Internship story by Nur Akifah (2018)
During my 10-week internship with WWF-Malaysia in Sarawak Office, I had the opportunity to work with different conservation teams or programmes. On my third day at work, I had the chance in helping to carry out perception survey in a coastal village called, Belawai with the Freshwater Management and Security team.
The survey aims to obtain information on the communities’ perception towards the mangrove ecosystem, dolphin and fish distribution in the Rajang-Belawai-Paloh delta area. The survey was held over three days. It was quite challenging but I love to share information about Irrawady dolphin with them and acquire new knowledge from them too. Other than that, we went for dolphin watching along Batang Rajang and managed to see some from afar. I felt excited to have this one-in-a-million opportunity.
I also followed the Protected Area Team to a rural area, Ulu Menyang, Batang Ai, to help fertilise young gaharu or agarwood (Aquilaria microcarpa) trees. To reach Ulu Menyang, we have to travel by road for five hours from Kuching to Batang Ai jetty. From the jetty, we continued the journey by longboat for another 30 minutes crossing the vast Batang Ai dam. During this trip, I overcome my fear of water and I am so proud of it! WWF-Malaysia works in Ulu Menyang because it is known as the “gateway to orangutan country.”
WWF-Malaysia is working with Forest Department Sarawak to facilitate the planting of 11,000 gaharu seedlings with communities from Rumah Manggat in Ulu Sungai Menyang. This project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. It is part of WWF-Malaysia’s strategy to promote co-management and improve community livelihoods in an orangutan landscape so that pressure is taken off to convert forested landscape into other land uses to generate income.
While in the office, I learned to design posters and buntings to be used at events like Bario Slowfood Festival or Pesta Nukenen. Everything had to start from zero as designing posters was new to me. However, I received help and guidance from my supervisor. One thing that I will always keep in mind is to be honest and humble no matter who and where we are.
WWF-Malaysia is not only a workplace, it is home. I have made new friends and gained their trust although I have no working experience. Throughout my internship, they guided and gave me advices to improve my soft skills and shaped me into a better person. I would like to thank the Panda family for accepting and giving me so much skills and experiences along the journey with them, hoping that we can work together again next time.