Latin America and Caribbean Featured Program: Argentina
Argentina is in the heart of South America. There is enormous geographic contrast between the expansive eastern plains and the Andes mountain range to the west.
The country’s climate varies widely depending on geographic location: subtropical in the north, sub-Antarctic in southern Patagonia and mild and humid in the Pampas plains. Average winter (July–September) temperatures in Buenos Aires range from 3–8 degrees C, while summer (January–March) temperatures average 28 degrees C but can reach up to 40 degrees.
Argentina is a country of contrasts. Despite breathtaking landscapes and modern business centers, four of every 10 Argentines live in inadequate housing. Approximately 571,000 people live in poverty housing (about 16 percent of the total population) and more than 500,000 suffer overcrowding problems (more than 14.5 percent of the total population).
In December 2001, Argentina suffered an economic collapse that left 50 percent of the population below the poverty line. Consequently, an interdisciplinary group from HFH designed a four-level program aimed at reaching families with different incomes and needs.
(Statistics from 2001 Population and Housing Census – National Institute of Statistics and Census-Argentina.)
National program background
Habitat for Humanity International established operations in Argentina in 1992 and built six houses in the Olavarría, Buenos Aires province. After a seven-year absence, a group of teachers, staff and parents of a local school and a pastor of the city of Luján contacted HFHI in 1999 to evaluate the possibility of reestablishing a Habitat for Humanity office in Argentina.
In 2003, an HFH office opened in Luján, and a project entitled “Reconstructing Santa Fe, One House at a Time” was initiated to assist families affected by the flooding of the Salado River that same year. In 2004, construction of the first houses began in Santa Fe, with the technology and collaboration of a local university. Since then, Habitat Argentina has built 202 homes. House sponsorship is $13,500.
Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers will work on completing homes, housing improvements, finish/conclusions, repairs and additions or expansions.
While on the work site, the team will be supervised by construction experts and will have access to portable bathrooms, designated rest areas with shade and drinkable water. For safety, team members will use the hard hats, gloves and safety glasses provided.
Habitat Argentina has a special interest in teams that are willing to participate in activities in addition to construction. Additional engagement activities could include work in community development projects with Habitat partner organizations; advocacy and social projects aimed to improve the lives of those in need of housing and education in Argentina; and other unique activities as identified by Habitat Argentina.
Santa Fe and Buenos Aires. Please note that location is confirmed approximately one month before the trip. The arrival airport is always Buenos Aires.
Lodging is typically in simple, decent hotels with basic facilities.
Typically in private vans or buses, depending on the size of the team.
Food and water
Breakfasts are typically served in the hotel or a local restaurant. Lunches are provided on the work site and dinner is typically served in the hotel or a local restaurant.
The water in Argentina is drinkable in almost every area. However, bottled or purified water is recommended.
Vegetarians: Please remember that vegetarianism is not the norm in Argentina and is sometimes a difficult concept for local providers to grasp. Volunteers who are vegetarians can enjoy salad, fruit, eggs, cheese, rice and beans. Other dietary needs will need to be discussed in advance with the host coordinator.
Hosting structure and services
Argentina’s national office has a bilingual host coordinator who is available by phone or email. Habitat Argentina will also send a full-time field assistant to accompany each team, and in addition Habitat staff will accompany the team for at least half the time they are in Argentina. The team leader will be given a mobile phone upon arrival to use throughout the trip.
Since Habitat Argentina began hosting teams in 2002, it has provided international volunteers with an opportunity to experience its culture through elaborate welcome and farewell activities with community members and Habitat partner families. During their trip, volunteers will be provided with educational tools and information sheets about the housing needs in Argentina that will help them learn more about the families they will be working with. All participants receive souvenirs and diplomas during the farewell activity.
Day 1 (Typically Friday): Depart for Argentina.
Day 2 (Saturday): Arrival in Buenos Aires; Greeted by Habitat Argentina staff; Transport to hotel in Buenos Aires; Free afternoon to rest; Team dinner.
Day 3 (Sunday): Welcome and orientation meeting with HFH Argentina staff at the national office; Share a typical Argentinean meal for lunch (empanadas); Travel to the host program.
Day 4–8 (Workdays, Monday–Friday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; Work from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. with lunch on site; Free time after work to clean up; Dinner of typical Argentine food; Time for team activities.
Day 9 (Saturday): Travel to Buenos Aires; Free time for local cultural activities; Evaluation meeting with HPH Argentina.
Day 10 (Sunday): Departure. (Flights from Buenos Aires are typically in the evening, with next-day arrival to home city.)
Starting at $1,970
*View the standard budget.
Maximum of 14 team members.
Late January–early December
Volunteer Engagement specialist
If you have read the FAQs and have further questions before you submit a Global Village trip proposal, please contact the Latin America and Caribbean Volunteer Engagement Specialist Heather Ewing at firstname.lastname@example.org or 229-410-7700 .
Please note: proposals for LAC trips should be submitted no less than six and no more than nine months prior to departure. Due to the LAC area’s hosting capacity and volume, this timeline ensures our team can best support you in the Global Village trip planning process.