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Gaia Pacha - Environmental Technology, Environmental Education, Research

Internship and Volunteering Possible
 
Gaia Pacha Foundation is a leading non-profit in South America, in the area of environmental technology, environmental education, climate research and environmental research (particularly socio-economic impact studies of agricultural practices). Supervised internships and volunteer work in the fields of biology, ecology, project management and environmental technology are possible; you can also participate in research activities.
 
 

Project Details

 
Gaia Pacha is a non-profit foundation based in Cochabamba, Bolivia, which was founded in 2006 by 14 young graduates from the field of environmental technology. Their task is to explore the fragile interaction between man and nature, in order to develop sustainable techniques and technologies that meet the needs of the Bolivian society in an environmentally sound manner.
 
Since 2008, Bolivian and foreign students and specialists have been integrated as interns and volunteers in the team; there were in the first 4 years, 41 foreign and 77 Bolivian interns and volunteers. They are particularly active in the fields of environmental education and research.
 
The environmental education is aimed at sensitizing target audience about environmental issues, so that they are able to make better decisions and positive changes in their behavior, in favor of the environment.

The research is to determine scientific methods and techniques from the fields of natural and social sciences that can be implemented as practical solutions for the environment and society of Bolivia. The focus is in the areas of climate change and evaluation of socio-economic impact and ecology in agricultural practices.
 
In the area of environmental education, Gaia Pacha has it's presence in places such as schools, community centers, cultural centers, etc. Volunteers/interns support in this area or conduct activities such as workshops, trade fairs, campaigns and lectures. You are expected to collect materials on environmental education techniques, develop methods for environmental education and produce educational materials.
 
You develop both the content and the form of presentation/design, such as brochures, leaflets, blogs and websites, as educational material.

Gaia Pacha has airtime on the alternative radio station "Lachiwana”. Volunteers/Interns research on environmental issues, and work on content for the program "Lachiwana Verde" which airs in Cochabamba and other parts of Bolivia.

Gaia Pacha has conducted three times a year since 2006, the "Day of the Pedestrian”, a campaign for environmental awareness. There are creative activities designed for children and adults. Each campaign addresses different environmental problems; e.g. the Madidi National Park, the perception of climate change among the rural population of Bolivia or product recycling. The campaign "manzanas Verdes” revolves around education about topics such as saving energy, water and waste management, in cooperation with the four cultural centers of Cochabamba. In the cultural centers, topics are presented through artistic activities, like films.

Gaia Pacha also works with high school students and trains them to become environmental managers. 10 groups of environmental leaders have been trained since 2011, and there are projects developed with them, as they can carry out environmental activities within their schools and communities.
 
The normal working hours in the area of environmental education are Monday to Friday from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.; about 40% of the activity is held in the office of Gaia Pacha and 60%, outside the office.

It is expected of interns and volunteers that they are seriously interested in the subject, prepared, enthusiastic and willing to learn something. You should have an average knowledge of Spanish. For substantial work, they should have acquired by study or otherwise, relevant technical knowledge in the fields of work of Gaia Pacha; for graphic design/web development, etc., this is not mandatory. The minimum duration is 3 months.

In the field of environmental research, Gaia Pacha collaborates with organizations such as Habitat Para La Humanity Bolivia, the Faculty of Forestry of the Universidad Mayor de San Simón (UMSA), the Center for Students of Environmental Engineering of the Catholic University of Bolivia (UCB) and the Cordillera University. This collaboration always leads to current research topics.

Volunteers in the field assist in research and will also contribute to the research activities, both in the field of secondary research (literature analysis), as well as primary research and will write reports.

Another topic of work is climate change. Gaia Pacha has studied the perception of climate change in 43 communities in five areas of Bolivia, and created the documentary "The weather is getting tired” (El tiempo se está cansando). Another research project conducted in 2011, was to evaluate the state guidelines for the prevention and mitigation of climate change. This happened in three cities of Bolivia. A current project, is the use of geological data to make a timeline that will show the temperature change throughout history.

Internships and volunteering in this field are in the disciplines of geology, biology, International policy on climate change and development.

