Forgotten Parks Foundation
Have you ever wanted to be involved in something bigger than yourself? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to help oversee the protection of a long-forgotten national park, from its basic planning and strategy formation to its overall vision and development?
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the right person to be part of something potentially huge: a meaningful conservation initiative that’s still in its infancy, with the potential to become a conservation hot-spot in the near-future and that, if successful, will be used as a conservation management template for years to come. This is the dream ticket for the right person motivated by a desire to leave behind a biodiversity legacy and help reconnect people to one of Africa’s oldest national parks.
Location: Lusinga Headquarters, Upemba National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo
Reports to: Park Director
Starting date: 1st September 2018
Duration: The internship is initially for 6 months with the prospect of an extension
Background to Upemba and Kundelungu National Parks:
These two parks cover an area of approximately 24,600km2 of spectacular wilderness in Katanga Province of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Upemba National Park, with legal protection since 1939, is one of the oldest in Africa. The park is linked to Kundelungu National Park and a number of game reserves, together forming a massive mosaic of protected areas.
Upemba and Kundelungu boast a wide diversity of habitats, including a full transitional gradient from highland steppe through miombo woodland to both wooded and grassland savannah. There are numerous rivers, waterfalls, wetlands and gallery forests. The Lufira River and Lake Upemba, both within park boundaries, form a critical watershed for the region as well as the source of the mighty Congo River.
The parks’ wildlife populations suffered during the Congo war, and subsequent neglect of the parks and illegal poaching enabled bushmeat hunting to further decrease wildlife numbers. Nevertheless, many species remain and the park is a refuge for the last savannah elephants in Katanga as well as the last zebras in DRC. Other notable species include endemic Upemba lechwe, roan antelope, black sable, buffalo, leopard, giant ground hornbill and many other bird species.
The Congolese Wildlife Authority (ICCN) has appointed a Park Director to manage the two parks collectively known as the Complexe Upemba-Kundelungu (CUK), and has recently signed a Private-Public Partnership with the Forgotten Parks Foundation (FPF) delegating management responsibility to the Foundation for the next 15 years. Under this agreement Forgotten Parks is responsible for the management, monitoring and protection of the two parks, as well as for developing sustainable financing mechanisms to meet the on-going management costs.
We are looking for a mature professional, typically someone who has recently retired with a well-developed set of transferable skills, who wants to do something to contribute to a conservation initiative and is prepared to work in a difficult and challenging environment.
This French/English dual-language role is being advertised as an unpaid internship because all the funds we receive are directed towards the parks and supporting the rangers, who are the critical element here. We will fly you in and out, look after you, feed you, house you, and provide all in-country transport. It is a tough environment, but it is also one of the most beautiful landscapes on the African continent. The area is isolated and the job will be 6 months of hard graft in a very remote part of DRC, so we need a resourceful person with initiative, resilience and adaptability who is comfortable being part of a pioneering team.
- Ability to be flexible, creative, and assume high accountability for all areas of responsibility. Must demonstrate strong collaborative spirit and leadership ability as well as intercultural competence.
- Ability to contribute to a dynamic and positive culture and act as a positive role model for others in the team.
The Field Operations Officer will directly support the Park Director in a number of critical areas that relate to the efficient running of the national parks and will have responsibility for helping to coordinate all internal operations, thereby freeing up the Park Director to focus on external issues, strategic planning and funding. The operations will include the ongoing development of infrastructure, the enhancement of the vehicle fleet and provision of equipment, logistical support and improvement in the areas of operations. The Field Operations Officer will have the support of the Headquarters’ management team to assist in these tasks and the Park Director will review and set work priorities at weekly staff meetings.
Key aspects of the role are as follows: Infrastructure:
- To support all infrastructure developments and maintenance in the park and the periphery; to oversee all budgetary and cost control actions; to oversee all tender procedures as well as contractor appointments.
Fleet management (Vehicles and Aircraft):
- To oversee all fleet related infrastructure and procurement.
- To oversee vehicle fleet management via workshop manager, including licenses, permits, services, fuel and oil management, spares stock, safety, operational procedures (SOPs), and technical upgrades.
- To oversee all stock management procedures including monthly checks of spare parts tools and fuel consumption via the stock manager.
- To oversee the maintenance of the aircraft fleet via the pilots, including licenses, permits, services, fuel and oil management, spares stock, safety and operational procedures (SOPs), technical upgrades, etc.
- To oversee maintenance and ensure that safety procedures are upheld within the workshops and hangars.
- To oversee all infrastructural as well as fleet management purchases and orders.
- To oversee the transport of new equipment delivered to the park, which is in accordance with procedures laid down in SOPs for the purchase, delivery and storage of such equipment.
- To oversee that regular (minimum monthly) checks are carried out on stores with stock manager, and ensure all stores and infrastructure relating to fleet management are in good working order and well maintained.
- To oversee the logistical element to ensure it is available to fully support law enforcement (LE) activities.
- To oversee the purchase of all necessary equipment for LE teams.
- To support all conservation activities in the park including translocation operations, animal monitoring and tracking activities, the use of the aircraft for conservation, law enforcement activities and other field related operations.
- Be prepared to provide support to research partners, filming companies, and other valued organisations.
- To oversee ration purchases and orders as well as the maintenance and management of the ranger canteen.
- To review job descriptions for each position and have these approved by the Park Director and signed as understood by the employees.
- To help develop long-term planning activities for each department in order to support them effectively with the required logistics.
- To help team leaders to be as efficient and effective as possible in their jobs.
- To undertake other duties as requested by the Park Director or as identified by the Intern and agreed by the Park Director.
- Park Director
- Other members of the Park management team
- External contractors
Recommended capabilities, competencies and experience:
- Tertiary education or equivalent experience in a field relevant to park administration, biodiversity management, or conservation and wildlife.
- Demonstrable experience in one or all of the following park management disciplines: technical (construction, mechanics, fence building, fence maintenance, water systems, solar), conservation (game relocations, veterinary, conservation knowledge or training), law enforcement (field experience, field management, law enforcement techniques, law enforcement technologies).
- Good leadership ability
- Strong personal integrity and dependability
- Good team player
- Demonstrable experience managing and working in partnership with other organisations
- Good report writing skills
- Good working knowledge of French and English (written and spoken)
- Willingness to live in an outdoor environment and some experience living in remote locations
Please send your application including a cover letter and a chronological CV in PDF format to firstname.lastname@example.org. The cover letter will be used to judge the quality of your application.
Application deadline is 31st July 2018 and references should accompany your application.
Note on Security:
Relatively speaking, Katanga is a safe area compared with the rest of the DRC although we are constantly striving to improve security within the confines of the park. The rangers, who are principally based at the Headquarters in Lusinga, are currently undergoing a ranger-training programme with Belgian and French Commandos. A comprehensive security briefing will be provided to the Intern prior to arrival in DRC.