Volunteer FAQ

Thank you for your interest in volunteering your time and skills to the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation.  The quality work of our volunteers greatly contributes to the success of Ceiba projects.  Like ourselves, our volunteers are committed to conservation and helping others, and recognize that each one of us must do our part to protect the environment.  This page and supplementary PDFs detail the general guidelines and policies for volunteers participating in Ceiba projects abroad.  We appreciate you taking the time to familiarize yourself with the conditions and guidelines for becoming a Ceiba volunteer.

Please read our Volunteer Guidelines and Policies as well as our Volunteer FAQ and be sure to check out our rates before applying.

Code of Conduct

Volunteers are required to, at all times, conduct themselves in a professional manner while participating in Ceiba projects or working at Ceiba sites.  Participants are expected to complete the tasks assigned to them to the best of their abilities.  Volunteers are requested to cite Ceiba and any Ceiba project locations (e.g., reserves, etc.) in any publications relating to work conducted while working on Ceiba-approved projects.  Since providing continuity is one of the greatest challenges of any volunteer program, volunteers are requested to send an email to Ceiba at the end of their stay to summarize the work they did, and to provide comments, suggestions and copies of any materials created.  In the case of extended projects, Ceiba may request that volunteers submit intermediate progress reports from the field (most often by email).

All participants are expected to provide Ceiba with copies of data, notes, maps, photos, recordings, theses or publications that result from your volunteership.  Participants are expected and encouraged to pass on their knowledge, and the information they have collected, to local people whenever possible, and to listen carefully to and incorporate the ideas and knowledge of local people. If appropriate, you may organize workshops, seminars and other presentations, and should at all times strive to involve those with whom you routinely interact (landowners, local students, field assistants, et al.). Finally, participants are encouraged to be prepared to be flexible, when situations arise that require adapting the initial description of your expected duties (after all, this is field work).

Minimum Duration

A one week minimum commitment is required, but you can extend their stay for up to 3 months or more with prior approval from Ceiba. Please note that an extended visa is required to remain in Ecuador for more than 90 days.

Work Schedules

You will normally work 6-8 hours per day, 5 days per week, though not necessarily Monday through Friday.  Specific work schedules will depend on the position for which the volunteer is applying.

During your two days off each week, on-site staff can help you find many fun activities and interesting places to go near your volunteer site. Free time activities may include hikes to waterfalls, surfing, and checking out nearby towns and archaeological sites.  Food, lodging, and travel during days off are the responsibility of the volunteer.

Safety and Insurance

Ecuador is generally a safe country, but travel to and work in rural areas where medical facilities are limited carries certain inherent dangers. Volunteers are required to sign a waiver to release Ceiba from responsibility for any illness, accident, or injury incurred during their stay in Ecuador. It is strongly recommended that volunteers carry valid insurance to cover medical emergencies during travel abroad. We also suggest you bring a personal first aid kit. Many of our positions involve field work that will require you to be in good physical condition. Consult the specific position description to assess the physical demands of your position. Volunteers should consult their local physician or travel health agency to obtain necessary or recommended vaccinations for travel and work abroad.

Termination and Cancellation Policy

Your volunteership ends automatically on the date specified on your application. If you’d like to stay longer, we are happy to extend your volunteership, but you will be asked to pay for additional days by the original ending date.  Ceiba reserves the right to dismiss any volunteer from a project site for any reason deemed sufficient by Ceiba staff.  Persons subject to dismissal will be notified in writing of the termination of their volunteership or the reasons for expulsion. Expulsion of participants may result from cases such as:  1) abuse of position as a Ceiba volunteer, 2) misuse of facilities, 3) improper professional or personal conduct, 4) misrepresentation of Ceiba and its goals, 5) violation of Ceiba policies such as reserve management guidelines and 6) unlawful conduct. To date, we have never had cause to dismiss a volunteer. We are confident in the qualifications and professionalism of all our volunteers and provide these guidelines so that volunteers are aware of our policy.

Should a volunteer decide to withdraw from the volunteer position prior to program completion, he or she is responsible for lodging and food costs through the end of the week in which the volunteer leaves the site (Sunday). This is because food is purchased in advance for the entire week. The amount refunded will be based upon the rate the volunteer paid for those days (which depends on the length of the stay).