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 $1180 USD for the first 2 weeks + from $423 for each week thereafter – see Costs tab for further details
- 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.
This project is with is a surfing-inspired sustainable development non-profit (NGO) driving the development of poor Peruvian coastal communities through a path of sustainability. We develop environmental, educational, infrastructure and socio-economic projects working hand in hand with local communities and international volunteer interns.
Water is a scarce resource in Lobitos. Not only do many residents not have access to toilets, Lobitos is also lacking a sanitation network which previously collapsed, exposing open drainage points which threaten the health of the local community. Therefore, there is an urgent need for alternative sewage treatment and disposal methods. As an organisation we have been working to improve the sanitation conditions here in Lobitos:
- We have installed a biodigester at the artisanal Fisherman’s Guild, making the fishermen empowered leaders of this change. The biodigester treats wastewater and reuses it for irrigation purposes.
- We have constructed a dry toilet which helps us to save water whilst producing fertiliser for the garden plants. In one year of use this unit saves around 18,700 litres of freshwater and has produces around 800 litres of organic fertilizer (compost) for our reforestation efforts. We hope to make this dry sanitation widely available to the community in Lobitos through the construction of more public toilets.
- We have developed a pilot desalination unit (Solar Distiller) for turning seawater into freshwater and are constantly improving it to turn it into a practical and viable solution for water access.
- We are implementing bio-remediation/phytoremediation techniques using special plants (vetiver, Chrysopogon zizanioides) floating hydroponically to treat wastewater spills.
- We are carrying out research into potential uses of groundwater as alternative water sources for reforestation and community use.
We need hard-working volunteer interns with a strong interest and/or background knowledge in water management and sanitation to come and support us in these ongoing projects in northern Peru. The benefits of taking part in this volunteer internship are:
- Enhance your CV and gain professional hands-on experience managing sustainable projects in an international development NGO, having a real positive impact on a vulnerable community.
- Work alongside experienced & passionate people from a range of disciplines & backgrounds.
- Live and work in a surfing paradise in northern Peru, the land of endless summer.
As a water & sanitation volunteer intern, you will be given ownership of the projects, working alongside the community and the team. The daily activities will vary depending on the progress and stage we are at of each project. This may include but is not limited to:
- Water Treatment
Besides the Solar Distiller, we are currently implementing the vetiver system (a special grass capable of water/soil treatment) to contain and removing toxicities & pathogens from wastewater spills which are prevalent in the towns of Piedritas and Lobitos where we work. Interns can get involved with the research and construction of more floating hydroponic devices for vetiver (pontoons) and other water treatment initiatives and technologies like solar distillers & biodigesters.
- Dry Toilet
At the volunteer house we are using our dry toilet on a daily basis. Interns will be required to make improvements on the current design of our dry toilet or develop & initiate the expansion of more public dry toilets in the community.
Volunteer interns will also be able to get involved with our ongoing groundwater research for community use in Lobitos, as well as plan, design, test & implement potential applications.
Travel & Accommodation
It’s easy to get to here! There are daily flights from Lima to Talara where you will be met at the airport and driven directly to Lobitos.
During your volunteer internship with us, you will be provided with comfortable accommodation in the Volunteer House, including all meals (healthy and mostly vegetarian) and airport pickup/dropoff (all included in your financial contribution). Volunteer interns sleep in shared dorm rooms with shared bathrooms and access to a shared living room, office space, kitchen, internet connection, clean water and a garden.
Volunteer interns work between 9am to 5pm on weekdays but evenings and weekends are free for you to spend as you wish. The northern coast of Peru has amazing waves, beaches and towns to go visit, with lots of different activities on offer such as:
- Surf lessons with local instructors in Lobitos. Alternatively, rent one of our surfboards and head out to the waves by yourself.
- Yoga classes
- Swimming with turtles
- Fishing, sea-lion and whale watching trips with local fishermen
- Trekking and birdwatching in the native Dry Forest ecosystem
- Eat traditional Peruvian food at local restaurants
- Visits to other nearby beaches and towns within hours of Lobitos to explore more Peruvian landscapes, culture & history.
Please note that these activities are separate and are not included in the financial contribution you make as part of the volunteer internship.
This volunteer internship is open to all disciplines, but is most suited for those interested in and/or have academic or professional experience in sanitation initiatives and sustainable development. However, we do ask for:
- An academic, basic professional background or personal motivation in environmental science, engineering, sustainable development and the like.
- Minimum age 18.
- Basic experience or strong motivation to work as part of a team away from home.
However, the most important thing is that you have an open mind, positive attitude and willingness to learn!
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||$465||$1180|
* Currency in USD
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** $250 admin fee included
**** 30% deposit required to confirm place.
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.
Premium Support Upgrade
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