The OFI Field Correspondent position is well suited to enthusiastic and independent 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. Field Correspondent volunteers gain unparalleled access to OFI’s unique field operations and use this experience and insight gained to contribute concrete material to a critically important aspect of conservation: involvement of the international public.
The Field Correspondent position is part of OFI’s Long-Term Volunteer Program. Field Correspondent volunteers are based at the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ) in Kalimantan Tengah (Central Borneo, Indonesia). As the point people on the ground, Field Correspondents are an integral part of OFI’s team. They are given the opportunity to witness and participate in 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.
The tasks outlined above are only the standard responsibility of Field Correspondent 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. The Field Correspondents will be expected to work as a team in the field, sharing responsibilities, and allocating work between two or more individuals accordingly. Volunteers can expect to work with other volunteers from various cultural and educational backgrounds and are expected to work professionally and diligently with limited on the ground oversight. Regular remote communication with the OFI office in LA and the OFI Volunteer Committee is expected and required. Duties will range from days spent in the field to days on computer with limited internet access. Volunteers must be excellent time managers and be able to handle a long list of material needed. All OFI Volunteers are expected to act as positive influence on staff and local people.
Field Correspondent volunteers will gain valuable experience with writing, photography, and video in a field setting. The workload is constant and volunteers will gain a wide range of experience working closely with local staff and the professional OFI office as well as spending daily time with the orangutans and other animals at the OCCQ. Volunteers can expect to become fully integrated into the OFI local community and experience local culture and traditions. Volunteers will experience the highs and lows of field conservation efforts; can expect to work hard both physically, and mentally in a timely fashion to meet western deadlines.
General Skills and Characteristics:
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 is currently rehabilitating over 300 young orangutans and preparing them for return to the wild. The majority of individuals are under 10 years old. The Care Center consists of a central clinic and units housing the older individuals, while the outlying juvenile and infant 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.
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 and only occasional internet access through 3G cell phones, limited and unreliable wireless set-ups available at some homestays, and wireless internet cafes available in the nearby city of Pangkalan Bun. The quality of amenities 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.
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 3,000,000 IDR (usually less than $300 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 like phone credit (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
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.
Send this to friend