Indigenous Community Development

Indigenous Community Development in the Pacific lowlands

These are 4 of the of the 7 remaining indigenous Tsa´chila communities in Ecuador, and it is a culture rich in tradition, much of which is being lost in recent generations. These communities of about 150-400 people each are located about 40 minutes outside of Santo Domingo, where life is mainly based on agriculture. Associations in each community have started groups working to rescue and preserve the Tsa´chila culture through community based tourism and education and they have built cultural centers to convey knowledge about their traditions and heritage.

Yanapuma is working on sustainable development projects with these communities, promoting sustainable cacao production, creating family vegetable plots, reforestation, and teaching diet and nutrition, and has permanent staff involved in these activities.

Range of tasks:
Yanapuma is seeking capable and mainly suitably-trained volunteers who are willing to be reasonably self-motivated and self-sufficient to live for periods of at least two months in one of these communities.

There are a variety of projects where volunteers can help:

  • Working in a local school teaching English and PC skills
  • Assisting on reforestation and agriculture projects and helping with maintenance and education with the vegetable gardens.
  • Work in the community tourism projects to help improve promotion to get more business and visitors to learn about Tsáchilas culture
  • The communites are looking for a biologist or someone with knowledge of medicinal plants to help with a project of propagation of medicinal plants, as many original species are disappearing quickly.
Time commitment:
Two months, but three months or more is highly preferred to learn about the community and integrate into the daily life 
spanish level:
Intermediate at least
Work schedule:
Either in one of the cultural centers of the community or with a local Tsa'chila family.
Skills required:
Volunteers need to have specific skills and qualifications that will help in most areas, teaching English and PC skills being the exceptions.
Accepted donations:


Quotation from a former volunteer - will be added soon - we are updating these pages so please be patient!!!