• Ecuador
    • Quito
    • Amazon
5 to 52 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Age Max
Short Term Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Guesthouse Host Family
Small Group (1-15) Medium Group (16-30)


Starting Price
Price Details
$700-$900 per month depending on length of stay

Manna Project's Program Director position is among the most affordable long-term volunteer options available.

MPI provides a living package for volunteers that covers housing, food, transportation to and from programs, travel insurance, visa, Spanish language classes, and Covid test subsidies. This package is available to all Program Directors for the monthly rates listed above. 12- and 13-month Program Directors have the option of making their own living arrangements
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Meals SIM cards Transportation Travel Insurance Visa Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Domestic Airfare
Apr 06, 2022
Dec 08, 2020
4 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

For 3-13 months, during your time with Manna Project International you will experience life and work alongside other young leaders and community members. At our site in Ecuador, you will direct a variety of impactful programs designed to meet the specific needs and opportunities of the community. These include long-standing and established programs.

You will also have the flexibility to create new programs where the community's vision intersect with your own education, passions and interests.This unique model creates the most impactful experience for you and the communities you'll be serving, and is designed to fulfill our mission. This position is perfect for someone ages 18-24 looking to extensively expand their leadership development, while experiencing a new culture and making lifelong friends.

Consider your impact: Volunteering abroad can be a rewarding experience for both volunteers and local communities, and at Go Overseas, we believe all volunteers should have the resources to make informed decisions about the type of volunteer project they want to partake in. However, despite best intentions, some organizations offering placements in orphanages may unknowingly place children in danger. You can read about the potential dangers of orphanage volunteering here. Learn more about how Manna Project International is promoting ethical volunteering.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Extensive ongoing leadership experience (language training, mentorship, quarterly retreats) and preparation for many professional fields
  • Access to a growing and very distinguished Alumni Network of 2,000+ and resources to help with your future
  • 5-10 personal days (depending on length of commitment); 10 national holidays annually
  • A communal experience of a lifetime
  • MEDEX international travel insurance and a visa to live in-country for the duration of your work with MPI

Related Programs

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 18 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.9
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 5
  • Value 4.95
  • Safety 4.95
Showing 1 - 8 of 18 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Manna Project International Alternative Spring Break

I had such a wonderful time volunteering with Manna Project International. This experience was supposed to be about helping others, however, I feel like I learned so much more than I gave to people. My experience was so insightful and enriching and I am forever greatful to have had this opportunity. The community members I interacted with in Ecuador were so kind, welcoming, and made me want to become a better person. I am very passionate about the work that Manna does and I am proud to have worked with an organization that makes such a large different in peoples lives.

  • Cultural Immersion
  • Travel
  • Helping Others
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Chillos Valley, Ecuador

My experience was incredible, from working with the PD's to constantly having support from Abby. We learned a new song called Piel Canela when dancing with elderly homies. We grew a craving for Choco Bananas. We were able to connect with younger members of the community and play fun games with them. We were able to practice our spanish skills with younger generations and those who worked at the market. Embracing the challenge of a communication barrier is what really drove our group closer. We were able to experience a blend of service projects, excursions, and cultural immersion.

  • Being forced to step outside of my comfort zone
  • Connecting on a deeper level with other members and the community we served
  • The cost was incredibly affordable for the plethora of experiences we had.
  • The communication prior to the trip in terms of lodging.
  • Toilet paper shortages
  • Felt a little unplanned at times.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Fall Intern at Manna Project International

Being an intern at MPI has certainly helped me learn more about myself and how a group of people can make such large impacts in the lives of others. Here at Manna, participating in the weekly activities, teaching English classes, leading fundraising initiatives, researching grants, and designing for the social media platforms have all been both successful and influential. Working with MPI has certainly been a great experience I will remember for life, as the people are so kind and brilliant about Ecuadorian culture and overall improving lives from education, health, wellness, and community programmes. I encourage everyone to volunteer at MPI, as it is certainly a valuable experience.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would change the strategies I used in teaching the kids and incorporate more interactive games and exposures to English through reading short stories and songs. Despite the virtual setting, I would like to improve on making strong social connections.
35 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Impactful year abroad that allows for personal and professional growth

I chose Manna Project International - Ecuador because I wanted to do social work abroad for my first year out of college. MPI checked all the boxes I was looking for: impactful, safe, and a great work - life balance. My biggest take away from my 13-month stint as a Program Director was that Manna was not only focused on improving the quality of life of the people of Ecuador, but made it the goal to assist in the personal growth of their volunteers as well. I felt like I was making a difference in the lives of the people that took part in our programs, but also felt I was gaining valuable life and work experience. After Manna, I found I was referencing something I did during my year there in every question I was asked in job interviews. Because I was able to choose the programs I wanted to lead, I received a wealth of different experiences.

