GIS Specialist Volunteer

Punta Gorda, Toledo, Belize
BZ $1000 (US $500) monthly living stipend
Apr 06, 2018
Apr 30, 2018
Job Level
Mid level
Employment Type


We’re looking for a passionate volunteer who wants to contribute to sustainable development and experience living abroad in Belize. Ya’axché is a fun, mission-driven place to work and we’re looking for like-minded volunteers to join our team!

Ya’axché Conservation Trust is a community-oriented NGO that couples conservation with sustainable development to advance integrated landscape management in southern Belize. The focal geographic area for Ya’axché’s activities, the Maya Golden Landscape (MGL), extends from the Maya Mountains to the Port Honduras Marine Reserve in the Caribbean Sea and forms part of the largest remaining contiguous areas of broadleaf forest in Central America. The MGL includes Ya’axché’s Golden Stream Corridor Preserve (GSCP, 15,441 acres) and the Bladen Nature Reserve (BNR, 100,000 acres) and Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve (MMNFR, 36,000 acres), both of which are co-managed by Ya’axché and the Belize Forest Department.

In addition to managing protected areas via Ya’axché’s Protected Areas Management Program, Ya’axché puts an equivalent focus on the livelihoods of the surrounding communities through education, sustainable livelihood initiatives and implementation of best practices. The Community Outreach & Livelihoods (COL) program seeks to increase environmental knowledge and address the socio-economic situation of the communities within and adjacent to the Maya Golden Landscape (MGL) by promoting cacao-based agroforestry and other better agricultural practices. The COL program contributes to building local capacity, environmental education, improving sustainable land use, and increasing financial stability.


The GIS Specialist is expected to work under the Protected Areas Management team to oversee the geospatial and sustainable land use activities according to Ya’axché’s Strategic Plan.


  • Lead geospatial and sustainable land use activities through data collection, creation, and analysis
  • Analyze Remote Sensing data and LANDSAT imagery to locate Land Use Land Cover (LULC) changes in community land and protected areas of the Maya Golden Landscape in southern Belize
  • Develop a Land Use Land Cover change report of the Maya Golden Landscape. 
  • Present Land Use Report to Government Officials, NGO’s and Private Sector when necessary 
  • Provide feedback and field work assistance to projects with a direct component of sustainable land use and landscape management in the Maya Golden Landscape in order to maximize the effectiveness of Ya’axché’s efforts.
  • Contribute in the collaboration with University of Belize, Forest Department and other organizations in increasing capacity in LULC change, forest cover monitoring and community land use planning.
  • Conduct data analysis and assisting in the production of reports from geospatial activities within the Protected Areas Management Program (PAM) and Community Outreach and Livelihoods (COL) team.



  • Minimum Bachelor´s Degree in relevant subject area (Geography, GIS, Remote Sensing, Biology, Natural Resource Management, or related field)
  • Experience in remote sensing, particularly analyzing LANDSAT imagery
  • Experience using GPS to create spatial datasets
  • Physical ability to do fieldwork in a tropical climate
  • Proven record in technical writing and data analysis
  • Experience using ArcGIS and remote sensing software, such as Google Earth Engine or ENVI
  • Good written and spoken English


  • Masters or postgraduate degree in GIS and/or remote sensing
  • Excellent knowledge of office programs like Excel and Access
  • Spanish an advantage
  • Experience working for conservation NGOs in developing countries
  • Knowledge of conservation and community development issues in developing countries
  • Knowledge of Google Earth Engine, JavaScript, or other coding language



  • The ability to work with a wide variety of individuals (including a multi-cultural in-house team) by using tact, diplomacy and flexibility and resolving conflict effectively
  • Self-motivated and able to work independently with minimal supervision
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and allocate time effectively to meet internal and external deadlines
  • Ability to operate as part of a team in a dynamic environment, as well as self-motivation, drive and enthusiasm to work under own initiative
  • Ability to think strategically and logically and to apply common sense
  • Dependable and reliable, with a positive attitude
  • Interest in conservation and community development
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Strong communication skills to clearly communicate key messages and have candid conversation


This is a volunteer position with a stipend to cover basic living expenses. However, the volunteer will receive benefits including:

  • Opportunity to work closely with dynamic, multi-cultural staff
  • Appreciation for your dedication and hard work
  • Adventure in a country with pristine ecosystems, world-class snorkelling, and SCUBA
  • In-depth, interactive cultural experience unattainable by tourists


There are no program fees charged for this experience, but the volunteer is expected to arrange and pay for:

  • Transportation to Punta Gorda, Belize, including airfare.
  • Food, personal expenses, in-country travel, rent in Punta Gorda
  • Passport, visa, sufficient personal medical insurance

Additional information is available in the Volunteer Guide including a break-down of the realistic cost of living in Belize. If you have any further questions we are happy to provide information on request.


To apply, please download and read application pack; and send a copy of your CV (no more than 2 pages) and a one-page letter outlining your interest and suitability for the position. All documents should be emailed in .pdf format to christina.garcia(at) Deadline to submit applications is May 1st 2018.