Volunteer or Intern in a Beautiful Surf Town in Brazil

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ETIV do Brasil is located in the beautiful fishing and surfing town of Itacaré, Bahia. Our mission is to connect international volunteers/Interns with meaningful opportunities to support environmental conservation and development in Brazil.

We are looking for volunteers to support projects in environmental conservation, youth development, teaching English and in women's empowerment. In addition, we offer several positions in the ETIV office; from volunteer coordination and recruitment to marketing & communications, website development, fundraising and event planning. We offer highly affordable volunteer opportunities as well as volunteer packages that combine a meaningful volunteer experience with housing, stunning eco-adventure tours and cultural education including Portuguese, Samba, Capoeira classes. Please go to our website to find more and to apply at www.etivdobrasil.org

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Questions & Answers


based on 9 reviews
  • Impact 8.8
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 9 of 9

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.

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.

How can this program be improved?
As any NGO, they have room to grow, however, their in the right path for sure.
Yes, I recommend this program
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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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Endless Opportunities at ETIV

My experience at ETIV do Brasil has been incredible. The volunteers all bring such a special light and passion to the program in their own way. The children of Itacare and neighborhood of Passagem are very friendly and open to learn. Its really nice that volunteers get a lot of freedom to initiate their own projects, and that also teaches you a lot about responsibility and commitment. The community here at ETIV is very united and everyone is aware of each other’s projects. In terms of Marketing work, the schedule is very flexible and the variety of tasks and freedom for new projects is nice, but requires organized and dedicated volunteers and interns. Other volunteers are very helpful when it comes to pictures, blogs, and filming classes. Sometimes organization and administration can get blurry since we ETIV is a small NGO, but working through this is part of learning to solve different kinds of issues. Itacare is beautiful! The local people are very friendly, there is a very vivid night life, and much to do especially for those looking for adventure. ETIV is what you make it!

How can this program be improved?
This program can be improved in the sense of organization. Enforcing more clear communication with volunteers and administration prior to arrival would be great to ensure a clarity of responsibility.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Not as advertised

