The Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) Canadian 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 and OFICanada. 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 Canadian 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.
- Connect OFI and OFICanada donors who have fostered orangutans to their foster orphans by getting to know the orangutans in the Care Center, observing their behavior and personalities up close in the OCCQ release forest, 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 OFI 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 and spend time with this orangutan to be able to provide multiple high-quality photos and highlight unique personality traits, anecdotes, and developments in the rehabilitation process for this individual. Contribute other written and visual materials as necessary and communicate long distance 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 and OFICanada main websites 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.
- Supply content such as photos of the week, new arrivals to the Care Center, etc. to help keep OFI and OFICanada’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 + OFICanada team. At the end of the tenure, submit non-personal photography for OFI’s educational and marketing use and reference.
- Keep detailed and precise photo and media naming structure and be responsible for ensuring all media is uploaded and secured in cloud storage space with limited internet access. This is critical!
- Develop innovative ways to facilitate connections via creative journaling, YouTube video, and other means.
- Participate in OFI’s environmental enrichment program, producing food and habitat enrichment for orangutans and other animals at the OCCQ.
- 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 Field Correspondent volunteers. Every tenure will also involve one or more special projects for the OFI Canada foundation that will address the communication, outreach, and fundraising needs of OFICanada on and off the field at the time.
The Canadian 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.
Canadian 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.
- Excellent English and/or French language writing skills
- Photography and/or film experience (must own equipment and be able to bring to the field)
- Willingness to work and live in remote field conditions
- Ability to keep timely and professional correspondence with remote work partners
- Be extremely organized and diligent with media storage and documentation
- 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
- Experience handling or behaving in close proximity with animals (preferably wildlife)
- Cultural sensitivity, understanding, and adaptability
- High degree of flexibility, open-mindedness, creativity, and optimism
- Ability and commitment to fundraise for the trip
Position Duration: Six months
Application Deadline: Rolling
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 3,000,000 IDR (usually less than $300 CAD) 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 and a personal laptop and camera are highly recommended.
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:
- All applicants must be members in good standing with OFICanada. To join OFI Canada, please visit and make a donation at: https://orangutancanada.ca/en/donate/
- Download and fill out the long-term volunteer application form here: APPLY
- Submit the following documents to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Proof of OFICanada membership
- Cover letter
- Two references
- OPTIONAL: As a Field Correspondent applicant, if you have links to any online writing or photography samples, please send those along with your other application materials to the email@example.com 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 committee members within two weeks. Please note that all of our committee members are themselves volunteers, so please be patient if there is an occasional delay.
OFI Volunteer Committee
824 Wellesley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90049