Supporting Strong Communities in Ecuador







Supporting Strong Communities in Ecuador

Unearth the World has partnered with a nonprofit in Ecuador that collaborates with local communities in the areas of food security, water resources, education, environmental conservation, health, income generation, and community infrastructure. This organization also provides primary medical care outreach in rural communities and follow-up with patients to help them access additional care. In addition to providing assistance with various community projects, this nonprofit currently offers exceptional cross-cultural volunteer opportunities and scholarships for 116 local youth.

Unearth the World works closely with the local community and this nonprofit’s leadership to determine project needs. Based on these needs, we then pair students and professionals with this organization for customized and project-based programs! Reach out directly ( to plan your group program today or read more details below.


Through this nonprofit’s volunteer program, visitor spend time learning about highland Ecuador and its people while contributing to a community project.

There are several ways you can get involved:

  1. Plan a customized group volunteer program: Work with Unearth the World to plan a group program. These 1 – 2 week trips include a mix of hands on volunteering, site visits, relationship building, reflection, and local community tourism activities. Volunteer projects are created by and selected based upon the expressed needs of the community. Past community projects have included building a water filtration tank, teaching ESL classes at a school, making improvements to a community center and preparing beds for seedlings at a nursery. This nonprofit works in the areas of food security, water resources, education, environmental conservation, health, income generation, and community infrastructure.
  2. Join an existing healthcare focused program: If you are a medical professional (MD, PA, RN, etc.) consider being a part of a team that provides medical care for school children and adult community members. Even if you have no medical training or background there are many important rolls (e.g. taking and recording basic vital signs, guiding patients from station to station, etc.) to be filled to make the clinic run smoothly. This nonprofit runs several healthcare focused programs every year in order to improve access of care to local people. During these 1 – 2 week programs, volunteers work with local people to provide basic primary care services (like general medicine consultations, lab tests, ultrasound imaging, and dentistry) to community members of all ages. If patients need more care, these volunteer groups make referrals and enroll patients in the “Patient Follow Up Program” to ensure continuity of care. Please review the dates below and reach out directly to Unearth the World ( for more information!

Upcoming Healthcare Program Dates:

  • March 23 – 30, 2019
  • March 30 – April 6, 2019
  • October 5 – 12, 2019


This project welcomes all applicants aged 12 and older. If you have a traveler younger than 12, please contact us to tell us more about your specific situation.


Dates are flexible as volunteers are always welcome. Individual interns are asked for a minimum of three months, although longer is preferred. Shorter-term group volunteer programs typically last for 7 – 14 days. Please reach out with your desired dates!

Accommodations and Meals

Participants can live with a family or stay in a locally run hotel in the thriving town of Otavalo. Otavalo is home to a world famous Saturday market, as well as an engaging “living” history museum and beautiful natural scenery.

Meals are traditional, delicious and fresh! Enjoy fresh juices made from tropical fruits, Carne Colorada, Seco de Pollo, and even dare to try Cuy (Guinea Pig). This organization can accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions.


Volunteers will receive two orientations. The first is before you even leave home!  Unearth the World staff believes in fully preparing volunteers for their travel experience.  So, prior to your departure, we will educate you about the country, customs, language, and project itself so you can have realistic expectations of the project prior to your arrival. Read more about Unearth the World’s global service-learning training curriculum here. Once participants arrive in Ecuador, the project staff will provide another short orientation in order to acclimate you to your surroundings, give you guidance on the current needs of the project, and discuss the inner workings of staying with a local family.

About Ecuador

The Republic of Ecuador is located on the Northwest Coast of South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean between Colombia and Peru. This small country (roughly the size of Colorado), is divided into 24 provinces with Quito as its capital.

Originally part of the Inca Empire, Ecuador was then ruled by Spain until 1822. Traditionally a farming country, Ecuador’s economy was transformed after the 1960s by the growth of industry and the discovery of oil. Many people experienced rapid growth and progress in health, education and housing. Yet, while oil revenues benefitted some greatly, oil has also been the cause of many issues in the country including environmental devastation and an unstable economy.

Ecuador is considered one of the most diverse places in the world. It is home to Andean peaks, tropical rainforests, the volcanic Galapagos Islands, and tens of thousands of plant species. Ecuador is the most biodiverse country in the world to go birding in that it contains the highest amount of bird species in the smallest area.

Our partner works primarily in communities of the Quichinche parish, Otavalo canton, in the Ecuadorian Sierra. This region is home to two volcanoes – Imbabura ad Cotacachi – as well as indigenous Otavaleño and mestizo families. The region’s 9000-ft. elevation and proximity to the equator combine to give it consistently comfortable temperatures (50’s to 80’s) all year round. The local people are primarily farmers and are extremely diverse in their customs. They take tremendous pride in their cultural identity and have been successful and preserving their traditions. The people of Quichinche work hard and are united by their need to collaborate to improve their communities.

Typical Daily Schedule

Every day is exciting and unique! Days are spent volunteering and engaging with local people.

The bulk of each day is spent volunteering at a community project. Depending on the focus of the community project, this can included teaching, building, planting, etc. After several hours of volunteering, each day also includes opportunities to learn from local people, build relationships and engage in community tourism activities. Tourism activities can include visiting the world famous Otavalo market, participating in a cooking class with a local chef, hiking to a nearby waterfall, volcano or lake, and making handicrafts with community members.

  • 7am Breakfast
  • 8am – 1 pm Volunteer at community project
  • 1 pm Lunch
  • 2 pm – 5 pm Community tourism activity
  • 6 pm – 7 pm Dinner and free time


At Unearth the World, we pride ourselves on being financially transparent so the volunteer can understand exactly where their money is going. We have two different types of fees: a one-time application fee and general project fees.

Application Fee – $495 (USD)

This is the only money that goes towards Unearth the World. This application fee includes the matching of the volunteer candidate with the international program, volunteer education and orientation, an information packet on the volunteer program and country of travel, 24/7 support from UTW staff, program marketing costs, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with volunteer.

General Project Fees

At this project in Ecuador, these fees go towards accommodations, food, salaries, operations and in-country transportation Fees vary depending on whether you are in a group or traveling as an individual. Please reach out to Unearth the World for more details and competitive pricing!

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