Vacancy – Research Assistant
Are you an Ecology, Conservation, Natural Resources, Environmental Sciences Masters student who has a passion for the preservation of the Okavango Delta for the future generations of Botswana citizens? Does the sound of a dynamic, forward-thinking, supportive and mission-driven organisation appeal to you?
The Botswana Wild Bird Trust (BWBT) which is based in Maun, Botswana runs conservation and educators projects in the Delta region of Botswana and is actively looking for a Research Assistant to join their team. This newly created role provides a great opportunity for a suitable qualified student with relevant research experience to join the team and support the BWBT in fulfilling its science and research objectives in Botswana.
VISION STATEMENT OF OKAVANGO ETERNAL PARTNERSHIP
Okavango Eternal aims to protect the source waters of the Okavango Delta and the lives and
livelihoods they support
The Okavango Delta is one of Africa’s natural wonders, and the Okavango Basin in Angola and Namibia that feeds the Delta is the source of water for more than one million people. It also plays a key role for supporting wildlife and livelihoods, and it has the potential to play an even bigger role in southern Africa’s socio-economic development.
The Okavango Delta’s health however, is dependent on its source lakes and rivers, which originate as rain in Angola’s highlands and flow down through Namibia, into Botswana. The effects of climate change, deforestation, water diversion and upstream commercial agriculture are putting this critical lifeline at risk. While the Delta itself holds protected status, the Okavango Basin that feeds it, does not.
Since 2015, the National Geographic Society’s Okavango Wilderness Project has been working to help secure permanent, sustainable protection for the Okavango Basin. National Geographic has now been joined by De Beers to help secure protection for the Okavango Delta’s headwaters.
Over the course of five years, De Beers will work together with the National Geographic Society, by providing support and funding, to expand and accelerate work already underway, helping to establish sustainable local livelihoods in harmony with the Okavango Basin’s conservation. The partnership will focus on both protecting the natural world and supporting communities across Angola, Botswana and Namibia.
The Research Assistant is required to support the BWBT research department in fulfilling its science and research objectives in Botswana as mandated by its research permit. The Research Assistant will assist the project in gathering data and organising and conducting baseline studies to help inform this work and ensure we can create a meaningful and long term impact.
This position is based in Maun and the role will also require regular travel within the Okavango Delta and occasionally to neighbouring countries for field work, expeditions, meetings and conferences. The Research Assistant must be prepared to spend a significant amount of time away from home conducting field work.
- ) Research Coordinator, BWBT
- ) Country Director, BWBT
Responsibilities and Duties (not in order of priority)
- Assist the Research Coordinator with the safety, coordination and management of BWBT research activities in Botswana.
- Help conduct specific research and monitoring tasks as required. These will be developed over time with the research department and relevant collaborators and must address specific objectives of the BWBT. Initially these may include:
- Salvinia control project
- OKASS sampling
- Other opportunistic sampling of ecological health indicators
- Pilot LoRa network and sensor deployment
- Breeding biology of wetland birds in the Okavango delta
- Role of cavity nesting birds in the Okavango delta
- Assist with the installation and subsequently maintain and manage climate and water quality stations in the Okavango delta. This represents a significant task and requires regular site visits and frequent communication with lodge staff.
- Have weekly meetings with research team on all research projects and developments.
- Help ensure that the Mopiri research camp remains functional and properly resourced in terms of research equipment and research needs.
- Help maintain / repair all research equipment at the Maun office and ensure broken items are reported, replaced and delisted / listed accordingly on the inventory.
- Store and manage biological or other scientific samples until they can be exported to the necessary destinations of the specialists, adhering to the relevant processes and protocols for importing/exporting research samples.
- Assist with the compilation of all reports following field work and expeditions.
- Assist in planning and event-managing potential BWBT symposiums in Maun to create more awareness of the project.
- Conduct data analysis and prepare scientific papers in collaboration with the research department. Published papers may also be submitted to international conferences.
