Projects Abroad | Environmental Conservation

Peru: Dry Toilet Sanitation Professional Placement

Talara, Peru

Description

Location: Talara, Peru

Duration: Minimum 2 weeks, maximum 6 months

Start Dates: Project is on-going, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability

Cost: from $1128 USD for the first 2 weeks + $350-$430 for each week thereafter – see Costs tab for further details

Benefits:

  • Gain personal hands-on experience working with a growing Peruvian NGO.
  • Work alongside experienced & passionate professionals and local communities.
  • Live and work in a north Peru surfing hot-spot.
  • Extending more underground pipes for drip irrigation of larger areas, according to the specifications of the fabricant and the capacity of the Biodigester.
  • Connecting the next door community security building to the Biodigester, calculating requirements and capacity accordingly.
  • Appropriate maintenance of the equipment and reuse of the treated wastewater and sediments (sludge – biofertilizer).
  • Complete construction of the pilot dry toilet unit and carry out testing, trialling, monitoring, evaluation and improvements.
Costs Explained

Introduction

During this internship, you will be working with a surfing-inspired sustainable development non-profit (NGO) driving the development of poor Peruvian coastal communities through a path of sustainability, improving the quality of life of their inhabitants. The NGO develops educational, infrastructure, environmental, social and economic productivity projects working hand in hand with local communities and with international volunteers/interns. They take a “shared value” approach, working with the private, public, academic sectors and other NGOs, to come up with relevant and lasting sustainable solutions. The approach towards sustainability consists of three pillars:

– Nature conservation;

– Social justice; and

– Economic wellbeing for all.

The NGO currently operates in a coastal northern town and surfing hotspot, which has seen an increase in uncontrolled tourism over the last 15 years. As a result of the town’s lack of infrastructure, lack of communication between stakeholders and lack of integrated development programmes, this tourism is giving rise to various environmental, social and economic risks to the town’s long-term sustainability and wellbeing. The NGO is working to change this through a variety of projects from distinct disciplines, but needs all the help they can get. The organisation runs many different initiatives and at times finds itself thinly stretched. This is an excellent opportunity for you to gain valuable international development experience on how to run an NGO in a developing region, turning you into an agent of change, in a time when you are very much needed.

Daily Life

Early in 2016, well installed a Biodigester of 7,000 litres at the Community Hall of the Lobitos Artisanal Fishermen’s Association, as one of the objectives after a successful crowdfunding campaign. This was done in order to give a primary treatment to the building’s wastewater and prevent it from continuously adding to the underground and above-ground pollution of the local ecosystem, since there is no end-of-pipe treatment of wastewater in Lobitos and it just tends to accumulate in certain sewage spill points or “ponds”.

The Biodigester is now working adequately and it is allowing for reuse of the treated wastewater for below-ground drip irrigation of nearby green areas of the Community Hall, as well as separating the sediment from the wastewater for reuse as fertilizer.

Early in 2017, we started construction of the first dry toilet pilot unit in Lobitos. The innovation that dry toilets bring to a desert settlement like Lobitos is that it saves water as it is no longer needed to flush away the black wastewater, and it no longer produces contaminating sewage which has no treatment here. They, however, need to be tested and trialled first before mainstreaming them to the community along a local government program.

Construction is at 50% and we still need volunteers to take over and be responsible for finishing the defined next steps. The unit was designed by an EWB (Engineers Without Borders-UK) civil engineer and construction started with an industrial engineer student from the University of Lima. The next steps necessary are already outlined and ready for implementation with local labour.

These sanitation solutions for Lobitos project can keep improving and there are several activities in which the intern could get involved with, including:

  • Extending more underground pipes for drip irrigation of larger areas, according to the specifications of the fabricant and the capacity of the Biodigester.
  • Connecting the next door community security building to the Biodigester, calculating requirements and capacity accordingly.
  • Appropriate maintenance of the equipment and reuse of the treated wastewater and sediments (sludge – biofertilizer).
  • Complete construction of the pilot dry toilet unit and carry out testing, trialling, monitoring, evaluation and improvements.

We are looking for someone passionate about development, engineering and sanitation solutions. A university specialization or work experience is preferable. Someone who has minimum proficiency in Spanish and is capable of working as part of a team and in remote areas. Good communication skills and the ability to multitask will be essential.

Sadly, in Lobitos there is no end-of-pipe treatment of wastewater and the sewage just accumulates openly in certain spill points or “ponds”, contaminating the ground and eventually filtrating to the nearby sea. They also pose a health risk, especially for children and animals (birds, dogs, etc.) that approach these infectious ponds. By providing sanitation alternatives, we are turning the problem into a solution where contamination of the environment ceases and treated wastewater and other products can be reused for social and economic benefits.

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Travel & Accommodation

You will be met at the local airport in Talara and transferred directly to the project location.

Throughout your placement you will be living in comfortable accommodation at the NGO headquarters with access to an office workplace and resources, fully equipped kitchen, shared bathroom and shared bedrooms, access to clean water, electricity and Internet (99% of the time). The house also has a shared living room/chill-out space with a DVD-player.

All meals are included during your stay (excluding restaurant meals). Peruvian cuisine is considered as one of the best in the world and is also generally very healthy, incorporating lots of fruits and fresh produce.

Fundraising Help

Requirements

  • Minimum age 18.
  • Minimum 2-week commitment.
  • Intermediate to fluent Spanish (proficiency is preferable but not required).
  • Experience working away from home.
  • Ability to be flexible.
  • Positive attitude (this one is critical!).
  • Willingness to learn and work as part of a team.
  • Genuine interest in sustainable development
  • Relevant academic background.
  • Determination, self-motivation and ability to work in a team environment.
  • Travel & medical insurance.
  • Necessary vaccinations and visas.
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Costs

Accommodation with us is optional. You are also free to rent an apartment nearby if you do not wish to stay at our volunteer guesthouse. Enquire with us when applying.

Cost per week Total Project Fee
First 2 weeks $439 $1128
3 weeks $431 $1543
4 weeks $431 $1974
2 months $419 $3602
3 months $399 $5038
4 months $399 $6634
5 months $399 $8230
6 months $399 $9826

* Currency in USD
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** $250 admin fee included
**** 30% deposit required to confirm place.

What’s Included:

Project Fee includes food, accommodation, local transfers, 24-hour in-country support, orientation and integration into the project.

What’s not included:

Flights, insurance, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

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We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.

We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

Note: Map coordinates are approximate