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C3 Internship Review – Laura Dinraths – HQ / Facilitation team 2011

June 28, 2011

Maybe Egypt is not the destination you would prefer to work in right now. And yet I would not pick any other location to work given the choice.

Indeed, I have had the privilege to be accepted for a 6 month internship in the Headquarters of Community Centred Conservation (C3), a well known and respected British Conservation NGO.

I was so excited when I arrived in Dahab on the 9th of January 2011 and began working with the senior managers of this NGO dedicated to protect endangered species in the world’s poorest and remotest locations. I was appointed various tasks in this day-to-day management of overseas programmes, interns and new projects, and I learnt as well as shared my skills on topics like marketing, awareness raising, staff development activities, lecturing and reporting.

Six months to gain practical knowledge and get management insights in an NGO is quite a rewarding adventure. I have worked closely with theMadagascarand Indian Ocean Islands Office in their lecturing for Malagasy Students at University and in the Marine Conservation Roadshow the boy scouts are running in remote coastal villages to raise awareness on endangered migratory species, their life cycle and threats. I also have helped in the background research previous to the opening of C3’s new programme inPhilippinesand have helped target the main issues and the most endangered species and habitats to protect.

While I learnt a lot about managing the overseas programmes inMadagascar,FijiandPhilippines, I also had insights on the overall management of an entire NGO, here inEgypt: attending conferences, managing research outputs to publish, grant proposals, planning of new projects, assessing opportunities, offering technical advice etc.

Sure, it has not been easy all the time. Sometimes work is overwhelming – I reckon like in every other serious NGO! Sometimes something happens overseas and you have to be there to help and fix the problem. Sometimes revolutions happen. But we have been able to cope with all that, and it hasn’t changed anything to our everyday lives. It even has made things quite exciting. Of course, being unable to connect to facebook or personal email during an entire week during the revolution was excruciatingly painful, but there must be places worse to live in than Dahab, I’m sure of that.

Apart from work, Dahab has offered me a lot of encounters – Egyptians are still as friendly as previously-, friends and colleagues and lots of interesting underwater and above water experiences – diving, of course, but also the magnificent desert and mountain sceneries that are surrounding the small town. An internship with C3 was a perfect way to gain a valuable experience abroad and in an NGO to help me find my way through marine biology in the future!

Thank you C3!

Laura Dinraths



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  1. I did an internship with C3 in the Comoros in 2007. My experience of working with C3 as an intern was excellent. I wanted to gain some valuable experience to get back into the field of international conservation and the internship allowed me to get involved in planning and managing field work as well as just assisting. Having had some previous experience in working on conservation projects abroad I found that C3 offer so much more than many gap year type volunteering experiences. During my internship with C3 I really came face to face with the realities and challenges of carrying out research and conservation work in a small developing country which really helped to build my confidence as well as experience.

    I also had an amazing time on a personal level and found the Comorian people to be incredibly friendly and welcoming. I made some really good friends out there who I am still in touch with now!

    I am now a programme manager with WWF-UK managing an EC funded project based in China, India and Vietnam so I’m happy with how my career has progressed and think that the internship certainly contributed significantly to this.

  2. Elsa Ordway permalink

    Elsa Ordway
    Comoros and Madagascar – 2009

    “Community Centred Conservation (C-3) leads the direction of modern conservation with a scientific approach that engages the community on a closely local level. While interning for C-3 I was able to experience the setbacks and rewards from such an involved approach. I had access to some of the most culturally and environmentally rich corners of the world. The opportunity for cultural learning can be as great as the skills gained in marine conservation and outreach methodologies. C-3 is a rapidly growing and expanding organization with a committed goal to conservation, thus creating a work environment that I found nurtured my creativity, independence and ambition.”

  3. Chelsea permalink

    In 2010, I did a 3-month internship with C3 in Diego Suarez, Madagascar. I chose C3 over all of the other available internships for several reasons: (1) the program has a strong belief in community participation and empowerment, (2) there are opportunities in a variety of areas to do independent projects, and (3) interns are carefully selected and thus highly qualified. While in Madagascar I learned, among many things, how to map sea grass, conduct interviews with local fisherman, and design socioeconomic surveys. My internship has definitely given me an edge against other candidates when applying for work.

    Living in Madagascar was an amazing experience. I miss the country, my fellow interns, and my Malagasy friends.

  4. David Hunter permalink

    David Hunter

    A cursory glance at any conservation related job application makes it pretty clear that experience is a must. My time with C3 gave me one of the most rounded conservation experiences that I believe you can get. The size of the NGO means that you get to try your hand at everything. One moment your main concern is whether or not question 8 in the socio-economic survey you’re helping to design is really necessary, the next you’re desperately trying not to lose count as the 105th egg pops out the backend of a green turtle. You may find yourself standing at the front of a class of young students wanting to learn English in the morning and then in the afternoon, you’ll be wondering if you can fit the breadfruit as well as the cassava into the last remaining space under your left arm. I got a chance to be involved in all walks of life in a conservation NGO, from the day to day tasks of keeping a camp in a developing country running well, to helping in the design, data collection, and writing up of scientific research.

    However, what made my experience with C3 so unique was its dedication to working at the community level. This of course has massive benefits for the sustainability and effectiveness of C3’s projects but also gives you the incredible opportunity to really become part of a different culture. What I learnt culturally, the people I met and the experiences I had are equally important to me as what I learnt about science.

    I am in no doubt that my experience with C3 gave me the edge I needed to get a job in the competitive world of conservation.

  5. I wanted to get some GIS experience in a dedicated conservation organisation and that is exactly what I got! During my time with C3 I concentrated on mapping seagrass distribution, dugong sightings, turtle nesting locations and fishing threats. It it was a great experience for me as I had to figure out a lot of things that I had previously not done and I found that tremendously rewarding. Furthermore I know that the results I produced in my time there were of real relevance to the organisation and their goals in marine conservation which is great as it is not the case in every job that you feel that you have really contributed something positive.

    Diego, Madagascar is a great place to work as you are smack in the middle of where the action is so to speak; you can see with your own eyes the wonderful natural resources and also see the plight of the people and their need for survival. C3 is a good organisation to work for as they are serious about their aims and work at a grass roots level. They have high standards with regards to their scientific research which means that you know that the work which you do for them has value. There is also a high level of personal integrity within the organisation, all of these factors combined encompasses some of the best aspects of what you can expect from an NGO.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Arabella Bramley – Comoros 2007 « Community Centred Conservation (C3) Internship Experiences
  2. Elsa Ordway – Madagascar and Comoros 2009 « Community Centred Conservation (C3) Internship Experiences
  3. Chelsea Ricketts – Madagascar 2010 « Community Centred Conservation (C3) Internship Experiences

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