- Help assemble, categorise and maintain an updated library of relevant research papers and reports.
- Help establish a “Visitors Centre” at the BWBT Maun office that displays research outputs, insect collections, biodiversity posters, as well as podcasts and videos for visitors to the centre to listen to and view etc
- Help ensure that the “Visitors Centre” meets the needs of local learners and institutions as well as visiting scientists.
- When called to do so, assist on National Geographic Okavango Wilderness (NGOWP) expeditions to Angola and Namibia.
- Assist students and visiting researchers with field work, data collection and logistics.
- In association with the tasks of Educator Expeditions and the development of the Nkashi Knowledge Centre, work with the Managing Director to develop training and capacity building of local teachers and youth leaders in terms of conservation education, research and data collection. This can include but is not limited to the following:
- When called to do so, assist on Educator Expeditions as a naturalist.
- Assist in producing educational and training material suitable for remote communities and schools of the Delta.
- Assist with community outreach in emphasising the importance of Science and Research with regards to Natural resource management, conservation and the benefits for local communities.
Required Qualifications, Skills and Competency Requirements
- A Master’s degree in an appropriate field (Conservation, Natural Resources, Ecology, Environmental Sciences etc.)
- Botswana citizen.
- Research / field working experience with a good knowledge and understanding of accepted scientific and research processes. Data cleaning and management abilities.
- At least 2 years of experience working in the Okavango Delta.
- Experience or interest in hydrological and climatological monitoring and modeling.
- Confident IT skills and proficiency with MS Office, GIS, as well as Google Workspace tools such as Google sheets and Google docs.
- Experience or background in education and/or community engagement is an advantage.
- Storytelling abilities (photography, blogs, social media, etc).
- Strong numerical and data analysis skills and ability.
- Confident driver with a valid Driver’s License & 4×4 driving experience.
- Must enjoy the outdoors and be comfortable camping in the wild and eating simple food.
- Physical strength and fitness and be able to perform physical work in rugged terrain while in the field.
- Strong verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills.
- Highly accurate worker with a strong attention to detail.
- Good time management – you will at times be assisting different staff at the BWBT and will need to ensure that your work schedule provides the optimum assistance to all as and when needed and according to deadlines and timelines.
- Willingness to represent the project in a highly professional but approachable manner to ensure success in your collection of required information and data in your engagement with teachers, government officials, school pupils, other related institutions / people in the region.
- Proactive, enthusiastic and someone that uses their initiative and responds timeously to issues as they present.
- Flexible approach to your work – your schedule may necessitate changes to meet any unexpected and urgent work needs and/or deadlines.
- Able to work both independently or as part of a culturally diverse team.
- Hands-on, aware and motivated to achieve both personal work and team work deliverables for the various projects with a natural willingness to support and assist the team wherever needed.
- Research and technically minded with an adaptive and forward thinking approach to your work.
- Willingness to be set and meet work goals and to be held accountable for your personal collection and compilation of research work.
- Unafraid of change and a willingness to quickly adapt to changes with a flexible approach to your work – your schedule may necessitate changes to meet any unexpected and urgent work needs and/or deadlines.
- An enquiring mind. Motivated to look for potential new ways for improving the primary education sector for the region.
- Valid passport for travel to neighbouring countries.
WE ARE STILL MAKING CVs FOR P100. COVER LETTERS FOR P50
Pay with FNB EWallet to 76981238 or Orange Money on number 76981238
Whatsapp us on +26776981238
- JOB APPLICATION DETAILS
Interested in this new and exciting opportunity?
* Please submit your resume that includes three contactable references.
* Your application must include a cover letter explaining why you are interested in this position and what excites you most about this potential opportunity.
* Send the above to Sally-Ann Fraser: [email protected]
* Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience.
* Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.
* Please include your salary expectations / requirements in your cover letter.
* Applications close 15 July 2022.
Please say that you got this job advertisement through Jobs Botswana
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