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ETIV do Brasil

About

ETIV do Brasil links international travelers with an array of volunteer opportunities to support environmental conservation, youth development and women’s empowerment in Brazil. We also offer volunteer packages that can include accommodation and eco-adventure tours which allow volunteers to gain hands on experience working with an international development NGO while also enjoying beautiful Itacare; where the tropical rainforest meets the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful beaches, waterfalls, coconut trees and wildlife abound.

We currently have vacancies in the fields of NGO admin and office support, environmental conservation and youth development. Please visit our website: www.etivdobrasil.org to see details of these vacancies and to apply directly. Please don't hesitate to email us with any queries - we are always happy to hear from and help prospective volunteers in any way we can!

Founded
2015

Reviews

Default avatar
Volunteer
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Disappointing and Problematic

I. worked at ETIV do Brasil as a volunteer from late February to April 2020. I saw early on in my stay that ETIV do Brasil is not an “organization” in the traditional sense. It’s “structure” consists of one permanent Founder/Director who lives on-site and has both Brasilian and American citizenship and a very small foreign (remote) Board of Directors who have not visited the ngo in years and has very little context of the actual operations. Volunteers are asked to take initiative on projects without much in terms of a guiding framework or administrative support. You are basically paying for a volunteer experience to satisfy the desires of the Director, not to support a functioning ngo.

The online marketing is robust, but deceptively inaccurate. The mangrove project costs virtually zero dollars in overhead to implement, yet they ask 5$ donations per seed, with no guarantee to the donors. I did not see any way how the money from volunteers and donors was actually going to NGO project development. Online reviews are solicited from volunteers by the director and many of the programs and activities listed on their website either do not exist or are actually other organization initiatives this ngo claims to support. The majority of locals I talked with had not even heard of ETIV. There are no serious Portuguese classes and the ngo takes a considerable cut from the pay of whomever the teacher is at the time. Finding a teacher for Portuguese lessons was second to the $$ the ngo made from the classes.

There is no long-term supporting staff here which makes continuity of project management virtually impossible. No budgets were ever given to project leaders nor did the Director show any active support to help with any volunteer initiated projects. The Founding Director insisted upon only working part-time while the only administrative staff member during this time worked 40+ hours per week. The director also did very little to address any concerns volunteers brought up and was defensive when anyone raised a concern. When I arrived, the swimming pool was being filled by a rain gutter coming off a main roof (an idea touted at the time as “eco”) and the housing units were in serious need of repair. Sanitary conditions did not seem to be a priority.

Many Volunteers complained privately about their own concerns, but many were afraid to speak their minds for fear of retaliation by the only person with any authority, the Owner/Director.

There was no clear definition of hierarchy or organizational management. The Director talked badly about her staff to volunteers, violated her own ngo rules on multiple occasions, accused volunteers of stealing things that she misplaced (and asking volunteers to fundraise to replace said “missing” items), asked volunteers to do things for her at risk to their personal safety and refused to pay staff for work they completed, just as a start.

When COVID-19 started, the director dismissed it as overblown and offered her own conspiracies to the illegitimacy of the pandemic and stating that “mercury is in retrograde”....

I would caution anyone considering this ngo as viable non-profit work. It is hard to consider ETIV anything other than a way of gaining $$ to maintain a personal lifestyle. Volunteering here felt like volunteering to help someone maintain their personal property and business, not to support an ngo. There are much better people and places to volunteer with in Itacare if you are interested in ecology and sustainability. It is a shame, because it could be of great benefit to Itacare, but as I witnessed, the leadership is seriously questionable and aggressively defensive. The Director blurs the lines between personal and professionality and often invaded volunteers personal spaces and eavesdropped on private conversations. Until there is a change in leadership, until there is a long-term local staff presence, more continuity of programs, adequate investment in ngo resources, a clear and definitive separation between personal economic interests of the Director and the economics of the NGO, and more focus on the health, safety and well-being of its volunteers and staff, I strongly advise anyone who is interested in ETIV to understand that what they see online and the actuality on-site are very different circumstances. The online marketing is probably 90% focus of the entire NGO. ETIV do Brasil has been operating for roughly 4 years but still does not convey any real sense of organization in the way operational structures work, indicative of truly serious ngo’s. There are no guidelines for resolving concerns or disputes in any of the literature you receive and the Board of Directors seems to be reinforcing whatever the Founding Director wants. There is no objectivity to this organization. Be cautious before investing in this program as you may be severely disappointed.

