At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 10 meaningful project options
- Projects based in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito
- Accommodation in volunteer house or homestay
- Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Program fees from $270 for 1 week
- Affordable Spanish language lessons available
- Between 10 and 20 volunteers start this program each month
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in Ecuador to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Ecuador will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Ecuador with your new-found friends.
The IVHQ Ecuador volunteer program has volunteer placements located in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito and surrounding urban and rural areas, approximately 45 minutes out of the city. Nestled high in the Andes, Quito is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in South America. Despite this aesthetic beauty, there is a great need for volunteers to assist with the development of this city and its communities.
Volunteer programs begin every Monday. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks.
The purpose of the NGO Support project is to provide assistance with the operational workload of the NGOs we work with in Ecuador to enable them to widen their reach and support more children within the local community.
If you’re interested in gaining a greater understanding of how NGOs operate and the challenges they face, this project will be a good fit for you. You can expect to utilize your existing skills and experience, while gaining hands-on experience in supporting the day-to-day operations of these NGOs. As a volunteer on the NGO Support project, you may assist with translations, record keeping, fundraising and grant writing, public relations, campaign scholarships, systems reviews and communication. Your tasks will vary depending on the NGO’s planned activities at the time of your project and these will be assigned based on priority and your existing skills, interests and experience.
As you will be volunteering alongside local staff within the NGO, you do not need to have specialized experience to participate on this project. We suggest that volunteers bring their own laptop, however this is optional.
Please note that you will also have the opportunity to spend some time with local Ecuadorian children so you can gain an understanding of what the NGO is striving to achieve.
As a volunteer on the Kindergarten project in Ecuador, you will play an important role in assisting local teachers in primary and kindergarten classes, teaching pre-school math, writing, reading and art lessons. Classes are held in either a school for girls or a private school for low-income families, with each class having between 15 and 35 students.
This project is well suited to aspiring teachers, as well as those wishing to improve their Spanish skills. An enthusiasm for working with children is a must. In addition to helping out with lessons, you will also provide support with lunch and playtime activities. You are not required to have experience in planning curriculum or teaching to participate on this project, as you will be working alongside local teachers.
Street Children Work
For many Ecuadorian children, school is never an option. The children you will be working with on this project spend 365 days a year working in the streets and markets, selling goods and performing with their parents to help provide for their families. The purpose of this project is to provide children working on the streets in Quito with the opportunity to receive education, as well as some enjoyment in their lives.
If you’re someone who is creative and loves working with children, this project will be a great option for you. You will be working with children of all ages and assisting in providing basic school lessons. You may also have the opportunity to organize singing and dancing for the children, provide hygiene awareness lessons, and introduce the children to new activities and games. The families of the children are hugely appreciative of the interactions shared with international volunteers, as this offers the children new opportunities and perspectives on life that they otherwise would not have been exposed to.
As you will be volunteering alongside our local placement staff, you are not required to have any childcare qualifications to participate on this project.
The aim of the School Support project in Ecuador is to provide tutoring services and help instill confidence in local children who have recently been enrolled (or re-enrolled) in school.
This project is well suited to volunteers who are passionate about providing educational support to children within communities where education is not always easily accessible. When volunteering on the School Support project, you can expect to travel to different markets, a local school or community center within Quito and work with children in groups or individually, going through homework and supplementary activities.
This project is open to all volunteers with an interest in education and at least a conversational level of Spanish.
In Ecuador, it is expensive to study a foreign language and the purpose of the Teaching English project is to help increase access to educational and employment opportunities to local people in Quito.
As a volunteer on this project, you will be placed in a school for low-income families to focus on developing the English language skills of children, or in a community center. You will be working alongside a local instructor, so you will assist with planning the teacher’s activities, providing classroom support and one-on-one attention to students. Activities may be focused on emphasizing pronunciation, conversation, reading, and writing through games and songs. Each class has on average 15 to 35 students (depending on the number of volunteers relative to the number of students, classes may be split into smaller groups). As a volunteer, you are expected to give weekly evaluations, identify communication problems, address linguistic concerns, and develop language teaching strategies.
A basic level of Spanish language skills are recommended for this project and it is important to note that your teaching experience and confidence, Spanish skills and program duration will help determine where you will be placed. As you will be working alongside a local instructor, you do not need to be a qualified or experienced teacher to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training, like a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.
Please note that during July and August, volunteers will teach English in combination with the School Break project.
As a volunteer on our School Break project, you will be providing assistance to children of various ages from disadvantaged backgrounds. These children are either struggling with school, or trying to continue their education rather than slipping back into a life of working in the markets with their parents when schools are not in session. The purpose of this project is to support educational continuity and stimulate an enthusiasm for learning, which in turn promotes education and schooling as a priority for these children.
