IIIYP: Alianza Nacional Rios y Cuencas de Costa Rica, Costa Rica

Internship Position Description:

1 - Community Garden Program Assistant

2 - Cacao Cooperative Outreach Coordinator

3 - Rivers and Streams Policy Researcher



Organization: Alianza Nacional Rios y Cuencas de Costa Rica (ANRCCR)

The Alianza Nacional Rios y Cuencas de Costa Rica (ANRCCR) is committed to protecting Costa Rica's waterways and creating a united, sustainable effort across levels of government to respect and protect Costa Rica's rivers and streams. ANRCCR recognizes that the nation's wellbeing depends on the goodwill of all Costa Ricans to maintain healthy rivers and streams and development decisions made on a daily basis. Never before has the need to preserve Costa Rica's bounty of flora and fauna, its rich and fertile land, pure water and clear air, been made so evident. ANRCCR works alongside Indigenous communities in the region to ensure the protection of Costa Rica’s rivers and streams.

Project Summary:

While sharing with its neighbors the experiences of colonial exploitation and commodity-export dependency, Costa Rica has managed to rise above. Instead of recurring cycles of dictatorship and poverty, Costa Rica boasts an enduring democracy and the highest standards of living in Central America. Despite Costa Rica's leading global role historically in the promotion of human rights, indigenous communities, particularly in the Talamanca region, have been involved in conflicts over land claims.

ANRCCR is working closely with the Bribri Cabecar Indigenous Network (RIBCA), an organization with the mandate to empower and strengthen institutional participation of the Bribri and Cabecar peoples. This partnership will ensure that the intern’s work will be carried out with the guidance and participation of Indigenous groups in the region who are underrepresented in other institutions. ANCRCCR also works with the Association of Indigenous Women of Talamanca - Asociación de Mujeres Indígenas de Talamanca (ACOMUITA), whose mandate is to increase the recognition of the economic, political, cultural and social roles of female cacao workers in the region. The association is made up of 75 women from 11 communities, who, in addition to producing artisanal cacao and selling it across the country, aims to reaffirm the cultural and historical value of cacao and preserve Indigenous Bribri culture.

The Bribri are Costa Rica’s largest Indigenous community and are one of the few groups in the country who have maintained their language. As many young people are increasingly interested in discovering the outside world, there is a general concern amongst community members about conserving local culture. For this reason, ANRCCR is seeking interns who are community orientated with experience in community engagement and mobilization and recognize the importance and value of preserving culture and traditions. Through their work and attitudes, interns will help youth see the value of preserving their identity and culture; the importance of being proud of one’s origins; and the need to protect the rivers, land and environment.

There are 3 internship roles in Costa Rica:

  1. Community Garden Program Assistant (1)
  2.  Cacao Cooperative Outreach Officer (2)
  3.  Rivers and Streams Policy Researcher (1)

Intern 1: Community Garden Program Assistant

The Community Garden Program Assistant will support a local school with the development and upkeep of their community garden as well as support other gardening/agriculture projects in the community, including a polyculture project run by the cooperative. The local school is eager to engage youth in food production and promote increased interaction with their natural environment. The intern will act as an ambassador for the project, and will be expected to increase ownership, enthusiasm and knowledge around the initiative.

Intern activities will include:

  • Teaching children and staff how to maintain and develop the garden, including researching and implementing sustainable gardening practices, organizing workshops and information sessions, recruiting participants, and supporting leadership opportunities for students.
  • Demonstrating the value of community driven conservation initiatives by bringing passion, knowledge, previous experience, commitment and ownership to the project,
  •   Other activities as required by ANRCCR and partners

Internship specific qualifications (See bottom of page for general qualifications):

  •   Knowledge and experience with gardening, farming, 
  •  Strong interest in community development
  •  Enthusiasm and initiative
  •  Experience working with children and young people
  •  Experience in education or working with schools

Intern 2: Cacao Cooperative Outreach Coordinator

The Cacao Cooperative Outreach Coordinators will work with the cacao cooperative to strengthen the cooperative’s brand, communications and public relations. This could include using art to add beauty to the buildings, ground maintenance/improvement, creative projects and social media campaigns. The cacao cooperative has a wealth of potential; interns will play an active part in supporting the various initiatives of the cooperative, including business development and other tasks as requested.

Intern activities will include:

  • Beautifying the space through art and by supporting the general upkeep of the space, 
  • Developing and strengthening the cooperative’s brand
  • Creating and distributing communications materials
  • Working with the cooperative to develop plans to sell cacao products in local and potentially international markets, including facilitating strategic business relationships
  • Assisting in organizing meetings and events
  • Supporting outreach in indigenous communities
  • Administrative assistance
  • Other tasks as required

Internship specific qualifications(See bottom of page for general qualifications):

  • A resourceful/handy individual with a good sense of humour
  • Positive, proactive and innovative
  •  Strong digital, media and communications skills
  • Experienced working with and relating to youth
  • Creative and an “outside the box” thinker
  • Strong computer skills
  • Basic Spanish language skills (oral and written) an asset

Intern 3: Rivers and Streams Policy Researcher

Interns will work with ANRCCR and the Instituto Centroamericano de Asuntos Internacionales (ICAI) in close collaboration with RIBCA to convene stakeholders, conduct public outreach, and undertake data collection to support ANRCCR's work of minimizing environmental harms to Costa Rica's rivers and streams. Interns will also be expected to take an active role in the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the program.

Internship activities will include:

  • Collecting data for the protection of rivers and streams in Costa Rica
  • Conducting literature reviews
  • Interviewing stakeholders
  • Writing reports
  • Presenting policy recommendations

Internship specific qualifications (See bottom of page for general qualifications):

  • Interest and/or training in public policy, specifically environmental policy
  • Experience conducting research
  • Strong writing skills

Required Skills/Characteristics for ALL interns in Costa Rica: The internship team will need to collectively comprise of the following:

  • (Required) Ability to adapt to new and different cultures and relate to people from different backgrounds
  • (Required) Ability to develop working relationships within a community
  • (Required) Strong inter-personal skills
  • (Required) Willingness to learn to communicate through language barriers
  • (Required) Positive attitude
  • (Required) A strong interest or experience in:
    • Environmental sustainability and conservation
    • Social work and/or community development
    • Agriculture
  • In the area few people can communicate in English, so learning Spanish as an ongoing activity is very important for this assignment. Previous Spanish knowledge is considered a strong asset.
  • ANRCCR is looking for energizing individuals with strong work habits and communications skills, and a willingness to develop a sense of ownership over the project.

Placement Characteristics:

Interns will be living together at the cacao cooperative in the town of Chiroles, province of Limón. The local people of Chiroles are the Bribri and Cabécar, whose economic livelihood is based upon traditional agricultural practices. The cooperative is known as “Mujeres de Chocolat” in Spanish and in the local language, it is called "Tsirushka" which is the Bribri word for chocolate. The Community Garden Program Assistant will travel a short journey to the local school in the town of Kachabri, which will include taking public buses and a water taxi. They will also support garden initiatives at the cooperative.

The communities are close to many spots that are very popular amongst tourists, including Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, a coastal town known for surfing and beaches on the Caribbean Sea. The area is surrounded by waters, rivers and the Talamanca mountains. Situated near the Panama border, interns can easily visit the well-known Bocas De Toro province and will have ample opportunities to experience Costa Rica’s beautiful landscape on weekends and during Christmas break (from approximately December 15th to January 4th).