This project is about as grassroots as it gets. Manna Project International, an organization with almost two decades experience in Latin America, has recently started working to find ways to supply Shandia, a settlement of around 350 in the Amazonian Rainforest, with clean drinking water and sanitation. You’re going to help them work out how..

Having identified one of the most pressing needs of the community as water, sanitation and hygiene, Manna plans to implement a comprehensive Water Sanitation and Hygiene ( WASH) program in Shandia. This could: construction of a water filtration system, testing and treatment of intestinal parasites, and provision of WASH education programs and resources.

In these early stages of development, your internship will be spent helping to establish, define and structure the WASH program may play in the community in years to come. You’ll play a role in deciding how WASH education will be implemented, identifying obstacles to the program and finding their solutions.

In true start-up style, interns can expect to work outside their academic focus and contribute to other projects and initiatives. So, you might come away with some experience in marketing, fundraising, education and financing too. First of all though, this internship is for those with an interest in public health and project management. It’s the ideal opportunity for the right intern to make a huge impact for this indigenous community.


You’ll be working with Manna Project International. This nonprofit works to connect young talented advocates for social change with projects where they can serve disadvantaged communities and help break the cycle of poverty. Their mission is to enact social change through ‘communities serving communities.’

Their projects take a holistic approach to community development, developing systems for health, economic development, education and whatever else is needed. They’ve been working in Latin America since 2004, and their projects serve more than 3.000 community members a year and help to break the cycle of poverty.


This project being in its early stages of development, interns can expect to take on a variety of roles and tasks, including assisting on projects outside their academic focus. These might include:


  • Assisting with the logistical planning and problem-solving for construction of the water filtration system
  • Researching which WASH educational programs will be most effective in the community, and how they can be facilitated
  • Researching community needs, conducting needs assessments, and writing impact reports to measure the community’s development
  • Creating and managing community development programs, such as English teaching or youth sports
  • Getting involved with the daily operations of NGO management, including: fundraising, marketing, financing and education
  • Building relationships with the community


Although this program is adaptable, interns should meets these basic requirements:

  • Adaptability and open-mindedness are a must
  • A passion for community development and an interest or willingness to engage with rural Kichwa culture
  • Independence and initiative
  • Engineering (ideally with a focus on Water and Sanitation) or project managing experience would be a bonus
  • Spanish is not required, however it is encouraged that interns put some effort into learning as it will help building relationships with community members


You will stay in one of two houses, both of which are within walking distance of the school and Manna’s centro. Both are well-equipped with Wifi, a full kitchen, and interior bathrooms.

Safety & Support

Safety & Support

Safety is seldom an issue and crime rate in the Napo province is much lower than in the rest of Ecuador. You will notice how safe these jungle communities are in comparison with other locations in Latin America. While unlikely that you encounter any issues, you should still implement safe travel practices such as paying attention to your surroundings, not wearing flashy jewelry, and being careful where you place your valuables. Make sure to visit your doctor and dentist for a check-up before your internship and to get all the recommended vaccines and/or medications necessary to stay healthy.



The accommodation and community center are connected to Wi-Fi. It is also recommended to buy a local MOVISTAR SIM card upon arrival to Shandia so be sure your phone is unlocked for international carriers.



Bottled water jugs will be provided at both the accommodation and community center. All food is bought and shared communally on a weekly basis. Specific foods can be requested (though not guaranteed). Since you will assist with the shopping and cooking yourself, it is fairly easy to accommodate food allergies or dietary restrictions. Larger supermarkets can be found in Tena City, while Shandia offers a few small shops that sell snacks, drinks, and some produce.

Location details

Location details

Shandia is a small rural settlement of around 300 people situated in the Amazonian Rainforest region of Ecuador, a short distance from the town of Tena. The residents of Shandia are an indigenous Kichwa community speaking predominantly Spanish and the traditional language of the region, Kichwa — less than 10% speak English. Being the Amazonian Rainforest, weather is hot and humid year-round and you can expect a wealth of rivers, waterfalls, and outdoors activities in the area.


Fee Breakdown

Ideally internships start in January or July, but if you prefer different start dates please contact us and we can discuss it during the selection process.

What you’ll pay (valid until June 2024)

3 MONTHS USD 3,900

4 MONTHS USD 5,200

5 MONTHS USD 6,500


  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes
  • Project transport
  • Accommodation in shared house. You will share your room with 2-3 people. If you are interested in a single room, please contact us for availability and prices
  • Airport transfer
  • Three meals a day
  • Professional development training
  • Spanish classes
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement & other preparations
  • An orientation program with your supervisor
  • On the ground support during your stay
  • Regular check ins during your internship with you and your supervisor
  • Access to free workshops with a focus on career development
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship


  • Flights
  • Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities


Some of our most commonly asked questions for programs in Ecuador.

What can I expect from an internship in Ecuador?

You can expect to work on your Spanish language skills while gaining hands-on experience in your preferred field. From exploring diverse ecosystems to engaging with local communities, your stay in Ecuador will provide you with insights into the country’s rich biodiversity, while the challenges and accomplishments that you experience will foster your adaptability and global perspective.

Will I have time to explore the country during my internship?

Yes! There is always time to explore the surrounding area. Our nonprofit partners are based around the country (and on the Galapagos Islands) and they can offer recommendations about which places are the best to visit! When you are based on the mainland, some of the highlights of Ecuador are, for example, the city of Cuenca or the Cotopaxi National Park. If you are based on the Galapagos Islands, there are great excursion options on the island(s) including fantastic diving. If you are keen to also explore the mainland of Ecuador, you will need to do so before or after your Galapagos internship because of the distance (and costs of the flight).

Does an internship in Ecuador qualify for university credit?

Yes, but you must ensure with your university that your supervisor approves this. It is also possible to purchase transfer credits that can be added to your internship.

Will I be paid during my internship?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to receive any kind of stipend while interning. As your internship with the nonprofit organization will be unpaid, you can check out ways to fund your internship here. The wealth of knowledge and opportunities for both professional and personal growth throughout your experience are invaluable!


LOCATION: Shandia, Ecuador
PROJECT FOCUS : Community Development
TASK FOCUS: Education, Research, Operations, Construction, Engineering, Public Health
LENGTH: Min. 3 months
COST: From USD 3,900


  • Get involved with a wide variety of nonprofit and community development work as you contribute to different projects
  • Seize the opportunity to head up a project in this grassroots organization
  • Provide life-saving WASH systems to an impoverished community
  • Live and work in the Amazonian Rainforest region as part of a Kichwa community
  • Join a global community of like-minded advocates for social change and community service


If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:


Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV to us.



We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.


If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.


If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, getting started with the booking process and all the info you need.


Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.


Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!


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