Internships and HEC Research Projects
We accept a small number of interns to our Save the Elephants Nairobi Head Office, our Samburu Research Camp as well as specifically onto our Elephants and Bees Project in Sagalla next to Tsavo East National Park. Positions are highly competitive so if you are interested in applying for an internship please read this document carefully to understand your options. For general internship positions with Save the Elephants, please contact the head office to apply by emailing your CV and a cover letter at firstname.lastname@example.org. For internship applications specifically to work on the Elephants and Bees Project or with other human-elephant conflict concepts please email email@example.com.
Internship details – Please only apply if you have read and understood the application process
Internships: 4-10 week professional placements with our Elephants and Bees (E&B) Research Project in Kenya, designed for university students or graduates pursuing a career in conservation, with skills in scientific data collection and analysis. We don’t encourage school pupils or pre-university gap year students to apply. Interns are required to cover the costs of international flights, full medical insurance, country visas, internal flights/transport, camp fees and personal spending money. We occasionally accept interns in our Nairobi Head Office who can help us with fundraising, marketing, website and office based projects such as managing our African Elephant Library but we can’t offer accommodation there. Interns have come to us from all over the world including Kenya, USA, UK, Australia, Netherlands, Italy and Germany. Please note that the Research Center is closed in August each year as its peak dry season and this provides our team with an opportunity for a break while there is no conflict around.
Who can apply for an Internship? Our interns have to be over 18 years of age and are selected by their academic qualifications as listed on their CV’s and cover letters explaining why they want to work for STE and, in particular, what skills they can offer our organisation. We typically expect our interns to have graduated from a degree at a reputable university in the fields of zoology, biological sciences, environmental sciences, social science or geography and to be intent on pursuing a career in this field. We prioritise graduate students and only on occasion accept students nearing the end of their degrees if they have good experience to offer. We are particularly interested in accepting postgraduates and career-break interns who are trying to get more experience in the field of conservation biology, ecology, zoology, GIS, entomology, beekeeping etc. or who may be interested in doing PhD research.
How many internship positions are there each year? We have up to 30 internships positions available at STE’s E&B every year, usually divided half/half between international and sponsored Kenyan interns. E&B internships are highly competitive and therefore we only select the best candidates. We accept applications all year round and internships usually start on Tuesdays with an induction meeting in the Nairobi head office before departing for your designated field site on a Wednesday morning train/bus.
How long is the E&B internship? We require interns to commit to at least 4-5 weeks but 8-10 weeks is most helpful. The longest intern we have had volunteered for us for 4 months. Our busiest time is November-January for the main crop-raiding season and again April-June for the short rains.
What will I be doing? We would put you onto at least one main project that fits your experience, interest and skills base. This varies enormously from year to year and from intern to intern. On the E&B Project down in Tsavo interns can be asked to help on a variety of projects including identifying elephant corridors through the communities, GIS mapping, camera trap monitoring, beehive fence maintenance, honey harvesting & processing, community liaison, construction projects, environmental education classes, permaculture projects, botanical surveys, and general fieldwork support to help senior scientists based on site with their data collection. Its a good idea to let us know your area of interest when you apply. Interns with special skill sets outside the field of wildlife conservation are also welcome to apply (e.g. doctors, vets, dentists, beekeepers, agronomists, teachers, photographers etc).
Can I do a Masters project as an STE intern? Yes, we have managed to work with MSc students in the past to help them complete a Masters degree project. MSc students typically are ex-interns or volunteers of STE and usually once completed an internship with us, they will provide us with their course details, the structure needed for their research project and the topic area. Please note that for formal MSc research projects you will need to apply for a Research Permit with the Ministry of Environment (NACOSTI) and receive a letter of support from Kenya Wildlife Service and this can take 2-3 months to obtain. Ideally you should come and do an internship with us first to help develop your MSc project proposal with us as its unlikely that we would accept a proposal out of the blue without meeting you first. Please note that the biggest constraint is an MSc student who needs to use our research vehicles to collect their data. This is very difficult to accommodate around all our other research commitments and we recommend that MSc students fundraise to hire their own 4×4 from Nairobi for the duration of their fieldwork data collection. This enables greater flexibility to conduct your research and we can help you to find a personal field assistant to assist you with data collection. Please note that we will only support MSc research proposals that are passed by our Scientific Advisory Board and that fit within STE’s mission and research aims. Similar guidelines are in place for doing a PhD project with us, come and meet us in our Nairobi office if you wish to discuss a longer term research collaboration.
How much do I have to raise for an internship? Interns will have to raise funds to pay for their international flight to and from Kenya and once in Kenya, all interns need to fund a bus or train ticket to and from Nairobi to the project site in Voi. Not all volunteers stay at the Research Center but its preferable if you do stay with our team. We offer “at cost” full board accommodation for a US$30 per day contribution towards your food, drinking water, accommodation, laundry, security, desk space, internet access and any equipment that is used to collect data. US$5 from your daily camp fee is put into a fund to support the costs of Kenyan interns who apply to Save the Elephants but who are not able to raise the funds. This fund enables us to fully subsidise one underfunded Kenyan intern for every 2-3 interns that we accept. Kenyan applicants who are financially unable to pay our subsidised camp fee should apply in the usual way with a CV and cover letter but explaining your financial constraints.
What should I bring? We will send you a more comprehensive list of equipment once you are accepted as an intern. However, you must bring your own laptop with wireless internet capabilities and a hard drive too back up your work. Its also ideal to bring a good camera with zoom lens, a pair of binoculars, strong fieldwork clothing/boots and a comprehensive first aid kit. Please note that interns with any kind of medical, mental or physical condition must inform us with full details during the application process. Interns live in comfortable private fieldwork tents with beds and bedding provided. We have no running water in our camp so showers are bucket showers with long drop loos.
What happens after my Internship is over? Interns are responsible for writing a brief report and/or a poster describing the activities undertaken during the internship. This should be submitted to the STE manager on site before departure. Any MSc interns should post us a full copy of their complete thesis with appropriate acknowledgements. Interns often help our long-term researchers with data analysis or collection. Occasionally we will publish papers or reports on this data and there may be a chance for exceptional interns to be listed as authors or acknowledged on research papers. Several interns have returned to join us for MSc or PhD fieldwork after successful completion of a first internship and postgraduate applicants are encouraged to complete an internship first to help define research questions. We are very grateful for interns who go on to help us with fundraising activities in their own countries once they return home.