Sustainable Bolivia is a NGO based in Riberalta, the heart of the Bolivian Amazon. We focus our work on sustainable community development and conservation actions.
Our volunteers/interns have the opportunity to live and support our work at the Aquicuana Reserve and it's surroundings. This area of incredible biodiversity is located about 20 kilometers from the city of Riberalta in the Beni Department of the Bolivian Amazon. It is home to Lake San José, the plant-medicine retreat center Pisatahua, and two rural communities: San José and Warnes. Its name, Aquicuana, comes from the Tacana native language, meaning ‘land of the giant trees.’
There we promote initiatives to support education, scientific research, community development, regenerative agriculture and conservation actions.
We provide a open space for the community called "Comedor" where volunteers/interns have internet access so that they can prepare and develop activities with the community. We also offer a Research Station and (depending on availability) accommodation in the city of Riberalta if volunteers/interns want to visit, shop or go out during the weekends.
Scientific research is a fundamental pillar because it contributes to the quality of life and well-being of people, in the training of new professionals and in the development of professionals who are heading towards research. Your work would contribute to the community development here at Riberalta and the conservation of the Aquicuana Reserve.
Pisatahua is an integrative plant-medicine retreat, located in the Aquicuana Reserve. Sustainable Bolivia is Pisatahua’s sister non-profit. Sustainable Bolivia also hosts Pisatahua volunteers/interns in our communal home found in the city.
Sustainable Bolivia, in partnership with Pisatahua, is currently receiving applications for a Plant Medicine Inventory Project. Working with a local informant, the selected applicant will identify, photograph, and help write a guide to Aquicuana’s medicinal & edible plants.
Volunteers/interns can support our plant identification program by conducting field collections of leaves/flowers and fruits/seeds on our trails. In addition, literature research is conducted to gather information on morphological characteristics, occurrence, wood, utility, ecological information, phenology, seeds description and seedling production for each species.
Volunteers/interns will work in between 100% of the time in the Aquicuana Reserve. They can always ask to members of the communities to come with them and show them where to find a specific plant.
We expect the volunteers/interns to make pictures, archive them, list the plants and describe them.
The selected candidate will create informational material identifying the names, properties and traditional usages of plants and trees located in the Aquicuana Reserve. Following a well-maintained trail, they will create a user friendly map so that locals and guests can traverse the trail, while learning about Amazonian plant medicines.
The selected candidate will work alongside local healers and specialists to gain an understanding of the role of traditional healing practices, including primary plant species and their uses. They will work at the intersection of contemporary and traditional medicine as it is used, shared, implemented, and recounted in the Bolivian Amazon. This position provides the unique opportunity to gain an understanding of traditional plant-medicine practices, while helping to preserve the local knowledge of indigenous peoples.
Language skills: speak English (basic level) or Spanish (basic level).
Education: Ideally a biology or botanical degree (or currently studying).
Required documents: CV/resume and cover letter.
Minimum time commitment: 1 month
Other skills: interest in live and work in the Amazon, ability to work independently, patience and flexibility.