If you’re someone who is passionate about youth development and supporting children from challenging backgrounds, you will be a valuable contributor to this project. On the School Break project, you may teach a range of subjects, including English, mathematics, reading, writing, dance, art, body expression, recreation games, and hygiene. As a class, you will usually discuss a concept together and then reinforce that concept through an activity. The students work towards a final presentation at the end of the School Break season, in which the children’s parents are invited to see their children perform dances, songs, and plays (both in English and in Spanish). This is a way to show parents the value of education and for the children to build their confidence. Children receive a certificate and it is a fun day for everyone.
You are not required to have experience in teaching or working with children to participate on this project, as you will be working with the support of a local instructor.
If you’re volunteering on another project based within a school, you will be switched to the School Break project during this school holiday period from July to August.
On the Physical Education project in Ecuador, you will work within local schools to develop and assist physical education classes run by a local teacher. The aim of this project is to share your passion for sport and physical education to motivate the students to participate and develop new skills.
This project is well suited to volunteers who love working with children, keeping active and participating in different sports. When volunteering on the Physical Education project, you can expect to support the whole class, individual students, or the teacher in physical education lessons, games, motor development, movement activities, coordination and agility exercises, or specific sports such as soccer or basketball. The types of activities you will be asked to perform will depend on the needs of your placement, your Spanish level and any interests or preferences you mention in your application. The local team will do their best to factor your preferences into your placement assignment but it’s important to be flexible and willing to support your placement in a range of activities.
During the school break in July and August, volunteers on the Physical Education project shift into a day camp, where they work on a range of activities with local children, including sports and physical activity.
This project is open to to all volunteers with an interest in sport and education. A teaching background is not required as you will be working alongside a local teacher.
The purpose of the Music project in Ecuador is to inspire students to explore expressing their creativity through the use of instruments and song. As a volunteer on this project, you will provide assistance within local schools, teaching either individuals or small groups of students about music.
This project is well suited to volunteers who are passionate about using music as a vehicle of self-expression and creativity. Your role in this project is predominantly to serve as an assistant teacher during the school term (September to June). Your tasks can including helping the students to expand their artistic skills by exploring sounds, songs, chorus and instruments. The instrumental focus is mainly on guitar, melodica and recorder (sweet flute), however, other instruments may be utilized if you would like to bring your own. You may also teach the students, aged between 3 and 12 years, about music from your home country, or help more advanced students to form small bands and improve their English through music.
You are not required to have experience in teaching music to participate on this project, as your role will mostly include assisting the local teacher.
Please note that during the school breaks between July and August, volunteers help out on the School Break Project as music and chorus teachers.
As a volunteer on the Community Development project in Ecuador, you will be contributing to a range of initiatives in support of the local community.
This project is well suited to individuals with a strong work ethic, a commitment to collaboration and a willingness to help out wherever your support is most needed. These key attributes will ensure that you are impactful while on this project. Your tasks may include assisting with a school breakfast and lunch support program that provides nourishment to underprivileged children, maintaining community gardens, and maintaining, cleaning and renovating local schools, community centers and playgrounds. The project also conducts community workshops on topics like non-violence, women’s empowerment, public health and dental hygiene.
You are not required to speak fluent Spanish to participate, however it is recommended to have at least beginner Spanish knowledge and the tasks you are able to assist with may depend on your Spanish level.
The aim of the Shelter Support project is to assist in local shelters in Ecuador that provide housing, safety, food, education and activities for elderly, children and teenagers.
This project is well suited to individuals with a positive attitude, strong work ethic and flexibility to help out in any tasks required each day. When volunteering on the Shelter Support project, you can expect to help out with cleaning, laundry, preparing and serving meals, changing sheets, facility maintenance and helping out with recreational/educational activities.
This project is open to all volunteers, however it is recommended to have at least a beginner Spanish level as the tasks you are able to assist with may depend on your Spanish knowledge.
The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive in Quito on the day before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Quito. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in Ecuador prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Quito on the day before your program orientation.
Orientation is hosted by our local team at their volunteer offices in Quito. Orientation begins in the afternoon of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Ecuador – Introduction to Ecuador, Ecuadorian Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Ecuador, Introduction to your Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
Weekdays: While our programs are flexible and can be fitted to your requirements, an example of a typical day is as follows. Please note that volunteering on the Ecuador program is held Tuesday through Friday (expect to participate for full days, unless you’re also taking Spanish language lessons, in which case you’d volunteer for half days). Therefore the weekends on the program are Saturday through Monday.
7.30AM Breakfast at the volunteer house or homestay.
8.00AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at. There is a break for lunch and volunteers are responsible for the purchase of this meal.
2.00PM - 5.00PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, prepare for the next day, or do some shopping and sightseeing. If volunteers are taking Spanish language lessons, these will usually take place in the afternoons and last between 2 and 3 hours.
7.30PM Dinner at the volunteer house or homestay.
Evenings: To ensure the safety of our volunteers and respect of others in the volunteer accommodation, a curfew of 10:30 PM has been put in place from Monday to Thursday and a 1:30 AM curfew for Friday to Sunday. Volunteers under the age of 18 will have a curfew of 8pm.
Please note, this schedule will vary depending on the project the volunteer is participating on. If a volunteer is taking Spanish language lessons, they will usually volunteer for half the day and spend the other half (3 to 4 hours) taking Spanish language lessons.