There are two other very relevant posts on this site by author “X” and author “Jo” that resonated with me after my experience. I suggest taking their perspectives into serious account too.

What would you improve about this program?
Find some people who professionally know what they are doing and allow them the freedom flexibility and resources to manage. Remove all financial conflicts of interest.
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X
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

My first and last Volunteer

The worst time of my life. For me the worst was that I totally wasted my time and my money.

Lets speak about the work that is done there. A good initial point is the general meeting of Mondays. It will be spoken in hardly 40 minutes about nothing, getting zero conclusions of nothing and always trying to hurry to finish as soon as possible. The feeling of frustration of getting nothing done is incredible. During the week will be organized maximal 2 or 3 english lessons. Thats all. Is that really the "profound inpact" that the organization is going to have in the community? To have not even 5 hours of activities during the week having always at least 3 or 4 people working theoretically 20 hours a week? Thats not my idea of volunteer work. And thats because the focus of the organization is just on doing marketing to trick more people and get their money. I can truly say the efforts of the organization are 90% on Marketing and 10% on the rest.

If you see the contract, besides of saying absolutely nothing useful it looks like more like a Travel agency than a "ONG" and that is exactly what ETIV is for me , just a bad and expensive travel agency for foreigners. I see only one difference between both. With a real travel agency you would pay much fewer money to get a real holidays.

Thats a good point to speak about the prices. They will charge you 900 reais, thats about 250 USD per month, for a room with moisture, some of them without doors, in a house without warm water and really noisy and far far away from the city center. Not to say that 3 volunteers where attacked in their very first days and they lost money and their smartphones. Speaking again about the 250 USD you will pay for the room. It may seem to be cheap for you. If you are living now in the first world. USA, Europe or some other countries. But what If I tell you that the rent of the whole house cost just 1000 reais pro month, or that the owner of the ONG lives in a luxury mansion of more than 200 square meters with a huge garten for just 1000 reais? Would you still find the price fair? That not for telling that right in the city center, in Pasarela or Pituba, you would find exactly the same, or even better, for just 400 or 500 reais.
Furthermore besides of the rent It is paid already a volunteer fee, why the hell has to be paid such an abusive price for a disgusting place?

The owner/CEO of the organization claims to have several years of experience in different fields and even to have lead another NGO in Peru. I am very dubious all that is true. They are from far the all worst manager I have ever had in my life. They were not even able to proper listen to a person what makes really difficult to have a meaningful conversation. And even fewer to organize a project.

If after reading my post you are still thinking about doing volunteer work in Itacare with ETIV think it twice. If you want to visit Itacare just do it as a tourist and if you want to do some good, look for an organisation that it is worth it, if not you will end up wasting your time and money like I did.

What would you improve about this program?
It is not possible to be improved. Shut down the ngo and give back the money to the people your ripped off.
Eva
Eva
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Last forever volunteer experience!

It was a three months amazing experience!. ETIV is a young NGO, its flexibility gives you the opportunity to use your personal strengths combined with supervision and a lot of support. This NGO encourage an entrepreneur mindset and welcome fresh minds.

I learned so much as the Marketing Coordinator and as a volunteer for the English Program, helping the teachers during the classes and with the planning. I enjoyed my time in the field with the kids, learning from them and the community. I arrived speaking zero Portuguese and now I´m able to speak with people here and communicate in an effective way. Even though my Spanish background helped, but the Portuguese Classes definitely helped to speed up the process. Speaking the language definitely helps you to bond better with the community and make the most of your experience.

It's also important to mention that volunteering is not a luxury trip, please do not mistake them. Make sure that helping a rural area and working for the community is what you are looking for, otherwise you won't meet your expectations. Itacaré is amazing and exciting but this is not USA or Europe, so please make sure to travel understanding and acknowledging this. I'm actually so grateful that I experienced a modest living like this, it makes you value everything you take for granted at home and improves you as a human being 100%. All the love you get back from this kids is amazing and priceless, if that's what you are looking for then ETIV and volunteering is definitely for you.

