Thursday, February 5, 2015

Communications Officer

Communications Officer
Cuc Phuong National Park
Ninh Binh, Vietnam

AVI has negotiated this assignment in good faith with the Host Organisation, and the information contained was correct at the time of acceptance of the request. However, while AVI takes responsibility for matters under our direct control, all assignments and arrangements are subject to change due to the inherent low levels of predictability in developing country environments. This assignment may be amended or withdrawn to reflect changes in circumstances.

General Details
Assignment Title        Communications Officer
Host Organisation        Save Vietnam’s Wildlife
Website of Host Organisation
Duration of Assignment        18 months
Start Date        23-Sep-2015
Pre-departure Briefing Date        17-Jun-2015
AVI Assignment Code        10533563

Host Organisation Overview
Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW) is a national Non-Profit Organisation. At the core of SVW’s program is a collaborative partnership with Cuc Phuong National Park to support the management and operation of the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program (CPCP).
The CPCP started as a species-specific project overseen by Fauna and Flora International towards the preservation of Owston’s Civet. It later became the ‘Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program (CPCP)’ with an expanded mandate to include other species of mustelids and viverrids.
The program focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of carnivores and pangolins confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade as well as the development of global conservation breeding programs for threatened small mammals.

Mission statement
Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is committed to protecting and increasing populations of endangered wildlife in Vietnam by rescuing threatened animals, protecting entire populations and ensuring secured habitats. SVW acts to identify and select the best scientifically based solutions which balance high conservation value with human requirements while empowering people to take informed action.
SVW works closely with National Forest Protection Rangers, State and Federal agencies, other Vietnamese wildlife rescue centres, other public or private organizations working against the illegal trade in wildlife, local people and communities as well as schools and universities.
SVW operates from an office in Cuc Phuong National Park and employs 9 Vietnamese nationals and one technical advisor (funded by Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust).
Save Vietnam’s Wildlife receives financial support from various organisations and individuals interested in wildlife conservation including: the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust (UK), Newquay Zoo (UK) and Welttierschutzgesellschaft WTG (Germany).

Assignment Overview
Illicit wildlife trade and consumption of endangered species is a major problem in Vietnam. Strengthening the communications strategy and activities of SVW is crucial to its goal of promoting positive perceptions and attitudes towards wildlife conservation through various awareness raising activities.
In addition to financial constraints, this position would be extremely difficult to be filled at this time by a local staff. The majority of financial support for the current activities originates from overseas donors and organisations. A foreigner is required to liaise with these organisations and transfer the skills to the local communications officer. In addition, SVW initially needs to strengthen its ties with international media as well as international organisations. Once the network is in place, local staff will be able to continue the work.
This position will include a large proportion of media design. Most Vietnamese media designers have been trained and are working in the business sector, without experience, skills or knowledge on education campaign and awareness raising initiatives related to social or environmental issues.
Through on-the-job coaching by an expatriate communications expert, the local staff will increase their skills and strategic thinking and will later be able to pursue autonomously.
Through its partnership with the National Park and the CPCP program, SVW has hosted many international volunteers over the years, including several Australian Volunteers from the former AusAID Volunteer Program as well as from Zoos Victoria.

Assignment Objectives
To support Save Vietnam’s Wildlife in the design and implementation of a comprehensive communication as well as fundraising strategy.
To work alongside the Vietnamese communications manager and wildlife education manager in order to build their capacity and ensure they can work autonomously after the end of this assignment.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Volunteer
In consultation with their line manager and relevant stakeholders, volunteers complete a work plan in the first three months of their assignment. The duties below are an indication of the type of work that may be involved in meeting the Assignment Objectives:
•        Analyse the communications and information needs of SVW for the next five years, in order to develop an effective communications strategy and communication plan
•        Support the development of communication products and tools including photos, films, signs, reports, merchandises etc.
•        Provide advice on the development of SVW’s fundraising strategy and networking activities
•        Help promote effective communications within SVW through annual meeting, workshops, and trainings courses
•        Help improve SVW’s online presence through social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.)
•        Help develop and maintain of a strong media network in order to generate interest and ensure regular communication of SVW’s work to key stakeholders.

Assignment Information
Line Manager
SVW Executive Director
Staff Supervision
The volunteer is expected to mentor and coach the local Communication Officer and Wildlife Education Manager.
Hours & Days of Employment
From 08:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday.
The expectation is that the volunteer will work the equivalent of a 5-day week to a maximum of 40 hours per week.

Leave Entitlements
Same conditions and terms as local colleagues apply, including national holidays. However, as a minimum, volunteers will accrue 1 week of leave for each 3 months of work.     

