Contact sydney@riosnete.org to get involved in Peru or find out about new opportunities in the U.S. 

Rios Nete, in Partnership with Runa Foundation, is offering interns and volunteers new and unique opportunities in Peru! We are continuously looking for new paths toward sustainable development in the Amazon and now you can join us in Tarapoto, Peru.

We believe that the most effective and sustainable way to protect the Amazon is to show its value in a tangible way. To do that, Rios Nete is building a research and healing center in the upper Peruvian Amazon to investigate medicinal plants and the cultural importance that's embodied in traditional healing practices. Through our research, we are looking for ways to revolutionize medicine, focusing on complicated and chronic diseases where western medicine has fallen short.  Through researching the efficacy of traditional healing practices of the indigenous Amazonian people, we hope to bring these medicinal alternatives to the international community.

Rios Nete aims to add value to the natural and cultural resources of the Amazon and bring that value back to local communities.  A part of the equation is linking local people to markets through the establishment of equitable value chains and sustainable production systems. Working towards sustainable development involves collaboration with local communities to understand their situation and priorities, and helping to strengthen local capacity to achieve their goals.

We are currently finalizing the design and breaking ground on the site of the center, which will serve as the epicenter for all of Rios Nete’s future activities. The land is located in the beautiful montane region of the Upper Amazon in the small community of Huapo, outside of Tarapoto, Peru.

Public Health and Traditional Medicine

Project Objectives

  • Understand the current health situation in the communities surrounding the future site of the health clinic in order to inform our strategies for community engagement
  • Build relationships with communities and civil and public organizations in and around the Tarapoto area
  • Gain a baseline understanding of the dual roles of traditional and western-style medicine in the health outcomes and behaviors of community members
  • Design an effective intervention that integrates traditional and modern approaches to solve current local health issues

Intern Duties

  • Hold workshops with communities in order to build collaboration and knowledge sharing
  • Work with local health care providers, including public health services and traditional healers
  • Identify potential areas of collaboration between local communities and the Rios Nete clinic
  • Spend time in communities to understand local medicinal practices 
  • Design a database to organize and analyze information
  • Create informative reports summarizing findings

Qualifications 

This internship is designed for undergraduate or graduate students majoring in the areas of Public Health, International Development, Social Work, International relations, or other related fields. An intermediate level of Spanish, equivalent to four semesters of college level Spanish is required.  Research experience is a plus and previous college-level coursework in Public Health is preferred.


Sustainable Agricultural Design

Description

Agriculture is vital to life in the communities surrounding Tarapoto, Peru. The new Rios Nete Research and Healing Center plans to establish an integrated agroforestry system in order to grow native plants to supply the clinic with organic food and medicinal plants. Sustainable agriculture interns will be vital in compiling information on what environmental conditions these plants need to grow. After analyzing results from field data, interns will work with our team to plan and design the agricultural component of the Rios Nete Healing Center. The interns will assist with the selection of species, collection of seeds, and planting and maintenance of agricultural and medicinal crops within our nursery and agroforestry plot, as well as the development of kitchen and botanical gardens.

Project Objectives

  • Create a sustainable agricultural system that utilizes properties of agroforestry systems as found in the local ecology of the region
  •  Design and implement a plan for collecting and germinating seeds, as well as cultivating young plants
  • Help to plan and execute improvements and the expansion of the Rios Nete indigenous plants nursery

Intern Duties

  • Work with the agricultural team to design the propagation plan and nursery expansion
  • Identify species, collect seeds, propagate plants, and establish kitchen and medicinal plant gardens 
  • Utilize agricultural best practices in organic farming and permaculture techniques
  • Submit a proposal outlining the design plans and anticipated production and present the results to Runa and Rios Nete management and key stakeholders

Qualifications 

Graduate and undergraduate students in sustainable agriculture, agroforestry, tropical agriculture, horticulture, and related fields. Preference will be given to candidates with experience working in rural agricultural settings, especially in Spanish speaking environments. Spanish is not required, though some additional translation costs may apply if a translator is needed to carry out certain field activities.


