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Instituto Araguaia Policies & Student/Volunteer/Visitors Rights and Responsibilities


  1. Consent to Inherent Risks

We hope that your internship at IA and in Cantão State Park will be enjoyable, enlightening, and potentially even a life-changing experience, but some of the characteristics that may make your stay at IA attractive to you may also put you or your property at risk. All fieldwork or working in the wild involves a degree of risk, which varies from task to task. The IA Liability Waiver describes some of the foreseeable inherent risks involved in the activities that you are choosing to participate in. You must review and consider these risks carefully before signing the Liability Waiver and accepting a Volunteer position. By signing the Liability Waiver, you are accepting the potential consequences of these risks. Many of the conditions present for work at IA´s research base take place in remote areas of Cantão State Park, and include limited access to emergency and health services and limited or nonexistent communication facilities or other local infrastructure or services. IA’s Research Base experiences a whole range of climate, terrain and temperature, rustic living, physical work and other potential hazards including (but not limited to) transport difficulties and risks such as lack of boat/canoe safety standards, sickness, natural disasters, wildlife behavior and movements and other forces beyond the control of IA. 

2. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) 

It is permissible to share photos, videos, and stories of your expedition with family, friends, local media, and in a public forum. Sharing your new perspectives and experiences is welcomed and encouraged. 

However, please recognize that all scientific information, data, and images shared or gathered during your stay at IA becomes the intellectual property of the Principal Investigator (Project Coordinator) of the research being conducted at IA. Co-opting or plagiarism of data, images or business use of a third party without the permission of the IA’s Project Coordinator is strictly prohibited. Please be aware that data gathered during your time at IA becomes the intellectual property of the Coordinator.  IA has the right to place additional restrictions on your ability to share data or images. 

Conversely, IA’s Directors may give written permission to use data and images for academic activity. Please be sure to ask what is acceptable if you are in doubt. 

Fellows or scholarship recipients are required to submit a written report reflecting what they have learned on a project, sometimes as a step toward developing a curriculum. IA has the right but not obligation to review and edit materials involving information gathered on one of its projects.

3. Lifestyle Choices and Behavior 

IA does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation, and respects students and volunteers’ right to privacy. However, you must be aware that your lifestyle decisions may offend or clash with the sensibilities of local residents, or potentially violate local laws. 

Further, certain lifestyle decisions and behavior that has an impact on fellow volunteers or the Project Coordinator may result in an uncomfortable, hostile and/or unproductive work environment. 

To ensure enjoyable and productive work conditions and smooth relations with local peoples, IA has defined the following code of conduct. Beyond practicing cultural sensitivity and showing common courtesy, please be mindful of the following limitations. 

3.1 Fraternization 

IA, its staff, colleagues, and associates are prohibited from becoming romantically involved with students and volunteers during the entire duration of the period that the student or volunteer is in the field.

3.2 Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment of volunteers by IA staff is prohibited. Likewise, sexual harassment of the Project Coordinator, fellow volunteers, IA staff, or local people by volunteers is also prohibited. 

Sexual harassment does not mean occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. Sexual harassment refers to conduct which is offensive, which harms morale, or which interferes with the effectiveness of the IA; such conduct is prohibited. Lewd or vulgar remarks, suggestive comments, displaying derogatory posters, cartoons or drawings, pressure for dates or sexual favors and unacceptable physical contact or exposure are examples of what can constitute harassment. It is important to realize that what may not be offensive to you may be offensive to your co-volunteers, the local population, IA staff members, or the Project Coordinator. 

Any individual who feels subject to sexual harassment or has any knowledge of such behavior should report it at once to the Project Coordinator or to an appropriate IA staff member. All reports of sexual harassment will be handled with discretion and will be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Any student or volunteer who is found to have engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment will be asked to leave IA at their own expense (please see section entitled “Removal from IA”). 

3.3 Drugs 

The manufacture, possession, use, purchase and/or sale of illegal drugs as defined by Brazilian law are strictly forbidden, therefore also strictly forbidden while at IA. Prescription drugs may only be purchased and used by the individual indicated on the prescription, in keeping with the intended-use guidelines. 