Other Conditions
Out of hours work is required mostly for photography and filming of nocturnal animals.
The volunteer will have a workstation in SVW office with shared computers with Internet access. The organisation is unable to provide individual computers for each of its staff.
Cuc Phuong National Park is located in a rural area, 2.5 hours away from Hanoi. There are local buses from Ninh Binh City to Hanoi departing every 30 min.
Language Skills and Level Required
Vietnamese is the main language spoken by nearly all in the country. In local areas, very few people may speak English.
The level of language competency in Vietnamese that a Volunteer will need to carry out this assignment is LOW, mostly for daily interactions at market, shops, taxis, etc… The Volunteer will need basic survival Vietnamese for shopping and travel. However, the more language skills the volunteer will acquire, the better the integration in the community.

Language Support
AVI offers 2 week language training support to volunteer during an initial in-country orientation program. Further language training is encouraged and financially supported.

Living as a Volunteer
Working in Vietnam can be challenging in terms of organisation of work and importance of personal relationships for successful outcomes. There is also often relatively late notice for participation in public events, speaking slots in workshops or unplanned changes in programs and work schedules. This requires flexibility and a level of comfort handling multiple priorities, as well as working to tight deadlines with a high level of quality.
Personal boundaries are different in the Vietnamese context as the country as a whole lacks public and personal space.  In addition to the lack of privacy, the amount and level of noise can be overwhelming for Westerners.

Vietnam in general provides a safe and welcoming living environment. Crime levels are low – with petty street crime increasing, although at levels far below most Western capital cities. Tropical storms and floods commonly occur between June and December. The standard of primary health care is sufficient in major cities, but more complicated treatments may require evacuation to a third country, usually Thailand. In Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, there are international medical clinics.
Dengue Fever is endemic to Vietnam and can occur throughout the year. Outbreaks of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) and Swine Flu in Vietnam have led to about 100 reported human fatalities. Malaria occurs nearly exclusively in remote forested and mountainous areas.
Traffic accidents cause thousands of deaths each year.

The Park is 8 km to the inter-city bus stop. Volunteers can take a moto-taxi or ask park staff to take them to the bus. Buses run every 30 min to Hanoi on a 45 km journey.
In the city, buses, moto-taxis and taxis are the preferred mean of transportation for volunteers. For inter-city travels, there is a well organised network of public buses.
Many volunteers have found it helpful to buy a bicycle. The average cost of a brand-new between AUD $50 to $100.

Vietnam has a very modern, reliable and extensive Internet and mobile phone coverage, including in the National Park.
Internet service is easy to get in the volunteer’s accommodation with a cost of about AUD 15-20 per month for unlimited access.
Internet cafes are found everywhere except the most remote locations and costs are much lower than in Australia.
Most volunteers use Skype for overseas calls: computer-to-computer (free) or computer-to-phone (about 3.5 cents/minute to land lines and 31 cents/min to mobiles). Phone cards are also available for even lower rates.

Allowances & Support
These allowance levels are based on the Cost of Living in country. They will be reviewed periodically and may increase or decrease.  Volunteers will be given notice of any change to the allowance level.
Living Allowance        Accommodation Allowance
AUD 900 per month        AUD 500 per month

The Volunteer will be offered accommodation in the National Park but will have to pay rent.

Other Allowances & Support
All AVID Volunteers receive the following:
•        Pre-departure Briefing in Melbourne
•        In-country Orientation on arrival
•        Pre-departure vaccination expenses
•        Visa expenses
•        Pastoral care, assignment monitoring and security guidance
•        Return airfare to country of assignment
•        Psychological and medical advice and support services
•        Re-entry support services
•        Settling in allowance (assignments longer than 6 months)
•        Re-settlement allowance (assignments longer than 6 months)

Preparing Your Application
Personal Circumstances Constraints
•        Same sex partners who wish to accompany applicants must secure their own visa.
•        Partners of applicants to whom they are not legally married may face issues in applying for and being issued a visa.
•        This assignment is not suitable for couples with school age children unless one of the partners does home schooling.

Selection Criteria
Please begin by writing your responses to the following three questions, in a document headed - Response to Selection Criteria:
a. Why do I feel that volunteering overseas is the right thing for me to be doing at this time in my life? (up to half a page)
b. What are the biggest personal adjustments I’m likely to have to make to be accepted as a useful colleague and engaged community member in this assignment? (up to half a page)
c. How do I match the Essential Skills & Experience: Write a brief summary of your most relevant experiences, results and achievements responding to each criteria in the Essential Skills & Experience section of the Assignment Description.
To find out more details about preparing your application, please visit:
To find out more details about the personal competencies required to be a volunteer, please visit:

Qualifications, Essential Skills & Experience
•        A University-level degree (bachelor) in a related field
•        Strong written English skills
•        Strong networking and advocacy skills
•        Good organizational and reporting skills
•        Previous practical experience in fundraising
•        Previous experience in working alongside and building the skills of others through formal and/or informal training and coaching
•        Previous experience in consulting with stakeholders and facilitating the work of others to achieve an agreed outcome
Desirable Skills & Experience
•        Experience in media and communications for NGOs
•        Good computer skills, especially designing skills

How to Apply
Should you wish to apply for this position please visit
Select the assignment you are interested in and follow the prompts at the end of the page.

This assignment is part of the Australian Volunteers for International Development program, an Australian Government initiative.

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