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Sumatra Rainforest Institute

Agroforestry with Villages in North Sumatra

Panyabungan, Indonesia

Live in rural villages near the Sumatran jungle & assist with nursery work, coffee plantation management & agroforestry in Batang Gadis National Park & Sibauli Forest.

About SRI

Sumatra Rainforest Institute (SRI) is a grass-roots NGO that focuses on wildlife and Rainforest conservation

One of SRI's programs is Community Agroforestry Development.

The focus is community development through agroforestry initiatives. This involves farmers who live around Batang Gadis national park. The project provides the farmers with agriculture extension programes that are eco friendly and sustainable. The programe also provides education on conservation and gives real economic alternative to wildlife poaching and illegal logging

In conjunction with typical agroforestry outcomes, tthis project also aims to:

  • improve rainforest conservation awareness among local communities
  • enhance protection of wildlife and forest through reforestation projects¬†
  • decrease human-wildlife conflicts around important biodiverse landscapes
  • improve the management of rainforest and wildlife protection with participation of multi-stakeholders
  • provide an income for small-scale farmers that doesnt involve illegal loggng or wildlife poaching

About the Program

Coffee Agroforestry Volunteers (CAVO) are able to work one on one with local communities near the Sumatran jungle on agroforestry projects set up by Sumatra Rainforst Institute and local farmer groups to work one on one with local communities in the sumatran jungle on agroforestry projects set up by Sumatra Rainforest Institute and local farmer groups.

Volunteers are able to stay and work on the front line, in the villages, with the gate keepers of these forests. They help create and maintain a sustainable plantation that in turn is a source of income and therefor deterrence from illegal logging and poaching.

This project has an important conservation mission and a green incentive for local communities to protect the wildlife & rainforest of Batang Gadis National Park in Sumatra. You can helo Coffee smallholders become empowered by the sustainable development of arabica coffee using an agroforestry approach around the Batang Gadis National Park.

The project aims to improve the farmers income generation by increasing coffee productivity & quality. The better income generation will assist to reduce the farmers' involvement in illegal logging and poaching as well as strengthen the ecological value's surrounding Batang Gadis National Park.

So what are you waiting for?
Come and see how this beautiful country, Indonesia, The lungs of the earth, is implementing strategic ways to preserve these forests and also benefit the community through education and economy.

Typical day

During the volunteers time they will work closely with SRI staff and local farmers in the area to increase efficiency of agroforestry production in mountainous villages. The work may include:

  • Maintaining the Nurseries containing forest tree saplings for reforestation
  • Maintaining coffee seedlings for agricultural production
  • Reforestation enrichment planting
  • Coffee planting
  • Compost production
  • Coffee bean roasting with Lopo Mandheling Coffee or community roasting facilities
  • Informal English lessons in village schools on occasion (if interested)
  • Forest Patrol
  • ¬†harvesting

Free-time activities

The surrounding jungle of Batang Gadis National Park and Sibual Buali Forest nature reserve provides for lots of fun outdoor activities such as hiking, short walks along village paths, bird watching, photography and swimming in creeks. There are also many waterfalls and hotsprings in the surrounding areas closer to Mount Sorik Merapi (volcano). SRI will be able to pick up the volunteer and bring them back to Panyabungan City for the weekend. The weekend period for the village based Agroforestry volunteer is Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The volunteer might also be interested in visiting Bukittinggi (West Sumatra), the islands near Padang (west Sumatra), Bukit Lawang to see the wild orangutan or Lake Toba before or after the assignment is finished.


Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
Required Documents
Letter of Motivation
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
- Passion for tree planting & nursery management
- Commitment to sustainable agriculture
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Patience
- Be able to live with limited services as you will live at a remote location.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 - 17:00

Suitable for


Any questions? Just ask. We at Sumatra Rainforest Institute are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation

Included Services

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Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Sumatra Rainforest Institute cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Sumatra Rainforest Institute.
Services by Sumatra Rainforest Institute

The fees include accommodation in a host family or a dorm room, meals and airport pickup.

Airport Pickup at Aek Godang

Our staff will pick up you up from Aek Godang Airport (AEG) near Padangsidimpuan or Dr Ferdinand Lumban Tobing Airport (FLZ) in Pinangsori, Sibolga. Both airports are in North Sumatra province with flights from Medan. The Pinangsori airport (FLZ) also has flights from Jakarta. Car hire and transport is available from Padang but will need to be covered by the volunteer (8 hour drive to Panyabungan).
SRI will also provide transport to and from the project site from Panyabungan. The base for the assignment is in Panyabungan where SRI's office is.


You will stay with a host family or in a dorm room in the mountainous rural villages and the large town of Panyabungan. Both are simple types of local accommodation, but we always select the best available options for our volunteers.

Dorm Room Guest Family
Food & Beverages

Food is provided from Monday to Thursday during placement with a host family or in a dorm room at the project site. The food provided will be local Indonesian rural meals. Fish and chicken are the base of many dishes, along with tofu and tempeh. But vegetarian food can be catered too if you let us know before you arrive. Food is generally spiced with chili. Rice is the staple served with most meals. Drinks are usually served hot such as coffee and tea. No dairy products are available in the area (UHT milk is available in some shops and so is processed cheese, some vendors sell brand ice cream such as Magnum). No alcohol will be present in the villages and nor should it be taken in for consumption. During the weekend you will be responsible for buying your own food which is very cheap at around 60c to $1.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Aek Godang (AEG) in Aek Godang. We assist you to find cheap flights to Indonesia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Indonesia provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Indonesia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Indonesia.
Costs (Prices in USD)
4 weeks (min. stay)
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
9 weeks
11 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Panyabungan/Indonesia between 4 weeks and 11 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Sumatra Rainforest Institute will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Indonesia.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Sumatra Rainforest Institute during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
Asia South-Eastern Asia Indonesia Panyabungan, Jl Bakti Abri No.34
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