Orangutan Foundation International has volunteer opportunities available for active individuals who want to get their hands dirty and help save one of the earth’s most bio-diverse areas. Come to Borneo, the world’s oldest rainforest, and help OFI build a much needed structure! You may be building a bridge, an enclosure, an infant orangutan jungle gym, or another structure to help OFI continue our work to save orangutans in the rainforest.
Field volunteers complete projects that aid critically important aspects of our on-the-ground programs. The Field Construction Volunteer Program was developed because concerned individuals asked to participate directly in the work. We believe that together we can ensure that wild orangutans do not become extinct in our lifetimes. Click here — for a downloadable brochure.
For more information, you can read the FAQ here
Dates for 2018
3 Teams will be announced for the summer of 2018
We do not currently offer any fall dates. However, our long-term volunteer positions are year-round. We accept applications on a rolling basis, based on a timeframe suitable to the individual.
Each volunteer team runs for a set period of approximately 3 weeks. The cost of taking part in each team is $1,275 (USD) and is to be paid upon acceptance of volunteer’s application at a link listed below. This payment is non-refundable and is meant to hold your spot on the team.
Be ready for:
- Hands-on manual work in a hot, humid, equatorial environment
- Buzzing, biting insects and the rare venomous snake
- Basic, remote, isolated living conditions: no running hot water, rudimentary toilet and shower facilities
- Possibly sleeping in the middle of the forest in temporary shelters
- 3 meals per day (rice and vegetables, possibly supplemented by eggs, chicken, tofu or fish)
- Construction work: building, carrying, sawing, cutting, etc – heavy lifting required!
Volunteer projects will take place at one of the following sites*:
- The Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ)
- In the Dayak village of Pasir Panjang
- Camp Leakey
- Guard Posts within protected forests
- Remote release sites
- And other sites to be determined
*The projects will not be confirmed until later in the year and will be specific to the needs at that time.
A Volunteer’s Typical Day:
7:00am – 8:00am – Breakfast
8:00am – Work Begins
12:00pm – Lunch break
1:00pm – Work
5:00pm – Work ends, time to bathe
7:00pm – Dinner
7:30pm – Discussion of day’s events and discussion of next day’s work
9:00pm – Bed (at volunteer’s discretion)
The Basics: In order to participate in our Volunteer Program:
- Volunteers do not need experience in the field, just a willingness to help, a sincere interest in forest conservation and orangutan survival, and a passion for the work OFI does.
- Volunteers are expected to work approximately 8 hours per day with one day of rest on Sunday. This volunteer experience should not be viewed as a “holiday.”
- You must be a member of the Orangutan Foundation International.
- You must be 18 years of age or above.
- You must be in good physical condition and be prepared for hands-on manual work in a hot, steamy, equatorial environment that may occasionally have buzzing and biting insects and other inconveniences as well as the occasional danger [such as the rare venomous snake].
- Volunteers should also be cognizant that Borneo’s endemic diseases consist of such tropical diseases as malaria, dengue, typhus, hepatitis, etc.
How to Apply
- Fill out the online Construction Team Application Form: APPLY NOW
- All applicants must be members in good standing of OFI. The fee is $45 for a student or senior membership: JOIN OFI
- Email your Resume, Cover letter, and Proof of OFI Membership to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If your written application is successful, you will be interviewed by phone or Skype.
All applications will be acknowledged. Once applications, cover letters, and resumes are received, phone or Skype interviews will be conducted with chosen applicants. You will be contacted by one of our volunteer coordinators to set up this interview usually within a few weeks of application. Note that all of our volunteer coordinators are themselves volunteers, so please be patient if there is an occasional communications delay.
After the interview, if accepted, you will receive a letter of acceptance and you will need to pay the program fee to reserve your spot on your chosen team.
You will receive a receipt and a confirmation email. Up to 6 months before the program, the fee is refundable. Once paid, the fee holds your spot on the team. Once you have paid your fee, you will receive our program waivers and a Volunteer Program Manual. This manual includes emergency information relating to Borneo, Indonesia, a “What To Bring” list, and information on the program and local community.
The program payment includes:
All accommodations, food (breakfast, lunch and dinner), materials for the completion of the project, local assistance, as well as travel to and from the program site from the town airport.
This program payment does not include:
Snacks, postage, laundry, or activities outside the volunteer experience. This program payment also does not include international and internal travel to the town airport. You must purchase your flight tickets to and from the closest airport which is located near the town of Pangkalan Bun, Kalimantan Tengah [Central Borneo, Indonesia]. This does also not include the cost of three days entry into the national park during the trip to Camp Leakey at the end of the project.
Volunteers are responsible for their own vaccinations and should bring anti-malarial prophylactics and medications as well as medicines for common conditions such as diarrhea. OFI will NOT accept applicants who do not show proof of valid vaccinations against the following diseases: tetanus, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and potentially others, depending on alert levels at the time. We also require negative tuberculosis test results for orangutan health and safety reasons.