Community-empowerment Internship at IEF, Indonesia

IEF is a non-profit organisation working together with displaced Indigenous communities who are seeking to reconnect with their tribal culture and land through education.

Organisation Name: Indigenous Education Foundation

Location: Mentawai, Indonesia

No. of places available: 1-2

Suitable Discipline/s: Linguistics, Anthropology, Human Rights

About the Organisation

IEF is a non-profit organisation working together with displaced Indigenous communities who are seeking to reconnect with their tribal culture and land through education.

Focusing heavily on community-empowerment and sustainability, IEF supports displaced communities in their development of educational solutions based around the preservation and utilisation of traditional knowledge, customs, as well as the interaction with, and understanding of, localised ecosystems.

Through our community research and engagement model we provide Indigenous peoples with an informed understanding of how their current social and societal systems are impacting the state of their health and wellbeing; enabling Indigenous communities an informed view to base their decisions and the design of their community’s education upon.

About the Internship

Role description: Field Assistant – Mentawai Dictionary & Oral Literature

Start Date: Flexible

Duration: 4-8 weeks ((entire project spanning almost 12 months )

Role Description

There have been few attempts to document Mentawai language and oral literature, and even fewer that are readily accessible to the Mentawai community. Our intention is to determine how oral literatures have been passed from one generation to the next, and how development and modernization is influencing the transmission of such knowledge. Extensive community surveying will be conducted to gauge what, if any, modifications may be made to accommodate such changes. Through this research, our goal is to empower creative solutions generated by the local research team and broader community, thus inspiring the Mentawai to continue learning language and literature for generations to come.

The main objective for the volunteer will to be assist lead researcher in documenting Mentawai language and oral literature for the publication of a Mentawai Dictionary and categorisation of cultural stories, song, mythology and so forth.

In addition, the volunteer’s objective will be to work alongside Mentawai Foundation (YPBM) researchers and facilitate training programs as desired by staff.

The main responsibilities are as follows:

  • Co-facilitate focus group discussions with YPBM staff and key community stakeholders to determine desired skills and outcomes for the Mentawai’s training program
  • Develop and implement training programs for Mentawai researchers
  • Assist in database management and cataloguing of field data
  • Assist with surveying, and monitoring and evaluation activities
  • Develop and/or maintain partnerships with local, regional and international organisations, local and national government, professional and peer networks.


Volunteer will be based at the Yayasan Pendidikan Budaya Mentawai office, which is located 5min drive from the port of Siberut Island, Mentawai (Indonesia). Siberut is accessed via a 4-hour fast ferry from Padang City in Western Sumatra (operates 3 times per week).

From 8 am to 4 pm,  Monday to  Friday. However, there will situations where we are conducting field work within remote villages and working days will be Monday through Sunday.

Skills Required: 

  • Bachelor degree in linguistics, anthropology or other related field.
  • Linguistic field and research methodology
  • Basic Indonesian language competency
  • Team leadership & interpersonal skills
  • Highly motivated and independent with local community easier


  • Commitment to team work, coaching, and mentoring others
  • Awareness and sensitivity of cross-cultural settings
  • Patience, tolerance and flexibility
  • Ability to cope with cultural isolation and a different standard of living
  • A preparedness to work with limited resources within a challenging environment
  • Committed to gender equality, children protection and disability inclusion
  • Basic competency in Indonesian language

Support from IEF

IEF will assist by providing accommodation in a share house with IEF representatives; meals whilst conducting field work will also be provided.

Scholarships & Funding

For further information about available scholarships and funding please click on the links below:

How to Apply

Please apply for ATS3130 or ATS3935 Arts International Internship or APG5044 if you a graduate student

For more information please contact the WIL team.

*Applications must be submitted 2-3 months prior to intended start date*