30

Weather in the Area

Because Ecuador is located on the Equator line, Quito's weather is very unique. Due to the Equator, Ecuador has no seasons; there is summer and winter. The year has six months winter and six months summer but the number of months for each changes from time to time.

Because Quito is so high up in the mountains, the sun is very strong and the wind blows really hard; it can get pretty cold at night. Quito always has a temperate climate with temperatures ranging from 10 to 27 ° C.

City/Village Description

Quito or also called "Luz de America", is the capital of Ecuador; a country located in South America, on the Equator line. Quito is considered one of the most beautiful cities in South America because of its amazing colonial architecture, historical sites, fantastic landscapes and panoramic views all surrounded by incredible mountains, rivers, parks and volcanoes.

Quito was founded in the 16th century by the Incas Tribe and is located at an altitude of 2,850 meters above sea level.

Centro de Quito, (colonial city) is the largest and best conserved colonial city in South America; this is why the UNESCO named it a "World Cultural Heritage Site" in 1978. The city's structure on the 320 hectare compound is an outstanding example of superb architecture from the sixteenth to the twentieth century; surrounded by volcanic stone with very narrow streets within, (built stone by stone), there is much to see.

The historic centre of Quito has ancient colonial homes, priceless churches, chapels, monasteries, convents, as well as plazas, museums and republican buildings with interesting architecture.

Once outside of the historical centre of the city, Quito takes on a completely different personality in the “new town” where many high rise and government buildings are found.

Though Quito is old and historic, the public transportation is fairly efficient and the city is served by a network of buses that travel throughout most of the areas; it is a cheap way of getting around. Since the city is very long and narrow, it is divided into three zones and many buses run in each zone of the city.

Currently, the heart of the capital is full of vigour and culture, such as "Heritage Nights" where citizens and visitors can enjoy the unique attractions in the, "jewel in the crown of Ecuador", through images and videos.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Clìnica Pichincha
Paez N22-160 y Veintimilla
TEL 1: 593 2 2998-777

Placement Address

Ecuador Tierra Viva
On The Road

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Ecuador at our BaseCamp Center in Quito. 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 Ecuador 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 Ecuador.

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 Ecuador 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 Ecuador

BaseCamp Ecuador
BaseCamp Ecuador Address

Juan Rodriguez E8 - 72 Y
6 De Diciembre
Quito, Ecuador

BaseCamp Ecuador Contact Details

Tel: 593 2-254-7737 (Guest House Jazmines)
Mobile: 593-0-998-221-438

BaseCamp Ecuador is located in the trendy Mariscal district of Quito. Within easy walking distance of banks, restaurants, internet cafes and more; BaseCamp in Quito is perfectly situated for any need. Whether you are taking advantage of the rich and vibrant night life of La Mariscal or visiting a local market, BaseCamp Ecuador is always just a few minutes away.

There are six dormitory style guest rooms and five wash-rooms. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. There are two common areas on the main floor, including a small resource centre, containing books, magazines, games and other Ecuadorian publications. As well there is a large selection of local movies and documentaries which are available for guest viewing. In addition to the two common areas, BaseCamp Quito has a rooftop terrace, the perfect spot to watch the street come awake with a morning cup of coffee, or spend an afternoon relaxing in the sun.

BaseCamp Quito is also the orientation and training centre for international volunteers visiting Ecuador. In addition to accommodation and meals, BaseCamp Quito also provides volunteers with orientation, Spanish Language training (1 - 8 weeks), placement consultation and work plan seminars, as well as follow up and continued support while volunteers are at their placements. All of these services are available to guests who are interested.

Living With a Host Family in Ecuador

Living with a host family in Ecuador 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 Ecuador.

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 - Ecuador

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

Ecuador 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: 50 USD

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.

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 Nov 03, 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