3.4 Alcohol Policy 

Participants at IA must comply with the Brazilian laws regarding the minimum age required to consume alcohol. In addition, IA may set restrictions on the use, possession, or purchase of alcohol. Local statutes, customs, practices, ordinances, and regulations with regard to the use, possession, or purchase of alcohol are applicable to all visitors to IA, including students and volunteers. 

If you decide to consume alcohol on your days off or time off, please observe local laws and customs. Intoxication can jeopardize your own safety, in addition to that of others at IA. 

IA does not support the purchase of any alcohol. IA’s Directors or other designated staff has the discretion to remove individuals from the park who consume alcohol in time and manner that endangers the safety and/or productivity of the expedition. 

4. Free Time Off 

IA students and volunteers will occasionally have unsupervised free time before and after work days/work sessions. Free-time activities are not part of the IA program and are the sole risk of the participant. IA has no responsibility for such activities. IA staff may from time to time organize, provide assistance, or even accompany participants in these free time activities, but in doing so, they are acting on the basis of their sole discretion as private individuals, and not on behalf of IA. 

5. In the Event of an Emergency: Good Samaritan Actions 

In the event of emergencies, IA staff, students and volunteers must make judgments. While IA makes an effort to ensure that qualified people make the most informed decisions possible, occasionally first aid must be administered and other immediate steps taken by expedition participants who are not officially certified to do this.

In unforeseeable emergency situations, IA does not restrict participants (staff, students and volunteers) from exercising their best judgment with regard to their own safety. IA does not restrict “good Samaritan” actions, or actions taken to assist fellow participants during emergency situations in the field. However, IA does not encourage or expect you to jeopardize your own safety or that of others in attempting to rescue or assist your fellow team members. 

6. Minors 

Minors are not permitted to participate in IA projects. 

7. Students, Volunteers and Driving 

Students and volunteers are only allowed to drive IA’s vehicles and boats if given permission from IA’s Project Coordinator or Director, and after clarification that they possess a valid driver’s license and-or a boat license. Students or volunteers may not use the car, boats or canoes unless given permission by their direct supervisor and only to perform errands in the field for IA projects, 

8. Right of Refusal 

IA reserves the right to refuse an applicant’s participation on IA projects. This is an unusual event and is normally due to either an applicant’s failure to meet the health requirements of a particular project or in the interest of team compatibility not personal use.

9. Removal from an Expedition 

Any volunteer found in violation of any of the policies described in this document is subject to removal from the team at their own expense. Removal of a volunteer is at the discretion of IA’s Directors with guidance from IA staff. In addition, IA will send volunteers away should their behavior compromise the safety, research objectives or general performance of the IA team. Should a volunteer be removed, he/she is responsible for all costs associated with departure from IA and will receive no refund of the share of costs nor any expenses incurred in participation for the visit to IA and Cantão State Park.

10. Responsible Behavior 

Many of IA’s projects are working in remote areas some way off the tourist track. IA stresses the need for responsible behavior and common courtesy when traveling in these areas. When in doubt about what will, or will not, cause offence, be sure to ask a IA staff member. Try wherever possible to learn basic Portuguese and respect the local customs and appropriate dress before you join IA, as being involved with local community is one of the rare privileges of joining a IA project. Be aware of the natural curiosity that your presence will create and be mindful not to try to impose your own cultural beliefs or value system on the people you meet and the places you visit. 

Particular sensitivity is required when it comes to photography and gifts. IA projects give you unique ways of getting close to the action and the opportunity for photography or video are endless but it is important to always ask permission before taking photos of people. Many local people find it obtrusive so ask if it would be appropriate. 

Finally, IA stresses the importance of low impact travel. Every attempt should be made to minimize the impact on the environment you are working in. Please avoid leaving any litter or non-natural waste. Be aware of the risks of fires and follow directions of the expedition staff when it comes to research sites in order to avoid creating a larger ‘footprint’ than is necessary. Be particularly mindful of not polluting rivers, streams or lakes as they comprise the most fundamental basis for Cantão´s biodiversity. When in doubt ask IA Staff. 


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