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VVolunteer opportunity

Research and Documentation Volunteer - Housing and Human Settlements

Volunteer opportunity

Volunteer Opportunity posted by: Habitat for Humanity International

Posted on: November 6, 2013

Volunteer Opportunity description

Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) is seeking a detailed and analytical individual to volunteer in the role of Housing and Human Settlements Research and Documentation Volunteer at our Latin America/Caribbean (LAC) area office. This opportunity helps keep housing quality up to HFHI standards, thereby helping HFHI continue to produce simple and decent housing to families in need. This position will be based at the LAC area office in San Jose, Costa Rica. This is a 6 month opportunity, beginning ideally in 2013.


  • This first part requires someone whose native language is Spanish, but possessing of strong abilities in English as well.
  • Research water and sanitation (WATSAN) technologies and models within Habitat for Humanity worldwide.
  • Organize the documentation platform of the Housing and Human Settlements department.
  • Have focused follow-through with our National Offices to obtain needed information from them.


The office is located in the north-western perimeter of metro San José (the neighborhood of La Uruca) near the Best Western Irazú Hotel. Bus transportation is readily available, and very reasonably priced, and while taxis are abundant they are more costly. The volunteer should anticipate pursuing a furnished apartment in/around the city (or suburbs), and that the commute could be anywhere between one-half to one-full hour. "Home Stays" are also available (whereby the volunteer would occupy one room in a family's house - generally with his/her own bathroom), and can decrease the amount of money needed during the posting. Office attire is "business casual," so shorts are not permitted - but comfortable clothing is the norm.


Costa Rica (Spanish for "rich coast" - officially the Republic of Costa Rica), is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south-southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Costa Rica was the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army. The weather is spectacular. Costa Rica has the greatest variety of plants, trees, birds, and animals of any country on the planet. The dry season is from December through May and is practically perfect - warm during the day, and cool at night. So light-weight clothing is recommended, but a sweater or light jacket might be needed later in the evening. However the volunteer should be well prepared for the frequent rains during the other months. San Jose is the capital and largest city in Costa Rica. San Jose's elevation gives it a mild climate. The temperature ranges between 15 degrees C and 26 degrees C. The rainy season is from May to late November, but cloudiness and rainfall can occur during the dry season. Relative humidity tends to range between 60 and 90 percent. Crime is more a question of "opportunity." If some individuals are given the chance to make an easy mark, they will take that opportunity. The same can be said for traveling around the country: so long as proper security precautions are adhered to (and one is conscious of not flaunting "relative wealth"), then visitors to the country should feel comfortable. Credit cards are readily accepted at most stores, restaurants, and grocery stores. However, International cards are not accepted on all "platforms," so doing something as simple as trying to add more minutes to a pre-paid phone can be challenging. However, ATM machines are everywhere, and the cost per transaction is reasonable. Costa Rica is recognized as having excellent medical facilities, and many come here for the quality of the dental care and plastic surgery. Lastly, Costa Rica is an outdoor-enthusiasts paradise. There are volcanoes everywhere (several active, most dormant, some lake-filled), and the hills are excellent for hiking and biking. Eco-tourism, zip-lining, nature trails, adventure sports - all these and more are possible during your time here.


  • USD$400 per month
  • Home Stay opportunity (which can reduce cost)
  • Office set-up with computer


Monthly estimate for a single individual is given below. (All figures are in USD.)

For a rental apartment:
Housing: $500
Utilities: $50
Food: $150
Transportation to and from office: $30
Other (recreation and personal expenses) :$150
Estimated Monthly Total: $880

For a homestay:
Housing: $300
Food: $100
Transportation to and from office: $30
Other (recreation and personal expenses) :$150
Estimated Monthly Total: $580

Job Requirements

Fluency in English and intermediate Spanish language skills
Experience in research and documentation
Excellent oral and written communication skills
Experience working in a cross-cultural setting
All IVP volunteers must confirm the purchase of international insurance coverage for the duration of their stays.

How to apply

Please submit your resume and motivation letter as ONE DOCUMENT into our applicant tracking system at:

Habitat for Humanity engages people of all ages and backgrounds in addressing community needs.

Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian ministry. The purpose and goal of Habitat for Humanity International is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses in partnership with families in need. Habitat for Humanity has an Operational Headquarters in Americus, Georgia and an Administrative Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and is a global, non-profit ministry where our employees build futures and lives.


San Jose, Provincia de San José, Costa Rica


International volunteer options
International volunteers welcome
Housing available
Language/cultural support available
Owner's areas of focus

Time Commitment

3 months or longer
Time commitment
Full time (30-40 hours/week)
Times of day
Days of week
Fixed schedule
Start and end dates
Beginning ideally in 2013