Dambari has been committed to assisting with the development of young Zimbabwean scientists since 2002. This primarily takes the form of hosting third-year students for ten months during their work-related learning modules of their university degrees. Students following a wildlife-related course at a Zimbabwean university may apply.
We accept applications, either in hard copy or by email, until 31 May of each year. We then review all applications and short-list those that we feel will match best with Dambari. Following an interview (either in person or by telephone), we make our final decision. We usually let students know if we can offer them a place by mid- to late June. The attachment period typically starts at the beginning of September and runs until June of the following year. Since we have a formal introductory period, including tutorials on scientific methods, writing style, and so on, we are unable to accept students whose academic year runs over a different period.
How to apply
Apply, in writing, for a place. We expect that an application will comprise a cover letter and a personalised curriculum vitae. Applications may be sent by email through our website contact address, or inbox us on our Facebook page and we can send you email details.
What do we look for?
Whilst being academically sound is important, we are really looking for students that are enthusiastic self-starters with a desire to learn and the intention to remain in Zimbabwe once they have qualified. The ability to manage your time and keep to targets is very important. Attention to detail and the ability to think independently are vital. Students do a variety of activities, including: helping out at the field station (checking fencelines, cutting firebreaks, checking vehicles); assisting with administrative, promotional and maintenance tasks in the office; helping researchers in the field and with data entry; and formulating and executing their own small research project. It is therefore critical that applicants are aware that they will be doing a fair amount of physical work and not just sitting in an office.
Some hints on how to submit a successful application
Getting to the short-list stage should be your first target, and this is entirely reliant on your application. Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- DO apply in good time.
- DO tailor your cover letter and CV to suit the organisation to which you are applying. “I am looking for a position at your place” does not give the impression that you know anything about the organisation!
- DO write a formal cover letter and email cover. “Dear Sir / Madam” is preferable to “Hi”.
- DO indicate in your cover letter why you will be an attribute to the organisation to which you are applying. This takes doing a bit of background research to find out what the organisation does, and demonstrating that your skills or interests match.
- DO include a list of your strengths or skills in your CV, not just your grades and hobbies. Whilst your university grades are helpful, a potential employer wants to know what you are able to do (e.g. computer literacy). And skills, such as computer literacy, are of greater importance than discovering that a student likes to play chess or watch TV.
- DO NOT send an email with several organisations listed in the “To” field. That simply shows that you’re using a scattergun approach to get a place, without much interest in any particular organisation.
- DO NOT copy someone else’s CV or cover letter. Write your own, even if you’re following a general template or format.
Once short-listed… and after
Short-listing does not guarantee you a place, but it is the first hurdle to get there. At Dambari, we send short-listed students some background information so that they are aware of conditions before they commit to progressing further. Make sure that you read any documentation and decline the short-list offer if you feel that the conditions will not suit you.
If you progress to an interview, make sure you know something about the organisation and can clearly demonstrate where you might fit in for the time you are with us. Ask questions about facilities, working conditions, and so on, so that you are fully aware of what you may be committing to. If you are offered a place, check again that you are comfortable with the offer being made. We expect professionalism once you join us!