Internships and HEC Research Projects (Covid-limited spots)
In a typical year we select and accept up to 20 interns to volunteer with our team at our Elephants and Bees Research Center located in Sagalla Community which borders 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, particularly in light of the new challenges posed by the Covid-19 Pandemic which has changed our protocols for 2021. For internship applications to work on the Elephants and Bees Project or with other human-elephant conflict concepts please email your CV and cover letter to Dr Lydia Tiller firstname.lastname@example.org and copy in our office administrator Lisa Mavisi at email@example.com. For other internship positions with Save the Elephants, please email Njoki Kibanya at head office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Internship details – Please only apply if you have read and understood the application process, take special note of the section explaining the medical requirements caused by the global Covid-19 Pandemic
Internships: 4-10 week professional placements with our Elephants and Bees (E&B) Research Project in Kenya, designed for university 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 and you must have prior experience of volunteering or living in Africa. International interns are required to cover the costs of international flights, full medical insurance, country visas, internal flights/transport, camp fees and personal spending money plus Covid testing prior to arriving in our Research Center. We occasionally accept interns in our Nairobi Head Office who can help us with fundraising, marketing, website and office based projects but we can’t offer accommodation there. Interns have come to us from all over the world including Kenya, USA, UK, Australia, Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Nepal, Brazil and Germany. Please note that the Research Center is typically closed to interns from the end of July until end of September each year as it is peak dry season.
Who can apply for an Internship? Our interns have to be over 18 years of age but are more typically post-graduate ages (21+) and are selected by their academic qualifications as listed on their CV’s and cover letters explaining why they want to volunteer 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 do expect you to be physically fit and able to do fieldwork in hot and remote conditions where walking/hiking is a priority activity to collect data. 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 in the future.
Professional beekeepers are particularly welcome to provide much needed on site assistance to our growing network of beehive fence farmers.
How many internship positions are there each year? We have up to 20 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 so be sure to articulate what skills you can offer us on your CV (including software skills). We accept applications all year round and please make clear what months you are applying for.
How long is the E&B internship? We require interns to commit to at least 4 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.
Covid-19 Issues for Interns. We are opening our doors again to any intrepid interns who are interested to come and support our work which is more important now than ever as the National Parks are all suffering from lack of tourism dollar support. Our community in Sagalla remains Covid-free so far but the community would be particularly vulnerable to an outbreak with little medical facilities in the area to cope with an outbreak. Interns therefore must have a Covid-19 negative PCR test before they are allowed to come to our Research Center. These can be obtained at the AMREF Medical Clinic at Wilson Airport in Nairobi for approximately $50 and should be taken no more than 3 days before anticipated travel to our camp. This also applies to students who may already have recovered from Covid-19 as antibody tests are not easily available for use. We fully appreciate this is tricky for all interns to accomplish and international interns need to spend at least one week in Nairobi after international travel before taking this AMFREF PCR test in Nairobi to ensure no infection has been contracted during your flight to Kenya. This amounts to a period of approximately 9-10 days or so in Nairobi before you can travel to our Research Center. Please don’t apply for an internship unless you are prepared for this experience and unavoidable additional logistical expense. Kenyan interns accepted onto our project need to secure accommodation in Nairobi prior and after the Covid-19 test in anticipation of travel to camp after receiving negative results. This ensures no interns will bring Covid-19 to our community in Sagalla which still remains Covid-free with no cases since the Pandemic began. Once in camp we all continue to wear facemarks and regularly wash hands with soap and the use of sanitizer. Please take note of international flight and travel bans as you make your plans and secure insurance to cover all eventualities.
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 interns are based out of our Elephants and Bees Research Centre in Sagalla Community (3km from the border of the park) and can be asked to help on a variety of human-elephant conflict related projects including identifying elephant corridors through the community farms, GIS mapping, camera trap monitoring, beehive fence maintenance, honey harvesting & processing, community liaison, construction projects, environmental education classes, permaculture projects, botanical and pollinator 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. vets, beekeepers, agronomists, teachers, photographers etc) but please specify what you can offer as a unique skill on your application.
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 and there are significant permit costs that have to be paid directly to both the ministry and KWS. Ideally you should come and do an internship with us first to help develop your MSc project proposal with us as its highly unlikely that we would accept a proposal out of the blue without meeting you first and seeing how you work in the field. We will also not design a project for you, so visiting the field site is the only way to develop a research proposal that will have true impact. Please note that the biggest constraint is an MSc student who needs to use our research vehicles to collect their data. This is not possible to accommodate around all our other research commitments and we recommend that MSc students fundraise to hire their own 4×4 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 (3,000/- KES) towards your food, drinking water, tented accommodation, laundry, security, desk space, internet access and any equipment that is used to collect data. 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 as we have a few sponsored positions for Kenyan Citizens.
What should I bring? We will send you a more comprehensive list of equipment once you are accepted as an intern. However, every intern must bring a laptop with wireless internet capabilities and a hard drive to 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 bearing in mind that you must be physically fit and capable to walk in hot conditions to do fieldwork with our team. We cannot be responsible for interns who ignore this advice or do not fill in their medical form accurately. Interns live in small but comfortable private fieldwork tents with beds and bedding provided. We have no running water in our camp so showers are simple 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 along side any good photos that you can contribute to our media library. Any MSc interns should post us a full copy of their complete thesis with appropriate acknowledgements and we strongly encourage and help graduates to publish their work in scientific journals. 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.