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Volunteering for GRI

 GRI Volunteers Programme

Volunteering with GRI is a unique opportunity to experience the Zambian bush and to dedicate your time and skills to support a conservation  organisation working to protect vulnerable wildlife.

GRI’s Volunteer Programme was established in 2010. Since then, volunteers of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities have been sharing their  skills, experiences and enthusiasm with GRI. Volunteers are a huge asset to GRI – GRI really couldn’t function without them. GRI is currently  looking for volunteer Project Assistants (PA’s) at the Lilayi Elephant Nursery, the Kafue Release Facility (Camp Phoenix) and Mukambi Camp to  assist with many aspects of the camps daily operations as well as focused project work within the various GRI projects outlined above. GRI accepts a  maximum of 6 volunteers per month to assist them with the operations. Volunteers are recruited as project assistants for one of two GRI projects,  and are based either at the Lilayi Elephant Nursery just outside Lusaka, the Kafue Release Facility (Camp Phoenix) in the southern part of Kafue  National Park or Mukambi Camp on the banks of the Kafue River for the duration of their placements.

 

VOLUNTEERS PROGRAMME 2017

GRI Project Assistant – PROGRAMME SUMMARY

Introduction to GRI

Game Rangers International (GRI) is a non-profit Zambian NGO, established in 2008, with critical and ongoing support from the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. Its focus is currently within Kafue National Park (Africa’s second largest park) with the aim of directly supporting conservation of the park: its animals, ecosystems and surrounding communities. GRI tackles conservation support in Zambia holistically and therefore the organisation is divided into the following facets for which volunteers can sign up:

  • Community Outreach and Education (CO&E)– Preserving nature through education, empowerment and community engagement. GRI believes that sustainable and long-term conservation can only be achieved if communities living around protected areas are well education, fully engaged, and able to experience the benefits of health and viable eco-systems. Targeting health, education and income generation, CO&E works with schools, women’s groups and wider communities to address the drivers of wildlife crime and inspire greater conservation awareness.
  • Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP) – To Rescue, Rehabilitate and Release orphaned elephants back into the wild. The EOP was established to offer sanctuary for vulnerable and abandoned elephant calves, the tragic victims of poaching and human conflict. Cared for by a highly trained and skilled team of local Zambians, these fragile orphans will then be offered the most precious of gifts, a second chance for a life in the wild. Ironically, it is now these elephant orphans who are giving something back to wildlife – by becoming ‘Flagships for Conservation’. These young orphans, the face of the project, are now generating support and awareness of the ongoing battle against wildlife crimes.

Location:

GRI has five facilities:

  • GRI headquarters, based in the town office in the centre of Lusaka
  • Kafue Conservation Project’s Special Anti-Poaching Unit operating from Hook Bridge, in the centre of Kafue National Park
  • Mukambi Camp, based in the centre of Kafue National Park on the bank of the Kafue River
  • The Lilayi Elephant Nursery, just outside Lusaka, where our youngest, milk-dependent orphans receive round-the-clock care
  • The Kafue Release Facility (Camp Phoenix) – in South Kafue where the older orphans are rehabilitated and eventually released.

 

GRI Volunteers Programme Summary

GRI’s Volunteer Programme was established in 2010. Since then, volunteers of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities have been sharing their skills, experiences and enthusiasm with us. GRI accepts a maximum of 7 volunteer Project Assistants (PAs) per month to assist with many aspects of the camps’ daily operations as well as focused project work within the various GRI initiatives outlined above. PAs are based either at the Lilayi Elephant Nursery, the Kafue Release Facility or Mukambi Camp for the duration of their placements. (see table below)

 

Volunteer capacity GRI location GRI Project
2 Lilayi Elephant Nursery Elephant Orphanage Project
3 Kafue Release Facility Elephant Orphanage Project
2 Mukambi Camp Community Outreach &Education

 

Volunteers help us by:

  • Raising awareness and valuable funds
  • Becoming global advocates for GRI
  • Assisting GRI with the many chores, duties and activities necessary to run a successful conservation project
  • Bringing fresh ideas, skills and enthusiasm to our projects

Volunteer Requirements

  • GRI is looking for motivated and conscientious individuals with a genuine interest in conservation, who would be willing to assist with various aspects of this unique organisation
  • No specific qualifications are required to become a PA, although different roles may suit different experience levels/interests.
  • Although not required, first aid knowledge would be useful.
  • PAs must be self-supporting
  • PAs need to be practical in nature and content to live in a remote bush camp environment

Outline of each volunteer placement

Community Outreach and Education (CO&E)

Mukambi Camp -2 people per month:

Activities may include:

  • Providing teaching support at under-served primary schools
  • Developing our conservation curriculum
  • Facilitating activity workshops for children
  • Promoting CO&E’s work through social media
  • Providing capacity building for women’s empowerment groups
  • Facilitating teacher training workshops
  • Assisting with human-elephant conflict mitigation strategies
  • Working with rural health clinics to deliver important disease prevention messages

What will you gain from this role?

