Voluntary work in Bolivia
Information & guidance about volunteering projects in Bolivia
Landlocked in the heart of South America, Bolivia is the least densely populated country on the continent with over a million residents known for its high altitude terrain, and is famous for being home to the highest capital city in the world, La Paz, which sits approximately 3,500m above sea level. A country where adventure is the main ingredient in its cultural recipe, you could find yourself whizzing down Death Road in the Yungas, paragliding over La Paz or trekking up 6000m high Andean peaks, you will push limits you never even knew you had!
Where to volunteer in Bolivia
Despite being relatively small, there are plenty of places you can undertake voluntary work in Bolivia depending on the kind of adventure you are seeking! Santa Cruz de Sierra is Bolivia’s largest city with nearly 1.5 million inhabitants, offering the perfect balance of rich history displayed through the beautiful architecture, museums and art galleries with natural beauty. It is the major business hub attracting migrant workers from all over the country, meaning there a voluntary work options galore.
La Paz is Bolivia’s third largest city and home to the nation’s government, despite not being the capital. Serving as an educational and political capital set high in the Andes, featuring extensive colonial architecture, the city is popular for both travelers and volunteers alike.
Cochabamba is a great place to seek out voluntary work in Bolivia due to its sunny climate year-round climate and its reputation as Bolivia’s most progressive city. The city offers the ideal location for those interested in volunteering projects related to environmental conservation.
Volunteering projects in Bolivia
There are plenty of options for voluntary work in Bolivia as over 50% of Bolivia’s population is living in poverty, and the lack of consistent access to healthcare means the country has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world. Community development volunteering programs help the poorest citizens who face the immense burden of poverty faced by the country, alongside helping with social rights and health care.
Teaching English is not as a popular option for voluntary work in Bolivia as you may presume, as the country actually has one of the highest rates of literacy in South America, however, there are some roles out there if you are keen to volunteer in primary schools or daycare. There are many volunteer opportunities involving animal work or environmental preservation projects resulting from the diversity of natural habitats Bolivia has to offer. Home to nearly 3,000 species of animals and over 17,000 species of plants, there are few countries that can boast the impressive level of biodiversity that Bolivia can, making it the perfect location for volunteers interested in these kind of projects.
Most programs tend to last from around two weeks to six months and voluntary work in Bolivia is available all year, meaning you can find your perfect role at any time! Bolivia is a cultural mixing pot meaning there are a variety of languages spoken, but Spanish is the national language and spoken fluently by most of the locals. For this reason, you may find it easier to find voluntary work in Bolivia if you know at least a little Spanish, but the enthusiasm to learn is still sufficient! Some volunteer opportunities will combine volunteering in Bolivia with Spanish lessons, meaning you have the chance to learn whilst volunteering.