International fellows play an integral role in Plant With Purpose’s mission to reverse deforestation and poverty around the world. Fellowships are designed to give recent graduates and working professionals an opportunity to serve hands-on in one of our international field offices, drawing on previous education and experience, and preparing fellows for careers in international development.
Specific job responsibilities vary from country to country, but usually, fellows gain practical experience by working closely with field staff, interviewing and gathering testimonies from partnering farmers and community leaders, working collaboratively on development projects, and serving as a liaison for hosting vision trips and communications efforts with our U.S. headquarters. Fellows expand Plant With Purpose’s impact by building key relationships and transferring critical knowledge to our field staff and network of support.
Each year, Plant With Purpose places one to three fellows in our country programs. Plant With Purpose has active partnerships in seven countries: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Tanzania, and Thailand. Country field offices range in size from 20-60 staff, all of whom are nationals of the country. Plant With Purpose does not have expat staff in the field offices. See Current Openings for partner countries who are currently accepting fellows. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year, with orientation and deployment occurring in August each year
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE
Fellows must have completed a degree from an undergraduate or graduate university upon deployment. Previous international travel, cross-cultural experience, and study of international development is strongly preferred.
Advanced communication ability in the local language is highly desirable and will serve as a factor for placement. Strong willingness to learn the local language of country placement is required.
Plant With Purpose requires all fellows to possess a mature Christian faith, as they are working on behalf of the local partner organizations and spiritual renewal in accordance to the Bible is an integrated part of the local program and team.
Accepted fellows will convene for a week-long orientation at the Plant With Purpose headquarters in San Diego in August. All fellows will deploy to their field office assignment following orientation.
All fellowships require a 10-12 month commitment.
HOUSING, TRAVEL, AND SAFETY
Plant With Purpose is committed to each fellow’s safety and wellness. Plant With Purpose field staff will meet each fellow at the airport and help them adjust to the local environment and new culture. Plant With Purpose will provide recommendations on suitable local housing, and in some countries, the opportunity for a home-stay with a local family. All housing arrangements are to be pre-approved by the local country director and human resources.
Plant With Purpose requires that all fellows obtain the appropriate health and medical evacuation insurance and will provide recommendations on obtaining the appropriate insurance as well as help with medical facilities and transportation assistance should any emergencies arise while in country.
Although fellows go through a detailed security and cross-cultural training during orientation in San Diego, Plant With Purpose encourages applicants to be cognizant of the inherent risks of living and traveling in a developing country.
COMPENSATION AND EXPENSES
Plant With Purpose will provide housing, however, the fellowship is unpaid and additional expenses are to be covered by each fellow. Fundraising materials are available if the fellow chooses to support raise through his/her church or individual supporters. Supporters will receive a tax-deductible receipt from Plant With Purpose for any donations made to support the fellow.
The following costs are generally incurred and required for fellows to cover financially during their 10-12 month assignment.
- Travel to San Diego for orientation
- Travel to/from overseas assignment
- Health and medical evacuation insurance
- Required vaccinations
- Passport, visa, and work permit fees
- General monthly living expenses (food, local transportation, personal care, utilities, etc.)
- Any additional travel or entertainment expenses
Average annual estimate of expenses each fellow will be responsible for raising is $5,500 – 7,000 (final amount will vary based on country placement and personal preferences.) This estimated range excludes transportation to San Diego for orientation and any personal travel while on assignment.
APPLICATION AND DECISION
See Current Openings for partner countries who are accepting fellows for the upcoming cycle. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Orientation and deployment occur in January or July of each year.
WORDS FROM A FORMER FELLOW
From the very first introduction and interview with a partnering farmer, it’s obvious that Plant With Purpose’s field communications fellowship isn’t just any ordinary professional development opportunity.
Submitting stories and photos that strengthen relationships between donors and farming communities is much more meaningful than building a written portfolio. Assisting local staff in capacity-building for small-scale farmers to overcome rural poverty goes much deeper than gaining fundraising experience. Visiting agroforestry farms and VSLA meetings with expert agronomists and economic coordinators present an unequivocal observation into sustainable international development as it unfolds.