If you are serious about volunteering and doing something meaningful with your time, go somewhere else. What ETIV advertises on their website is not at all what the reality actually is. All the volunteer descriptions online state the following: “volunteers work at least 4 hours a day/20 hours a week, usually from Monday to Friday from 9am – 1pm.”
Well, this isn’t true. I had originally signed up to help with English teaching and environmental classes. English classes consist of the following: One 1 hour English class a week in Passagem (the “poorer” community where the ETIV office and volunteer house is located). About 2 weeks into my stay another English class was started in another area of Itacare, but this was also only for 1 hour. So, 2 hours of “teaching” a week, plus a couple hours prep… = 20 hours of “meaningful” volunteer work? The English “teachers” are not qualified to teach and do not have much guidance in terms of lesson plans, weekly/monthly plans for what to teach the kids, and no real support. I was told when I arrived to not expect too much from English classes with the kids as it is more to spend time with the kids than what it is to teach English. So what is the point then? The website makes a big deal out of creating the future leaders of Itacare and instilling core values into them and helping them be better, yet I was left with a very strong impression that it was all just for show and the NGO is not actually doing too much for the community.
The environmental class is also once a week for one hour. Youth development is pretty much just supporting the English and environmental classes. More than half the positions advertised on their website are not even up and running and those that are are so disorganized. Why not partner with local organizations who are already established? I tried to run a sports class but this too was an epic fail. The first one was cancelled due to inclement weather, the second one the kids showed up half an hour late and the third was cancelled without anyone informing me of this. This is another thing, the NGO lacks leadership. The director doesn’t seem to know what is going on half the time, doesn’t know how to lead a team, and doesn’t seem to know how to run her NGO effectively. She has many years experience in the field according to the website, but this experience doesn’t seem to show in the day to day running of the NGO.
The assistant director is a volunteer who doesn’t seem to know much about the working world. She is pro “just give the volunteers tasks and let them do it” without providing much structure or any semblance of a schedule or time frame to follow to have things accomplished by. The director agreed that it would be a good idea to try incorporating some sort of schedule so people’s days are more structured… Yet none of this was ever communicated effectively to the volunteers so everyone ended up complaining about each other… The one girl was always complaining about having to wait on others to get things done yet she was the first one who did not want to have a more structured schedule in place. One of the others tried to step up to try get things better organized but then the others complained about her telling them what to do…It was a lose/lose situation. I understand the need to be flexible especially in a little rural village, however one needs to find the balance between structure and flexibility.
I was never asked for a police clearance certificate. I was working with kids yet for all anyone knew I could have had a criminal record as long as my arm. (which I don’t)
When I asked about getting a taxi from the house to the bus station to leave I was told to contact the taxi driver myself. I don’t mind making my own arrangements, I have been traveling all over for a very long time so I am not afraid to do things on my own, but why am I paying the NGO for “ongoing support” when I have to do everything myself anyway?
I had to have very cold showers a few days in a row. I brought this to the attention of the assistant director who told me that there had never been hot water (yes, no hot water but there was always warm water), there’s only cold water and it was because of the time of day I was showering as the water tank was being heated by the sun. Hmmm. Ok. A few days later in the staff meeting it came to light that there was something wrong with the wiring which is why there was only cold water. So, where was my support and understanding from those in charge? Instead of blowing me off, why not look into the matter and try be more helpful and understanding?
My room was dirty upon arrival. There was a used condom wrapper under the bed, the floor under the bed had not been swept, the closest was full of mould, and the fan had not been cleaned and was covered in thick dust. The sheet I was given was stained brown and had rips and tears in it. The duvet cover/sheet was stained black (from mould I assume). The dish cloths were also stained black. Some of the kitchen utensils were so rusted and worse for wear they should be discarded. The kitchen was filthy. The dish rack was so thick with dirt and grime (and this for CLEAN dishes) that it seemed like it hadn’t been cleaned in months. The chopping boards were also so stained with mould they should also be discarded and new ones purchased.
There is a laundry machine in the house however should you wish to use it it will set you back R$20 per wash (even to wash your sheets when you leave). The machine only uses cold water and doesn’t seem to clean the clothes thoroughly. I used the machine twice and both times my clothes came out still somewhat dirty. If you choose not to pay R$20 you will have to wash your things by hand in a bucket, or take it to the Laundromat in town.
Now, the “tours”. Some of these are with reputable companies who have insurance and are covered if anything were to happen to you. Some of these “tours” are really just a fisherman transporting you in a boat to a location. That is not a tour. For example, a “tour” to Pontal is really just a R$5 ride in a fisherman’s boat to Pontal. That is not a tour (in my opinion.).
Also, I had initially wanted to learn capoeira. The director didn’t know that the person apparently contracted for this had started a new job and was no longer offering the capoeira. Granted the director of the NGO offered that I join the beach fitness class instead (to which I agreed) but it still left a bitter taste in my mouth. I wanted to do capoeira. It was supposed to be included in my package, yet the NGO doesn’t even keep up to date with what it is offering and if these things are even still available.
On a positive note though, I was initially signed up to stay for 6 months. When I saw that the reality was different to what was advertised the NGO agreed to allow me to change my stay to only one month and reimbursed me the rest of my money. I had signed up for the package, and two weeks into my stay I had to get stitches in my hand. Again the NGO agreed to change my package to a “just volunteer” commitment for 1 month so I managed to receive some money back. However, I still feel like this was a complete waste of my time and money. I chose ETIV and Itacare as I wanted to improve my Portuguese, practice capoeira and have an impact and be able to help the community. Unfortunately these things never came to fruition, but it was definitely a learning experience.
The little village is quaint. If you enjoy the beach, surfing and socializing then you’ll enjoy the town. I am an introvert so I don’t need much in terms of mingling with people, so the town wasn’t of too much importance to me (I chose Itacare for the humanitarian aspects). However the location is beautiful. If location and the social aspect are more important to you, then you may have a great time here. If the humanitarian and volunteering aspect is more important to you, perhaps look elsewhere.
I sincerely do hope they get more structure into the NGO and focus on building it up and possibly building partnerships with other, more established NGOs already operating in the Itacare area.
There is so much potential and opportunity to do meaningful work and truly empower people but there has to be better leadership and better organization. I wish them all the best and hope they realize their goals in the future.
(P.S: I would be interested in hearing from previous volunteers if anyone has had similar experiences there? Some people I spoke to had similar opinions to me so it would be interesting to see if this is how the NGO has been running since its inception.)