A further area of research of Gaia Pacha is the socio-economic impact studies of agricultural practices. For this, Gaia Pacha explored the influence of quinoa production in Colchak'a Oruro. A current research project deals with the socio- economic and environmental evaluation of soybean production in Santa Cruz. Here, soil and water quality are measured, the efficiency of the technologies used in the cultivation is determined and the influence of soyabean on local biodiversity studied.
Interns/Volunteers in this area should stay at least one month, speak Spanish or English, be seriously interested and have knowledge in the areas of SIG and/or biology and/or economics and/or water and soil analysis.
Info Box
General
Location: Cochabamba, Bolivia
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: 1 Month
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: English or Spanish
Accommodation:
Shared Accommodation, Room with host family, Hostel
Internship
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Biologist, Environmental Technician (Engineer)
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
Relevant studies or experience
Further Contribution To Project: None
Volunteering
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: Relevant interest or knowledge
Further Contribution To Project: None
Expectations:
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?
 

Accommodation

 

Accommodation in Cochabamba

 

mostpopular

Shared Accommodation:

 
Shared House
 
 
The shared house in the center of Cochabamba offers seven rooms, a fully equipped kitchen with the necessary cooking utensils and electrical appliances as well as two bathrooms, shared by the residents. There is also a washing machine and WiFi. Both kitchen and one of the bathrooms are on the ground floor, next to the office of the owner. The owners organise and conduct outdoor extreme sports activities.
 
The price of the room, which include daily expenses such as water, electricity, weekly cleaning of common rooms, linen and internet, varies according to size of the room. For room reservation, a deposit must be paid (one month's rent), which will be refunded when you move out.
 
Hostel at Plaza Colón
 
 

The Hostel is located in front of Plaza Colón in central Cochabamba. On two floors, the inn has four rooms for individuals or couples and two more beds for six and seven people with shared bathrooms. There are several areas for social gatherings and a furnished terrace with beautiful views over the city. Food can be cooked in one of the two fully equipped kitchens. Wifi is available at no cost; there laundry service at an extra charge.
 

Host Family:

 
Rooms of Average Standards with Host Families
 
A stay with a Bolivian family gives insight into their life and creates the opportunity to practice and expand your Spanish language skills. The rooms usually have a bed with bedside table and lamp, a storage space for clothes and a desk with chair. The family serves three meals a day (breakfast, lunch - the main meal in Bolivia, dinner), cleans the rooms and does laundry. WiFi is not available at every host family. <

Rate

 

I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
  up to 31 Days
32-60 Days
61-90 Days
91-120 Days
5 Months or longer
 wu servicepackage
1 Person
300 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR 800 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Rate per Person)
250 EUR 400 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 650 EUR
 
Convert rates to USD, GBP, CAD, AUD and other currencies
 

The World Unite! Service Package includes:

 
  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Assistance with visa extension in Bolivia or arrangement of visa (depending on duration of stay) and other official permits (if required), but not the official government fees for it/them
  • Pick-up and Transfers from/to Cochabamba Airport (CBB) on arrival and departure
  • Assistance with the booking of domestic connection flights within Bolivia if you arrive in La Paz or ViruViru
  • Personal support staff at your location and at our international office
  • Orientation and Introduction in Cochabamba
  • Accompanying you to your placement on your first day
  • 24 Hours emergency support by local support team
  • 50 USD Contribution to your project
  • Local SIM Card with 60 Bs. air time
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university
 

The Rates do NOT include:

 
  • Accommodation and Meals (see below)
  • Travel to/from Bolivia (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Official fees for Visa (see below)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Local Transport (Estimated amounts see below)
  • Please note that for supervised/mentored internships, some organizations charge further contributions. You find this information in the "Info Box" below the respective internship description.
 

II. Accommodation Costs

 
You can choose between the following options:
Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
Rates in US-Dollar!
Convert Currency
 Short-time stay
(1-31 Days)
Long-time stay
(32-365 Days)
(You pay proportionally per day)
Shared House or Hostel   
mostpopular2
House shared with other participants
1 Person
(Single Room)
-
120-180 USD/Month
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
- 80-120 USD/Month
mostpopular2
Hostel at Plaza Colon, Dorm bed
per person 8 USD/Day 240 USD/Month
       
Host Family
     
mostpopular2
Host Family of Middle Standard
on Full Board
1 Person
(Single Room)
15 USD/Day 380 USD/Month
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
15 USD/Day 380 USD/Month
 
For incomplete months you will pay the exact amount proportionally per day.
In case of 3-4 person: Same rate as in case of 2 Persons. 5 or more persons: Contact us for group rates.
 

