Use your writing skills to raise awareness for the ground hornbill
Combine your love for storytelling and wildlife conservation during a communications internship in South Africa! You’ll join a passionate group of conservationists in their mission to protect the ground hornbill, an iconic African bird that is in danger of going extinct.
As a communications intern, you’ll take an active role in spreading the word to an international audience. This can involve managing and developing social media channels, drafting newsletters and reports, and writing articles for various publications. You’ll also play an active role in gathering the right content in the field, in the form of stories, data, and images, and videos.
You’ll have the good fortune of being based in a stunning game reserve. Not only will you experience the ground hornbill projects in the field, you’ll also be surrounded by other African wildlife, including the Big Five. This wildlife conservation communications internship offers a perfect mix of adventure, impact, and practical work experience.
Learning outcomes of this communications internship;
- A wealth of practical experience in content gathering, writing for a variety of platforms, managing social media channels, and communications strategy
- An understanding of digital marketing and fundraising
- Field-based experience in wildlife conservation
- Insights into of the day to day running of a nonprofit organization
- International work experience
The Ground Hornbill Project is dedicated to ensuring the survival of the ground hornbill, an iconic bird that is classified as ‘endangered’ in South Africa. The threats to this iconic bird are multiple; their habitat is decreasing, they suffer from secondary poisoning, and they get electrocuted by transformer boxes. Moreover, ground hornbills are killed for traditional medicine, and sometimes targeted because of their territorial behavior.
To fight the drastic decline of the ground hornbill populations across Southern and East Africa, the Ground Hornbill Project has taken a multi-faceted approach that includes research, the provision of artificial nests, and the complex rearing and reintroduction of redundant second-hatched chicks that would naturally die of starvation. To fight misconceptions about ground hornbills, and reduce incentives for killing the birds, the nonprofit also runs education campaigns in local communities.
The Ground Hornbill Project is based in Mabula, a game reserve north of Johannesburg, but its work spans across the African continent. It’s the only organization fully dedicated to the preservation of the ground hornbill.
TASKS & REQUIreMENTS
As a communications intern, your tasks may vary depending on your skills and the needs of the project, but they will likely include some of the following;
- Social media content creation and strategy
- Social media community management
- Content creation for newsletters and reports
- Creation of articles for external publication
- Design and management of digital fundraising campaigns
- Visual content creation (photography and videography), if you have the skills
- Assistance with communications strategy development
- Knowledge of social media channels and ideally some experience with managing channels
- Strong writing skills and an ability to write for various platforms and audiences
- A passion for storytelling, and raising awareness for a good cause
- Driver’s license (you will have to do some driving and you have to take a (small) test upon arrival)
- A flexible attitude, as you’ll be living and working in the bush, where things can be unpredictable
- A passion for wildlife conservation and the work the Ground Hornbill Project does
- Some photography and/or videography experience would be a bonus
WHERE YOU’LL STAY
Your accommodation is a five minutes drive from the office and you will have your own room, access to the common room, shared kitchen (where you can prepare your meals) and a swimming pool.
Safety & Support
Make sure to visit your doctor and dentist for a check-up before yor internship and to get all the recommended vaccines and/or medications necessary to stay healthy. You are not located in a malaria risk area, so the people who live here do not take malaria medication. If you have traveled to a country with yellow fever risk, be sure to have a yellow fever certificate as this can be needed upon arrival.
You will be able to use your mobile phone in South Africa if you enable international roaming before you leave home. A cheaper alternative is to buy a local SIM card if your phone is unlocked for international carriers. You can go to most shops with your passport to buy a local SIM card (MTN and Vodacom are the main carriers). You can buy prepaid airtime at many smaller and bigger shops and then convert airtime to a data bundle if needed.
Your accommodation has a kitchen where you can prepare your own meals (or team up with other interns/volunteer for a meal). Usually the grocery shopping is worked around the project town trips (when supplies need to be picked up or the vehicles are due for a service). If you need groceries or toiletries urgently, there is a small Superette shop at the Reserve’s main lodge.
During this internship, you’ll get to live and work in a game reserve surrounded by wildlife. You might wake up to elephants roaming past your room, lions roaring in the distance, and monkeys playing on the roof. The nearest town, Bela Bela, is about 45 minutes from the reserve.
DATES & RATES
Internship start and end dates are flexible and will be discussed with your during the selection process.
What you’ll pay (2023 rates)
8 weeks USD 2,162
12 weeks USD 2,809
16 weeks USD 3,456
20 weeks USD 4,104
26 weeks USD 5,074
Remote internship: USD 525
- Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously.
- Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes.
- An orientation program with your supervisor.
- Regular check ins during your internship with you and your supervisor.
- Your own account on a career development platform that offers content and courses focused on exploring different career opportunities
- Troubleshooting if needed
- A reference letter at the end of your internship
- Airport transfers, support on the ground and accommodation based on a single room
- Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
- Meals, drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
- Costs for additional excursions or activities
Some of our most commonly asked questions for programs in South Africa.
During your internship in South Africa you can expect to meet people from around the world, as well as indulging yourself into the culture of this beautiful country! If you want to know more about what to expect, make sure to check out our top 7 reasons for an internship in Cape Town.
Yes! We partner with various activity organizers that can offer discounts exclusive to Roots Interns, for example, a road trip through the Garden Route and bungee jumping off the world’s largest natural bungee. You may also explore the country on your own and we are happy to give recommendations.
Yes! You are able to do a part-time internship with certain organizations so that you can continue your studies, while also gaining valuable work experience.
Unfortunately, no. When working with a nonprofit organization, your internship will be unpaid, but there are many ways to fund your internship. Your experience will bring a wealth of knowledge and opportunities for both professional and personal growth that are invaluable!
“Everyone at the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project is so dedicated to the conservation of the incredible and unique Southern Ground Hornbill, on top of being friendly and welcoming. I had a great time interning at the project and learned a lot. I'm looking forward to visiting again.”Natalie, United States, Bird research & Conservation Internship
- Gain practical experience in a range of communications areas within a nonprofit context
- Help raise awareness for the plight of an iconic African bird
- Get insights into the day to day running of a wildlife conservation project
- Be part of a passionate and driven team of biologists and conservationists
- Live and work in the African bush, surrounded by a wealth of wildlife and stunning nature
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