  • Practical experience of international developement
  • Teaching experience
  • A deep understanding of grassroots community conservation
  • A unique cultural experience

Who would this suit?

  • People with an interest in international development, community conservation, women’s empowerment or primary education
  • People who are culturally sensitive and open to immersing themselves into a new community
  • Start starters who will work confidently and independently. Volunteers will mostly be working on their own within the community.
  • Creative, empathetic and passionate people

Who would this not suit?

  • People with limited English
  • People who are uncomfortable presenting to large groups
  • People who find it overwhelming to see humans and animals living in difficult circumstances

Is there any experience necessary for this role?

  • No formal qualifications are necessary, although we welcome applicants with a proven interest in education or development
  • Computer literacy and prior experience working with children is a bonus
  • We welcome applicants with a strong background in any subject who would be willing to share their skills and experiences with Zambian communities

Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP)

Lilayi Elephant Nursery (LEN) – 2 Research Volunteers per month:

Activities may include:

  • Behavioural Observation Study (BOS) – collecting behavioural data on the orphans.
  • Inputting and handling data, assisting with report writing.
  • Staff Capacity Building – support with lessons on biology, behaviour, conservation issues (or anything in your skill set you feel you can pass on!)
  • General welfare/husbandry of elephants – help with cleaning out the stables/boma, collecting branches for the elephants
  • Assist in welcoming guests at the nursery and join the staff members as viewing deck during visitor hours
  • Organise and give inputs on the reception/gift shop
  • Assist with enrichment ideas for the elephants during time in boma
  • Photography: of the elephants on bush walks, staff and camp surroundings (also help staff members to improve their photography skills if this is an interest of yours)
  • Frequent social media updates
  • Assist during any events across EOP if any during your volunteer period

What will you gain from this role?

  • A deeper understanding of elephant behaviour.
  • An understanding on principles of animal behaviour on the whole
  • Experience with different methodologies that can be applied across species.

Who would this suit?

  • People who are interested in animal behaviour, zoology, animal welfare and husbandry, conservation or wildlife management.
  • People who are able to work as a team with people from different background/culture to your own but also independently when necessary.
  • People who are enthusiastic and eager to tell stories about the Elephant Orphanage Project, and get our supporters worldwide interested, involved, and engaged with the project

Who this would not suit?

  • People who want to have close contact (touch/hug) elephants – we have a strict ‘hands off’ policy. Only trained elephant keepers get within 10 metres of the elephants due to the nature of the project – all elephants will be released back into the wild.
  • People who want a break from using computers

Is there any experience necessary for this role?

  • We rely on volunteers for conducting the Behavioural Observation Study (BOS). This data needs to be of publishable standard therefore volunteers must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the importance of reliability when collecting data.
  • This may be a background or interest in science and/or someone who wants to gain work experience for a career in this field.
  • Our office equipment is limited so if you have your own laptop/tablet/phone that you are willing to bring for this then it will be advantageous. We will connect these devices to the Wi-Fi.

Kafue Release Facility (KRF) – 2 Research Volunteers per month:

Activities may include:

  • Behavioural Observation Study (BOS) – collecting behavioural data on the orphans.
  • Inputting and handling data from a range of data streams across EOP, assisting with report writing.
  • Literature searches and literature reviews
  • Camera Traps: using these to develop a field guide for the area as well as creating an ID kit of the wild elephants in the area.
  • Staff Capacity Building – support with lessons on biology, behaviour, conservation issues (or anything in your skill set you feel you can pass on!)
  • General welfare/husbandry of elephants – help with cleaning out the stables/boma, collecting branches for the elephants.

What will you gain from this role?

  • A deeper understanding of elephant behaviour.
  • An understanding on principles of animal behaviour on the whole
  • Experience with different methodologies that can be applied across species.

Who would this suit?

  • People who are interested in animal behaviour, zoology, animal welfare and husbandry, conservation or wildlife management.
  • People who are able to work as a team with people from different background/culture to your own but also independently when necessary.

Who this would not suit?

  • People who want to have close contact (touch/hug) elephants – we have a strict ‘hands off’ policy. Only trained elephant keepers get within 10 metres of the elephants due to the nature of the project – all elephants will be released back into the wild.
  • People who want a break from using computers 

Is there any experience necessary for this role?