Volunteer experiences are alone gratifying, however, volunteering in ETIV also allows you to live in a beautiful surfing town in Bahia - Brazil, which makes the experience to last forever. I'll be happy to provide any further information.

What would you improve about this program?
As any NGO, they have room to grow, however, their in the right path for sure.
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Claire
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience with ETIV!

I am currently a virtual volunteer with ETIV on the Marketing and Communications team and I'm very happy with the experience! I love working with Jaci and the team of international volunteers who are all very motivated and bring unique perspectives to the projects we're working on. After just a few months of volunteering, I can already see the significant growth and impact of the work we're doing. I definitely recommend getting involved with this NGO, they are uniting so many diverse people and doing really amazing work!

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Tobias
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Community Organizing in Itacare

As part of my bachelor cultural anthropology i participated in a internship with ETIV do Brasil. Four months i worked with the local fishermen of Passagem and attempted to establish a workers union with them, as a community organizer.
I had the oppurtunity to also do research, as this was part of my program.
The internship was amazing and the overral experience too. The city of Itacare is incredibly welcoming and the local community is friendly and open.
I have learnt to deal with many obstacles as my patience was incredibly tested. I was challenged by many factors but have learned so much about Brazil about myself, about the functioning of a young NGO and the community of Itacare. I highly recommend the internship position to anyone who speaks fluent portuguese and feels challenged or is interested in this adventure! Itacare awaits you.

What would you improve about this program?
There could be a better structure for future internships. The current structure was new but slightly inadequate. The new structure could be more adapted to the specific community organizing functions of a intern guided to sustaining and maintaining the union of the fishermen of passagem.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Jaci Braga

Job Title
Founder and Director
Jaci was born and raised in upstate NY to an American mother and a Brazilian father and then moved to Denver Colorado to receive a dual Masters in International Studies (MA) and Social Work (MSW). After many years living and working in the US, Jaci moved abroad and managed a NGO in Peru for a couple years before finally moving to Brazil to start her own NGO in Bahia.
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What is your favorite travel memory?

My first solo vacation in Costa Rica. There was something truly liberating about having the courage to travel alone as a single woman for the first time. Meanwhile, Costa Rica is very safe yet incredibly beautiful. I stayed in hostels and budget hotels, which made it so easy to make new friends, and was able to visit beautiful beaches, stunning volcanoes, lush jungles and so much more.

This trip was the first step in allowing me to have the courage to leave the United States to live and work abroad and then eventually start my own NGO in Brazil.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

We had two volunteers that came here to work with us for just one month, but the testimonials they shared with us were truly moving, as they both claim that their volunteer experience here in Brazil was truly life changing for them.

They both have committed to returning next year, and there is something extremely fulfilling in realizing the impact this work can have on both volunteers' professional development as well as on the local environment and the children and families that we serve.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose the Volunteer Package! For the same price the local surf school charges to come to Itacare and surf for 2 weeks, you can live in our shared house and volunteer for a meaningful cause for at least a month or two!

It truly is an experience of a lifetime and you will leave speaking the language, understanding the culture, knowing the children and families, and having explored so much of the exotic natural beauty and wildlife this region has to offer.

With the package you will be fully exposed to the local culture and the incredible beauty and nature of both the Atlantic Rainforest and the coastal shoreline and stunning beaches of Bahia. The package includes a meaningful volunteer experience coupled with several Eco-adventure tours including whale watching, zip lining, rain forest hikes, kayaking or paddle boarding through mangroves, hiking out to waterfalls and so much more. Meanwhile, it also includes 2 Portuguese classes a week (with a local, native teacher) as well as several Samba, Capoeira and/or Forro classes.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

We are very democratic NGO that truly value the opinions, ideas and leadership of our staff, our volunteers and our community members alike. We are not afraid to ask for advice, throw out ideas or to truly empower others to step up and take the lead on some of our projects and programming.

As a result, this is allows our NGO to continue to improve and evolve while also giving the individuals involved with our NGO the opportunity to be challenged, to do their best work and to grow both personally and professionally.