Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) is a Bolivian NGO, made up of a team of committed Bolivian and international professionals and volunteers. Founded in 1992, CIWY was the pioneer of the environmental movement in Bolivia and is recognised nationally and internationally for founding Rescue Centres dedicated to the rehabilitation of wildlife. CIWY currently manages three Wildlife Sanctuaries: Machia (Cochabamba), Ambue Ari (Santa Cruz) and Jacj Cuisi (Rurrenabaque, north of La Paz). Each sanctuary offers refuge to wild animals rescued from trafficking, offering them a better quality of life.
After five years Machía Sanctuary no longer had enough space to adequately shelter all the animals in need of our help. In 2001, we began to search for new land that would allow our work to continue and grow. An email was sent out to past volunteers requesting support and one response came from Jonathan Cassidy, who was at that time working as a leader for groups of gap year students with Quest Overseas. He pledged to help us. In 2002, with the help of his organization, CIWY was able to purchase the land that is now Parque Ambue Ari from a local cocoa farmer.
The beginnings were humble, but thanks to the efforts of early volunteers, Bolivian and foreign alike, the Centre has grown to become home to dozens of animals, including over 25 wild felines.
Part of our land has suffered deforestation due to the unsustainable slash-and-burn agricultural techniques practiced by local farmers. Continued use of these practices presents a serious risk to our land, in particular a fire risk, Furthermore, these practices have converted Ambue Ari into an isolated strip of forest, in which many free wild animals now seek refuge.
Jacj Cuisi is CIWY’s newest Sanctuary, located approximately 25km from Rurrenabaque, in the department of La Paz. Its 300 hectares border Madidi National Park, a 1.8 million-hectare reserve, lending to its serene beauty.
At the end 2008, the Municipal Council of Villa Tunari approved the construction of a road through Machía, our first permanent Sanctuary. We knew that the road would destroy significant stretches of natural habitat and reduce the area of land usable for our work. In spite of international efforts that even saw the involvement of Dame Jane Goodall, the construction went ahead. At that time we thought it would be necessary to abandon Machía, so we began to look for new land where we could continue our project. In 2009 we purchased the land that is now Jacj Cuisi Sanctuary and hope to make it our best yet.
The Construction Coordinator is required to oversee all construction and maintenance projects and work with the Administrator and volunteers in order to get jobs done. You will need to come up with creative ways to complete projects with limited resources.
• Take measures to ensure the safety of yourself, the volunteers, staff and visitors to the sanctuary.
• Manage the daily routines and change them according to the conditions of that day.
• Assure the safety of the volunteers and help them with any problems they might have.
• Organise the calendar of activities and provision for days off.
• Ensure that volunteers comply with park rules and report any breaches to the Administrator immediately.
• Attend sanctuary meetings as directed by the Administrator or the Sanctuary President and maintain a good level of communication with them.
• Monitor the conduct and performance of all volunteers in the area and report to the Administrator or Volunteer Coordinator for any cause for concern or performance related issues.
• Complete and hand in reports at the end of every month to update us on the progress of your projects and the plans for the next month.
• Have a full understanding of the emergency procedure in case of accidents, animal attacks or escapes.
• You might have to help with the day to day caring of the animals that are currently at the Centre should volunteer numbers become low.
• Manage new construction projects, people, planning and buying supplies and materials.
• While we strive to build new enclosures each year to improve the lives of the animals we provide a home to, most of the year will consist of maintenance on existing enclosures.
CIWY’s three Centres are located in remote areas of Bolivia and the standard of facilities varies. You will be living alongside a community of Bolivian and international staff and volunteers, all of whom work exceptionally hard on a day-to-day basis. You must be patient, adaptable and prepared to deal with difficult and often physically demanding conditions.
Work will include cleaning cages and areas, feeding the animals, construction and volunteer training. The days start at around 7am until 6pm every day. You will have 1 day off every week. Two weeks of vacation is given per year.
You will be housed at one of our Sanctuaries. Ambue Ari’s accommodation is basic. The centre has limited electricity to power the office, fridges and electronics charging stations only. There is limited mobile phone signal at specific points in the sanctuary, however only with the provider Entel. A well/borehole provides drinking water and the water for the showers is not heated. The toilets are ecological and do not use plumbing. Volunteers sleep in shared dorm rooms with bunk beds. Rooms and bathrooms are shared.
Jacj Cuisi’s accommodation is basic. There is no electricity and volunteers currently sleep in one large dorm with bunk beds. There are two ecological toilets with attached showers. A nearby creek is used primarily for relaxing and bathing. Please try to bring biodegradable soaps with you as much of this water directly enters the water system. There is limited mobile phone signal at specific points in the sanctuary, however only with the provider Entel.
Sheets and mosquito nets are provided, but you should bring your own blanket or sleeping bag as it can get very cold at night.
This position is for a minimum of 1 year. CIWY will provide you with all your meals and accommodation. Unfortunately we are only able to afford to pay you a small salary of 700 bolivianos (approx. $100 USD) monthly. CIWY asks that any future publications that should arise from your work here include a reference to the organisation.
You will be required to document your work here (written/visual/film as appropriate) for use on CIWY’s website, social media, in reports and presentations. Your feedback is important and you will participate in regular discussions to evaluate the work carried out, assessing how well it meets the objectives of all involved; trouble-shooting and contributing to improving the process and outcomes. You will complete interim updates and a financial report.
The ideal candidate will have strong abilities in construction and working independently to get projects completed. You will need to be prepared to work in difficult and physically demanding conditions with limited resources. Candidates should be able to improvise and come up with ideas that will benefit the organisation. Candidates should also have at the minimum an intermediate level of written and spoken English and Spanish.
Please apply via email to email@example.com
Please send us your CV as well as a covering letter that should detail:
• Why you are interested in this opportunity
• Your experience in working in the field of construction
Friends of Inti Wara Yassi (FIWY) is our sister organization in the UK. They have been a major source of support since their founding in 2008. Find out more about FIWY here.
Quest Overseas organizes gap year trips for British and international students. Since 2001, Quest has worked with CIWY to bring much needed volunteers and funds. If you are interested in the programs they have with us, find out more here.