  • We rely on volunteers for conducting the Behavioural Observation Study (BOS). This data needs to be of publishable standard therefore volunteers must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the importance of reliability when collecting data.
  • This may be a background or interest in science and/or someone who wants to gain work experience for a career in this field.

Kafue Release Facility (KRF) – 1 EOP Media and Marketing Volunteer per month:

Activities may include:

  • Photography: of the elephants on bush walks, staff and camp surroundings
  • Frequent social media updates: Facebook, Instagram, newsletters
  • Writing adoption reports for individual elephants
  • Blog writing
  • Video Diaries and Keeper Diaries – ‘Behind the Scenes’ interviews/updates with staff members/visitors
  • Visitor Displays
  • Staff Capacity Building: computer lessons, photography, reading (or anything in your skill set that you feel you can pass on!)
  • There will be opportunity to shadow the EOP research volunteers and partake in some of the activities aside from the data collection (due to reliability of data)

Skills/Experience Gained:

  • Understanding of elephant behaviour and the issues facing elephants.
  • Behind the scenes understanding of a conservation NGO.

What kind of person would this suit?

  • We’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers eager to tell stories about the Elephant Orphanage Project, and get our supporters worldwide interested, involved, and engaged with the project.
  • Someone who is passionate about wildlife issues,
  • Someone who has strong writing skills, and passion for storytelling
  • Bloggers, journalists, photographers
  • People who are confident and able to work alone/as well as part of a team

Who this would not suit?

  • People who want a break from social media/technology
  • People who want to have close contact (touch/hug) elephants – we have a strict ‘hands off’ policy. Only trained elephant keepers get within 10 metres of the elephants due to the nature of the project – all elephants will be released back into the wild.

Is there any experience necessary?

  • No prior qualifications necessary just a keen interest in conservation and a willingness to help wherever necessary.
  • Would be great to have previous experience in blog writing or writing in general, graphic design.
  • Our office equipment is limited so if you have your own laptop/tablet/phone that you are willing to bring for this then it will be advantageous. We will connect these devices to the Wi-Fi.

Dates

Tentative dates for 2017 opportunities can be found on www.wildzambia.org

General Information

  • Volunteer placements are available for one month only
  • Please note that all GRI Camps are alcohol and drug free zones (recreational drinking may be conducted at the Lodges in association with each of the field camps outside of working hours and when transport is available)
  • Cost for one-month placement on the programme is a minimum donation of $2,400
  • Your minimum donation will be used to cover all your in-country expenses as outlined below, the remainder will be used to directly support conservation in action through GRI projects, as you will see for yourself!

What is Included:

  • All project related domestic transfers will be arranged and facilitated by GRI
  • All accommodation within Zambia will be provided by GRI for the duration of the contract. At each GRI Camp tents with bedding will be provided
  • Basic food rations are provided at the start of each placement – PAs are expected to prepare their own meals in a shared kitchen, either with fellow volunteers or alone, depending on dietary requirements.
  • The documentation necessary for your visa applications
  • Relevant in-house training
  • Working T-shirts
  • Opportunistic game drives within Kafue National Park
  • Entry permits for Kafue National Park for the duration of your placement
  • Registration with the local Emergency Evacuation Provider (SES)

What is Excluded:

  • PAs must be responsible for arranging their own Zambian entry Visas
  • PAs must be responsible for obtaining their own malaria prophylaxis
  • PAs must organise their own fully comprehensive medical insurance prior to travel*
  • Along with personal items PAs will be required to bring with them some basic equipment for camp life (e.g. a head-torch, water bottle, etc.), although any equipment required directly relating to project work will be provided once on site. A more extensive equipment list will be issued within the Volunteers Handbook.
  • Any meals off GRI Camps
  • Personals of any nature
  • Personal beverages
  • Entry fees to any other tourist attraction / adventure activity

*N.B. Please make sure your insurance provider is aware of the activities and tasks which you may be undertaking during your participation in this programme. Ensure they are aware you will be walking in free contact (with no barriers) with elephants although there will be no physical contact with the elephants following our safety protocols and elephant re-wilding protocols. Please ensure that your insurance package covers emergency medical evacuation and repatriation.

The next step….

If you are interested in applying for the position of GRI Project Assistant please request a questionnair via  volunteer@wildzambia.org

If your application is successful we take into account current project needs as well as your skills & interests and get back to you with a Placement Offer, Volunteer Handbook and Project Disclaimer.

Be part of something special and join us to support conservation and communities in the remote African bush!