Overview of other costs:

 
  • For most citizens except US Citizens, no Visa fee for a stay of a maximum of 90 days per calendar year. Any time you stay in excess of 90 days within a calendar year, 20 Bs. fee per day. US Citizens pay currentyl 135 USD Visa fee.
  • If meals are not included: around 70-150 EUR /100-180 USD)/month
  • Small local expenses (e.g. Internet, local transport): around 30-50 USD/Month (Estimate)
  • Insurances around 30-50 USD/Month

 

How do I pay?

 
Once all your questions have been answered and you confirm that you want to participate, we will email you an invoice. You can pay it via bank transfer or via Paypal. You will pay a deposit 200 EUR when the invoice is issued. 3 months prior to your arrival you will pay the remainder for your Service Package and for the first month of rent.
 
Rent from the 2nd month, possible further contributions to the NGO or for internship supervision (see info box of the respective project description), and costs for visa and possibly further official permits you pay directly at your destination. There are ATMs. 
 

Extras

 

Other Projects That Might Interest You:

 
 
These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more! Check out our other listings in the areas of "World Learner" and "Active Travel" at your travel destination to make your stay even more interesting.
 

Spanish language or indigenous language lessons

 
Cochabamba Language SchoolIn Cochabamba, you can attend Spanish language lessons at a language school. The school has been teaching for more than 20 years, using the communicative method. The teaching is active and requires intensive participation. The language is taught at all levels, from beginner to advanced, with all intermediate stages.
 
The school also offers instruction in the indigenous languages, ​​Quechua and Aymara. For volunteering and internships in rural areas of Bolivia with indigenous communities, knowledge of the respective language is of great advantage.
 
For 40 hours of private lessons: 330 EUR.
 
In the registration form, tick "Language Training Required" and the required number of hours (minimum 40 hours).
 

Travel Health Insurance

 
We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
 
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.
 
 
 

Cochabamba

 
 
 
With 700,000 inhabitants, Cochabamba is Bolivia's fourth largest city. Today, it merges in the west with Quillacollo, which itself has some 150,000 people. Both cities are nested in the densely populated Valley of Cochabamba, at an altitude of around 2560 meters (8700 feet) above sea level. The fertile valley has a flat bottom, expanding around 25x10 km (15x6 miles), while the framing mountains reach heights of some 5000 meters (16,400 feet). The Valley of Cochabamba enjoys a protected, sunny and moderate climate. The daytime maximums during the whole year are around 23-26 degrees C (73-79 degrees F), while the nighttime minimum oscillates between 13 degrees from October to March and 3 degrees in June and July. Rainy season is from December to March, whereas, there is almost no rain during the rest of the year.
 
Cochabamba is a city with a lot of youth. In downtown Cochabamba, you find the "Prado", "Plaza Colon" and the botanical garden, modern, green and clean. Cochabamba is home to "La Cancha", one of the largest markets in South America and is overlooked by the "Cristo de la Concordia", the second highest statue of Christ in the world.
 
Due to its central location in Bolivia, Cochabamba itself is a convenient destination for excursions into the country.
 

Coordinator in Cochabamba

 
Our supervisor in Cochabamba is Mauge. Mauge comes from Cochabamba, is an intercultural trainer, and has studied in the US. She speaks fluent English and Spanish.
 

Recreational Activities in Cochabamba

 
In Cochabamba, there is an active youth life with bars, clubs, cinemas, etc. because of the 14 universities present.
 
The city of Oruro can be relatively easily reached by bus. You can visit Oruro's historic mines and the city's famous Carnival, every year in February. During the whole year, there are numerous Christian and indigenous festivals in many villages and cities that you can visit, such as Intiwatana on the 21st of June (Andean midwinter) and Urqupiña in August.
 
