Short term & Customized: Ecuador

Serve and learn in Ecuador with Amizade

This program takes place in San Miguel de los Bancos, and La Unión Bolivarense and is directed by our partner, Nido de Vida. Primary programmatic focus is on the county of San Miguel de los Bancos, a rural county 60 miles west of Quito. Within the county focus is on the county seat – the town of San Miguel de los Bancos –  and the much smaller community of La Unión Bolivarense – a rural community of subsistence farmers. During Ecuador’s land reform movement of the ‘60s people began to migrate to the area of La Unión Bolivarense in search of space to farm. People claimed property by staking lands, and were subsequently provided the deed from the government only when half of the claimed property was deforested and ready to be farmed.

Subsistence farming is a precarious livelihood, and seems to be getting more and more difficult as a way of life. Residents today respond differently to economic pressures – some of the younger generations choose to move to cities where they hope to find jobs, others sell portions of their farms to bring in cash, while others attempt small-scale agricultural ventures for additional income and/or family consumption.

Alongside community members, participants will examine the rich history of the county of San Miguel de los Bancos and the community of La Unión Bolivarense, its present-day challenges, and future opportunities. Together, they will work and explore community, history, agriculture, and economic development.


This program explores life in San Miguel de Los Bancos, a rural county about 60 miles from Quito. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the county seat (also called San Miguel de Los Bancos) as well as subsistence farming communities while engaging topics around agriculture, rural livelihoods, culture, and indigenous influence in the region.


Location: San Miguel de los Bancos, Pichincha, Ecuador

Service Opportunities: service opportunities relating to agricultural & economic sustainability, and construction and farm maintenance

Culture and Recreational Highlights: Middle of the World Monument and museums, pre-Incan ruins, river swims, making cane sugar, discussions with community members.


Lodging: Hotel and group farm stay

Food: rice, potatoes, beans, plantains, fruits

Language: Spanish


We pride ourselves in creating mutually empowering and safe global service-learning programs. This means that when you develop an experience with Amizade, you’re building a responsible, intentional, and community driven service-learning program. Programs typically have three phases: (1) pre-immersion, (2) immersion, and (3) re-entry. Amizade works with you in all three phases to develop your program, including to build curriculum, itineraries, budgets, evaluation, follow-up, and sustainability.


The first step in building your program is to have a chat with us. We’re a people-powered organization, which means a little less tech and a little more human conversation. Send us an email, give us a ring or fill out this form to initiate the start of your journey.


Once we’re all feeling good about a potential collaboration and have a clear, co-created vision, Amizade and its partners submit a proposal to you. The proposal will include an overview of what you might be engaging in, a draft itinerary, health and safety information, and a transparent line-item budget.


After the proposal is agreed on, we send over a digital contract. This includes important legal and financial considerations. After a signed contract and a non-refundable $1,000 deposit are submitted, we can officially lock in your dates and begin the process of preparing for your program.


This phase includes pre-departure orientations (we mandate at least one with our staff), learning about the process of travel, culture, service, and the community you are visiting. This is also when family and community sensitization takes place, as well as any relevant coursework. Often this is when we see group bonding start, comfort zones being extended, and new challenges (as well as some nerves and excitement).


This is the travel phase. Community engagement, reflective practice, academic inquiry, and exploration all should be taking place at this time. All of our programs are a mixture of service, workshops, and cultural and recreational activities. Participants will step out of their comfort zones, try new things, engage complex issues, be introduced to new networks and ideas, and bond. Often this can be a very disrupting, inspiring, and transformational experience.


After a transformative experience, we sometimes can fall right back into the grind of life when we return home. It can be tough, isolating, and confusing. Re-entry is perhaps the most important phase for determining what kind of neighbor – the very person – you become. It’s also the easiest to ignore. In this phase, there should be a serious reflection, advocacy, support systems, and/or a plan for community engagement, or social action. Depending on the design and funding of your program, Amizade can help create a plan and opportunities for participants.

Since 1994 we have been thought leaders and pioneers in developing best practices in responsible global service-learning, study abroad, and solidarity-building volunteering experiences. We work with:

Universities (faculty-led, alternative break, and semester abroad)
High Schools
Community and Religious Groups
Government Agencies




Find here a sample itinerary of activities in Ecuador.


Amizade is looking forward to having you in one of our programs.

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Get to know the history of our partnership in Ecuador.

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