Participatory Community Development Planning

Description

We are looking for interns to help us plan and carry out community based development projects. This internship provides the opportunity to learn about various qualitative and quantitative research methods in collaboration with the communities of Huapo and Chololon, just outside of Tarapoto in the tropical premontane region of Northern Peru. By taking a participatory approach, planning activities will allow interns to get a holistic view of the lives and livelihoods of community members while helping to define future community development activities of Rios Nete in the region.

Project Objectives

  • Understand the lives, livelihoods, and resources of community members through collaborative research
  • Identify areas for community and program development activities
  • Highlight potential areas for collaboration between Runa Foundation, Rios Nete and local stakeholders
  • Begin implementation of tangible community development projects with local communities

Intern Duties

  • Design and implement data collection activities (such as semi-structured interviews, household surveys, focus groups, etc.)
  • Build collaborative relationships with community members and local public, private, and civil organizations 
  • Carry out all parts of effective participatory development projects including grantwriting, developing Monitoring and Evaluation plans, Activities, budgeting and other planning and management related activities.

Qualifications 

We are seeking graduate and undergraduate students in fields such as development practice, social work, policy, gender studies, or other interdisciplinary or social science. Proficiency in Spanish and English is essential. Previous experience in Latin America and/or community outreach is preferred. 


Ethnobotany

Description

We are seeking an intern to lead an investigation of traditional healing practices and herbal medicine of the Amazonian region of Peru. 

The intern will work with traditional healers and specialists to gain an understanding of the role of traditional healing practices, including primary plant species and their uses. 

This internship provides the opportunity to gain an understanding of traditional phytotherapy practices while helping to preserve the local knowledge of indigenous peoples. This work also seeks to highlight the importance of conserving the natural resources of the area by adding value to indigenous flora and fauna. 

Project Objectives

  • Identify primary medicinal plants of the upper and lower amazon region and understand their importance in traditional medicine
  • Establish working relationships with alternative healthcare providers and specialists
  • Obtain a holistic understanding of local shamanic healing traditions

Internship Duties

  • Utilize varied primary and secondary sources to research important medicinal species and their uses
  • Conduct interviews and other data collection activities with traditional healers and healing centers (may involve travel to other towns in the region) 
  • Catalog findings, including plants, their ecological and medicinal properties, natural habitat, cultivation, preparation, use, and cultural significance
  • Maintain and improve our medicinal plant database for organization and analysis of data
  • Work with our field team in the nursery and medicinal gardens

Qualifications 

This internship is designed for undergraduate or graduate students majoring in the areas of Public Health, International Development, Social Work, International relations, Botany, Ecology, or other related fields. An intermediate level of Spanish, equivalent to four semesters of college level Spanish is required.  Research experience is a plus and previous college-level coursework in Public Health is preferred.


Agricultural Cooperative Outreach

Description

Interns will work with agricultural cooperatives to understand local agricultural practices and their linkages to conservation and natural resource management strategies. In partnership with Runa and local agriculturalists, interns will gain an understanding of the role of agriculture and cooperatives in community organization and livelihood strategies. This collaboration will help to strengthen cooperatives through building capacity in areas such as sustainable agricultural practices, business and management skills, and other priorities of participating coops.

 Project Objectives

  • Build collaborative working relationships with local cooperatives
  • Compile information about current agricultural practices and value chains
  • Work with cooperatives to determine short and long term goals 
  • Collaborate to plan strategies for reaching community development objectives

Intern Duties

  • Utilize traditional and participatory research methods to understand cooperative activities and agricultural value chains
  •  Identify current cooperatives’ strengths and weaknesses 
  • Design workshops and capacity building activities
  • Work with cooperatives and local stakeholders to identify opportunities for growth and development
  • Create informative reports summarizing findings

Qualifications

This internship is designed for undergraduate and graduate students majoring in agriculture, business, international development, agricultural education and communication, natural resource management, and related fields. Spanish proficiency is essential. Experience in Latin America and/or working in rural settings is a plus. 

Thank you for your interest! Contact sydney@riosnete.org to get involved in Peru or find out about new opportunities in the U.S.