From Cochabamba, we arrange affordable small group excursions, including:
 
* Day trip to Tunari Nationalpark and climbing Cerro Tunari (5035 m/16,500 feet).
* Day visit of the Inca ruins at Incallajta
* Day trekking trip in the subtropical misty forest of Incachaca
* 3 day trip to Catavi mining area (has socio-historical importance) on the Altiplano highland
* 3 day trip to Chapare into the tropical lowland of Cochabamba - swimming in rivers and hiking in the rain forest
* 3 day trip to Torotoro Nationalpark, including a visit to the Inca ruins and climbing Cerro Tunari

Getting There

 

Getting To Cochabamba

bolivia map
 
You fly to Cochabamba (CBB), where you will be picked up and taken to your accommodation. Often, there are cheaper international flights to Santa Cruz de la Sierra (ViruViru Airport, VVI) or to La Paz El Alto (LPB). In that case, you can fly there and then take a connecting flight to Cochabamba, booking separately with Aerosur or BoA. The tickets between these cities are quite low (30-50 EUR / 38-63 USD), but you cannot pay by credit card from overseas. We can buy you a ticket in Bolivia. 

FAQs

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 
Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
No, you can arrive at any date and you can hence, plan your trip according to your availability and the prices of flights. We can pick you up from the Cochabamba airport at any time. Certain projects cannot be started during holidays, of which we will inform you in advance.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Of course, you can do this - most of our participants do so. However, when the travel destination is too far away, it may not be possible over a weekend; these, we would recommend you keep for before the projects begins or after the completion. You could even plan these out during holidays (e.g. Semana Santa). We will notify you of the destinations and the recommended time to visit.
Is it safe to travel in Nicaragua alone as a single female traveller?
About 80 percent of our participants are women and many of them 18 to 24 years old. Not a single instance of any serious security issue has been reported. Our supervisors on site will advise you on how you should conduct yourself in order to avoid problems - issues such as clothing style, carrying valuables, and in dealing with machismo and patriarchal societies. Our preparation material brings attention to these issues. It is very important to follow these basic rules, that are just as applicable to many other places, in order to reduce risk as much as possible.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Bolivia?
The total number of participants that participate simultaneously with an organization depends on the size and activity of the organization and responsibilities of volunteers/interns. We try to avoid too many volunteers/interns in an organization at the same time. It may be that you are alone in your work site, but usually there are, throughout the year, other participants in Cochabamba, who you can meet in your spare time, if you desire so. In addition, there are also many tourists on the road, whom you can easily meet at bars, shops, etc. Cochabamba being a University town, it it easy to meet Bolivian and foreign students there too.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info - PDF that you get as a participant, gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations
Where will I live?
In the tab "Accommodation", you will see the various accommodation options.
Can I choose the accommodation myself?
Please share us with your request, so that we can organize your accommodation accordingly. Some organizations offer accommodation themselves. In such cases, that is the only accommodation option you have.
How free or bound am I in my accommodation with the host family?
While you will have your privacy, in Bolivia, it is customary to let your host family know when you will leave or return to the house so that the doors can be unlocked, due to safety reasons. It is unacceptable to have casual acquaintances visit you. The level of closeness or privacy with the family can differ.
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
The shared accommodations in Cochabamba and in Sopocachi/La Paz have internet, as does the hostel in Cochabamba. As for the host families, Internet is not always available, and the same applies to the lodgings that are rented for some projects/internships. You can find information about the availability in the tabs "Accommodation". If there is no wifi internet, you can buy yourself a stick or surf the Internet with your smartphone.
How can I do my laundry?
In general, clothes are hand washed in Bolivia. Many households have someone employed for the purpose, while others have washing machines. There are also laundromats.
Can I cook in the accommodation ?
Yes, the families allow the use of the kitchen, but may charge a small monthly fee for additional consumption of electricity and gas. The families also offer meals for you, if you want to eat with them. This, you can decide when you arrive. Details are in the tab "Accommodation".
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Yes, host families are familiar with vegetarian meals and allergies or food intolerances can be considered. It is also possible to buy vegetarian food.
What language skills do I need?
In Bolivia, Spanish, as well as indigenous languages ​​such as Aymara or Quechua are spoken. If you have little or no knowledge of Spanish, we recommend that you begin your stay with a Spanish language course. We can also organize Skype Spanish lessons with a Bolivian language teacher. The majority of the volunteering/ internships expect basic to medium level of Spanish at the start of the activity. That is, you should be able to communicate and express yourself during your stay, at a basic level. Please let us know what you level of knowledge of Spanish is, so that we make sure we organise your stay/project accordingly.
 
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