Volunteers on the Ecuador program can also join social clubs arranged by the local staff. The social clubs give volunteers the opportunity to meet volunteers from other projects and share in their experiences on the program. Club activities include free conversational Spanish groups, Ecuadorian movie nights and salsa lessons! All of the club activities are held in the afternoon, after volunteers have finished at their placement, and range in cost from $3 - $5.
Volunteers are accommodated alongside other volunteers in either a volunteer house or homestay. Bedrooms can be comprised of single beds, bunk beds or a double bed and you can expect to share a room with one or two other volunteers. Living is comfortable and the volunteer house and homestays have electricity, running water and western bathrooms. To ensure the safety of our volunteers and respect of others in the volunteer accommodation, a curfew of 10:30 PM has been put in place from Monday to Thursday and a 1:30 AM curfew for Friday to Sunday.
WiFi is available at the volunteer house and in some homestays. You can also access WiFi at the local team’s office, or purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone when you arrive in Ecuador.
Volunteers are provided with breakfast and dinner, 7 days per week while on the Ecuador volunteer program. Breakfast generally consists of tea or coffee, cereals, local breads, condiments, and fruits and cheese. Dinners will be a mixture of traditional Ecuadorian meals (meat or vegetarian stews, rice, vegetables or potatoes) and western meals. Carbohydrates, such as potatoes, bananas, plantains, bread and rice are common ingredients for Ecuadorian dishes. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.
“I love the city, the volunteer house, and most of all the street children market program. It is a bit unnerving, as this is my first time out of my own country, and Quito is relatively huge compared to where I´m from. But it´s exactly the kind of learning experience I wanted to have. Also, it helps that the local staff are so accommodating; I honestly feel I could go to them with any problems I might have.” - Lisa Waters (Street Children Work Volunteer in Ecuador)
Ecuador - Quito
|Length of Program||Program Fee $USD|
- All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- To convert these prices to your local currency click here.
- Discounts on language lessons
- * Terms and Conditions do apply
- Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours, transport to and from your placement if required.
- Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
- Lunches while in-country
- Spanish lessons (optional)
- Spending money - Volunteers in Ecuador generally find US$40 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
What it covers
- Most affordable program fees
- Dedicated support from a volunteer expert
- Complete MyIVHQ account access
- Online volunteer training
- Comprehensive program guide
- Deals on flights and travel insurance
- IVHQ alumni membership
What it covers
- 24/7 in-country support
- Airport pick-up
- Program orientation
- Volunteer placement
- Discounts on language lessons
During the weekends (Saturday through Monday), volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Quito and Ecuador. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to explore the amazing national parks of Ecuador or Galapagos Islands. If you are interested in art, culture and history, you can check out Quito’s historical center, where you can learn about Quito’s history, legends and Pre-Columbian cultures. From the city’s historical center, you can take the El Teleferico (cable car) for beautiful views of the city and surrounding volcanoes. Horseback riding and hiking is available to the Guagua Pichincha volcano summit. You can visit the coastal region of Salango for snorkelling, Silver Island, and the beautiful beaches of Los Frailes. Jungle excursions can also be arranged to experience the nature and unique wildlife such as toucans, parrots, and monkeys.
See our Ecuador Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Ecuador!
|Currency||US Dollar (USD)|
Weather and climate: The climate of Ecuador is composed of a number of microclimates that separate into four distinct zones. La Costa (Coastal Lowlands) is tropical, La Sierra (Andean Mountains) is temperate; and El Oriente (Amazon Region) shares the jungle climate of the upper Amazon rain forest.
Volunteers who are under 18 years old will be required to provide IVHQ with parental consent and two character reference letters in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team. Independent volunteers under the age of 18 must provide the local team with a “good health” letter from their doctor or a certificate of health during program orientation. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Ecuador. Additional requirements apply for School Support volunteers, please review the project description above. Please note that a reasonable level of fitness and mobility is required for all projects. If you have any health concerns that may be affected by altitude, we recommend that you discuss these with a medical professional prior to travel.
Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Ecuador volunteer program, however on certain volunteer projects, such as Teaching English, Administration Support and School Support, volunteer work will be restricted with limited language ability. We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our partner staff in Ecuador. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Spanish lessons can arrange these directly with the local staff once in Ecuador.
Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.
Spanish language lessons are available for all volunteers regardless of their ability. IVHQ strongly recommends these for all volunteers unless they are fluent in Spanish. Volunteers with a basic level of Spanish should strongly consider these lessons to allow them to work and communicate more effectively during their program. These language lessons are organized upon your arrival in Ecuador during your program orientation. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and must be paid for in Ecuador to our local staff. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers.
- 12 hours/6 days = US$84 (or 3 days intensive)
- 20 hours/10 days = US$130 (or 5 days intensive)
- 30 hours/15 days = US$195 (or 8 days intensive)
- 40 hours/10 days intensive = US$250
- 60 hours/15 days intensive = US$375
- 80 hours/20 days intensive = US$480