How can this program be improved?
Please see above.
No, I don't recommend this program
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An unforgettable experience

Itacaré is the perfect volunteering destination is you are a lover of all things the great outdoors - sun, surf, jungle and wildlife.
ETIV do Brasil is a very new NGO, so the opportunity to share ideas, work on a range of projects and be very widely involved in the organisation is all yours.

I volunteered here for 2 months and truly loved watching the organisation grow in such a small time frame and loved having the ability to contribute in a wide variety of ways.

The beauty of Itacaré makes you forget you are even working!

Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience in Paradise

I loved my time volunteering with ETIV do Brasil so much I extended my stay (and to be honest I never really wanted to leave)! Given that the organisation was still fairly new I had the opportunity to be involved in the setting up of the English projects, I was even able to start my own project! The kids here are amazing and the location is absolute paradise! You definitely won't regret coming to Itacare, I definitely didn't!

Yes, I recommend this program

Great All Around Experience

My experience teaching in this beautiful surf town in Brazil has been nothing short of Amazing!!! From the moment I arrived Jaci and Monique (the director and assistant director) were welcoming and supportive and stayed that way throughout my entire stay. The community and people of Itacare, especially in the Passagem area were so lovely and grateful to have us. The children that we taught are adorable although can be somewhat challenging! Although the organization is new they have integrated well and have so many positive relationships within the community. The surf and nightlife is fun as well! And the beaches and surrounding area are absolutely stunning! I would highly recommend this program for anyone looking for an affordable but quality experience in a beautiful surrounding volunteering!

Yes, I recommend this program

Worry-free travel to Brazil

Jaci and Monique, who run this program, are the most caring and compassionate people I've met in my travels. They really care about the work they do and the people they help with their program. But they also care about the volunteers who come so far from home. I was comfortable and happy working with them because they go out of their way to provide for volunteer's needs in whatever way they can, whether it's to enjoy a lunch together, offer an interesting activity or just to listen. I recommend this program because these are REAL people who will be waiting for you when you arrive and you will feel that you are making a real difference in the lives of the locals.

How can this program be improved?
grow and invite even more people to join you!
Yes, I recommend this program
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A life changing and effective volunteering experience!

ETIV do Brasil is in the process of recruiting its first ever volunteers. These volunteers will each play a crucial role in helping to create something incredible at this exciting time of the NGO's inception.

I had the pleasure of working with Jaci (the Director and Founder of ETIV do Brasil), when she was leading a volunteer powered Peruvian NGO and registered UK charity called Otra Cosa Network (OCN), based in northern Peru. OCN ran 5 of its own community projects and maintained partnerships with approximately 30 other local charities and organisations. Volunteers had the opportunity to work in a huge range of different fields, from Youth Development and Women's Empowerment, to Animal Welfare and Environmental Conservation. Despite its breadth, OCN makes a notable contribution to local development and is a well integrated, accepted and respected entity in the community. This is greatly thanks to Jaci's incredible ability to identify an area's needs and strategically make a positive impact without being intrusive.

As a leader, Jaci is just as passionate about her volunteer's experiences as she is about making a positive difference to the local area and its people. Jaci lets volunteers take control of their projects, flourish, and find out how much they can really achieve.

I am so excited to work with Jaci again at ETIV do Brasil. If you're considering volunteering overseas, this is an opportunity not to be missed!

How can this program be improved?
If I HAD to say something, I would say the general organisation could be improved slightly. But this is normal among NGOs, as they are usually trying to achieve a lot with very little resources - you just have to roll with it, be flexible and help if you can!
Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Staff

About ETIV do Brasil

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...