Supporting Parrots in Costa Rica, Central America?

Accounting for International Development
London (Central)
11 Apr 2018
18 May 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

Our non profit Costa Rican partner's mission is to implement conservation action that restores healthy populations of native parrots throughout their historic ranges in Costa Rica.

The Great-green Macaw and the Scarlet Macaw have both suffered dramatic declines in Costa Rica. The country’s Great-green Macaw population is estimated to be only 300 individuals and the Scarlet Macaw population is estimated to have approximately 1000 birds.

The Organisation has a history of successfully breeding both species in captivity and releasing the offspring, with nearly 100 macaws released to date. They maintain two release sites at Punta Islita, and Manzanillo respectively, and are developing a field base in the north of Costa Rica. Their captive breeding center is also located at the Punta Islita site and there they have over 100 captive macaws.

High demand for the pet trade fuels the illegal poaching of young chicks from wild nests. This extractive practice is hugely damaging to the population, particularly as it is already impacted by considerable habitat loss. The local pet trade also presents serious welfare concerns with captured chicks enduring terrible conditions in transit and a lifetime of poor care.

To save these species The Project works in four key areas:

  1. Wild population management to boost productivity
  2. Captive breeding and reintroduction to restore wild populations
  3. Community outreach to inspire individuals to care
  4. Habitat protection and restoration to secure a future for macaws and other species

As Project’s scope and budget grows they wish to ensure they manage funding well. Management feel that there is room for improvement with the systems they have in place and want to ensure they are following best practices for an organisation of their size

Your role

You will be the first volunteer on assignment at the org, and your role will start with an assessment of their accounting & financial management systems, making and implementing recommendations on best practice based on the complexity of their finances, the resources available to the organisation and skillset of the local staff. Currently most of their controls are based on trust but the Executive Director feels is time to set up controls to avoid misappropriation of funds.

At the moment they work on Excel ; it is limiting them and they would like advice on whether they should move to an accounting system (ie Quickbooks) or if they can use Excel better. They also prepare annual budgets but need further guidance on how to monitor them, similarly although the understand the need for a cashflow forecasting they need further training. They would also appreciate guidance around reporting as they want to be more proactive.

In terms of their set up the activities in the north will become a separate entity in the next 6 months while you are on placement your advice on what that means for their finance function would come at a good time.

Their finance function is managed on site, by a long-term volunteer (transitioning to Programme Manager) and by an external accountant in the capital San Jose. During your placement the director plans to bring the external accountant to Punta Islita for training. He would also like you to provide training to their long-term volunteers (who are also project officers) on managing non-profit finances.

Placement length and dates

A 4-6-week placement would be suitable

Accommodation and other information

Accommodation will be offered free of charge in a small cabin in the village with other volunteers. Theirs is a young energetic team based in one of the most beautiful areas of Costa Rica

Feeling inspired?

Need a fresh challenge.. to do something worthwhile?

Keen to volunteer & share your skills & experience?

If that's a YES (x3), please visit the website and find out how we can tailor a volunteer placement that's right for you. Click the 'apply now' button if you would like to find out more about volunteering overseas.

We are confident you’ll encounter a variety of new and exciting challenges, share new experiences with inspiring people and learn skills that will give you confidence to face challenges in other areas of your life. You’ll be inspired and get back so much more than you give!

Please visit the website for many many exciting volunteer opportunities globally for adventurous altruistic accountants.


AfID Workshop: A practical insight for accountants looking to work in the sector either as a volunteer or in a salaried position. Next date - Friday 18th May. For more information, or to book, please get in touch.

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