WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION
This project is located in an Animal Rehabilitation Centre which does wonderful
work with abandoned and abused animals. Where animals can be rehabilitated, they're
released back into the wild, but where they are too vulnerable owing to injuries
or other factors, they're given a home in the sanctuary for the rest of their lives.
They also operate as an education centre for local children and others, to inform
them of the need for conservation. The Centre does unbelievably good work.
As the Centre relies solely on the goodwill of the public for donations, they regard
your internship role as one of the most important ones at the Centre!
You can assist with the daily PR duties and events scheduled during your time on
the placement. The type of event you could help host includes fairs, golf days,
or even get involved in events like an off-road bike race which is being planned
by the locals at time of writing! If you feel confident enough to do talks, you
can also visit schools and old-age homes - anything to raise awareness of the Centre.
A dictionary definition of Public Relations is:
The art or science of establishing and promoting a favourable relationship with
the public. The methods and activities employed to establish and promote a favourable relationship
with the public. The degree of success obtained in achieving a favourable relationship with the public.
This, in a nutshell, is what you will be involved in on your placement! The PR Officer
is very keen to work alongside people who can bring new enthusiasm and new kinds
of ideas to her extensive but satisfying role.
Her work is mostly centred on securing resources; (financial donations as well as
equipment and services); that will help run the Centre sustainably. There is also
a lot of work involved in the planning and hosting of lots of promotional events
and fundraisers, managing the donor database, approaching corporations for assistance,
liaising with the media and coming up with new ways to promote a favourable relationship
with the public. The Centre also prepares a monthly newsletter and feeds press releases
to the media, so strong writing skills and computer design skills will be a fantastic
advantage! (Read Press Releases prepared by Natacha Torres during her PR internship.)
The PR officer also drives a very strong public awareness and education campaign.
There is an environmental education centre which hosts visiting school groups, children
are taken on a tour of the facility and get the opportunity to interact and play
games, watch a video and learn about caring for animals and the environment. This
educational initiative has also led to a series of episodes filmed at the Centre
screened recently on Animal Planet. Talks and presentations are also given at local
schools and at corporate companies and there is an open day once a month for public
In essence, your placement will cover exposure to some or all of the following areas,
depending on the Centre’s needs at the time of your placement:
- Raising the profile of the Organisation and associating a "Brand" with it
- Donor relations
- Corporate PR relations
- General PR
- Fundraising campaigns
- Media Relations
- Design and copy writing for marketing collateral and educational materials
- Event Planning & Management
- Hosting of special events such as golf days, theatre shows, fairs, etc.
You are encouraged to develop campaign ideas and interact with the PR officer via
email before leaving the UK for this project. That way you can prepare some ideas
and come out ready to hit the ground running. All the staff at the Centre speak
English and all events, campaigns and collateral are done in English so you will
experience no language barrier – in fact – good writing and public speaking skills
will make you a valuable asset! Any experience in "edutainment" – entertainment
bringing home an educational message - will also be to your advantage.
A typical day starts at 8am until 5pm with a lunch break. You must be flexible and
prepared to work odd hours and some weekends – as with any job requiring PR! There
will be occasions when an event or function is held outside your usual working hours,
and you will be expected to attend these as well.
If you have any ideas you think you'd like to implement while on your placement,
you can also start liaising with the staff and trustees prior to your trip and plan
your own unique event or campaign to assist in raising the project's profile and
help secure additional funding.
The Centre also has a public education programme that serves to spread awareness
of these animals' plight.
There are usually approximately 300 - 400 animals under the Centre's care at any
given time, all of which are wildlife indigenous to KwaZulu Natal (called KZN for
short). Animals range from birds and mammals to raptors and reptiles, and many many
monkeys. They also have a very busy Educational Program, so if education is your
'thing', you will be able to assist with school tours and edutainment events at
the education centre.
Whenever possible, animals who can survive in their natural habitat are released.
This is a particularly satisfying time!
ABOUT THE CENTRE:
The centre for rehabilitation of wildlife is situated KwaZulu-Natal. It is a wildlife
hospital that cares for the injured and orphaned wild animals and birds and the
only centre of its kind in the Province.
VISION: To be an independent, pioneering force in the protection
and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured wildlife, while promoting the preservation
of their natural habitat.
MISSION STATEMENT: The centre is committed to the rescue, rehabilitation
and release of orphaned and injured wildlife, and believes in action and education
with regard to the protection of all natural resources.
The centre has a few depots in and around the Province and is considered to be one
of the leading rehabilitation Centres in South Africa. The centre is committed to
conservation and strives to return all rescued and rehabilitated wildlife to their
natural habitat. Any wild animal, (not domestic or agricultural), that has been
injured, rescued or abandoned, is admitted free of charge. Almost 90% of animals
admitted to the centre, have sustained injuries due to human negligence. These animals
are tended to by staff and volunteers whose love, care and dedication is unconditional,
around the clock.
It takes time and dedication; and a lot of donor funding, to rehabilitate these
animals and to prepare them to be re-introduced in their natural environment. Some
animals' injuries are so severe that they cannot be rehabilitated and therefore
become permanent residents at the centre.