The OFI Communications Volunteer is a position well suited to enthusiastic and innovative individuals. OFI has a long and established history as a research, conservation, and education organization. It is vitally important that this work continues to be brought to the attention of the public as well as the friends and donors involved with OFI. Communications Volunteers gain experience and insight to contribute fresh thinking to a critically important aspect of conservation: involvement of the international public.
The volunteer is based at the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ) in Kalimantan Tengah (Central Borneo, Indonesia). As the point person on the ground, Communications Volunteers are an integral part of OFI’s team. Communications Volunteers are given the opportunity to witness OFI’s field activities first-hand and to generate creative, exciting content to translate the action to a public presentation for the global community. This requires correct interpretation of events and engaging, appropriate presentation through various forms of communication media. While this position requires being involved and in-the-know about field activities, a significant amount of time is also spent behind the computer screen. Volunteers can expect an average breakdown of 60% screen/office time and 40% field time with a lot of daily and weekly variation.
- Connect OFI donors who have adopted orangutans to their adoptees by getting to know the orangutans in the Care Center, observing their behavior and personalities, communicating with Care Center staff for unique stories and quirks, photographing the orangutans; subsequently, compiling the information and presenting it in attractive format for the bi-annual updates.
- Participate in production of monthly eNewsletter: Track all developments in the field and identify potential articles and visual materials that can be used as items of interest for the general public. Identify an “Orangutan of the Month” to write about – highlighting unique personality traits, anecdotes, and developments in the rehabilitation process for this individual – and provide photos of said orangutan. Contribute other written and visual materials as necessary and communicate with all contributors to the eNewsletter to make sure all needs are met by the deadline. Volunteers may be asked to help with formatting of the eNewsletter as well.
- Contribute material to OFI’s main website by writing diverse articles on events and news, as well as day-to-day points of interest, about work in the Care Center. Articles are meant to be multi-faceted and diverse so as to appeal to the wide range of visitors to the website.
- Help maintain OFI’s huge photo database by uploading all photos taken in the field, identifying orangutans in photos previously uploaded, and properly labeling and organizing photos in the database.
- Keep in consistent contact with OFI’s office team to identify areas of need and prioritize projects.
- Supply content such as photos of the week, new arrivals to the Care Center, etc. to help keep OFI’s social media sites updated and current with material suitable to the channel’s audience.
- Photograph significant events, orangutans, OFI staff, jungle flora and fauna, and other subjects as needed by the OFI team. At the end of the tenure, submit non-personal photography for OFI’s educational and marketing use and reference.
- Develop innovative ways to facilitate connections via creative journaling, YouTube video, and other means.
- Understand and promote OFI policies.
- Complete other tasks for OFI as needed.
- Provide updates and feedback through weekly progress reports and a final end-of-tenure report within one month of leaving the Care Center.
The tasks outlined above are only the standard responsibility of Communications Volunteers. Every tenure will also involve one or more special projects that will address the communication, outreach, and fundraising needs of OFI on and off the field at the time.
Position Duration: Six months
Application Deadline: Rolling
Volunteering with Orangutan Foundation International (OFI)
Orangutan Foundation International protects 6,000 wild orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park, in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Facilities include 16 guard posts throughout the park and numerous staffed feeding stations in addition to the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ), which rehabilitates 330 young orangutans and prepares them for return to the wild. The majority of individuals are under 10 years old. The Center consists of a central clinic and units housing the older individuals, while the outlying juvenile units and the medical quarantine facility are set in the surrounding 80 hectare forest. Most of the orangutans are very well-habituated to humans. They arrive in the OCCQ by confiscation from homes, black markets, entertainment industry, and abusive zoos.
Volunteering for OFI can have a big impact on your life and on the lives of the thousands of orangutans we fight to protect. Each year, OFI is grateful to receive many kind inquiries from volunteers willing to spend weeks, months, even years in Kalimantan, helping at the Orangutan Care Center or in Tanjung Puting National Park. For our successful long-term volunteers, OFI is pleased to be able to offer letters of reference that will serve as testimony of their dedication to our organization and the quality of the contribution they have made to our cause. Volunteers are expected to submit a final report on what they have learned, experienced, and accomplished during their tenure with OFI.
