Water And Wetlands Officer

Location Saysettha, Laos

Start Date Jun - Aug 2019 (flexible)

Length of Placement 9 Months

Language Requirements English

English Reading: Level 5, Writing: Level 5, Speaking: Level 5

Language Scale: http://cusointernational.org/languageratingscale

Open to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada only

The Volunteer’s Role


Access to clean water is a critical issue for the poorest populations in Lao, both for personal use and for livelihoods which often depend on agriculture. Through this placement, you will be working with the Water & Wetlands team at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), on projects which work to secure water for all.

As the Water and Wetlands Officer, you will play a key role in contributing to the sustainable rehabilitation, conservation and management of wetlands ecosystem services while improving the livelihood of local communities in selected wetlands sites. This includes work on long-term strategy development, stakeholder training, developing environmental management guidelines and more, using a gender- and culture-sensitive approach. For at least some duration of this placement a national (graduate) counterpart intern will also be assigned to the project to assist with implementation and communication.

We are looking for a candidate who is passionate about environmental conservation to take on this unique and exciting placement with one of the world’s leading environmental organizations.

Under the overall guidance of the Water and Wetlands Program Advisor (WWPA), the Water and Wetlands Officer (WWO) is responsible for providing the technical support to the water and wetlands program.

As a volunteer, you will:

- Assist with studies and management activities related to climate change vulnerability and adaptation at the Xe Champhone and Beung Kiat Ngong Wetlands.

- Assist in strengthening capacities of water/natural resources/wetlands users to apply effective governance of wetlands use and management.

- Assist in implementation of habitat and species conservation programs related to wetland management

- Assist with data/GIS analysis and report writing as required

- Support activities including:

  • Development of the management plan for the Xe Champhone Ramsar site
  • Development of integrated ecosystem monitoring guidelines
  • Planning and implementation of invasive species management
  • Rehabilitation of sites through natural regeneration and ecological restoration/reforestation.
  • Community fisheries management
  • Training in wetland monitoring and management.

- Represent IUCN Lao PDR in external and internal IUCN meetings, at national, regional and international levels, as needed.

- Undertake any other tasks as may be assigned by, and mutually agreed with the line manager

- Contribute to VOICE broader strategy implementation and identify gender-specific considerations and measure to increase social inclusion of indigenous minority groups, underemployed youth and other marginalized groups in Laos.

Essential Academic Qualifications:

- A degree in environmental sciences, agriculture or related discipline

Essential Professional Background:

- At least two years’ experience in environmental assessment and/or management

- Comfortable using participatory facilitation and training skills

- Excellent communication skills

- Good understanding of issues related to environmental management/climate change adaptation

- Ability to work under pressure and deliver high quality outputs within tight deadlines.

- Excellent people skills, including in conflict resolution and team building, problem solving, and negotiations.

- An ability to work and build rapport with a diverse workforce in multicultural settings.

About Our Partner


The International Union for Conservation of Nature

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environmental and developmental challenges. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network - a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. The Union’s headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.

In 1969 Lao PDR's Ministry of Foreign Affairs became a state member of IUCN, and in 1992 the IUCN Lao PDR Country Office was established in Vientiane. IUCN Lao PDR is part of the Lower Mekong Region Country Group, a unit of the Asia Regional Office in Bangkok, under the umbrella of the global IUCN.

IUCN Lao PDR has been drawing on its in-country experiences and global network to offer key technical and knowledge-based support to the Government on conservation and livelihood issues. The Office maintains a strategic focus on three program areas: biodiversity, environment and communities; climate change; and water and wetlands.

The Country office is well established, regarded and trusted by government, international organizations and civil society as a source of reliable information and advisory services, and as a convener and mediator. Lao ministries, departments and other agencies are engaged in almost everything we do, from providing information and (on-demand) policy advisory services to capacity building to joint implementation of activities.

Lao PDR country program is guided by IUCN’s intersessional Plan 2017-2020, which was approved by IUCN’s members, including the Lao government, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2016, with the overarching program goal being “to ensure that the ecosystems and natural resources of Lao PDR are effectively conserved and sustainably utilized in an equitable manner that contributes to the socio-economic development of the country”.

Terms and Conditions


Cuso International terms and conditions allow you to lead a modest and healthy lifestyle while being effective in your placement. This support package will cover basic living expenses for one volunteer and is not intended to cover home-based expenses (ex. loans, support payments, etc.) or luxury items such as imported items in placement or international personal travel.


Support Package

- Modest monthly living allowance (varies depending country)

- Accommodation while in placement

- Return airfare and visa/work permit costs

- Cost of required vaccinations, antimalarial medication and health insurance

- Pre-departure training and in-country orientation

- Travel and accommodation for reintegration debriefing weekend

- Modest support for accompanying partners and dependents going on placement with you for 12 months or longer (Return flight, emergency medical insurance, vaccinations)

- Access to Employee Assistance Program while in placement and upon return

- Travel and accommodation for the five-day pre-departure training course and for in-country orientation

- Bonus: Additional return flight home or cash in lieu after 12 months of service for volunteers who extend for another 6 months



We ask each volunteer, regardless of placement length, to raise $2,000. All volunteers receive support from Cuso International to help achieve the goal through fundraising. If the volunteer chooses not to fundraise or is unable to achieve the fundraising goal, he/she can make a one-time donation or become a monthly donor to support our work.



Depending on the nature of the placement, volunteers are encouraged to provide e-volunteering support to the local partner or to Cuso International before or after their field placement. Volunteers can also request e-volunteer support to help them with their work, or any other partner-requested task while they are in placement.


Residency and Citizenship  



The majority of Cuso International volunteer applicants are residing in Canada at the time of application and during the pre-departure process. Occasionally we received applications from volunteer applicants who are residing outside of Canada at the time of application. In both instances, between your application date and placement start date, we must be able to contact you and you must be able to contact us easily and promptly throughout the process.

We may require your passport and would need to be aware of your current place of residence and any travel plans you may have during this time. You will also require unrestricted access to Canada during this time for training, as applicable.



Leaving your country of residence can have significant effects on your citizenship status in that country. It is your responsibility to research the consequences of travelling to Canada during the pre-departure process if you are living outside of Canada and of leaving your country of residence for a placement with the immigration authority where you live.

By applying to this placement, you accept full responsibility for any consequences related to your citizenship, residency and immigration status or penalties as a result of travel to pre-departure training, an international placement or other Cuso International related travel.

You  must  check the implications that apply to you, but examples include:

- Canadian permanent residents may need to make arrangements with immigration authorities before travelling. These arrangements allow them to travel without risk to their status in Canada. Without them, residency status may be withdrawn.

- Citizens of other countries, including those visiting Canada on a visa, may have travel restrictions.