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International Communications & Volunteer Programe Coordinator needed - El Salvador

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The Permaculture Institute of El Salvador (IPES) is looking for a long-term intern to coordinate our international communications and volunteer programme.

About IPES:

IPES is a grassroots non-government organization of subsistence farmers who practice Permaculture for the development of a healthier, wiser and more ecologically sustainable society using the Farmer-to-Farmer methodology. We focus on natural farming and living, food security, capacity and leadership building, and developing stronger communities and local economies.

About the position:

This is an unpaid internship for which IPES will provide free accommodation.
As International Communications and Volunteer Programme Coordinator, you will live on our permaculture demonstration site, 20 minutes outside the old colonial town of Suchitoto, El Salvador. You will work Monday-Friday 8am-4pm, with the majority of your time spent working on the site and some in our office in the town of Suchitoto.


• Promote and develop the volunteer programme
• Respond to all volunteering enquiries and organise thier visits
• Provide on-site support and coordination to volunteers
• Work alongside the IPES team in the development and maintenance of the permaculture demonstration site
• Manage IPES’s online presence: website, Facebook and Twitter
• Help develop IPES’ international profile and respond to international enquiries and interest

Start date:

By early December 2013

Person Specification:

• 1 year minimum commitment
• Excellent oral Spanish and good written Spanish
• Passionate about permaculture/ecological agriculture/sustainable development
• Ability to work on own initiative
• Strong teamwork and communication skills
• Adaptable to different living conditions and culturally sensitive
• Enthusiastic, energetic and willing to get their hands dirty
• Experience of using social media sites
• Experience with Wordpress (desirable)
• Open to new experiences

What you can expect from IPES:

The position provides invaluable field experience working for a grassroots environmental NGO that is visibly making a difference to people’s lives. Living and working on our demonstration site provides hands-on learning about permaculture philosophy, soil conservation, diversified crops, medicinal gardens, native seed collection, water catchment and filtration, compost latrines, organic composting, natural pest management, leadership skills, community development practices, Farmer-to-Farmer methodology, and Salvadoran history and culture.

The role will improve your CV and develop your professional skills (particularly communication), whilst providing hands on experience in sustainable agriculture and community development. The opportunity to live and work in El Salvador with a diverse team of people will contribute greatly to your personal development.

The International Communications and Volunteer Programme Coordinator will have the opportunity to attend workshops and training sessions on permaculture and can potentially take part in a permaculture design course (if one is being carried out at the time).

IPES will provide you with a full induction and support you whilst preparing for and during your time here in every way that we can.

A word from our current International Communications and Volunteer Programme Coordinator:

It makes me sad to write this because it means I’m really going!

I had already lived and worked in other parts of Latin America before and so I guess I underestimated what more I would gain from my time in El Salvador. It has been amazing and at times incredibly frustrating. I have had to constantly make a conscious effort to be culturally sensitive and adaptable in an environment that is so different from that which I am used to. Whilst this took a bit of getting used to (it took me several months to feel completely at ease here – hence the time commitment of one year) it has also meant opening myself up to new experiences with people here who have so much to teach me. It’s been a fantastic opportunity for personal development – I’ve learned a lot about patience and empathy.

My work changes a lot from week to week. When we have volunteers I spend almost all my time on the demonstration site, getting stuck in with the agricultural work. It’s tough but very rewarding and I enjoy supporting volunteers through the experience. If there are no volunteers, I spend a little more time in the office, thinking up new ways to promote IPES and the volunteer programme and keeping our Facebook page fresh and exciting. I’ encouraged to use my own initiative and develop my own role.

I’ve had the opportunity to take part in a permaculture design course alongside a group of campesinos. It’s been a fantastic experience. I’ve learned A LOT, and not just about permaculture.

Volunteers who come here always say the same thing about IPES – the best bit is the team. Salvadorans in general are extraordinarily friendly, generous and helpful. Getting to know people here and hearing about their lives has been incredible and humbling.

I’ve been very lucky to have a job that I really believe in and enjoy.

Maïa Sparrow - our current coordinator.

Applicants should send their CV and a cover letter explaining how they fit the person specification to volunteer@permacultura.com.sv.

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