Life at the OCCQ:
The OCCQ is situated in the village of Pasir Panjang, a fifteen-minute drive from the small city of Pangkalan Bun. This city has an airport and is situated in the south of the province of Kalimantan Tengah, Borneo, Indonesia. Volunteers work on a daily basis at the OCCQ in Pasir Panjang. Most of the locals speak rudimentary or no English. Languages are Indonesian and local Dayak dialect. The staff working hours are 8:00 to 16:00, with a lunch break at around noon. If desired, the volunteer may take one day off a week.
Living arrangements are typically with a local family homestay. Living conditions are basic, with limited running water, no landlines or internet (although wireless USB modems can be bought in Pangkalan Bun and internet cafes are available in the city as well). The quality of care in the homes varies, from simple room accommodation to cooking and laundry provided. OFI makes an effort to arrange homestays for all its interns and volunteers, but there is an element of unpredictability in any such arrangements. In case of emergency, hotel/motel accommodations are present in Pangkalan Bun and even closer to Pasir Panjang.
Program Costs and Requirements:
Volunteers will be expected to cover International flights to Jakarta, Indonesia as well as domestic flights to Pangkalan Bun, Kalimantan Tengah. Homestay rental fees are approximately 2,500,000 IDR (less than $200 USD) per month in Pasir Panjang, which includes three basic meals a day, electricity, and accommodation. Additional funds should be budgeted for miscellaneous personal expenses (there are small local shops for snacks, etc.). Volunteers will also be responsible for the cost of their initial visa, which OFI will help you acquire, as well as renewals three times during the six months (approx. 1,000,000 IDR average each visa renewal trip). Volunteers are responsible for basic field equipment.
The following documents are required from all volunteers prior to departure:
- Proof of vaccinations
- Negative tests results from the following diseases:
- Proof of travel & medical insurance
- Signed work contract
- Signed confidentiality agreement
How to Apply: Admission to the volunteer program is competitive. To apply, please follow these steps:
1. All applicants must be members in good standing with OFI. To join OFI, please visit: https://orangutan.org/product-category/membership-program/.
2. Download and fill out the long-term volunteer application form here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1yQznomOYsgOedXpVajL4BJW2QCPgU7C5EFp3qZ3heUk/viewform?embedded=true&formkey=dHY3eWNsNnI4UGZZQ2tJTGszb3lURmc6MQ
3. Submit the following documents to email@example.com
- Proof of OFI membership
- Cover letter
- Two references
4. OPTIONAL: As a Communications Volunteer applicant, if you have links to any online writing or photography samples, please send those along with your other application materials to the firstname.lastname@example.org account. Applicants who progress through the interview process will eventually be asked to do a writing and photography assignment, but sending samples right off the bat will help the Volunteer Committee get an idea of your skills and suitability for the position.
Applicants will receive a return reply from one of our volunteer coordinators within two weeks. Please note that all of our volunteer coordinators are themselves volunteers, so please be patient if there is an occasional communications delay.
- Excellent writing skills
- Photography and/or film experience (must own equipment and be able to bring to the field)
- Willingness to work in remote field conditions
- Willingness to spend significant amounts of time in front of a computer and patience in the face of spotty internet connections
- Excellent attention to detail
- Ability to keep timely and professional correspondence with remote work partners
- Experience in working with teams of people of very diverse backgrounds and personalities
- Indonesian-language ability at basic or conversational level; willingness to learn daily throughout the volunteer tenure
- Background in environmental sciences preferred
General Skills and Characteristics:
- Strong interest in orangutans and other endangered wildlife
- Experience traveling, working, or volunteering in developing, tropical nations
- Cultural sensitivity, understanding, and adaptability
- High degree of flexibility, open-mindedness, creativity, and optimism
- Ability and commitment to fundraise for the trip