But above all, meeting these partnering members, hearing their testimonies, walking their restored lands, and seeing firsthand the result of Plant With Purpose’s holistic change is a rare privilege that few besides the field communications fellow can ever experience.
I’ve personally grown more confident in portraying the complex realities of systemic poverty through the stories of those most affected by it. From conveying the obstacles facing Dominican farming families to representing hurricane-affected Haitian farmers at United Nations disaster-response meetings, I’ve better understood my purpose in speaking out on behalf of the vulnerable.
And while no cross-cultural experience comes without its own personal challenges, the supportive network of US and local staff cares for the wellbeing and success of the fellow as a valued member of the international Plant With Purpose family. Before long, I’ve seen the very real stages of culture shock quickly transform into new values, palates, language skills, and lifelong memories, friends, and family.
Perhaps the most priceless opportunity of all, though, is seeing God actively at work through local staff and partnering farmers as they restore their environments, relationships, communities, and faith. Witnessing and sharing these acts of faith will forever shape my own personal faith and identity as a Christian.
Because Plant With Purpose values empowerment, I’ve had the flexibility, resources, and encouragement to pursue stories and projects that have challenged me and allowed me to shape my own uniquely exceptional fellowship experience. I have no doubt that you, future fellow, will also encounter these same extraordinary experiences among your own discoveries and growth over your year-long adventure. I’m extremely grateful for my opportunity, and I can’t cease to recommend it to you, too. All I can say is apply and see for yourself.
-Taylor Pizzuto, Field Fellow, Dominican Republic 2016-17
Can I fundraise to pay for the costs of the fellowship?
Absolutely. Fellows can fundraise or self-fund to cover the cost of their expenses, including all airfare, meals, vaccinations, visa fees, and travel insurance for the 10-12 month fellowship.
Does Plant With Purpose provide stipends or scholarships for fellows?
Unfortunately, not at this time. If the fellow finds his/her own scholarship or funding, we are happy to help coordinate with the funding institution.
Can I start later or end earlier than the noted dates?
Fellows cannot miss the pre-scheduled orientation which occurs at our San Diego Headquarters each year. However, we can arrange for a later start date to accommodate individual needs. These needs should be expressed early in the interview process.
How does Plant With Purpose care for and check in with fellows?
Human Resources sets up monthly or bi-monthly Skype check-ins to talk about the fellowship experience and address any concerns. Communication with our US staff is consistent depending on projects, and the ability to participate remotely in weekly US staff trainings is available. US-based Program Officers help supervise fellows generally travel to the field 1-2 times per year and will meet with and work alongside the fellows during those trips.
How many hours per week do fellows work?
Fellows work in accordance with the hours of the local team, typically, a traditional 40-hour work week, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.
Am I allowed to come home at any time during the fellowship?
Fellows are given 2 weeks of personal time off which can be used, with prior approval, at any time during the fellowship to come home or travel in the surrounding area. Most field offices are closed during the week of Christmas and other various local holidays.
Can my spouse or child accompany me?
Yes, however, all living arrangements, childcare, or jobs for spouses must be arranged by the fellow.
Does Plant With Purpose cover health or travel insurance?
We can provide recommendations on health, travel, and medevac insurance through our brokers to find the right insurance coverage for each fellow. However, the expense of all insurance plans is to be covered by each fellow.
Does Plant With Purpose help defer student loan payments?
Deferment decisions are made at the discretion of lenders. Plant With Purpose is happy to provide documentation for participation in the fellowship to lenders.
Will fellows have a job offer after completing the fellowship?
Plant With Purpose does not guarantee employment to fellows. However, fellows will be among the first to know when Plant With Purpose is hiring. We also provide recommendations and job search resources to fellows upon return as they look for full-time work.
Please direct all inquiries to Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org