Project Assistant at Orangutan Project

The Project Assistant will work under the supervision of the Project Coordinator/Director and assist in all aspects of the project’s work.

The Orangutan Health Project (OHP) is the first and only on-going orangutan research project to investigate the special behaviors and ecological conditions necessary to maintain health in wild orangutans. This is partly due to the complexity of self-medicating behaviors and the astonishing variety of flora in the rainforest, which vary geographically and seasonally. Understanding preventative and curative methods used by wild orangutans is critical to the monitoring and protection of health in wild orangutan populations, which are universally threatened with extinction. This research may also help to shed light on the human-primate relationship – most importantly, the health risks associated with co-existence.

By volunteering as a long-term project assistant with the Orangutan Health Project, you will be contributing to the research and conservation goals of the project. It is hoped that these efforts will lead to an improved understanding of how best to promote the long-term survival of the orangutan and its unique ecosystem by improving our understanding of both. Our research has major implications and benefits for both scientific and practical application in orangutan conservation, and continues to improve understanding of primate evolution, human & non-human primate relationships, and the health risks orangutans’ face in a rapidly changing world. OHP has been published widely in international journals and academic volumes. We are continually in need of Project Assistants to work a six-month (negotiable) voluntary contract with us in Sumatra.

The general procedure of this long-term program is to come as a paying volunteer for the first 3 weeks. This initial period gives you a chance to see how you feel about the project and your responsibilities, and equally important, it allows you and the Project Director/Coordinator to assess your working relationship. If you and they decide that you should stay on, there will be no extra charge for the rest of your six-month stay.

Possible Responsibilities:

  • Organising and supervising short-term volunteers 
  • E-mail correspondence for project 
  • Coordinating with referral organisations 
  • Data entry 
  • Specimen collection, preparation, and weighing; other related research tasks as needed 
  • Assistance with grant writing as needed 
  • Assisting Project Coordinator or Director with any requested tasks 
  • Forest trekking and observation of wild orangutans in the jungle with staff and volunteers, including overnight camping for several days.

Note: the opportunity for trekking and orangutan observation is not guaranteed; it is totally dependent on the needs of the project at the time (i.e. the number of staff required, weather, the physical fitness of the assistant, etc.). Also note: there is no physical contact with orangutans.

Suitable for

Couples
Singles
Groups

Typical day


Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Health Declaration
required
Education Requirements
at University Graduate level
Required Documents
CV/resume and Cover Letter Medical form
Other Skills
· Good problem-solving skills and ability to take the initiative
· Outgoing personality, patience, flexibility and a sense of humour!
· Ability to live under basic conditions with limited amenities
· Openness to, and acceptance of, non-Western ideas and cultures
· Basic computer skills (Outlook, Word, Excel
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:30 - 17:00

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Indonesia? Volunteer World directly connects you with The Orangutan Health Project

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Free-time activities

The program schedule includes some free time to enjoy the nature and cultures of Sumatra.

We are a short bus ride away from a fast running river where swimming, rafting, and tubing are available. There are a number of other rivers, waterfalls, hot springs, and a bat cave to be discovered around the Bukit Lawang area. White water rafting or kayaking can be arranged in town.

Cooking lessons are available in Bukit Lawang, including a trip to the local market to buy ingredients. Many places in Bukit Lawang also offer excellent massages.

Elephant trekking is available in the nearby village of Tangkahan. You can go for a one hour trek, wash the elephants and swim in the river. It takes two hours by motorbike to get there and costs approximately $100 including accommodations and travel (varies according to the number of people participating).

It is also possible to organize a day trip with some OHP affiliated guides to see a local school, visit an oil palm plantation, try out traditional bamboo rafting, and explore the area on motorbikes. 

Water Sports
Swimming
Concert/Music
Sports
Yoga/Meditation

Services

What's included?
This covers all basic living expenses at the project (food, water and accommodation) and helps to offset research expenses. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to/from Sumatra, visa renewal fees, and personal health/travel insurance
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Accommodation

Project accommodations, amongst the rice-fields of Timbang Lawan are basic with limited amenities and no running water.

Water for bathing and washing clothes is drawn from our well, though weather permitting (as it normally is) we also collect rainwater for these purposes. Like almost all of Indonesia, we purchase bottled drinking water in large drums, which we also use for cooking.

There are two small bathrooms, one with a squat-style toilet, and one with a western style- sitting toilet. Both are non-automated, meaning water must be poured down with a scoop after each use to flush. Neither toilet accepts toilet paper, if you choose to use toilet paper you will need to dispose of it in the bin provided. More instruction is given during orientation presentations.

There are no showers, and bathing is done either in a river (while in the jungle) or with a supply of cold water that you scoop over yourself, both of which are extremely enjoyable after a hot day of work or trekking.

While staying at our base, you will probably share a small bamboo room with another volunteer, depending on the number of volunteers in your team. Privacy may be in short supply. Each volunteer is given a mattress and a mosquito net.

We do have electricity, though we experience power cuts known as “mati lampu”—meaning “dead lights”—on a near daily basis. We also have WiFi internet available for volunteers.

There are a variety of insects and small animals around for you to get acquainted with: cats, geckos, mice, cockroaches, leeches, chickens (be prepared for a chorus of roosters very early every morning), spiders, ants and frogs. Mosquitoes are around at night, but not usually in large numbers (they are much worse in the secondary forests). 

Bedroom (Double) Camping
Food & Beverages

We eat three times per day with all meals prepared by our project cook or by project staff. The food will always be Indonesian cuisine consisting mainly of rice, noodles, vegetables, tofu, tempeh and fruit. It is very different from western food but also very tasty, and is similar to much Southeast Asian fare in general.While Indonesian food is traditionally extremely spicy, utilising varying amounts of chilli(but rarely without), our meals are usually less hot and we do our best to accommodate those with lower spice tolerances.

Meat is served only on special occasions, and vegetarians can easily be catered for. Vegans may struggle as locals often do not understand the concept and may not know what exactly is in the food.

While we try to accommodate specific dietary needs, we only have access to food available locally. Again, if you have a very precise dietary regimen, please ensure that you bring any necessary food items along.

Bottled drinking water is provided by the project at all times, but alcohol and soft drinks are not, and can be purchased at the volunteers own expense. These can be found at local shops just around the corner from our project base. 

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
Costs
24 weeks (min. stay)
$950

You can volunteer at the project site in North Sumatra/Indonesia between 24 weeks and 24 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Orangutan Health Project will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
$40/week
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 The Orangutan Health Project during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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Timbang Lawan, 20774 North Sumatra, Indonesia