And on top of all the grant writing, microfinance, and teaching experience I was receiving, I got to travel all around an absolutely gorgeous, diverse country that I knew little about going in, but turned out to be a hidden gem in South America. We lived at 8000 in the valley outside of Quito in the Andes so had gorgeous vistas in our backyard. With a seven hour bus ride West, you were on the Pacific ocean, two hour bus ride south you were in a cloud forest near active volcanoes, and a six hour ride East took you into the Amazon. It truly is a beautiful country that you can explore fully during your time with Manna.

My experience not only helped my grow personally and professionally, but I also enjoyed every minute of it. 10/10.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I tried Cuy or as we know it in the US, guinea pig.
37 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

10 week volunteer in Nicaragua

I volunteered with the Manna Project in Nicaragua in 2005. I think this was its 2nd year in existence. I still look back fondly on my experience and it has significantly shaped my perspective on the world to this day. The highlight of my experience was probably the people I interacted with, both the Nicaraguans and other volunteers, and I appreciate those interactions to this day as well. I also respected the organization's consideration and care for how to work with these communities in a way that would be truly beneficial to them and avoid negative unintended consequences often common in international community-development efforts. I only stayed for 10 weeks because I wanted to do environmental-related work and they weren't involved in that at that time.

39 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Exciting, Fun, Impactful Career Launch

I was a year-long program director in Nicaragua my first year after graduating college. I appreciated every day the fun, flexibility, and impact of working with MPI, but its only years later that I realize how much of my professional leadership experience and career success I owe to the experience.

In terms of day to day experience, we were truly immersed in a local community in need, building friendships and professional relationships with local individuals and families and NGOs, and being responsive to them to contribute our resources (our energy, our relationships, our fundraising, our knowledge) to support their local grassroots initiatives. It made every day interesting and rewarding. Having these local relationships meant we got a real view into peoples lives and families, designed more impactful programs, and also got to live like locals for a while.

In terms of long-term benefit, MPI gave me an opportunity to think critically, figure out solutions, design programs, and lead local people and US resources. As a result, when I went to interview for my first "real job" after MPI, they were blown away by the leadership and problem solving experience, and I quickly rose into management. I also stayed involved in MPI as a former team member on the board (for which there are frequent opportunities) and that gave me great finance and staff management experience. All of that has translated into a really effective career launch pad that helped me have experience that puts me ahead of other people even many years later.

I didn't sit in an office making photocopies and filing stuff for other people right out of college, I designed and led programs and an organization, and that experience still benefits me in jobs and life years later. Also, I had way more fun and adventure.

39 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible personal and professional development

I worked with Manna Project International for almost two years, first as a volunteer and later as staff. I was based at the old site in Nicaragua, but I was familiar with the Ecuador site as well. The professional and personal experiences I had while working there were incredible. I got amazing language, leadership, project management and teaching skills. It was a great opportunity to do meaningful and hands-on work that will build your resume, give you a chance to travel, and, most importantly, help those in need. The perspective and experience I gained from Manna helped me get into medical school, and I think about my years there every day. I feel so fortunate to have worked with this supportive organization that has a view on community development work abroad that is similar to my own. I build relationships with community members in Nicaragua, my fellow volunteers and the staff at Manna that have continued throughout the years since I left. I can't encourage you enough to apply for this amazing opportunity. It is life-changing and has given me new perspective on life and also provided me with a ton of opportunities I would not have had otherwise.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Keep and open mind and take advantage of the months you spend there. It will be some of the best of your life.
38 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

13-Month Program Director Experience

I worked with Manna as a 13-month Program Director in Nicaragua and it was the best decision I could have made. The opportunity allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and experience meaningful service alongside new friends and community members. The relationship with the community was very welcoming and I fostered great relationships with the families and individuals. Also, I appreciated the autonomy Manna gave their program directors with the various programs that allowed growth and challenges that they can use after their experience in-country. Not to mention, you have the ability to experience a country and travel throughout. It was very special too to experience everything with others you are living with and who quickly become life-long friends. Working with MPI is truly a Mannamily family.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of every day to get to know the community and travel the country.
37 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers